The Humanist

The Humanist is a magazine focusing on critical inquiry and social concern from a humanist perspective. Published by the American Humanist Association, The Humanist covers everything from science and religion to politics and popular culture.

Articles from Vol. 58, No. 2, March-April

Civil Rights and Wrongs
I was a young kid during the late 1960s and early 1970s when the greatest social change that this country has known in the twentieth century -- the civil rights movement -- was underway. Black Americans (as we wanted to be called then) were quietly...
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Computing the Mind: A Scientific Approach to the Philosophy of Mind and Brain
For centuries, philosophers have puzzled over the mind-body problem -- the captivating enigma that asks how subjective mental states are connected to our objective physical biology. In this century, neuroscientists have made spectacular achievements...
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Humanism and Unitarian Universalism
Humanism comes in many shapes and sizes. Organizationally, humanism is largely identified with the American Humanist Association, the American Ethical Union, the Council for Secular Humanism, the Society for Humanistic Judaism, and smaller groups....
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Lessons from Germany and Canada
When reporters asked German novelist Heinrich Boll if he was still a Catholic, the Nobel laureate responded, "Fiscally, yes." Boll had just lost his case before the Federal Republic's highest court in a challenge to the country's burdensome century-old...
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Protagoras Visits the Darwinian Planet
Humans create their own reality Humans are the masters of the world. This, in a nutshell, is the message of the great anti-Socratic philosopher, Protagoras. The underlying question here is whether humans invent reality or discover it. invent it,...
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Reinventing Nature
Every major economic and social revolution in history has been accompanied by a new explanation of the creation of life and the workings of nature. The new concept of nature is always the most important strand of the matrix that makes up any new social...
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Ten Lessons from 1997's Stock Markets
The dramatic plunge in the Dow Jones Industrial Average late last October led commentators to worry that U.S. stocks were headed for the same fate as Asian markets. Once Wall Street bounced back, many became convinced that noninflationary economic...
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The 'Partial-Birth' Debate in 1998
As the 1998 elections draw near, the Republican-controlled Congress is expected to attempt another over-ride of President Clinton's veto of the so-called Partial-Birth Abortion Act of 1997. After consulting with their religious allies, congressional...
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The School as a Character-Building Agency
The following article appeared a half century ago in the winter 1947 issue of the Humanist. It appears here abridged and slightly edited to conform to modern usage and style. The question we face is this: does a proper concern for the moral and spiritual...
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The Way of Science
Not long ago it was intellectually fashionable to declare that religion's time had passed. Religious experience -- and, even more so, religious dogma and superstitions -- were regarded as drags on human progress. Supernatural belief bound the individual...
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The World Is Round (and Other Mythologies of Modern Science)
Contrary to popular belief, the world is not round. And the tale of the world's alleged roundness is not the only mythology that modern science has passed onto mass culture. It is this dubious role as "mythological web spinner" that science and rational...
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Trivial Pursuits
The reporter who filed the November 1997 Associated Press story on the Synod of Roman Catholic Bishops from North and South America seemed greatly impressed by the bishops' costume. Meeting in Rome, the church's grandees were decked out in gold vestments...
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Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy: A Historical Meeting of the Minds
Philosophers, politicians, scientists, and teachers are among the many who have continually debated the merits of applying old solutions and methods to new problems. But whatever the given idea or ideology, the very recurrence of such perennial discussions...
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Who Makes the Rules?
Delegates to the 1997 Southern Baptist Convention in Dallas, Texas, voted to boycott the Walt Disney Company because of its "gay-friendly" policies. And what is the ethical basis for the opposition to Disney's open endorsement of human rights? The...
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