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. 54, No. 4, July-August

A Convergence to Watch
Americans have long tended to think of religious or life-stance identification in terms of vertical columns: Catholics, Protestants (Methodists, Episcopalians, Baptists, Presbyterians, and so on), Jews, Muslims, Hindus, humanists, and the like. This...
Act and Word; Reflections on the Humanist Future
This essay, a sequel to "Dialectic and Disarray: Do Humanists Really Want a Humanist Movement?" (The Humanist, July/August 1993), is based on a talk I gave on May 7, 1993, at the fifty-second annual conference of the American Humanist Association,...
Ape and Essence
Nearly 20 years ago in this column ("Learning from Apes," November/December 1975), I commented on the experimental teaching of language to chimpanzees, which had begun in the late 1960s. I concluded that, if chimps can function as humans--even if only...
Big Trouble with Big Science
Congress has finally killed the monstrously expensive supercollider (estimated cost: $4.4 billion in 1987, $11 billion and climbing at last report), a move which dismayed particle physicists and pleased almost everyone else. Professor Yasar Onel,...
Black, Brown, Red, and Poisoned
People of color throughout the United States are receiving more than their fair share of the poisonous fruits of industrial production. They live cheek by jowl with waste dumps, incinerators, landfills, smelters, factories, chemical plants, and oil...
Boxing Diana
In our last thrilling column, we presented a number of accounts of comicbook censorship. Sooner or later, we will return to the regular skeptical/pseudoscience stuff. (I promise.) But first we must follow up on the legal battles of Mike Diana. Diana,...
Farrakhan and the Filling of the Mythic Gap
In the sound-bite era, which often reduces the pronouncements of even thoughtful individuals to the trivial and misleading, the slogans of demagogues and hatemongers gain power and influence from the superficial heat generated by the media. Such is...
Hating the Sick; Health Chauvinism and Its Cure
Nothing comes to an individual that he has not summoned.... A person's external circumstances do fit their level of internal spiritual development. --Eileen Gardner, nominee for special assistant to the Department of Education under the Reagan adminsitration,...
Market Myths
Late last year, the Wall Street Journal--certainly no friend of the Clinton administration--reported in a front-page headline that "President Is Wooing, and Mostly Pleasing, Big-Business Leaders." The same edition also included commentary which suggested...
Operation Restore Truth
On March 25, 1994, all American troops withdrew from Somalia, having "completed" their valiant mission of saving Somalia from itself--or so the official version of the story goes. But what has been touted as an innovative use of peacekeeping forces...
Public Education under Siege
When people are overwhelmed by rapid changes, the human impulse to censor certain types of information skyrockets. Economic uncertainty, social upheaval, and political changes are especially threatening to those who cling to traditional social and...
South African Elections Show the Way toward Racial Fairness
The tentative yet still heady triumph of democracy in South Africa is the culmination of a remarkable year for proportional representation (PR), that "other" voting system used by most of the democratic world. Globally (and even here in the United...
That Never Really Happened!
I am discovering how my consciousness-dominating addictions (i.e., preoccupations) create my illusory version of the changing world of people and situations around me. I act freely when I am tuned in, centered, and loving, but if possible, I avoid...
The Christian Right's Anti-Gay Agenda
This year's slate of "no special rights" ballot initiatives is the most visible part of the Christian right's "family values" agenda. In Arizona, Idaho, Michigan, Missouri, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, and Texas, the movement hopes to place on ballots...