Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Why I Am Not a Humanist

Although I like people just as much as anyone else, I don’t like people just as much as everyone else…with perhaps the exception of secular Humanists. Of course, like everyone else who likes and doesn’t like people, secular Humanists are no exception to hypocrisy and irrationality and so I’m taking this opportunity to examine the views of secular Humanists – or just Humanists with a capital “H” – to point out some flaws in their thinking. First, what is Humanism (as it relates to secularists)?

Hu·man·ism n.
1. A system of thought that rejects religious beliefs and centers on humans and their values, capacities, and worth.
2. Concern with the interests, needs, and welfare of humans.

Moreover, “Humanism is a progressive philosophy of life that, without theism and other supernatural beliefs, affirms our ability and responsibility to lead ethical lives of personal fulfillment that aspire to the greater good of humanity.” – The American Humanist Association (AHA). Er, okay. Perhaps the official statement defining Humanism accepted worldwide by Humanists will be more helpful (or laughable, pick one). Note that my thoughts on each bullet point follow each bullet point in brackets. [ ] 

“The official defining statement of World Humanism is:
  • Humanism is ethical. It affirms the worth, dignity and autonomy of the individual and the right of every human being to the greatest possible freedom compatible with the rights of others. Humanists have a duty of care to all humanity including future generations. Humanists believe that morality is an intrinsic part of human nature based on understanding and a concern for others, needing no external sanction. [Okay, Humanism is ethical. Only, what kind of ethical system are we dealing with here, one that is evolutionary in nature? If so, their ethical system will be inherently flawed since many conscious, biological activities are irrational. (To be fair, it would be inherently flawed no matter what.) Sure, their ethical system is one that affirms worth, dignity, and autonomy, but who decides what worth a person has? Or does everyone have inherent worth and if so, how is that ethical view an intrinsic part of human nature? I mean, visiting violence upon each other is also an intrinsic part of human nature, so how are Humanists squaring the two? While I do agree that everyone should be as free as possible unless such free actions interfere with the freedom of others, Humanists don’t seem to realize that the greatest possible freedom to be had that does not conflict with the freedom of others demands the abolishment of 90% of existing cultural practices.]
  • Humanism is rational. It seeks to use science creatively, not destructively. Humanists believe that the solutions to the world’s problems lie in human thought and action rather than divine intervention. Humanism advocates the application of the methods of science and free inquiry to the problems of human welfare. But Humanists also believe that the application of science and technology must be tempered by human values. Science gives us the means but human values must propose the ends. [So, for laughs, let’s say we’re up against an enemy who is determined to destroy us and cannot be reasoned with. How do we use science creatively to solve this problem, build a rocket to take us out of harm’s way or build an impenetrable wall? Or are Humanists saying we should build clever (that is, non-lethal) weapons to take our enemy out of the fight? If we take the enemy out of the fight, how will justice be balanced between our enemy’s neglect for our freedom and their inherent worth? As for human values tempering science, good luck with that. History is rife with counter-examples.]
  • Humanism supports democracy and human rights. Humanism aims at the fullest possible development of every human being. It holds that democracy and human development are matters of right. The principles of democracy and human rights can be applied to many human relationships and are not restricted to methods of government. [Wait. One bullet point ago Humanism said it was rational, but seeing how democracies play out in the real world demands we keep looking for a better system of governance. Just because a democracy is the best system going does not mean it is a good system at all. (Arguably, democracies cause the least harm among its participants, outside of a benevolent monarchy anyway). Moreover, what IS the fullest possible development of every human being? How do we know when it has been achieved? My ‘deepity’ sensor is starting to go through the roof.]
  • Humanism insists that personal liberty must be combined with social responsibility. Humanism ventures to build a world on the idea of the free person responsible to society, and recognizes our dependence and responsibility for the natural world. Humanism is undogmatic, imposing no creed upon its adherents. It is thus committed to education free from indoctrination. [Whoa, whoa, whoa. The first bullet point made a huge deal out of autonomy and now they’re telling me to be socially responsible? Okay, so I’m NOT autonomous, great. Worse, “Humanism is undogmatic, imposing no creed upon its adherents.” Yet, they feel the need to write down their dogmatic bullet points. What’s next, that they’re going to tell you that you don’t HAVE TO use reason in your life and that you’re allowed to question whether 1 + 1 = 2? Humanists are lying through their teeth there.]
  • Humanism is a response to the widespread demand for an alternative to dogmatic religion. The world’s major religions claim to be based on revelations fixed for all time, and many seek to impose their world-view on all of humanity. Humanism recognizes that reliable knowledge of the world and ourselves arises through a continuing process of observation, evaluation and revision. [So the alternative to dogmatic religion is dogmatic science? While science eventually winds up correcting itself at some point, science has been known to be almost as dogmatic as religion. Again, notice the hypocrisy of the Humanists telling you their not trying to impose any world-view.]
  • Humanism values artistic creativity and imagination and recognizes the transforming power of art. Humanism affirms the importance of literature, music, and the visual and performing arts for personal development and fulfilment. [Art is often irrational, so what is it Humanists; do you want us to be rational, irrational, or both? Can a Humanist even define ‘art’? If they did, how would that not be imposing a world-view?]
  • Humanism is a lifestance aiming at the maximum possible fulfilment through the cultivation of ethical and creative living and offers an ethical and rational means of addressing the challenges of our time. Humanism can be a way of life for everyone everywhere. [Sure, it CAN be a way of life as long as you don’t ask the kinds of questions I’m posing here. And this shit’s just off the top of my head. I mean, “…an ethical and rational means of addressing the challenges of our time”? Here, again, as I’ve pointed out in two recent blogs, if secular people want rationality to govern our lives, a rationality that is based upon evidence that supports beliefs, the tenets of Humanism has some feeble legs to stand on.]
The Amsterdam Declaration explicitly states that Humanism rejects dogma, and imposes no creed upon its adherents. [Except that you must abandon your faith!] The Amsterdam Declaration was endorsed by the International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU) at the 50th anniversary World Humanist Congress in 2002. According to the IHEU, the declaration is the official statement of World Humanism.
It is officially supported by all member organizations of the IHEU including:
One would have to be exceptionally stupid to take Humanism at face value. After all, if we’re using reason – which they say we should – we should nitpick Humanist principles to death to be sure we’re not fooling ourselves. Unfortunately, Humanism doesn’t stand up to even the most cursory examination, meaning, we’re screwed even if religion were abolished. One bad system would just be replaced by another. Pick one. It’s a no-win situation.  


Unknown said...

And this sort of drivel is why your book retails for $1.24. PS, thanks for washing my windscreen while I was on holiday in Maui.

theoryparker said...

Thank you for your point-by-point analysis and counter arguments. They are very deep and insightful.