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Taking Humanism Beyond Speciesism
Posted: 28 January 2008 05:39 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 16 ]
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I was not yet on this forum at the time that you brought it up last year.  Thank you for sharing things again, for my sake.  Looks like you are doing wonderful things and I hope that all goes well for you.  It is particularly refreshing to see humanists focusing on human rights and environmental issues.

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Posted: 16 May 2008 09:13 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 17 ]
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PLaClair - 04 January 2008 08:42 PM

I agree that the most sensible ethics requires extending our concerns beyond humanity. I signed HM III anyway. It seemed to me that HM III moved us forward, even if I didn’t agree with every phrase in it.

One of the biggest mistakes we secularists (Humanists, et. al.) make is in our absolutism. That has always struck me as ironic and even bizarre, since absolutism is something we recognize as a problem when theists engage in it.

Humanism has far too much pluralism, inclusiveness, and blind alleys like atheism to bear any more weight of responsibility than it carries already.

Let’s consider the speciesism mentioned elsewhere in this thread.

Humanism is about humans, and if it is ever to become more widely known, it has to mean what it says, not be a grab-bag of liberal causes, however laudable. Its biggest burden is the fact that it is infested with atheists, social climbers that they are, and they DO have an absolutism about them that makes them our fundamentalists.

In a letter auctioned today for $400,000 http://www.nytimes.com/2008/05/17/science/17einsteinw.html “Einstein described himself as an “agnostic” and “not an atheist,” which he associated with the same intolerance as religious fanatics. “They are creatures who — in their grudge against the traditional ‘opium for the people’ — cannot bear the music of the spheres.”

Way to go, Albert.

Homo Sapiens IS a species, the last one left in our private genus, and it suffers from very poor internal governance. Humans are cursed by a weapons culture that threatens the entire planet, and continually impoverish themselves thereby. The UN is a straw man for its “permanent” vetoing members and entrusted with a budget, Kofi Annan noted, that is smaller than that of the fire dept of NY City.

It makes no sense for Humanism to adopt factory farming as an area of attention when we have Jimmy Carter, gadfly of peace missions, launching a new hunter-killer submarine with his name on it. The man means well, and Humans do too, but somehow it’s just not happening for our own kind, and we don’t have forever to set things right.

It’s been 75 years this month since Manifesto 1 in 1933, and three generations since have produced hot and cold wars and arms races, and the planet is fast being consumed by our ineptitude at getting our own house in order.

No, the ASPCA is not entrusted with ending war, and Humanists must be. Any Humanist can befriend a child or an outside cause in the course of things, we must hope that is just our Humanity expressing itself, not due to a dictum brought down on tablets or Manifestos.

Can we popularize the term “anti-human activity” as one of our projects and root it out? Can we poll countries about whether or not they wish to become neutral? Can we work for a global legal ban on nuclear weapons manufacturing, the way we have done with land mines and cluster bombs? The US and Britain among most western Euros countries are working against the latter this week in Dublin, e.g.

Should Humanists care or do something about the manufacture of devices that maim kids, or just pontificate about lead in Johnny’s tin soldiers from China?

Those are urgent problems of our species, and bringing responsible governance to our internal affairs must become our prime and perhaps only focus. Youth and the world must see us as more than atheists, and sad to say, right now they do not.

Would that Mr. Dawkins might perform his next book release on the deck of the Jimmy Carter, uninvited, but I’m afraid that must wait for another Bertrand Russell, whom we have betrayed shamefully.

[ Edited: 16 May 2008 09:43 PM by Martinus ]
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Posted: 17 May 2008 03:30 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 18 ]
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Well, Dwight, you can choose to decalre than “humanism” means solely caring about humans, and moreover about those aspects of human existence that matter to you, such as the issue of social welfare, war, etc that you raise. But that’s just you unilaterally deciding what humanism should be about, and really it isn’t any different than PETA arguing that humanism should only be about non-human rights. I don’t think it is possible, or necessary, to create a set of specific issues and limit humanism to that. If one wants to look at humanism historically as a domain of philosophy, it’s really more an approach than a specific set of issues, and the question is how does the application of that approach lead to conclusions regarding whatever issues it is applied to.

I think humanists with different areas of interest can focus on those areas legitimately and work towards the kind of social change they see as most important or that is most personally compelling for them. That doesn’t weaken humanism as a philosophy but rather it illustrates the strength and depth of the approach. Now as a political movement or lobby, it is better to limit ones issues, but that takes care of itself, it seems to me, as humanists with different interests form or join groups working on particular issues. If animal welfar/rights isn’t improtant to you, fair enough, but you don’t get to keep good ideas like humanism all to yourself. grin

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Posted: 17 May 2008 04:08 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 19 ]
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mckenzievmd - 17 May 2008 03:30 PM

Well, Dwight, you can choose to decalre than “humanism” means solely caring about humans, and moreover about those aspects of human existence that matter to you, such as the issue of social welfare, war, etc that you raise.

I didn’t mean solely caring about humans, but caring about them primarily, if only because no other identifiable organization is riding herd on us, and somebody, somewhere, definitely should. I could be somewhat forward and ask you what part of the word Humanism do you not understand? But seriously, my objection is to atheists and animal rights activists representing their beliefs as Humanism, which in the end leaves Humanism as an envelope or pangloss for all sane Human behaviour. That may be trivially true, but it is like being a fireman with all those nice attributes, who never bothers to actually go to fires. Anti-human activity is rampant in our species and it behooves us to address that fact.

I think humanists with different areas of interest can focus on those areas legitimately and work towards the kind of social change they see as most important or that is most personally compelling for them. That doesn’t weaken humanism as a philosophy but rather it illustrates the strength and depth of the approach. Now as a political movement or lobby, it is better to limit ones issues, but that takes care of itself, it seems to me, as humanists with different interests form or join groups working on particular issues. If animal welfar/rights isn’t improtant to you, fair enough, but you don’t get to keep good ideas like humanism all to yourself. grin

Very true. As Humanism begins to fire on more cylinders, then our political advocates will do their work for the UN. e.g., others will oversee women’s rights, civil rights, the aged and so on, just as democracy can be applied to any issue. To get up to critical mass so that Humanism becomes a player among the world credos, it may take some firebrand issues however, just as Greenpeace had to resort to street theatre to get noticed. Being from activist movements decades ago, I guess I am seeing a certain quietude on the western front that we all know is not indicative of healthy underpinnings, quite the opposite.

I am simply advocating that Humanism try to assume some responsibility for our species around its most glaring shortcomings, such as our weapons culture. You never know, Humanity may be happy to hand that franchise to us and support us in it.

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