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. 61, No. 5, September

A Compulsion to Repeat Failure
In response to the general media's lurid depiction of recent school shootings, the public has come to perceive school violence as endemic. The implication that school violence has increased significantly is conspicuously similar to the 1980s movement...
Alternative Perspectives on School Violence
If school shootings have accomplished nothing else, at least they have provided an occasion to discuss the dangerous role that violence plays in our society. Nonetheless, the rare and random instances of school shootings hardly constitute our most...
Animal Research
Every second of every day of every year, an animal dies in an experiment in the United States," reports Last Chance for Animals. All in the name of science. Scientists cut open live animals to see how their bodies work, they poison animals to see how...
A Teacher Who Respects His Students
Dressed casually in baggy pants and a pullover shirt, the class instructor dumps his backpack down on the table. He's young, maybe twenty-five, and wears wire-framed glasses and a well-trimmed beard. "What's up?" he asks, raising his right hand in...
A World without Landmines
The lights dim. A hush settles over the audience. An international campaign to outlaw landmines takes center stage. Humanity is taking steps to control its own destiny, motivated by compassion for landmine victims and in reaffirmation of the basic...
Constantine and George II
It is good practice, from time to time, to step back from the trees and take a good look at the forest. Too close attention to arboreal diversity can cloud one's vision of the larger picture. As an erstwhile history teacher who has been involved...
Cosmos Cantata
Cosmos Cantata text by Kurt Vonnegut, music by Seymour Barab, with the Manhattan Chamber Orchestra conducted by Richard Auldon Clark Pleasantville, NY: Kleos Classics, 2001): 56 minutes; $15.28 compact disc. When I was a kid at the end of World...
Dancing-Or Yawning-On the Grave of Carlo Giuliani
After a police officer shot Carlo Giuliani in the head, Time magazine published a requiem of sorts--explaining that the twenty-three-year-old Italian protester at the July 2001 G8 economic summit in Genoa, Italy, pretty much got what he deserved. The...
Four Steps Forward
In today's repressive, conservative political climate, it's uplifting to proponents of human rights and civil liberties to learn of some significant victories. July 2001 saw four such events. First, seven people--Jessica Fry, Jennifer Dowell, Brandon...
Humanist Values, Brain Science, and "Mind-Reading"
In keeping with the policy of the Humanist to accommodate the diverse cultural social political and philosophical viewpoints of its readers, this occasional feature allows for the expression of alternative, dissenting or opposing views on issues previously...
Is Surrogate Motherhood Moral?
In October 1987, Pat Anthony gave birth to triplets. The infants, however, were not her children but actually her grandchildren. Nine months before, Pat Anthony agreed to serve as a surrogate mother for her own daughter's biological infants. Anthony...
LETTERS to the Editor
Extreme Public Policy Paul Kahn, in "Extreme Measures" (July/ August 2001), sensitively examines the delicate question of how to deal with patients in a persistent vegetative state. However, I believe he disposes too casually of a key public policy...
On Science and Pseudoscience
Is the line between science and pseudoscience set arbitrarily by an often arrogant scientific elite? Henry Bauer, emeritus professor of chemistry and dean emeritus of social studies at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, believes that...
RELIGION, POLITICS, and the Fear of Whole Language Education
Intellectual freedom and unbridled inquiry are dangerous, even subversive. When students are given license to speak in their family dialects, when their cultural canons are endowed with the same legitimacy as those of the past, educational revolution...
Sacred Texts the Myth of Historical Literalism
In the modern United States, a substantial portion of our society has the view that this country is in a state of moral decay. The alleged causes of this decay take various forms but are often expressed as a belief that the nation has drifted away...
The Future of Mental Health Awareness: A Global Perspective
A Global Perspective Mental illness is an issue in need of critical and immediate attention on the global health front. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 400 million people worldwide suffer from some form of mental disorder or psychosocial...
The Humanist Essay Contest for Young Women and Men of North America
When magazine editors make publishing decisions regarding editorial submissions, the basic criterion they apply for taking any given manuscript seriously is that it must, at the very least, "meet the current editorial needs" of the publication. Essay...
The New Dawn of the Student Revolution
When Jefferson Airplane opened its 1969 sunrise set at Woodstock, Grace Slick declared, "It's a new dawn!" And, in many ways, it was. Through the early years of that decade, African American students had organized the Freedom Rides, lunch counter...
Time to Turn off the LFA Sonar
Imagine being exposed to an acoustic wave so powerful that, even at substantial distances, it can destroy your hearing, cause your lungs or ears to hemorrhage, or even kill you. Such may be the plight of many marine mammals worldwide if the U.S. Navy...
Unconditional Friendship
Our plane touched down at Mumbai International Airport in Bombay, India, and I wondered how I would pass the next two excruciatingly boring months in a land without high-tech computer games, Eminem, or Dr. Dre. When I stepped out of the airport and...
With Globalization, Poverty Is Optional
Assets held by the world's 200 wealthiest individuals total $1 trillion, for an average of $5 billion each. After doubling since 1995, their total wealth now equals the combined annual income of the world's 2.5 billion poorest people. Meanwhile, eighty...