Question on humanist manifesto III
Posted: 02 December 2007 09:58 AM   [ Ignore ]
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Sorry for rambling post here—maybe this is just part of Erasmus’ thread…

Doug, Occam, Zarcus—et al - based on the mention of a Capital District Humanist group I looked it up on the WWW
[url=http://www.humanists.net/cdhs/]http://www.humanists.net/cdhs/[/url]
This lead to the american humanist association and the manifesto stuff…

what does it mean that
[ Paul Kurtz would not sign Humanist Manifesto III?]  (Occam Posted: 15 September 2007 07:13 PM )

(here is H III ) [ Humanist Manifesto III]
The question I started with is whether where it says

Life’s fulfillment emerges from individual participation in the service of humane ideals.

Does that mean that the signers think this is ONE of the sources of life’s fullfillment, the ONLY source, or the MOST IMPORTANT source.  [url=http://www.humanists.net/cdhs/]http://www.humanists.net/cdhs/[/url]
(corrected typos 12/27)

[ Edited: 27 December 2007 09:53 AM by Jackson ]
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Posted: 02 December 2007 10:41 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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I doubt the original signers thought that, Jackson, at least not based on what else the H III says.  It seems to be more of a skeleton and is fleshed out more by the individual:

Ethical values are derived from human need and interest as tested by experience.Humanists ground values in human welfare shaped by human circumstances, interests, and concerns and extended to the global ecosystem and beyond. We are committed to treating each person as having inherent worth and dignity, and to making informed choices in a context of freedom consonant with responsibility.

The original signers were also made of those from the U.U. and Judaic Humanists too.  I have a book around here from the AHA that has an even longer list of signers after 2003 from a variety of backgrounds (I’ll have to hunt it down).  So, IMO, the H III is open to interpretation of the individual.  I did a paper on this subject (not on my website yet), which Fred Edwords kindly read over for me.  Aside from a few grammatical errors, Fred took no issues with it- not even my use of those with non-realism beliefs as an example of what the U.U. signers of the first Humanist Manifesto might have believed.  What I mean by the use of those with non-realism belief as an example is that I used the Sea of Faith for that example.  So in essence, the H III is open to interpretation of the individual.  At least that is my take on it all given the research I have done on it and kind assistance of the AHA.  I did make mention of the Humanist Manifesto 2000, but the main focus was the I, II, and III.  So in reality, even those like John Shelby Spong (Jack), Don Cupitt, et al fit under the Humanist Manifesto III too.  However, this could also be interpreted as “Life’s fulfillment emerges from individual participation in the service of humane ideals,” but I truly think it is more than that though.  It is really interpreted broadly.

That is just my take on it all, but others may have different view of the H III and I do know others may view it differently regardless of how much study they have put into it all.  I also understand Paul Kurtz probably has a completely different view too.  Thus, why I say it is open to interpretation, but at the same time, if Jack wants to say “Humanism is not anti-Christian or anti-God because it is through the human that we experience The Holy The Other. The Divine is The Ultimate depth of the human”, which he says is the thesis of his current book, who am I to argue?  BTW, you probably won’t see that quote anywhere, because it was via personal communication.  Both Paul and Jack’s interpretations are appropriate concerning the Humanist Manifesto and neither one are excluded.  So the interpretation of the H III is open to Secular, Religious, Ethical, and Christian (non-realists) Humanists.

Hopefully, that helps a little, but keep in mind, my information comes from the AHA and not from the CSH.

[ Edited: 02 December 2007 10:44 AM by Mriana ]
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Posted: 02 December 2007 12:49 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Jackson - 02 December 2007 09:58 AM

what does it mean that
[ Paul Kurtz would not sign Humanist Manifesto III?]  (Occam Posted: 15 September 2007 07:13 PM )

The short answer is that I have no idea. I’m not really up on the minutiae. Maybe someone else here knows?

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Posted: 02 December 2007 02:37 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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I happened to talk with Mel Lipman the president of the AHA at a conference a few years ago and suggested that I guessed AHA and CFI run by Paul Kurtz could probably benefit by joining.  He didn’t expand but said quite definitely that that would NEVER happen.  Kurtz was quite influential in the AHA and in the writing of Manifesto III, however, during or shortly after that time he quit them and formed the Secular Humanists.  I have no idea what the difference was but it’s apparently not negotiable.  I’ve mentioned before that Kurtz is very bright, but his ego and need to control appear to me to be immense.  That may be the difficulty.

Occam
=======
P.S.  That statement in bold is only one of six sentences beginning the six paragraphs so, without knowing the thoughts of the framers, I’d assume it has only equal importance to the others.

O

[ Edited: 02 December 2007 02:41 PM by Occam ]
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Posted: 26 December 2007 09:29 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Jackson - 02 December 2007 09:58 AM

Life’s fulfillment emerges from individual participation in the service of humane ideals.

Does that mean that the signers think this is ONE of the sources of life’s fullfillment, the ONLY source, or the MOST IMPORTANT source.

I was rereading through the Humanist Manifesto 3 the other day and this same thought came to my mind, with more than a shade of skepticism.  I think that it is a very good question that you ask and I don’t know what the writers/signers had in mind either.

I have a problem with this line myself because, while I think that it is very important to “serve” humane ideals,  I don’t think that the service of humane ideals is the ONLY source of life’s fulfillment.  I do believe that good ethical actions play an important part in satisfying an innate human conscience, but the notion of “life’s fulfillment” is considerably more intricate and variable than such a conscience can determine alone.

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Posted: 26 December 2007 09:55 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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1. I recently learned that Kurtz was the editor of the AHA magazine in the ‘70s, and that he was fired.  I don’t know any of the circumstances. 

2.  While Manifesto III has quite a number of worthwhile ideas, I’ve always felt that it was rambling, way too long, included some drivel, and that some of the points were quite badly worded.  I think the one you identified fits that description.

Occam

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Posted: 27 December 2007 10:21 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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erasmusinfinity - 26 December 2007 09:29 PM
Jackson - 02 December 2007 09:58 AM

Life’s fulfillment emerges from individual participation in the service of humane ideals.

Does that mean that the signers think this is ONE of the sources of life’s fullfillment, the ONLY source, or the MOST IMPORTANT source.

I was rereading through the Humanist Manifesto 3 the other day and this same thought came to my mind, with more than a shade of skepticism.  I think that it is a very good question that you ask and I don’t know what the writers/signers had in mind either.

I have a problem with this line myself because, while I think that it is very important to “serve” humane ideals,  I don’t think that the service of humane ideals is the ONLY source of life’s fulfillment.  I do believe that good ethical actions play an important part in satisfying an innate human conscience, but the notion of “life’s fulfillment” is considerably more intricate and variable than such a conscience can determine alone.

Hi you summarize the crux of my question really well.  I agree empathy and an unselfish concern for others is important.  I thought the wording was curiously both emphatic and ambiguous, and hence problematic.

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Posted: 02 January 2008 11:19 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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I noticed that this is not problem in the wording of the Humanist Manifesto 2000 from The Council.

[quote author=“Kurtz, Humanist Manifesto 2000”]V. Ethics and Reason

The realization of the highest ethical values is essential to the humanist outlook. We believe that growth of scientific knowledge will enable humans to make wiser choices. In this way there is no impenetrable wall between fact and value, is and ought. Using reason and cognition will better enable us to appraise our values in the light of evidence and by their consequences.

VI. A Universal Commitment to Humanity as a Whole

The overriding need of the world community today is to develop a new Planetary Humanism—one that seeks to preserve human rights and enhance human freedom and dignity, but also emphasizes our commitment to humanity as a whole. The underlying ethical principle of Planetary Humanism is the need to respect the dignity and worth of all persons in the world community.

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Posted: 03 January 2008 05:48 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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Kurtz sees the battle between secularism and its “enemies” as an epic zero-sum struggle. He’s not entirely wrong, but he is partly wrong. Language, for example, is not reality; he tends to reify words, and in so doing (like many secularists) he creates many conflicts that could be avoided with complete integrity to secular principles. He’s also a bit of an absolutist, very much so on certain issues.

It’s not a peaceful interplay.

In a battle for hearts and minds, a take-no-prisoners approach has inherent disadvantages. Kurtz has drawn his line in the sand and will not compromise on his method of approach. That’s up to him, but I don’t think that approach is in the best interests of secularism as a cultural force. Sam Harris, for example, is every bit as firm in his views, but I don’t get the same sense of dogmatism as I get from Kurtz. I think we secularists are moving toward Harris’ approach, and that it is important that we do.

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I cannot in good conscience support CFI under the current leadership. I am here in dissent and in support of a Humanism that honors and respects everyone.

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Posted: 03 January 2008 07:56 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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PLaClair,

Do you mean this in reference to the words that I pasted in or The Manifesto 2000, or about the comment posted by Occam?  Or just in general about Paul and his overall approach?

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Posted: 03 January 2008 08:11 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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PLaClair - 03 January 2008 05:48 AM

Sam Harris, for example, is every bit as firm in his views, but I don’t get the same sense of dogmatism as I get from Kurtz.

This surprises me. Could you elaborate? Did you see Harris’s participation in the Beyond Belief 2006 conference for instance? (I believe it’s still up on the web—rather a lot to wade through, I’m afraid, but does show Harris quite clearly).

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Posted: 03 January 2008 10:27 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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erasmusinfinity - 03 January 2008 07:56 AM

PLaClair,

Do you mean this in reference to the words that I pasted in or The Manifesto 2000, or about the comment posted by Occam?  Or just in general about Paul and his overall approach?

In general, specific to Paul Kurtz.

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I cannot in good conscience support CFI under the current leadership. I am here in dissent and in support of a Humanism that honors and respects everyone.

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Posted: 06 January 2008 08:03 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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I noticed that The International Humanist and Ethical Union has a most generically agreeable statement on humanism at their website.  HERE

[quote author=“IHEU Minimum Statement on Humanism”]IHEU member organisations resolved in 1996 that:

Humanism is a democratic and ethical life stance, which affirms that human beings have the right and responsibility to give meaning and shape to their own lives. It stands for the building of a more humane society through an ethic based on human and other natural values in the spirit of reason and free inquiry through human capabilities. It is not theistic, and it does not accept supernatural views of reality.

This also, more or less, avoids the issue of elevating ethics to the key and central foundation of life’s purpose.

For the record, I do consider my perceived sense of ethics to go right at the top of my own life’s sense of meaning and purpose.  I just disagree about the point that ethics necessarily go there for everyone.  Meaning and purpose are things that humans give themselves, and they can come in wildly divergent shades and colors.  i also do like the spirit of all of the humanist manifestos, despite their subtle differences.  Besides, I don’t follow them.  I live as I see fit (in accordance with the law) and just happen to to relate to most of what’s in them.

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