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". 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).
- 1 Infighting within the secular humanism faction of atheism
- 2 Paul Kurt's lack of a legacy
- 3 PZ Myers: Humanist awards and his bestiality comments and other ill-behavior
- 4 Lawrence Krauss Humanist of the Year in 2015 and his statement on incest
- 5 See also
- 6 Notes
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. 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.
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.
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. 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). 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. 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.
Dr. Kurtz described the events surrounding the loss of his leadership position as a "shattering blow".
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. 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.
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. In fact, Dr. Harris has said concerning the label of atheist, "It's right next to child molester as a designation."
Paul Kurt's lack of a legacy
According to Compete.com Paul Kurtz's website had 600 unique visitors as of March 2012. 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.
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
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.
On November 14, 2014, an atheist animal trainer wrote in response:
|“|| We now have the PZ Myers Humanist Guide to Bestiality:
>> 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.
Rebuke of PZ Myers by fellow atheists concerning his ill-behavior
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.
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." 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...".
Lawrence Krauss Humanist of the Year in 2015 and his statement on incest
- The New Atheism and Secular Humanism. Center for Inquiry]. 19 October 2009. "Paul Kurtz, considered by many the father of the secular humanist movement, is Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at the State University of New York at Buffalo."
- American Humanist Association website
- Kurtz and Ron Lindsay Argument Audio Part Two
- Redirecting a Long Life of Godlessness
- Kurtz and Ron Lindsay Argument Audio Part Two
- Atheist Church Split: Sunday Assembly And Godless Revival's 'Denominational Chasm', Huffington Post, 2014
- Roberts, Jessica, et al. (June 19, 2007). "Interview with an atheist". News21. Retrieved on July 30, 2014.
- Paul Kurtz is another atheist failure without a legacy
- Atheist Achilles Heels: Objective Morality and Sacred Life
- The “objective morality” gotcha
- The “objective morality” gotcha, PZ Myers, May 22, 2012
- PZ Myers, Animal Lover
- The LBJ legend and my email to PZ Myers by Michael Nugent on September 19, 2014
- Atheist Ireland publicly dissociates itself from the harmful and hateful rhetoric of PZ Myers by Michael Nugent, April 7, 2015
- Reflections on the skeptic and atheist movements By Massimo Pigliucci Scientia Salon, Posted: May 13, 2015
- Humanist of the year
- Lawrence Krauss on incest