Author Topic: Questions about Humanism  (Read 2331 times)

drfreemlizard

  • Beginning to See the Wedge
  • *
  • Posts: 46
Questions about Humanism
« on: June 12, 2018, 03:59:26 PM »
OK, Dave, in deference to Tank's legitimate concerns about a flame war, I will postpone the well-mannered debate and instead ask for a general overview of humanism. It is not a subject that has been explained to me in depth, so I would like to take the opportunity to discover your beliefs.

Now, I do understand you to be talking about secular humanism, as opposed to Renaissance humanism. Is that correct?

Sent from my SCH-I435 using Tapatalk


Tank

  • Fed up with stupid.
  • Administrator
  • Excellent and Indefatigable Guardian of Reason
  • *****
  • Posts: 30354
  • Gender: Male
Re: Questions about Humanism
« Reply #1 on: June 12, 2018, 04:02:56 PM »
Excellent topic for discussion.
If religions were TV channels atheism is turning the TV off.
“Religion is a culture of faith; science is a culture of doubt.” ― Richard P. Feynman
'It is said that your life flashes before your eyes just before you die. That is true, it's called Life.' - Terry Pratchett
Remember, your inability to grasp science is not a valid argument against it.

Dave

  • Formerly known as Gloucester
  • Don't Pray in My School, and I Won't Think in Your Church
  • *****
  • Posts: 7081
  • Gender: Male
Re: Questions about Humanism
« Reply #2 on: June 12, 2018, 04:18:40 PM »
OK, Dave, in deference to Tank's legitimate concerns about a flame war, I will postpone the well-mannered debate and instead ask for a general overview of humanism. It is not a subject that has been explained to me in depth, so I would like to take the opportunity to discover your beliefs.

Now, I do understand you to be talking about secular humanism, as opposed to Renaissance humanism. Is that correct?

Sent from my SCH-I435 using Tapatalk

Yup, secular Humanism was my point. Having a meal a the moment and will get back to this later. (Also composing my thoughts regarding Mr Trump's little chat with Kim Il Jong, that might take prority.)
Tomorrow is precious, don't ruin it by fouling up today.

Dave

  • Formerly known as Gloucester
  • Don't Pray in My School, and I Won't Think in Your Church
  • *****
  • Posts: 7081
  • Gender: Male
Re: Questions about Humanism
« Reply #3 on: June 12, 2018, 05:49:02 PM »
Dfl
Let me get my apology in first, please - I am crsp at onsceeen typong - as well our fellow members know, often to their amusement and my embarrassment. So I am using a Bluetooth keyboard for this job, main problem there is it is an American coded job, despite what is on the keys, and does not automatically capitalise. I always edit important stuff before hitting GO.

Right. Meal over, little item on the recent chat done. Quick reminder of the nature of Renaisance humanism taken. Quick refresh on Greek humanism as well, which could be said to be the parent of both Renaisance and secular varieties as I see it.

I feel that I have to start with what seem to be the most commonly accepted tenets of Humanism (boring but essential as a base line):

Quote
Affirmations of Humanism

A Statement of Principles

Drafted by Paul Kurtz


We are committed to the application of reason and science to the understanding of the universe and to the solving of human problems.

We deplore efforts to denigrate human intelligence, to seek to explain the world in supernatural terms, and to look outside nature for salvation.

We believe that scientific discovery and technology can contribute to the betterment of human life.

We believe in an open and pluralistic society and that democracy is the best guarantee of protecting human rights from authoritarian elites and repressive majorities.

We are committed to the principle of the separation of church and state.

We cultivate the arts of negotiation and compromise as a means of resolving differences and achieving mutual understanding.

We are concerned with securing justice and fairness in society and with eliminating discrimination and intolerance.

We believe in supporting the disadvantaged and the handicapped so that they will be able to help themselves.

We attempt to transcend divisive parochial loyalties based on race, religion, gender, nationality, creed, class, sexual orientation, or ethnicity, and strive to work together for the common good of humanity.

We want to protect and enhance the earth, to preserve it for future generations, and to avoid inflicting needless suffering on other species.

We believe in enjoying life here and now and in developing our creative talents to their fullest.

We believe in the cultivation of moral excellence.

We respect the right to privacy. Mature adults should be allowed to fulfill their aspirations, to express their sexual preferences, to exercise reproductive freedom, to have access to comprehensive and informed health-care, and to die with dignity.

We believe in the common moral decencies: altruism, integrity, honesty, truthfulness, responsibility. Humanist ethics is amenable to critical, rational guidance. There are normative standards that we discover together. Moral principles are tested by their consequences.

We are deeply concerned with the moral education of our children. We want to nourish reason and compassion.

We are engaged by the arts no less than by the sciences.

We are citizens of the universe and are excited by discoveries still to be made in the cosmos.

We are skeptical of untested claims to knowledge, and we are open to novel ideas and seek new departures in our thinking.

We affirm humanism as a realistic alternative to theologies of despair and ideologies of violence and as a source of rich personal significance and genuine satisfaction in the service to others.

We believe in optimism rather than pessimism, hope rather than despair, learning in the place of dogma, truth instead of ignorance, joy rather than guilt or sin, tolerance in the place of fear, love instead of hatred, compassion over selfishness, beauty instead of ugliness, and reason rather than blind faith or irrationality.

We believe in the fullest realization of the best and noblest that we are capable of as human beings.

https://secularhumanism.org/index.php/12

Not saying every humanist holds rigidly to all of these but they would probably not quibble much, other than to be pedantic. They may slot in one or two of their own.

I will also offer another of my graphics to show that I feel Humanism and most mainstream religions have things in common but also possibly unreconcilable differences:



These are, of course, ideals but us fallible humans err all too often . . .

I will leave it there for the moment.
Tomorrow is precious, don't ruin it by fouling up today.

Icarus

  • The wise one.
  • Guardian of Reason
  • *****
  • Posts: 5205
Re: Questions about Humanism
« Reply #4 on: June 13, 2018, 01:35:09 AM »
Well done Dave.   That pretty much covers it all.

 I am acquainted with some of the members of the Secular Humanist group in my town. They may not all measure up to the Secularist affirmations but most of them are pretty close to living that kind of life. 

drfreemlizard

  • Beginning to See the Wedge
  • *
  • Posts: 46
Re: Questions about Humanism
« Reply #5 on: June 13, 2018, 04:36:45 AM »
Thank you for the very good explanation. I see several things in the manifesto you quoted that I, as a Christian, can very much agree with.  Free Thought ought to be shared by Humanism and Christianity as well, although your graphic is pretty accurate since too often it isn't a shared trait in practice.

Your explanation does invite some questions, to my mind.  Tank, am I going to be considered to be debating, assuming I ask such questions in a gentlemanly fashion?
Sent from my SCH-I435 using Tapatalk
« Last Edit: June 13, 2018, 05:15:32 AM by drfreemlizard »

Tank

  • Fed up with stupid.
  • Administrator
  • Excellent and Indefatigable Guardian of Reason
  • *****
  • Posts: 30354
  • Gender: Male
Re: Questions about Humanism
« Reply #6 on: June 13, 2018, 06:34:47 AM »
...

Your explanation does invite some questions, to my mind.  Tank, am I going to be considered to be debating, assuming I ask such questions in a gentlemanly fashion?
Sent from my SCH-I435 using Tapatalk

The forum is here, in part, so people who wish to debate can. The basic rule is be polite to others. That encompasses no name calling (Yes Arturo I am looking at you :) ) no snide and patronising asides (Yes Davin I'm looking at you  >:( ). It's ok to call an idea stupid but not the person presenting the idea. Imagine your grandma is in the room and ready to give you a hard stare for bad manners.
If religions were TV channels atheism is turning the TV off.
“Religion is a culture of faith; science is a culture of doubt.” ― Richard P. Feynman
'It is said that your life flashes before your eyes just before you die. That is true, it's called Life.' - Terry Pratchett
Remember, your inability to grasp science is not a valid argument against it.

Dave

  • Formerly known as Gloucester
  • Don't Pray in My School, and I Won't Think in Your Church
  • *****
  • Posts: 7081
  • Gender: Male
Re: Questions about Humanism
« Reply #7 on: June 13, 2018, 06:57:00 AM »
Hmm, Free Thought and religious belief? In my mind they cannot exist together. The Wiki definition also begs questions in it first paragrsph:

Quote
Freethought (or "free thought")[1] is a philosophical viewpoint which holds that positions regarding truth should be formed on the basis of logic, reason, and empiricism, rather than authority, tradition, revelation, or dogma. In particular, freethought is strongly tied with rejection of traditional social or religious belief systems.[1][2][3] The cognitive application of freethought is known as "freethinking", and practitioners of freethought are known as "freethinkers".[1][4] The term first came into use in the 17th century in order to indicate people who inquired into the basis of traditional religious beliefs.
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freethought

I want to add the word "critically" after "inquired" in the last sentence to qualify it as true Free Thinking in my understanding.

Thought cannot be truly free if it is, in any way, constrained by external rules of any kind. If you cannot consider, without emotional discomfort, that every tenet of a belief can be examined critically for logic, rationslity etc and, if found wanting, discarded then your mind is bound. The mainline religions all have mandatory laws, though often couched as statements, such as the now famous, and infamous, "Allah hu akbar",  rather than as "You will . . ." commands.

As a humanist I cannot easily differentiate between religions in their basic forms, especially the main monotheistic versions, so please forgive me if I "cherry pick" between them for examples. I have used a now all too well known example from Islam above but the equivalent certainly exists in Christianity - especially historically, during its more aggressive phases.

So I hold that my graphic is accurate: boundless, free, thought and prescriptive religion cannot co-exist. But free thought is not, inherently, without disbenefits! Following a rail can be more comfortable than stumbling about on unmarked tracks without a map. (But also less fun.)

[Comment about criticality modified, it is only my opinion, I need to read more on that 17thC movement to find jydt what the were up to.]
« Last Edit: June 13, 2018, 07:17:03 AM by Dave »
Tomorrow is precious, don't ruin it by fouling up today.

Dave

  • Formerly known as Gloucester
  • Don't Pray in My School, and I Won't Think in Your Church
  • *****
  • Posts: 7081
  • Gender: Male
Re: Questions about Humanism
« Reply #8 on: June 13, 2018, 07:03:08 AM »
...

Your explanation does invite some questions, to my mind.  Tank, am I going to be considered to be debating, assuming I ask such questions in a gentlemanly fashion?
Sent from my SCH-I435 using Tapatalk

The forum is here, in part, so people who wish to debate can. The basic rule is be polite to others. That encompasses no name calling (Yes Arturo I am looking at you :) ) no snide and patronising asides (Yes Davin I'm looking at you  >:( ). It's ok to call an idea stupid but not the person presenting the idea. Imagine your grandma is in the room and ready to give you a hard stare for bad manners.

And, if you call an idea stupid you should be prepared to fully justify your opinion. If it is only an opinion state this, it may have no more value than your oponent's opinion. If you claim it as a fact then you must back that claim up by citing objective sources.
Tomorrow is precious, don't ruin it by fouling up today.

drfreemlizard

  • Beginning to See the Wedge
  • *
  • Posts: 46
Re: Questions about Humanism
« Reply #9 on: June 13, 2018, 12:40:11 PM »
I grant that Free Thought and religion have been put at odds, but I suppose I mean less Free Thought as specifically opposed to the supernatural and more freedom of thought, in which you and I are both free to consider issues and we simply start with different first principles.

Sent from my SCH-I435 using Tapatalk


Dave

  • Formerly known as Gloucester
  • Don't Pray in My School, and I Won't Think in Your Church
  • *****
  • Posts: 7081
  • Gender: Male
Re: Questions about Humanism
« Reply #10 on: June 13, 2018, 01:28:08 PM »
This is where it starts getting philosophical - "What do you mean by "thought"?" I suppose, technically, it is any idea, concept etc that occurs to the individual. But I would, in this context, say that that "thought" should be open to discussion with others if the "thinker" wishes. This, in my mind, applies mainly to thoughts about the origin and nature of the Universe, why some of us just do not get this supernatural stuff at all. What is the nature ofvtge supernatural? If it cannot be detected by any known means does it exist at all or do we need new detectors? If it cannot be detected then why should anyone believe in supernatural beings? Why are prayers only "answered" on a random, chance selection basis. Why is it "God's will" whether the patient survives or dies? Etc.

Can you aa a self-described practising Christian safely, objectively and honestly think about such? Hmm, I suppose the equally valid question is whether I can be objective with such ideas. Best I can offer is that no-one gave me "instruction" in independant thinking. Rather the reverse, religious instruction was mandatory in school when I was a kid and we were sent to Sunday school just so our parents could have a couple of hours free of us! But, from about age 10, I argued about the Bible and was "shown the door" from three churches, Catholic, High Anglican and Methodist! Never mind, gave me more time to read science books and experiment . . .

So I think that I am a born atheist, hunanism came a couple of years later when I read a poster about it and realised that I was not alone - just too young to join the local group.
Tomorrow is precious, don't ruin it by fouling up today.

drfreemlizard

  • Beginning to See the Wedge
  • *
  • Posts: 46
Re: Questions about Humanism
« Reply #11 on: June 13, 2018, 02:46:38 PM »
Ah so many directions to go.... But I will start with your question, Why should anyone believe in the supernatural if it cannot be detect?

First, I apologize for any typos. I desperately wish for a modern landscape slider smartphone with qwerty. But on screen is what I have, so alas...!

First, do you accept as fact that if a thing is true, it is true whether you A. Like it or not B. Believe it or not C. Understand it or not, and D. Even know about it or not? This isn't a trick question, I am not referring to anything in particular, but only something that IS TRUE.

Because 'Nobody really understands much about it, therefore it must be nonsense' is actually not an argument. It is an assertion that human beings have both the capacity and means to comprehend the entirety of the universe, and that our time is the utmost pinnacle of human knowledge and understanding.

Lest you think me unfair, I argue this same point to Christians who think because they don't understand how something works, it must be supernatural in origin.

I have more to say on this point, but I do want establish that we are agreed here before we move on.

Sent from my SCH-I435 using Tapatalk


Bad Penny II

  • Yields Not to Kalamity
  • ****
  • Posts: 1134
  • Nice Borderline Troll
Re: Questions about Humanism
« Reply #12 on: June 13, 2018, 03:03:49 PM »

First, do you accept as fact that if a thing is true, it is true whether you A. Like it or not B. Believe it or not C. Understand it or not, and D. Even know about it or not? This isn't a trick question, I am not referring to anything in particular, but only something that IS TRUE.

Because 'Nobody really understands much about it, therefore it must be nonsense' is actually not an argument. It is an assertion that human beings have both the capacity and means to comprehend the entirety of the universe, and that our time is the utmost pinnacle of human knowledge and understanding.

Lest you think me unfair, I argue this same point to Christians who think because they don't understand how something works, it must be supernatural in origin.

I have more to say on this point, but I do want establish that we are agreed here before we move on.

Sent from my SCH-I435 using Tapatalk



Na we don't get it here, it's better you try elsewhere.

Wish you well.
Certainty disturbs me


Tank

  • Fed up with stupid.
  • Administrator
  • Excellent and Indefatigable Guardian of Reason
  • *****
  • Posts: 30354
  • Gender: Male
Re: Questions about Humanism
« Reply #13 on: June 13, 2018, 03:19:22 PM »
...

First, I apologize for any typos. I desperately wish for a modern landscape slider smartphone with qwerty. But on screen is what I have, so alas...!

...
Don't worry what can't be understood should be queried by those reading. And the chances are that Dave will out typo you anyway.
If religions were TV channels atheism is turning the TV off.
“Religion is a culture of faith; science is a culture of doubt.” ― Richard P. Feynman
'It is said that your life flashes before your eyes just before you die. That is true, it's called Life.' - Terry Pratchett
Remember, your inability to grasp science is not a valid argument against it.

Tank

  • Fed up with stupid.
  • Administrator
  • Excellent and Indefatigable Guardian of Reason
  • *****
  • Posts: 30354
  • Gender: Male
Re: Questions about Humanism
« Reply #14 on: June 13, 2018, 03:20:31 PM »

First, do you accept as fact that if a thing is true, it is true whether you A. Like it or not B. Believe it or not C. Understand it or not, and D. Even know about it or not? This isn't a trick question, I am not referring to anything in particular, but only something that IS TRUE.

Because 'Nobody really understands much about it, therefore it must be nonsense' is actually not an argument. It is an assertion that human beings have both the capacity and means to comprehend the entirety of the universe, and that our time is the utmost pinnacle of human knowledge and understanding.

Lest you think me unfair, I argue this same point to Christians who think because they don't understand how something works, it must be supernatural in origin.

I have more to say on this point, but I do want establish that we are agreed here before we move on.

Sent from my SCH-I435 using Tapatalk



Na we don't get it here, it's better you try elsewhere.

Wish you well.

BPII. Play nice. Lizard is new here.
If religions were TV channels atheism is turning the TV off.
“Religion is a culture of faith; science is a culture of doubt.” ― Richard P. Feynman
'It is said that your life flashes before your eyes just before you die. That is true, it's called Life.' - Terry Pratchett
Remember, your inability to grasp science is not a valid argument against it.