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Dude
SFN Die Hard

USA
6891 Posts

Posted - 11/17/2007 :  22:30:15  Show Profile Send Dude a Private Message  Reply with Quote
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ok2oJgsGR6c
and
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LsrtOZdJitA&feature=related

Seriously compelling argument for not using the term "atheist", or any other label, by Sam Harris.


Ignorance is preferable to error; and he is less remote from the truth who believes nothing, than he who believes what is wrong.
-- Thomas Jefferson

"god :: the last refuge of a man with no answers and no argument." - G. Carlin

Hope, n.
The handmaiden of desperation; the opiate of despair; the illegible signpost on the road to perdition. ~~ da filth

HalfMooner
Dingaling

Philippines
15831 Posts

Posted - 11/18/2007 :  00:25:05   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send HalfMooner a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Well, that was certainly a more thoughtful and a better argument than I'd expected.

I think that Harris' core argument for abandoning of our identity as atheists/secularists/brights/humanists/agnostics is based upon the idea that such an identity makes us targets, demonizes us, and lets the opposition disrupt our arguments by attacking our atheism.

Harris is persuasive, and I think there is something to be said for this argument. Yet there are, I think, facts that outweigh this argument.

IMO, we need the banner of a name to unite our side. We are growing fast as a movement that benefits by having names to focus our identity. Let the theist opposition's own names help to make them the targets of ridicule.

Harris gives examples of the opposition to astrology, and the fight against racism. He points out that people opposing these were not called anti-astrologists or anti-racists. No, indeed, they called themselves "astronomers" and we called ourselves "civil rights activists."

Yes, once an evil is banished, such titles lose their meaning, as atheism would in a godless world. But we are hardly in a godless world now, as Harris himself pointed out.

So I think Sam's simply wrong on this. I will, until convinced otherwise, proudly call myself an atheist wherever it is reasonably safe to do so, and look about for other proud atheists to join with.

One other point Harris brings up is that atheists tend to present a falsely "balanced" discussion of religions, always pointing out that the Muslims have their suicide bombers, but Christian fanatics have assassins who kill abortion doctors. I think Harris is precisely right on this score.

We should look to critique the worst religious abuses first. An orthodox Sunni is not an Amish is not a Buddhist. With limited capabilities, we should focus our energy more on the most evil and dangerous of religious abuses. We should, as he says, often ally ourselves with moderate religions while doing so, at the same time while not accepting the dogma of such religions.

His comments on contemplation simply weren't very interesting to me. I'm unconvinced that locking myself away in a cell or a cave will improve the world, or make me a better or happier person.


Biology is just physics that has begun to smell bad.” —HalfMooner
Here's a link to Moonscape News, and one to its Archive.
Edited by - HalfMooner on 11/18/2007 00:50:48
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Dude
SFN Die Hard

USA
6891 Posts

Posted - 11/18/2007 :  01:32:43   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Dude a Private Message  Reply with Quote
half said:
IMO, we need the banner of a name to unite our side. We are growing fast as a movement that benefits by having names to focus our identity. Let the theist opposition's own names help to make them the targets of ridicule.

Harris gives examples of the opposition to astrology, and the fight against racism. He points out that people opposing these were not called anti-astrologists or anti-racists. No, indeed, they called themselves "astronomers" and we called ourselves "civil rights activists."

I agree. I think we need some label to rally around. Harris definitely has a point though. The atheist label is not a positive claim, as is something like "abolutionist" (to fight slavery), or civil rights activist to combat the horrible inequity of race that persisted after the end of the civil war for a hundred years.

I'm not confortable with the whole "brights" concept either.

I haven't heard, or been able to think of, anything really striking as a label.

Rationalist.

Empiricist.

Pragmatist.

Atheist.

We need something that combines those into one word or prhase.

One other point Harris brings up is that atheists tend to present a falsely "balanced" discussion of religions, always pointing out that the Muslims have their suicide bombers, but Christian fanatics have assassins who kill abortion doctors. I think Harris is precisely right on this score.

Ditto. Harris is on the money on this point.

His comments on contemplation simply weren't very interesting to me. I'm unconvinced that locking myself away in a cell or a cave will improve the world, or make me a better or happier person.

As Harris said to Dennet... how do you know unless you try it?

I tend to agree with Dennet, if there was anything profound or legitimate comming out of such contemplation it should be easily communicated to others.

Not that I'm dismissing medetation, just not buying into any claim that it will give you anything other a backache and a charliehorse. Maybe some stress relief, but just getting some isolation and quiet does the same thing for me personally.


Ignorance is preferable to error; and he is less remote from the truth who believes nothing, than he who believes what is wrong.
-- Thomas Jefferson

"god :: the last refuge of a man with no answers and no argument." - G. Carlin

Hope, n.
The handmaiden of desperation; the opiate of despair; the illegible signpost on the road to perdition. ~~ da filth
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HalfMooner
Dingaling

Philippines
15831 Posts

Posted - 11/18/2007 :  02:21:39   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send HalfMooner a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Damn, Dude! How are we going to have an interesting argument, when we agree?

Maybe we can battle on the name thing. I like "atheist," but consider it positive, xRtR3me, and dynamic. With "brights" I still can't help but think of that as arrogantly elitist and somehow inherently silly-sounding, both.

How about "Godbusters"?

Essentially, everyone probably should and certainly will chose the name they like, or (possibly) marginalize themselves by choosing not to use any name.


Biology is just physics that has begun to smell bad.” —HalfMooner
Here's a link to Moonscape News, and one to its Archive.
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Dude
SFN Die Hard

USA
6891 Posts

Posted - 11/18/2007 :  03:32:53   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Dude a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Well, heres the thing. The successful campaigns in our history that have initiated a real change in people's thinking have all been accompanied by some positive message. Positive not in the sense of good, but in the sense of logic. The position you wish to advocate should be accompanied by some positive argument. (good: American revolution, abolutionism, civil rights) (and bad: nazis, japanese imperialism, religion, etc) They all make some positive claim about the world or about how things should be.

Atheism and agnosticism doesn't do that, they are merely the rejection of someone else's positive claim (righfully so) based on the abscence of evidence they provide to support their claim.

Yeah, we have plenty of positive claims to make, I know! But we seem to be kinda screwed when it comes to finding a good label, and most of the things we advocate have diddly to do with atheism (so "godbusters" is out), and for most of what we advocate atheism isn't mandatory. Most of us are atheists, but that hardly describes most of our thinking.

Take the mission statement of the SFN for example, that is a fine positive claim, one worth getting behind and advocating.

But how do we take our rationalist, empiricist, pragmatist, critical thinking, scientific, evidence based worldview and condense it down to a single word or phrase that accurately defines it?

Add in the obvious negative connotations associated with "atheist" by so many people, even moderate religious people, and it seems to me that to use "atheist" as a label ends up being counterproductive, as it allows the religious to easily dismiss us with a wink and a nod. At that point I have noticed they also discard anything else you might have to say as well. You're just an atheist afterall, can't possibly have anything to say worth listening to. Just watch Dawkins, Hitchins, and Harris on FOXNews, nytime they are on talking about religion they get hit with the basic dismissals (you can't disprove god, blah blah blah, blah blah blah, etc), then their position on specific issues is glossed over or ignored. They don't get much better treatment on MSNBC/CNN, and they get ZERO time on the big three from the getgo. Can't have those filthy atheists on network tv! (allthough, I have to give FOX tv, not news, some credit. they have an openly atheist character as a legitimate protagonist in House, played by Hugh Laurie).

I think "atheist" fails as a label for those reasons. The negative connotation from the large majority of people and the simple fact that it isn't adequately descriptive of our worldview.

Maybe we should hire a PR firm and run a couple dozen focus groups....

Damn, Dude! How are we going to have an interesting argument, when we agree?

Not ALL conversations have to be arguments, despite those being the most fun.


Ignorance is preferable to error; and he is less remote from the truth who believes nothing, than he who believes what is wrong.
-- Thomas Jefferson

"god :: the last refuge of a man with no answers and no argument." - G. Carlin

Hope, n.
The handmaiden of desperation; the opiate of despair; the illegible signpost on the road to perdition. ~~ da filth
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Dude
SFN Die Hard

USA
6891 Posts

Posted - 11/18/2007 :  04:34:33   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Dude a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I'd say we just use "skeptic", but that also is not entirely adequate. It is to often conflated with cynicism and hijacked by complete morons (9/11 "truth" imbeciles) to make it a good label for a general purpose rationalist philosophy.

We've had some discussion along these lines here before, and it didn't end with anyone comming up with a good overall name. It seems to be a difficult question to answer.


Ignorance is preferable to error; and he is less remote from the truth who believes nothing, than he who believes what is wrong.
-- Thomas Jefferson

"god :: the last refuge of a man with no answers and no argument." - G. Carlin

Hope, n.
The handmaiden of desperation; the opiate of despair; the illegible signpost on the road to perdition. ~~ da filth
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Gorgo
SFN Die Hard

USA
5310 Posts

Posted - 11/18/2007 :  04:52:33   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Gorgo a Private Message  Reply with Quote
For more discussion.

I know the rent is in arrears
The dog has not been fed in years
It's even worse than it appears
But it's alright-
Jerry Garcia
Robert Hunter



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Dude
SFN Die Hard

USA
6891 Posts

Posted - 11/18/2007 :  05:51:24   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Dude a Private Message  Reply with Quote
How'd I miss that other thread? Too funny!

But yeah.


Ignorance is preferable to error; and he is less remote from the truth who believes nothing, than he who believes what is wrong.
-- Thomas Jefferson

"god :: the last refuge of a man with no answers and no argument." - G. Carlin

Hope, n.
The handmaiden of desperation; the opiate of despair; the illegible signpost on the road to perdition. ~~ da filth
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marfknox
SFN Die Hard

USA
3739 Posts

Posted - 11/18/2007 :  08:14:44   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit marfknox's Homepage  Send marfknox an AOL message Send marfknox a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Dude wrote:
We need something that combines those into one word or prhase.

...

But how do we take our rationalist, empiricist, pragmatist, critical thinking, scientific, evidence based worldview and condense it down to a single word or phrase that accurately defines it?


The solution was provided a long time ago. Use the word that Dennet and Dawkins use: Humanist. (Dawkins even serves as VP for the Brittish Humanist Association) And if you really want to have zero association with any kind of religious humanism, there is the term Secular Humanist, which is basically the same thing.

It is both a lifestance:
Humanism is a comprehensive life stance that upholds human reason, ethics, and justice, and rejects supernaturalism, pseudoscience and superstition. This article uses the words Humanism and Humanist (with a capital 'H') and no adjective such as "secular"[1] to refer to the life stance and its adherents, and humanism (with a small 'h') to refer to other related movements or philosophies. While this convention is not universal among all Humanists, it is used by a significant number of them, and for purposes of this article, helps distinguish between Humanism as a life stance and other forms of humanism.
Humanism has appeal to agnostics, atheists, empiricists, freethinkers, rationalists, and scientific skeptics. Humanism is non-theistic and secular[2].
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Humanism_%28life_stance%29

And it is a decades-old, international social-political movement (combination of Humanists with Ethical Culture):
IHEU is the world union of Humanist, rationalist, secular, ethical culture, atheist and freethought organizations. Our mission is to represent and support the global Humanist movement. Our goal is a Humanist world in which human rights are respected and all can live a life of dignity.
http://www.iheu.org/ The American Humanist Association has chapters or affiliates in all US states except Alaska. http://www.americanhumanist.org/chapters/aha-chapters.php#Top and an UN NGO office. And the International Humanist and Ethical Union provides links to organizations and communities on every continent. The Washington lobbyist for the Secular Coalition for America Lori Lipman Brown self-identifies as an atheist humanist Jew and three out of the 8 Coalition member organizations are explicitly Humanist organizations.

We even have a nice, positive symbol that has been used all around the world for decades and is even the official symbol marked into the graves of fallen US soldiers who identify as Humanist. Go to Google and type in "happy human" and you'll find

So what's the problem with this label?

"Too much certainty and clarity could lead to cruel intolerance" -Karen Armstrong

Check out my art store: http://www.marfknox.etsy.com

Edited by - marfknox on 11/18/2007 08:18:58
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Gorgo
SFN Die Hard

USA
5310 Posts

Posted - 11/18/2007 :  08:30:25   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Gorgo a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I think humanism is about what a group of people are about, and there is nothing wrong with that. We all have goals and ideals, and groups like that help us promote those goal and ideals. Some atheists might not see themselves as promoting what they view as the agenda of a certain group.

I also think that we could say that humanism, and secular humanism, are seen as negative terms by a lot of people, so should we drop those terms because they're "negative?"

The purpose of the term atheism is to deal with areas in which those of us who lack a belief in god have to deal with. Issues of civil rights, for one. Now, it's true, that a lot of those issues can be handled by more inclusive groups like Americans United for the Separation of Church and State, or even the ACLU, but I think there is a place for us to learn, as atheists, our own heritage, and to stand up and be counted as atheists. The U.S. (where I live, I don't know about other places) is still a country where by simply "coming out," atheists are viewed as angry god-deniers.

I like the terms, skeptic, and naturalist, but I am still an atheist.

I know the rent is in arrears
The dog has not been fed in years
It's even worse than it appears
But it's alright-
Jerry Garcia
Robert Hunter



Edited by - Gorgo on 11/18/2007 08:51:12
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marfknox
SFN Die Hard

USA
3739 Posts

Posted - 11/18/2007 :  09:20:12   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit marfknox's Homepage  Send marfknox an AOL message Send marfknox a Private Message  Reply with Quote
When Harris refers to "300 million souls" is this any different from Einstein's use of the term "God" (which was criticized as perpetuating confusion in another recent thread)?

I enjoyed watching this very much because I started out calling myself an atheist once I went from being agnostic to having a truly positive naturalistic worldview. However, previous to that I'd already discovered the philosophy of Humanism, and realizing it fit my personal lifestance, had begun identifying myself as a Humanist. For years I've called myself an "atheist Humanist", but for some time I've had mixed feelings about the word "atheist". Not because my beliefs (or lack of belief) has changed, but because of social consequences and associations. I still like to make it clear to people who don't know what Humanism is that it is indeed a lifestance with zero supernatural or mystical claims, but the word "atheist" has become less and less important to me, and I think the argument Harris so beautifully articulates in this talk is a lot of why I've distanced myself from that particular label.


I found it interesting that when Harris listed the other labels that he also thinks we shouldn't use, he included "Secular Humanist" but not Humanist. Perhaps he also think Humanism in general should be excluded, but that wasn't clear to me. I know that I decided some time ago to use "Humanist" and not "Secular Humanist" because I find the second term confusing (Secular society is not an atheist society, it is a religiously neutral one, but Secular Humanists are hardly neutral when it comes to religion.) and also because it over-emphasizes the non-theistic aspect of Humanism. Why emphasize what we are not? That seems defensive and a little neurotic to me, as well as needlessly exclusive in only one area.

Humanism is not defined by being anti-religion. One part of the definition is that Humanism lacks claims of the supernatural or mystical. This is no different from saying that part of the definition of Zen Buddhism is that it lacks a belief in a personal god.

An unlike many organized atheists, Humanists don't oppose all faith claims equally. In fact, we have at times forms coalitions with other religious groups to fight for social issues that we agreed on or because we have many other aspects of our philosophy in common. The most obvious example is that Humanism and Unitarian Universalism have had a partnership ever since the first Humanist Manifesto was written. UU churches often host speakers or even chapter organizations of Humanists, and Humanist groups often hosted speakers from UU and even liberal Christian churches at our meetings. Depending of what issue is being fought, we can and should align ourselves temporarily with almost anyone.

When Harris moves away from criticizing the use of the term "atheist" he sounds to me like he's talking about the foundation of Buddhism:
1.) The Nature of Suffering (Dukkha):
"Now this ... is the noble truth of suffering: birth is suffering, aging is suffering, illness is suffering, death is suffering; union with what is displeasing is suffering; separation from what is pleasing is suffering; not to get what one wants is suffering; in brief, the five aggregates subject to clinging are suffering."[6]
1. Suffering's Origin (Samudaya):
"Now this ... is the noble truth of the origin of suffering: it is this craving which leads to renewed existence, accompanied by delight and lust, seeking delight here and there, that is, craving for sensual pleasures, craving for existence, craving for extermination."
2. Suffering's Cessation (Nirodha):
"Now this ... is the noble truth of the cessation of suffering: it is the remainderless fading away and cessation of that same craving, the giving up and relinquishing of it, freedom from it, nonreliance on it."
3. The Way (Magga) Leading to the Cessation of Suffering:
"Now this ... is the noble truth of the way leading to the cessation of suffering: it is the Noble Eightfold Path; that is, right view, right intention, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, right concentration.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Four_noble_truths

But maybe that's just because I've been recently reading up more on Buddhism and I'm looking for it.
I agree with what he's saying about contemplatives, though I'd expand it to certain sensations often experienced as well as conscious thought (such as listening to wordless music, looking at abstract art, dancing, watching the sun set, etc.) Sometimes these things are more than enjoyment. Sometimes our experience is more than pleasure/displeasure. More of a "big-picture" feeling, or getting a broader perspective on life that can be cathartic and later change how we react to normal events of everyday life.

The only thing I really disagree in this entire speech is his use of the word "religion" in the narrow sense. But we just had this discussion in another thread.

Thanks for posting Dude! My opinion of Sam Harris is much improved.

"Too much certainty and clarity could lead to cruel intolerance" -Karen Armstrong

Check out my art store: http://www.marfknox.etsy.com

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Dave W.
Info Junkie

USA
26012 Posts

Posted - 11/18/2007 :  09:28:23   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Dave W.'s Homepage Send Dave W. a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Originally posted by marfknox

Use the word that Dennet and Dawkins use: Humanist. (Dawkins even serves as VP for the Brittish Humanist Association)
Has Dawkins recanted his Brightism? How about Dennet? (There's a big "Brights" poster up next to the stage while Dawkins introduces Andy Thompson.)
And if you really want to have zero association with any kind of religious humanism, there is the term Secular Humanist, which is basically the same thing.

...

So what's the problem with this label?
While we all know that secular humanism rejects religion, the term (as well as "Humanist") is weighed down with the baggage of society, which is part of what Harris is talking about with regard to "atheist." Creationists have, for decades, declared that the teaching of evolution in public schools is an attempt to indoctrinate their children into the religion of secular humanism. So the PR disaster has already occured with those words, too.

Here, this ChristianAnswers.net article shows why these labels are as unacceptable as "atheist" for the likes of Harris:
[Atheism] is not a worldview, yet it is regularly construed as one, and attacked as such, and we who do not believe in god are collaborating in this misunderstanding by consenting to be named, and by naming ourselves.

- Dave W. (Private Msg, EMail)
Evidently, I rock!
Why not question something for a change?
Visit Dave's Psoriasis Info, too.
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marfknox
SFN Die Hard

USA
3739 Posts

Posted - 11/18/2007 :  09:39:25   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit marfknox's Homepage  Send marfknox an AOL message Send marfknox a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Gorgo wrote:
Now, it's true, that a lot of those issues can be handled by more inclusive groups like Americans United for the Separation of Church and State, or even the ACLU, but I think there is a place for us to learn, as atheists, our own heritage, and to stand up and be counted as atheists.


This sentiment reminded me of this sermon:

http://www.skepticfiles.org/human/ynotuudo.htm

This was my last sermon preached from a Unitatian Universalist
pulpit, it was delivered in 1985 or so at The First Unitatian
Universalist Church of Columbus (OH), and in it I share my, shall
we say, misgivings about the Unitarian Universalist movement.
Around that time is when I resigned from membership in that
church.


It was written by my friend and mentor Larry Reyka, 6 years after he founded the Humanist Community of Central Ohio http://www.hcco.org/ - an explicitly non-theistic organization.

Today there are still two Humanist organizations in Columbus, Ohio, the independent HCCO and the Humanist Society of Columbus (still associated with the UU Church), and they have regular and friendly relations with each other. This is, again, why I think Humanism can work. It is flexible. Groups that are exclusive are still on friendly terms with other groups which are more inclusive. I think this stems from the love for constant questioning and civil discourse. After all, the Manifesto was conceived as a living document that would be re-written and that not all Humanists had to sign or agree with every part of in order to identify with.

I still there is a problem with how you are using atheism. Sam Harris is right that atheism is not a worldview. But many people are calling it that and even capitalizing the word. Atheism is one characteristic. One topic. One aspect of many peoples' worldviews, and often the heritage of these worldviews are radically different or opposed to each other (such as Humanism and Objectivism). IMO, using atheism by itself in this fashion gives us a sort of tunnel vision.

Edited to add: Tunnel vision as in we start associating with other atheists just because they are atheists, even if we have more ethically and otherwise in common with certain non-theistic groups. One example of this is when atheist groups invite Objectivists to speak at their events, and the next week invite a Humanist. What do these groups have in common in terms of ethics, politics, and philosophy of how to live our lives? Pretty much nothing. Comparing them shows what a small thing atheism really is in the grand scope of a total lifestance.

"Too much certainty and clarity could lead to cruel intolerance" -Karen Armstrong

Check out my art store: http://www.marfknox.etsy.com

Edited by - marfknox on 11/18/2007 09:41:41
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Gorgo
SFN Die Hard

USA
5310 Posts

Posted - 11/18/2007 :  10:17:01   [Permalink]  Show Profile Send Gorgo a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I agree with all of that, and that's fine. I just started going to a local naturalist group and we just had some Buddhists, and we were invited by a local progressive religious group to hear a talk by Marcus Borg. My wife and I went, my wife agrees with most of what he said and considers herself spiritual, and progressive, and we all went out afterwards and had some nice conversations, and it has helped me to see the world a little better.

None of that means that I'm not an atheist, and even an antitheist.

I'm not anti-humanity.


I know the rent is in arrears
The dog has not been fed in years
It's even worse than it appears
But it's alright-
Jerry Garcia
Robert Hunter



Edited by - Gorgo on 11/18/2007 10:18:27
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marfknox
SFN Die Hard

USA
3739 Posts

Posted - 11/18/2007 :  10:17:43   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit marfknox's Homepage  Send marfknox an AOL message Send marfknox a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Dave wrote:
Has Dawkins recanted his Brightism? How about Dennet? (There's a big "Brights" poster up next to the stage while Dawkins introduces Andy Thompson.)
And if you really want to have zero association with any kind of religious humanism, there is the term Secular Humanist, which is basically the same thing.
Go to the Brights' website. It is meant to be a catch-all term for people with naturalistic worldviews which includes Humanists.

While we all know that secular humanism rejects religion, the term (as well as "Humanist") is weighed down with the baggage of society, which is part of what Harris is talking about with regard to "atheist." Creationists have, for decades, declared that the teaching of evolution in public schools is an attempt to indoctrinate their children into the religion of secular humanism. So the PR disaster has already occured with those words, too.
No, the term "secular humanist" has been tarnished in fundamentalists communities and that is all. I have met few non-fundamentalist Christian or other theists who even knew what secular humanism was, and none who have read, much less agreed with, the absurd rantings against secular humanism that come from the fanatic religious right. Hell, given that the only people who like the religious right are people involved in it, it helps secular humanism to be criticized by them. Also, most Humanists identify as Humanists, not secular humanists, and I've never read a fundamentalist criticism of "humanism" without the "secular".

As for the article on Christian Answers, it was accurate (assuming we use the broad definition of "religious worldview" to include naturalistic ones. Secular humanism as Humanism are worldviews. They are atheistic. They accept evolution. They don't have an absolute moral code (although the article horribly simplified humanist ethics in a way that makes them seem almost like "anything goes".) Harris is right that atheism is not a worldview, but Humanism is. I don't see the point of denying this or refraining from forming communities and a social-political movement based on it.

"Too much certainty and clarity could lead to cruel intolerance" -Karen Armstrong

Check out my art store: http://www.marfknox.etsy.com

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Kil
Evil Skeptic

USA
13467 Posts

Posted - 11/18/2007 :  10:21:46   [Permalink]  Show Profile  Visit Kil's Homepage  Send Kil an AOL message  Send Kil a Yahoo! Message Send Kil a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I suspect that there is no name that we could call ourselves, if it is the name that non-believers are willing to go by, that would be acceptable or seen as positive to theists. I have a bright idea. Why don't we just buy big red rubber noses to wear in public? Everyone wearing a rubber nose is an atheist, agnostic or a clown. We could also have a sweet looking flower clipped our lapels that would shoot water in the face of any theist who dares to smell it. And just for fun, the atheists could shoot water at the agnostics and visa versa. At the very least, we could have a laugh.

Of course, the clowns might not be too happy about their sudden, and through no fault of their own, identification with a group that they don't necessarily agree with. But I am pretty sure that our first amendment guarantee to free speech would protect our right to wear any nose that we want to wear. And I have not heard that clowns are particularly litigious, but who knows?

Perhaps it would be best to come up with something completely original. But right now, I just can't think of what that might be…

Uncertainty may make you uncomfortable. Certainty makes you ridiculous.

Why not question something for a change?

Genetic Literacy Project
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The mission of the Skeptic Friends Network is to promote skepticism, critical thinking, science and logic as the best methods for evaluating all claims of fact, and we invite active participation by our members to create a skeptical community with a wide variety of viewpoints and expertise.


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