Humanism is a pretty word for atheism, and its symbol is a stylized figure with its arms outstretched upward - the 'happy human'.
Guess he's not thinking about Dachau, or Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge, or Rwanda, or the West Side Boys in Sierra Leone, or...well, you get the idea.
The latest Humanist document is called "Humanism and its Aspirations", from 2003. It's pretty short. The Humanist Manifesto, from 1933, optimistically extolled human dignity and potential.
Then came World War Two, and its rather nasty cast of villains. The Humanists looked pretty stupid, and have made several attempts to water down their philosophy.
Thus, we can quote the whole package here:
- Knowledge of the world is derived by observation, experimentation, and rational analysis.
- Humans are an integral part of nature, the result of unguided evolutionary change.
- Ethical values are derived from human need and interest as tested by experience.
- Life’s fulfillment emerges from individual participation in the service of humane ideals.
- Humans are social by nature and find meaning in relationships.
- Working to benefit society maximizes individual happiness.
Right. Let's take these one by one. It'll be fun.
Knowledge of the world comes from the scientific method...great, except with phenomena you can't reproduce in a lab. Like, say, Near-Death Experiences. Any volunteers? Hey, it's for science!
NDE's exist; to deny them requires the denial of every single recorded anecdotal account. You can't leave one unexplained. Arm-waving, shouting "it's religious, we don;'t believe it!" isn't allowed.
Humans are the product of evolution? Oh? Can you point to any instance of observed evolution that does not require unproven assumptions? We have not seen one species evolve from another. We have seen adaptation, but that's not the same thing. A polar bear has transparent, hollow hair shafts to allow flotation and enhance insulation; but it's still a bear.
Ethical values come from need, and are tested from experience...depends on who needs what. The Nazis needs lebensraum, and the Poles were in the way. The Nazis sure tested the heck out of the people they didn;t like, that's for sure.
Life's fulfillment comes from participating in the service of humane ideals. Well, not bad. But again, who decides what's humane? Some people think that killing Grandma when she needs a walker is humane. I mean, if you';re thirty and fit, having to use a walker would be unbearable, right?
Humans are social by nature...sorry, I need to pause, and laugh. I'm not social. I know a lot of people who aren't, and who should not be forced into "relationships" by well-meaning social engineers.
And as for benefiting society to maximize happiness, that sounds a bit like "work for we who are in power, and be happy that we are comfortable".
Or, perhaps, the sign that the Nazis (remember them?) - arbeit macht frei - work makes you free.
The fact is that none of this crap works. At best, it's Pollyannish twaddle that could have been written by a high-school sophomore who never cracked a history book.
At worst, it's sneaky egalitarianism that wants power, and wants to make us want to support that power.
We need God. Without a Divine focus, we're simply at the mercy of the articulate, glib, and rich people who would forge our ethics in their own image.
People like Oliver Stone.
Or Kurt Vonnegut.
Or a bunch of Nobel Prize-winning scientists, who clearly feel that expertise in one field makes them experts in all.
No doubt these worthy gentry are intelligent.
And they are also morons.
And with that, I shake the dust from my feet, and leave their benighted company.