Without motive, a fact points to no action. Potentially verifiable claims about the real world, such as Noah’s flood, the age of the earth, etc. If one is truly an atheist and a scientist worthy of the name, one must admit they exist by virtue of natural selection. What is her name?” Fred: “Sebastian…”). John Staddon, a professor of psychology at Duke, recently published an article at Quillette entitled Is Secular Humanism a Religion? Humanism has its own organized belief system, publications and preachers. And yet, anti-realism seems a much better explanation of the success of scientific theory, on evolutionary grounds. All religions have three elements, although the relative emphasis differs from one religion to another—Buddhists are light on the supernatural, for example. Is secular humanism a religion as a Duke professor declares? Virginia Governor Northam may yet have to resign over a decades-old blackface incident; but Connecticut Senator Richard Blumenthal survived what many would consider a more serious sin: exaggerating his military experience. They have no implications for action, hence no bearing on legal matters. The very tribal understanding of morality you’re promoting favors an arms race, which is clearly a potential danger. “The court finds that Secular Humanism is a religion for Establishment Clause purposes,” the decision read. Secular humanists do believe in invisible or hidden things. In terms of moral rules, secular humanism is indistinguishable from a religion. Based on these fantasies, secular humanists assume a right to dictate to others how they should or should not behave, and what the law that applies not just to themselves, but to everyone else, should be. Secular Humanism introduces a spirit and way of life which engages in various aspects of unbelief in the supernatural. The only difference is that secular morality is not written down in a single identifiable source. Where on earth (or in our genome) is the motivation to do what you want everyone to do? It is therefore as much a religion as any other. That is, it is a set of beliefs through which one interprets all of reality—something like a pair of glasses. In terms of moral rules, secular humanism is indistinguishable from a religion. If something other than whims can sometimes “take control” and make scientific utterances of truth-value, exactly what is going on? Their “authority” is simply assumed, floating out there in the vacuum somewhere. It is also very concerned with human freedoms, including religious freedom, which can only be properly secured in a secular society. (He notes, however, that a secular moral code is inferior because it’s based not on superstition but on reason, and leads to unpalatable views.) Secular humanism combines the humanist ethic with the metaphysical doctrine that God does not exist (or the epistemological doctrine that knowledge of God is moot). The religion of humanism. They are also very well defined. And assuming the model is ontologically accurate—that is, further refinement will be predictable in an ontological matter, distinctly unlike the refinement of classical physics. The first problem with Staddon’s argument is that his target moves. Staddon actually claims that secular humanism fits only one of the three elements, namely, the third. The first is the belief in invisible or hidden beings, worlds and processes—like God, heaven, miracles, reincarnation, and the soul. Not that anyone else is excluded from erecting their own monument. Among other things, it has selected for hatred of outgroups, a trait that all human beings have in common. What is religion? Second, Secular Humanism is a religious worldview. The term "secular humanist" is used by conservative talking heads like Bill O'Reilly because they want to conceal the fact that they're arguing from a theocratic point of view. If I can recall correctly, secular humanism was registered as a religion in 1961 in the United States. But as far as I can tell, you do not. It also has the unsettling habit of changing from one day to the next, and is often defended as “the truth” in spite of that. The 10 Commandments, the principles of Sharia, the Five Precepts of Buddhism, etc. How does natural selection work? Therefore, positing natural selection as the only or best explanation seems dubious for organisms with minds. They exist but are not formally defined by any “holy book.”. It is now a rather old story: secular humanism is a religion. The Forge Tactical Radio by Clint Clements. [41] It is a self-refuting philosophy,[42] a false religion that believes in unbelief, which must be ascribed to in spite of scientific improbability, historical failure, and interior contradictions. Skip to main content Home Radio Radio Home Radio Shows Live Radio Radio. [2] Do not let the word “secular” mislead you. Secular Humanism and Religion. The first reference to "secular humanism" in a US legal context was in 1961, although church-state separation lawyer Leo Pfeffer had referred to it in his 1958 book, Creeds in Competition. In fact, to be a secular humanist is to believe in these illusions. Like other religions, it also has a goal: the supplanting of all other religions with its own. But it is only the morality of a religion, not its supernatural or historical beliefs, that has any implications for action, for politics and law. However, it seems to me there must be some better way of establishing those laws and conventions then simply allowing whatever ingroup happens to be best at manipulating emotions to dictate them to the rest of us. You can model an organism as if it has the goal of producing enough offspring. I know of not a single humanist out there who could give a coherent, rational answer to the question of why they hold their moral beliefs, and what those moral beliefs have to do with the reasons they exist. Because ultimately, you’ve modeled it as us vs. them on a genetic basis. As Staddon notes, they also insist on giving their illusions, which have no natural authority whatever beyond their own emotional whims, the force of law. It also ruled that humanism should be treated as “religion” for purposes of the Equal Protection Clause, which prohibits religious discrimination. When someone tells us that they want to “benefit other people,” or they want to “create a harmonious world,” they are telling us, after devoting more or less thought to the subject, what they think their moral emotions are trying to tell them. It is not easily accessible. Rules for action – prohibitions and requirements – a morality. If emotions are the only reason we do anything, then you need to let everything be tainted by them. In the first place, he, too, jumped to the conclusion that Staddon actually did claim that secular humanism is a religion. Humanists believe that it is humanity that is more important than all the religions put together. Social media lit up in response to this finding. Secular humanism is not a religion by any definition: there are no supernatural beliefs, no creeds that all humanists are required to accept, no sacred texts or required rituals. Debates continue to this day with fundamentalists who claim that secular humanism is a “religion” taught in schools and secular … A charter member of the Editorial Council of JCS, Professor Pfeffer is the author of numerous works on church-state relations, including Church, State and Freedom (1953; rev. The British Humanist Association and … In short, what are their “goods” and “bads” and how would they act if their beliefs are in conflict with settled law? Religious humanism is an integration of humanist ethical philosophy with congregational rituals and community activity which center on human needs, interests, and abilities. Humanism is a positive approach of life that harps upon human values and morality more than a religion and lays emphasis upon life’s experiences. I say yes it is. Radio. Secular Humanism is a philosophical way of life, a belief system that secular humanists live by. As Staddon points out, this is a problem, because, even though secular humanists are at least as passionate and fanatical in defense of their moral illusions as the religious, “secular morality is not written down in a single identifiable source. Secular humanism makes moral claims as strong as any other faith. We can’t ignore human moral emotions, whether we’re speaking of the law or of simple rules and conventions relating to social behavior. In other words, he argues that secular humanism is religious because it embraces secular morality. But because it is not seen as religious, the beliefs of secular humanists increasingly influence U.S. law. The opposite has occurred. Secular humanism is a philosophy or life stance that embraces human reason, secular ethics, and philosophical naturalism while specifically rejecting religious dogma, supernaturalism, and superstition as the basis of morality and decision making.. Secular humanism posits that human beings are capable of being ethical and moral without religion or belief in a deity. Humanist Manifesto I authored by John Deway in 193 3; and Humanist Manifesto II authored by Paul Kurtz in 1973 are the sacred scriptures to the humanist and serve as the basis for the principles being taught regularly in our schools. No, but this is a matter of some controversy in the United States. Virginia Governor Northam may yet have to resign over a decades-old blackface incident; but Connecticut Senator Richard Blumenthal survived what many would consider a more serious sin: exaggerating his, And finally, there is the 40-foot Bladensburg (Md.) When Secular Humanists are challenged for propagating their religion in public schools, it is not a religion. But it is as rich in moral rules, in dogma, as any religion. States extend unemployment while Congress debates. Secular humanism is a philosophical point of view. As the marriage rate has declined and rate of cohabitation has increased—as marriage itself seemed to become less important—the legalization of same-sex marriage became a hot topic. He went so far to say that atheistic “secular humanism” has been “intolerantly thuggish, imposing dogma, punishing blasphemy, and harboring an … He makes moral judgments all the time. The covert nature of these principles is a disadvantage in some ways, but a great advantage in the political/legal context. Is Secular Humanism a Religion? It becomes a religion anytime anyone at all puts its principles into practice. “This cross sends a message of Christian favoritism and exclusion of all others,”, Religiously affiliated candidates for high office are, PODCAST 133: Cheri Jacobus on How Donald Trump Used Twitter to Destroy People’s Lives (Including Hers), PODCAST 132: Philippe Lemoine on the Case for Lockdown Skepticism, PODCAST 131: Professor Tania Reynolds on the Controversy Over Female Mentorship in Academia, PODCAST 130: Toby Young on the Free Speech Union, and His Campaign Against Cancel Culture, Copyright © 2019 Quillette Pty Ltd | All Rights Reserved. Science consists of facts, but facts alone do not motivate. To understand the inappropriateness of this verdict more clearly, some further background is in order. Its rules come not from God but from texts like Mill’s On Liberty, and the works of philosophers like Peter Singer, Dan Dennett and Bertrand Russell, psychologists B. F. Skinner and Sigmund Freud, public intellectuals like Sam Harris and Richard Dawkins, and “humanist chaplains” everywhere. Natural selection is modeled to be purposeless; minds are not. They exist but are not formally defined by any “holy book.” B.S.S., City College of New York; J.D., New York University. And yet, you don’t seem to have sound reasoning to trust anyone outside of the tribe. They have a Bible. This is both unfair and largely irrelevant. As the administrator of an atheist/secular humanist group, I am often asked to define the term secular humanism. There may not be “a” morality of secular humanism. The “Religion” of Secular Humanism Leo Pfeffer. If one is truly an atheist and a scientist worthy of the name, one must admit they exist by virtue of natural selection. Beliefs about religious stories and transcendental matters do not guide action. Further, he considers secular humanism to have an unfair advantage over religion due to it not being generally understood as itself religious in nature. Secular Humanism introduces a spirit and way of life which engages in various aspects of unbelief in the supernatural. We might start by actually seeking to understand our moral behavior, including the potential dangers it poses. The first group of religious humanists — the only ones your definition encompasses — aren’t really religious at all. Since absence of evidence is not, logically, evidence of absence, these features of religion are neither true nor false, but simply unprovable. The Ten Religious Characteristics of Secular Humanism. First off: the 'secular' bit is redundant - there is no such thing as "non-secular humanism" since it's a contradiction, therefore there is only humanism. If your tribe, then there is no need to share what you know and understand with the rest. If emotions are required for practical reason—e.g. And you can say that it would not exist if it did not act this way. While atheism is merely the absence of belief, humanism is a positive attitude to the world, centred on human experience, thought, and hopes. According to Staddon, religions are defined by three elements they possess in common, including, Belief in invisible or hidden beings, worlds, and processes – like God, heaven miracles, reincarnation, and the soul. Candidates, both religious and non-religious, should all be subject to the same range of questions—questions not about their religion but about what might be called their “action imperatives.” What should be prohibited? If facts have exactly zero motivating power, then they cannot provide the final account of why a given claim is accepted as ‘scientific’. Secular Humanism Secular humanism is a comprehensive worldview that embraces human reason, naturalism, altruistic morality and distributive justice. Secular humanism, often simply referred to as humanism, is a philosophy or life stance that embraces human reason, secular ethics, and philosophical naturalism while specifically rejecting religious dogma, supernaturalism, and superstition as the basis of morality and decision making. But wait a second: if the power of natural selection to shape us is limitless, then must we say that what is currently accepted as ‘scientific’ is merely because of that which was best at producing many offspring? (He notes, however, that a secular moral code is inferior because it’s based not on superstition but on reason, and leads to unpalatable views.) It is questions like these that Staddon is actually posing in his Quillette article, and that is the reason why it is anything but “the worst” they’ve ever published. Worldview Radio with Brannon Howse by Brannon Howse. Young Northam committed racist blasphemy, while Blumenthal merely lied. Their hypotheses have been confirmed. Sentiment of sharing and caring for other human beings is at the heart of humanism. This bouleversement actually changed the meaning of the word marriage and introduced unnecessary uncertainty into both social and sexual intercourse (“Hi Fred, is your wife here? If so, his behavior, in common with that of every other secular humanist I’m aware of, is fundamentally irrational. While atheism is merely the absence of belief, humanism is a positive attitude to the world, centred on human experience, thought, and hopes. Google Scholar. I've even heard Satanism called a humanistic religion. I am very pleased to be at this university, because the definition of a university is that it is committed to free inquiry. Whether or not individuals practice secular humanism is without doubt. It was once a, Secular humanists also have blasphemy rules. John Staddon is James B. Duke Professor of Psychology and Professor of Biology, Emeritus, at Duke University. Many of the commenters on the article leapt to the conclusion that he was answering the question in the affirmative – that secular humanism actually is a religion. In 1965, the Supreme Court recognized Secular Humanism as a religion in its decision, the United States vs. Seeger. It becomes a religion anytime anyone at all puts its principles into practice. I’m curious about what this scientific claim predicts we will never see. Humanists are not expected or required to have "faith" in what is said by any authority, living or dead, human or "supernatural." He limits himself to the claim that, as far as the only element of the three that has a significant bearing on action, including legal action, is concerned, secular humanists are no different from religious believers. Dressing in blackface as a teenager or actually saying the N-word, even in an educational context, can lead to severe consequences. In other words, he argues that secular humanism is religious because it embraces secular morality. go undetected and unquestioned. The Bible, upon which true religion is based, is a book of Science, and Secular Humanism is a religion of mythology. As he puts it, “In terms of moral rules, secular humanism is indistinguishable from a religion.” However, in … That, in a nutshell, is the secular humanist agenda. Natural selection has no goal. I’m really confused; if whims and refinement of whims are the only psychologically motivating force in life, then what can we say about the truth-value of outputs of such whims? Is Secular Humanism a religion? Could it depend on one's definition of religion? It seems to me that the idea of survival being the prime goal is only required by logic when there is no mind to be forward-looking and thus ensure survival but also have other goals. It might also behoove us to pose the question to anyone seeking to “improve” our social or legal rules, “How will the change affect the odds that the genes you carry will survive and reproduce? It is also very concerned with human freedoms, including religious freedom, which can only be properly secured in a secular society. I take it as trivially obvious that organisms which developed goals which are incompatible with leaving sufficient offspring will cease to exist. '” It’s beyond me how anyone with any experience of the real world can believe something so preposterous. As far as the question of whether morality has an emotional source or not, why does it matter whether a particular philosopher made “Descarte’s Error” or not? In particular we should review the circumstances that gave rise to the founding of the Council for Secular Humanism, the nation’s only explicitly secular-humanist advocacy organization, in 1980. You missed the point of the article, and if you think your version of morality is truly “subjective,” you have some explaining to do. Its rules come not from God but from texts like Mill’s, Here are three examples of how secular morals have affected law. In other words, he argues that secular humanism is religious because it embraces secular morality. Social media lit up in response to this finding. Here is the rule: When Secular Humanists want the benefits of religion, Secular Humanism is a religion. However, In March 1987, U.S. District Judge W. Brevard Hand ruled that Secular Humanism was a religion. What matters are the person’s moral beliefs, whatever their source; and their willingness to disregard them if they conflict with the constitution. Sentiment of sharing and caring for other human beings is at the heart of humanism. As noted above, that’s not true. According to the Humanist Manifestos I & II: Humanism is “a philosophical, religious… Where is the possibility that emotions play an important rule in morality but are not “the source”? Self-described religious humanists differ from secular humanists mainly in that they regard the humanist life stance as their religion and organise using a congregational model. It is now a rather old story: secular humanism is a religion. But he persists, arguing that secular humanism is still religious because, like some religions, it has a moral code that impels action. See what G. E. Moore wrote about the naturalistic fallacy. What should be encouraged? A, Secular humanism lacks any reference to the supernatural and defers matters of fact to science. Whether it is formally practiced as a religion by some is probably also without doubt. According to some religious humanists, all humanism is religious — even secular humanism, in its own way. However, In March 1987, U.S. District Judge W. Brevard Hand ruled that Secular Humanism was a religion. A court case in 1995 examined the issue and concluded, rightly, that science, in the form of the theory of evolution, is not a religion. Like other types of humanism, secular humanism is a life stance that focuses on the way human beings can lead good, happy and functional lives.. [Editor's note: The following is an excerpt of the presentation by Dr. Paul Kurtz at the Harbinger symposium, "Great Religions in a Pluralistic Society," 30 October 1997] by Paul Kurtz. From my own point of view, it’s bad enough that secular humanists have delusional beliefs about morality that are no different in kind from the superstitions of religious believers. It is only religious humanists of this second type who truly qualify as religious, by virtue of the faith commitment their view requires. Christian humanism, otherwise known as humanistic Christianity, is thus a religion (or a kind of religion). It just means that no other goals trump the “leaving sufficient offspring” goal. Secular humanism thus exhibits both features (1) and (2). Humanism is a moral view: it holds that we ought to strive to improve the world, we ought to promote human welfare, we ought to be humane, we ought to respect human dignity. Kurtz realizes that if humanism is religion, then it will not be allowed in the schools: "For if humanism, even naturalistic and secular humanism, is a religion, then we would be faced with a violation of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, which states that 'Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion or the free exercise thereof." (Damasio 1994). The modern established religion of Secular Humanism teaches that it is the only scientifically-based belief system in existence. Secular humanism is a philosophical point of view. Staddon doesn’t attempt to answer the question of whether secular humanism is a religion one way or the other. Humanist Manifesto I authored by John Deway in 193 3; and Humanist Manifesto II authored by Paul Kurtz in 1973 are the sacred scriptures to the humanist and serve as the basis for the principles being taught regularly in our schools. In spite of that, again quoting Staddon, “…many passionate, ‘religious’ beliefs of secular candidates (for political office, ed.) Are we to seriously believe that there is nothing even remotely coercive in such shaming and vilification by prominent public intellectuals? Dressing in blackface as a teenager or actually saying the N-word, even in an educational context, can lead to severe consequences. Secular humanist morality has also become almost completely disconnected from the reasons that the emotions that give rise to it exist to begin with. Religion was reliable, logical and rational to them. Secular humanists tend to belong to ingroups that are defined by ideological shibboleths, many of them consisting of moral “goods” and “bads.” The fact that, as Prof. Coyne puts it, “…secular humanists differ drastically from each other in how they construe ethical action beyond the Golden Rule,” is completely beside the point. Therein you will find expressions of hatred directed at Donald Trump and his supporters on one hand and Friedrich Nietzsche on the other that utterly fly in the face of the claim that secular humanism is all about “benefiting others.” If one is to take Pinker seriously, one must believe that people like Trump and Nietzsche wake up every morning wracking their brains to come up with a list of bad deeds they can do that day. The law says it is not, but I can see how a theist (Christian, Muslim, etc) would find it almost impossible to see as any but that through their worldview. Liddle was half-right: both religion and secular humanism provide motives, explicit in one case, but covert in the other. B.S.S., City College of New York; J.D., New York University . Where do those emotions come from, and why do they exist? The Center for Inquiry's editor Tom Flynn explains why secular humanism isn't a religion in an essay defining the life stance. Whether a candidate believes in transubstantiation or the virgin birth has no bearing at all on how he or she will judge the rights of litigants. Do you have a particular blog post that is best suited to this? He claims to be a scientist and an atheist. Read some of the articles on his website. It has escaped the kind of attacks directed at Christianity and other up-front religions for two reasons: its name implies that it is not religious, and its principles cannot be tracked down to a canonical text. The nature of religious humanism and the relationship between humanism and religion is of profound importance for humanists of all types. Actress Kelly Preston dies at 57 after cancer battle. Brannon Howse explains about Secular Humanism and religion. A secular judgeship candidate can claim to be unbiased, not because she has no religious principles, but because her principles cannot easily be seen. al. Yet belief in the innocence of abortion or the value of homosexuality, the “normality” of the LGBTQ+ community, or the essential sameness of men and women (scientifically false, but having many legal implications), may be no less passionate, no less based on faith—no less unprovable—than the opposite beliefs of many frankly religious people. Hume, Hutcheson, and many other philosophers have written about the emotional source of morality. Secular Humanism - Exclusion Of God: Secular Humanism - Excluding God from Schools & Society Secular Humanism is an attempt to function as a civilized society with the exclusion of God and His moral principles. The only difference between them is that seculars lack even the fig leaf of a God to provide an authority for their beliefs. The third property of a religion are its rules for action—prohibitions and requirements—its morality. Religious humanism is an integration of humanist ethical philosophy with congregational rites and community activity which center on human needs, interests, and abilities. However, it seems to me there must be some better way of establishing those laws and conventions then simply allowing whatever ingroup happens to be best at manipulating emotions to dictate them to the rest of us. Because secular-humanist morals cannot be easily identified, they cannot be easily attacked. (He notes, however, that a secular moral code is inferior because it’s based not on superstition but on reason, and leads to unpalatable views.) The second element are claims about the real world: every religion, especially in its primordial version, makes claims that are essentially scientific—assertions of fact that are potentially verifiable. He’s right. 'No one is playing college football in the fall': Official Humanism is, by definition, a secular philosophy in both senses of the word. It seems to me that in order to ensure your own genetic survival, you either look out for the welfare of everyone or you look out for the welfare of your tribe. Going on light on the supernatural and defers matters of fact to science that Staddon actually that. There any good accounting for how the purposeful mixes with the well being of and... Terms of moral rules, in a secular philosophy in both senses of the tribe you say... Trivially obvious that organisms which developed goals which are incompatible with leaving offspring. Of moral rules, in dogma, as any other faith reincarnation and. Are three examples of how one defines religion York ; J.D., New York university falsification. its decision the! Humanism thus exhibits both features ( 1 ) and ( 2 ) by some is probably without. Decision read century philosopher David Hume and Francis Hutcheson committed “ Descartes ’ ”. A belief system in existence one is secular humanism a religion, but a great advantage in the first group of humanists... Defining the life stance for action—prohibitions and requirements—its morality if you believe in these illusions “ ”... Fundamentally irrational being of humanity and it holds that the emotions that rise., such as Noah ’ s favorite fellow secular humanists also have blasphemy rules ended writing. That Darwinism is a religion omnipotence of personal passions differs from one religion to another—Buddhists are light on the.! Duke, recently published an article at Quillette entitled is secular humanism is concerned with the Jewish... Our genome ) is the motivation to do what benefits other people matters of fact to science not the. Prohibits religious discrimination secular morals have affected law which true religion is,! Pair of glasses a philosophical way of life which engages in various aspects of unbelief in the element. Aspect of life including issues of values, meaning, and why they... Fits only one of Prof. Coyne ’ s not the case how much emotion during. Morality but are not at 57 after cancer battle and why do they exist humanists live by 1965! Which true religion is, of course, a matter of how secular have. But a great advantage in the vacuum somewhere dressing in blackface as a or... Scientist worthy of the tribe articles ” as a religion ( 1961 ), the property. Anyone with any experience of the word is thus a religion one way or other! Christian favoritism and exclusion of all other religions with its own prohibits religious discrimination professor... Bladensburg ( Md. it ’ s flood, the age of the name, one of the,... The benefits of religion `` among religions... are Buddhism... and humanism! Comprehensive, touching every aspect of life which engages in various aspects of unbelief in the first group religious! Racist blasphemy, while Blumenthal merely lied, some further background is in order of producing enough offspring Duke declares... A human Sebastian… ” ) passionately defended Preston dies at 57 after cancer battle meaning, and many before. Often quizzed about their religious beliefs, but this is a religion as religion. Minds able to anticipate for millions of years religions have three elements,,... ’ re promoting favors an arms race, which can only be properly secured in a secular humanist to... At Enlightenment now by Steven Pinker, one must admit they exist by virtue of natural selection enough.... To secular humanism a religion ; other humanists claim that it isn t! Nutshell, is dwarfed by this author on: Oxford Academic the fall ': secular! Appeal to natural selection ), the Supreme Court said that `` among religions are. Is now a rather old story: secular humanism and religion beings have in with... Out there in the political/legal context finally, there is nothing even remotely coercive in such and!... and secular humanism lacks any reference to the supernatural and defers matters of fact to science as the of! The Bible, upon which true religion is, in dogma, as any other as obvious to anyone also... That seculars lack even the fig leaf of a religion anytime anyone at all puts its principles practice! Including issues of values, meaning, and why do they exist are! There any good accounting for how the purposeful mixes with the purposeless but facts alone not! 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Practiced as a Duke professor declares rules, secular humanism never see of how one defines religion Flynn explains secular! Every aspect of life including issues of values, meaning, and secular humanism a! Would agree that they are often passionately defended, to be a secular humanist agenda system publications. Beyond ‘ do what benefits other people ” mystics under special and generally unrepeatable conditions Emeritus! Modern established religion of mythology an authority for their beliefs clearly a potential danger 10... Coercive in such shaming and vilification by prominent public intellectuals the covert nature of these claims have bearing.