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CFI’s Mission Statement is so 20th Century
Posted: 05 January 2011 10:47 PM   [ Ignore ]
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CFI’s Mission Statement and Our Vanishing Attention Span

We are told that Google is making us less literate, and that our attention span is diminishing.  It would appear that the fast-pace of our lives is making us less tolerant of all long explanations and densely packed paragraphs of ideals, no matter how worthy.  Those of us who still remember when songs had lyrics, computers required punched cards, dare I say, The Lone Ranger on radio, may protest that we still care for the paragraph.  But even I admire the PowerPoint presentation that can say all of that in as few statements as possible.  Our news comes in sound bites and our opinions fit on bumper stickers.  Say what you will about thoroughness – you had better say it in less than 144 characters (see what I mean).

Before I lose your attention, let me get to the point:  CFI’s mission statement is so 20th century.  It takes up a whole page of small print and says a whole lot in a great many statements; none of which would fit comfortably on a billboard.  In this “PowerPoint Age” we need to have punch in our statements.  We need statements that can stand by themselves, each on a separate placard, to be read, in any order, across a crowd of supporter each holding one statement.  We need a string of bumper stickers so that our parking lot will express our meaning.

I am new to CFI Fora and my attempts to catch up with the argumentation have left me with a migraine.  The discussion seems to drift from learned to snarky, and sometimes even back again.  It is with great trepidation, therefore, that I offer my humble effort at a reconciliation of various viewpoints about atheism, humanism, anti-religionism, and all the other isms floating about in the struggle for the soul of CFI.  I would like to offer some 21st Century sound bite/bumper stickers for your consideration. 

A Secular Humanist Statement

I stand in awe of the universe, without regard to its
possible beginning or end points.

During my brief interlude here on Earth, I strive to enhance the human
experience we all share, and benefit those who will come after us. 

I intend to treat all I encounter in my brief sharing of universal existence
with respect and dignity. 

I am not against anything other than ignorance and hate, in all of their manifestations.

I do not hold any truths to be self-evident; other than: I am, therefore I think. 

I believe in the power of Science to uncover the demonstrable truths about existence,
and I believe in the power of Reason to develop the non-demonstrable tenets of ethics and morality. 

I expect science to describe existence, and reason to help me deal with it.  Imaginary powers,
and power-brokers, have no place in my reality.           

We are all in this together; we must stand against ignorance and hate, through our mutual support
of Science, Reason and Secular Values.

Good Without God
The ethics of a Secular Humanist

As a sentient human I share existence with all things in the universe, and I wish to live my life in
a responsible, rational, and ethical manner. 

Some fellow humans maintain ideas of supernatural causes and effects of various types, and others
maintain naturalistic ideas, without attempting to go beyond the observable and the rational. 

To all, I offer a non-denominational prescription for a better “shared existence” for all concerned.

    My goals in this life are:
To bring understanding, where there is hatred;
To bring healing, where there is injury;
To supply knowledge, where there is doubt;
To bring hope, where there is despair;
To bring a smile, where there is sadness;
To be loving, forgiving, compassionate, and generous;
    And above all,
To leave the world a slightly better place than I found it.

(With apologies to the authors of the St. Francis Prayer from which I gained inspiration, and
subtracted reference to the supernatural.  May we continue to do so.)

There you have my offerings; release the lions!

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Tony Maitland

I expect science to describe existence, and reason to help me deal with it.  Imaginary powers,
and power-brokers, have no place in my reality.

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Posted: 07 January 2011 09:34 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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I don’t like the snarkyness either.  Try not to judge the whole forum that way.  Usually, it’s the same individuals who are that way and the rest of the members are polite.  The anonymity of the Internet gives people the illusion they can be more rude than they could be face to face.

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Posted: 07 January 2011 06:52 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Quoting TonyMaitland: 

Before I lose your attention, let me get to the point.

  Sorry, you’ve already lost my attention.

The discussion seems to drift from learned to snarky,

  Is the first comment here what you were talking about?  smile

Occam

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Posted: 07 January 2011 07:00 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Many of the discussions here are based on strong beliefs by the posters, as such, during arguments emotions sometimes become strong.  As such, a bit of ad hominum (snarkyness) is common.  I don’t feel that if held to a minimum it’s particularly harmful, especially if it’s leavened with some humor, however, the moderators and the administrator do police the posts to make sure the discussions don’t get insulting or out of hand in any way.  You seldom see the admonitions in blue because we use that as a next to last resort.  Quite frequently we just drop the violators a Private Message recommending that they be more civil.

And one does have to differentiate between snarkyness and wise-assedness as in the above post. 

Occam

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Posted: 07 January 2011 07:08 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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While I agree with the ideas behind all your suggestions, they are a little long for bumper stickers, and possibly too short to be meaningful sound bytes to non-secular people.  Their main value may to institute discussion, but that means one must be available and ready to enter into that discussion.

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Posted: 07 January 2011 08:17 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Thank you for pointing out my failings.  Now can the discussion begin?

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Tony Maitland

I expect science to describe existence, and reason to help me deal with it.  Imaginary powers,
and power-brokers, have no place in my reality.

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Posted: 07 January 2011 09:55 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Most of us who post regularly, have been on the forum for awhile. You get familiar with the online personalities of the others, and you also discover ‘which hill they are willing to die on’, sometimes another forum member thinks the hill is worthless and points it out, some members drag their hills around from thread to thread, and that may get pointed out to them. We bicker and argue, but usually come to a consensus, if only to agree to disagree. And we learn from each other. People are rarely angry with another forum member for too long. Occasionally, we get trolls, and in that case….all bets are off! cheese

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Posted: 07 January 2011 11:15 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Tony, please don’t take my post as pointing out your failings.  One of the values of this forum is for each of us to help polish the thinking of each other.  We all have our own personalities which come through on our posts.  I tend often to respond quite rationally, but in the form of a joke.  Some enjoy that technique and others find it annoying.  We have to recognize the quirks of our fellow posters and read their responses in that framework.

Occam

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Posted: 08 January 2011 08:21 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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I guess I will have to read the Smileys as well as the words.  I appreciate the advice given and look forward to the substantive comments I hope will follow.  My purpose in posting was to get the ideas out there.  Any suggestion on how the material can be improved will be greatly appreciated.  My basic feeling is that we freethinkers have got to get beyond being called Atheists (are there any Theists still around?).  I will only call myself a Secular Humanist in the future, and I would suggest the same for all.  Let the argument begin!

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Tony Maitland

I expect science to describe existence, and reason to help me deal with it.  Imaginary powers,
and power-brokers, have no place in my reality.

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Posted: 27 May 2011 10:20 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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Occam. - 07 January 2011 07:08 PM

While I agree with the ideas behind all your suggestions, they are a little long for bumper stickers, and possibly too short to be meaningful sound bytes to non-secular people.  Their main value may to institute discussion, but that means one must be available and ready to enter into that discussion.

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that’s about what i thought, too.

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Posted: 27 May 2011 10:22 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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tonymaitland - 07 January 2011 08:17 PM

Thank you for pointing out my failings.  Now can the discussion begin?

such snark! wink

might be better off picking one statement to discuss.

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Posted: 27 May 2011 10:41 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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tonymaitland - 08 January 2011 08:21 AM

I guess I will have to read the Smileys as well as the words.

sometimes we don’t bother with smileys, and folks just gotta guess.  Sub-optimal, but probably unavoidable.

“(are there any Theists still around?)”—i dunno!  Metaphorical theists?  Lord knows there could be some!  Descriptive, secular theists? (As in “Zeus flourished in Greek culture from circa -800 C.E. to… when did He flourish, anyway?”)  Maybe…

I will only call myself a Secular Humanist in the future, and I would suggest the same for all.  Let the argument begin!

well, as you can see on other threads, there’s plenty of argument about what to call oneself—and plenty more argument about suggesting the same label for everyone here.  (An awful idea, in my opinion.)

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Posted: 27 May 2011 11:56 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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Occam. - 07 January 2011 07:08 PM

While I agree with the ideas behind all your suggestions, they are a little long for bumper stickers, and possibly too short to be meaningful sound bytes to non-secular people. 

And the twisted Descartes reference is so 17th Century.

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Posted: 30 May 2011 03:37 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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Tony,

You’ve generally expressed my view, though there are things I don’t agree with. Here are my constructive criticisms:

I would mention supernaturalist beliefs little or not at all, else the statement seems like a defensive reaction.

An ethics of concern for others requires a belief that others think and feel, so I am not convinced that “I am, therefore I think” suffices.

Ethics and morality are demonstrable, depending on where you begin the evaluation. I reference Sam Harris’ latest book here.

I see no need to distinguish our values as secular. Theists accept and practice them, too.

Sometimes our time is best spent bringing doubt to address clams to knowledge.

Paul

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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: 22 August 2011 10:49 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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tonymaitland - 05 January 2011 10:47 PM

CFI’s Mission Statement and Our Vanishing Attention Span

We are told that Google is making us less literate, and that our attention span is diminishing.  It would appear that the fast-pace of our lives is making us less tolerant of all long explanations and densely packed paragraphs of ideals, no matter how worthy.  Those of us who still remember when songs had lyrics, computers required punched cards, dare I say, The Lone Ranger on radio, may protest that we still care for the paragraph.  But even I admire the PowerPoint presentation that can say all of that in as few statements as possible.  Our news comes in sound bites and our opinions fit on bumper stickers.  Say what you will about thoroughness – you had better say it in less than 144 characters

... ZZZZZ too much information !  smile

tonymaitland - 05 January 2011 10:47 PM

CFI’s Mission Statement and Our Vanishing Attention Span


I stand in awe of the universe, without regard to its
possible beginning or end points.

During my brief interlude here on Earth, I strive to enhance the human
experience we all share, and benefit those who will come after us. 

I intend to treat all I encounter in my brief sharing of universal existence
with respect and dignity. 

I am not against anything other than ignorance and hate, in all of their manifestations.

I do not hold any truths to be self-evident; other than: I am, therefore I think. 

I believe in the power of Science to uncover the demonstrable truths about existence,
and I believe in the power of Reason to develop the non-demonstrable tenets of ethics and morality. 

I expect science to describe existence, and reason to help me deal with it.  Imaginary powers,
and power-brokers, have no place in my reality.           

We are all in this together; we must stand against ignorance and hate, through our mutual support
of Science, Reason and Secular Values.

Good Without God
The ethics of a Secular Humanist

As a sentient human I share existence with all things in the universe, and I wish to live my life in
a responsible, rational, and ethical manner. 

Some fellow humans maintain ideas of supernatural causes and effects of various types, and others
maintain naturalistic ideas, without attempting to go beyond the observable and the rational. 

To all, I offer a non-denominational prescription for a better “shared existence” for all concerned.

    My goals in this life are:
To bring understanding, where there is hatred;
To bring healing, where there is injury;
To supply knowledge, where there is doubt;
To bring hope, where there is despair;
To bring a smile, where there is sadness;
To be loving, forgiving, compassionate, and generous;
    And above all,
To leave the world a slightly better place than I found it.

(With apologies to the authors of the St. Francis Prayer from which I gained inspiration, and
subtracted reference to the supernatural.  May we continue to do so.)

There you have my offerings; release the lions!

Excellent sentiments.  We should be pushing to replace the barbaric 10 commandments in their various incarnations with your two lists.  Interestingly enough the liberal self-proclaimed christians more or less try to live by these ideas.  Only those relatively few like Dan Barker who actually read the “good book” seem to eventually come to an understanding of how cruel, evil, and contrary to a lot of current criminal law most of the bible actually is.

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Posted: 26 August 2011 06:42 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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ullrich - 22 August 2011 10:49 AM

tonymaitland - 05 January 2011 10:47 PM

CFI’s Mission Statement and Our Vanishing Attention Span

We are told that Google is making us less literate, and that our attention span is diminishing.  It would appear that the fast-pace of our lives is making us less tolerant of all long explanations and densely packed paragraphs of ideals, no matter how worthy.  Those of us who still remember when songs had lyrics, computers required punched cards, dare I say, The Lone Ranger on radio, may protest that we still care for the paragraph.  But even I admire the PowerPoint presentation that can say all of that in as few statements as possible.  Our news comes in sound bites and our opinions fit on bumper stickers.  Say what you will about thoroughness – you had better say it in less than 144 characters

... ZZZZZ too much information !  smile

tonymaitland - 05 January 2011 10:47 PM

CFI’s Mission Statement and Our Vanishing Attention Span


I stand in awe of the universe, without regard to its
possible beginning or end points.

During my brief interlude here on Earth, I strive to enhance the human
experience we all share, and benefit those who will come after us. 

I intend to treat all I encounter in my brief sharing of universal existence
with respect and dignity. 

I am not against anything other than ignorance and hate, in all of their manifestations.

I do not hold any truths to be self-evident; other than: I am, therefore I think. 

I believe in the power of Science to uncover the demonstrable truths about existence,
and I believe in the power of Reason to develop the non-demonstrable tenets of ethics and morality. 

I expect science to describe existence, and reason to help me deal with it.  Imaginary powers,
and power-brokers, have no place in my reality.           

We are all in this together; we must stand against ignorance and hate, through our mutual support
of Science, Reason and Secular Values.

Good Without God
The ethics of a Secular Humanist

As a sentient human I share existence with all things in the universe, and I wish to live my life in
a responsible, rational, and ethical manner. 

Some fellow humans maintain ideas of supernatural causes and effects of various types, and others
maintain naturalistic ideas, without attempting to go beyond the observable and the rational. 

To all, I offer a non-denominational prescription for a better “shared existence” for all concerned.

    My goals in this life are:
To bring understanding, where there is hatred;
To bring healing, where there is injury;
To supply knowledge, where there is doubt;
To bring hope, where there is despair;
To bring a smile, where there is sadness;
To be loving, forgiving, compassionate, and generous;
    And above all,
To leave the world a slightly better place than I found it.

(With apologies to the authors of the St. Francis Prayer from which I gained inspiration, and
subtracted reference to the supernatural.  May we continue to do so.)

There you have my offerings; release the lions!

Excellent sentiments.  We should be pushing to replace the barbaric 10 commandments in their various incarnations with your two lists.  Interestingly enough the liberal self-proclaimed christians more or less try to live by these ideas.  Only those relatively few like Dan Barker who actually read the “good book” seem to eventually come to an understanding of how cruel, evil, and contrary to a lot of current criminal law most of the bible actually is.

I also like these sentiments. But I would change the first one slightly. Instead of “To bring understanding, where there is hatred” I would say “to bring love, where there is hatred.” Understanding of hatred does not contribute to its elimination.
.

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http://csam.montclair.edu/~kowalski/life/intro.html

It is an autobiography based on a diary kept between 1946 and 2004 (in the USSR, Poland, France and the USA).

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