Secular humanism

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Paul Kurtz is considered by some to be the founder the secular humanism movement[1] Secular humanism is a form of philosophical skepticism.

Secular humanism is humanism that is atheistic/agnostic in nature. It is a philosophy which holds that human beings are the most important figures, and that social problems are best solved without the involvement of religious doctrine. People who are secular humanists purport to focus on ways to better themselves and human beings as a whole. The American Humanist Association's motto on the main page of their website is "good without a God".[2] Secular humanists, like atheists as a whole, are often viewed as self-centered (see: Atheism and uncharitableness and Atheism and hedonism and Atheist population and immorality and Views on atheists).

One of the goals of secular humanism was to make atheism more humane, but the atheist population, including its secular humanist faction which has engaged in bitter infighting for years, has fallen significantly short of this standard of behavior (see: Atheism and social justice).[3]

Infighting within the secular humanism faction of atheism

See also: Atheist factions

Paul Kurtz is considered by some to be the founder the secular humanism movement.[1] Paul Kurtz was an atheist philosopher who formerly taught at the State University of NY at Buffalo. In addition, he also founded the organization the Center for Inquiry which focuses on promoting secular humanism. In 2009, Dr. Kurtz lost his leadership position at the Center for Inquiry.[4]

Currently, there is an ideological struggle within the modern secular humanism faction of atheism concerning how militant the movement should be which primarily arose post New Atheism movement which is a more militant form of atheism. (see also: Militant atheism). Paul Kurtz is against the secular humanism movement becoming more militant but some newer followers of secular humanism disagree with Kurtz.[4]

Kurtz's ouster from the Center of Inquiry leadership position

On October 10, 2010, a contentious exchange between members of the Secular Humanism faction of atheism founded by Paul Kurtz and the atheist Ron Lindsay was caught on tape.Video - Part one and Video - Part 2

During the exchange Ron Lindsay said that infighting has been occurring within the Secular Humanism faction of atheism for years.[3] A Paul Kurtz supporter said that Kurtz was censored by Ron Lindsay and his supporters and Kurtz was driven out of the organization that he founded (Center for Inquiry).[5] Lindsay claimed, however, that Kurtz voluntarily resigned from the organization he founded and Kurtz was never censored. Furthermore, Lindsay said that Kurtz's idea of a "planetary federation" was impractical.[5] Kurtz countered that he was never allowed to publish why he resigned from the organization and that he was censored by the organization that he founded.[5]

Dr. Kurtz described the events surrounding the loss of his leadership position as a "shattering blow".[4]

Schism within the Sunday Assembly atheist church movement

The Sunday Assembly "atheist church" movement was founded in 2013 by the secular humanists and comedians Pippa Evans and Sanderson Jones.[6] In 2014, it was reported that there was a schism in the movement as far as whether or not they should use the word "atheist" in their movement and/or whether they should just cater to atheists.[6]

Dr. Sam Harris is one of the founders of the New Atheism movement. Sam Harris is quite aware of the stigma surrounding atheism and has even advocated that atheists no longer call themselves atheists.[7] In fact, Dr. Harris has said concerning the label of atheist, "It's right next to child molester as a designation."[7]

Paul Kurt's lack of a legacy

According to Paul Kurtz's website had 600 unique visitors as of March 2012.[8] In addition, the organization that he founded and was forced to resign from, the Center for Inquiry, has had a precipitous decline in their organization's website traffic in 2012.[8]

PZ Myers: Humanist awards and his bestiality comments and other ill-behavior

PZ Myers received the American Humanist Association's 2009 Humanist of the Year award and International Humanist Award in 2011.

Atheist animal trainer objects to PZ Myers' comments about bestiality

See also: Atheism and bestiality and Evolutionary belief and bestiality and PZ Myers on bestiality

PZ Myers declared, "...I don’t object to bestiality in a very limited set of specific conditions..."[9][10] (photo obtained from Flickr, see license agreement)

Bestiality is the act of engaging in sexual relations with an animal.

On May 22, 2012, PZ Myers specifies under what conditions he thinks the practice of bestiality would be acceptable.[11]

On November 14, 2014, an atheist animal trainer wrote in response:

We now have the PZ Myers Humanist Guide to Bestiality:
  • 1. IF you are interested in having sex with an animal, AND;
  • 2. That animal is willing to have sex with you, AND;
  • 3. No real harm comes to the animal, AND;
  • 4. You can avoid social stigma by hiding your act;

>> THEN sex with an animal is ethical...

PZ Myers possesses numerous character flaws that make him ill-suited as an A/S/humanism spokesperson and representative: his explosive temper; his violence-tinged threats; his foul language; his preference for personal insults over reasoned debate; his propensity to smear and slander any & all who oppose him;..his willingness to abandon skepticism and science to serve the pomo constructs of radical feminism and social justice warriordom.

Of all these, nothing is more odious, repulsive, or damaging to the reputation of A/S & humanist activism, than Myers’ condoning of bestiality.[12]

Rebuke of PZ Myers by fellow atheists concerning his ill-behavior

See also: PZ Myers and social justice and Atheism and social justice

The Irish atheist Michael Nugent wrote to PZ Myers in September 2014:

Some of the content of your blog is hurtful and unjust in itself, it also undermines the effectiveness of attempts to promote compassion and empathy and social justice, and it is additionally harmful because of your prominence as a perceived spokesperson for organised atheism...

PZ, is this really how you want to be remembered? Having defended you against unjust attacks from others, I am now asking you to take a long hard look at what you are doing, consider apologising to people who you have unjustly hurt and defamed, and start focusing on actually promoting compassion and empathy and social justice if those ideas are important to you.[13]

In April 2015, Atheist Ireland announced, "Atheist Ireland is publicly dissociating itself from the hurtful and dehumanising, hateful and violent, unjust and defamatory rhetoric of the atheist blogger PZ Myers."[14] The atheist biologist Massimo Pigliucci said of Myers, "one cannot conclude this parade without mentioning P.Z. Myers, who has risen to fame because of a blog where the level of nastiness (both by the host and by his readers) is rarely matched anywhere else on the Internet...".[15]

Lawrence Krauss Humanist of the Year in 2015 and his statement on incest

In 2015, Arizona State University professor Lawrence Krauss was named the 2015 Humanist of the Year by the American Humanists Association.[16]

In response to the question, "Why is incest wrong?", Krauss said, "It's not clear to me that it is wrong."[17] See also: Atheism and incest

See also