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.