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. 64, No. 3, May-June

A Dispassionate Appraisal
The Passion of the Christ written by Benedict Fitzgerald and Mel Gibson; directed by Mel Gibson; produced by Bruce Davey, Mel Gibson, and Stephen McEveety (Hollywood: Newmarket Film Group, 2004) 127 minutes; rated R at this juncture the Internet...
American Publishers, Protesters, and Travelers under Surveillance
In recent months the Treasury Department has been warning publishers against editing manuscripts from nations under U.S. trade embargos. According to the federal government, publishers could face serious legal penalties for editing items from these...
Are New Campaign Finance Regulations an Attack on Free Speech?
Recently there has been an uproar from liberal nonprofit organizations over possible new Federal Election Committee (FEC) rules that would regulate some organizations' efforts to air anti-Bush ads during this election year. The regulations are aimed...
Better Living through Tranhumanism: More Than Just a Philosophy and Social Movement, Transhumanism Is for Many a Way of Life
Some experts believe that all genetically based diseases will be eliminated by 2030. The widespread application of genetic and other technologies, it is thought, may also result in significant increases to human intelligence, memory, physical health,...
Beyond Fear: The Triumph of International Humanitarian Law
There is a common affliction today that subconsciously threatens a generation of young American writers and social critics concerned about the direction of U.S. foreign policy. As war rages abroad and terrorists threaten us at home, fear increasingly...
Cultural Imperialism: An American Tradition
Travel almost anywhere in the world today and, whether you suffer from habitual Big Mac cravings or cringe at the thought of missing the newest episode of MTV'S The Real World, your American tastes can be satisfied practically everywhere. This proliferation...
Humanist Profile
"I'm depressed that once children are born they're so often neglected.... Our responsibility should be with children, not merely with embryos." --Peter Ustinov, from an interview with Warren Allen Smith reported in Celebrities in Hell, 2002. ...
Science and the White House: Of Condoms and Climate
A safety technician at a nuclear power plant--lets call him Homer--is monitoring the critical functions of the plant one day when a light warning of excessive temperatures flashes red. Homer, fearing he may be forced to address the problem, takes a...
The Case against Sweatshops
Oscar Wilde, in his fairy tale, "The Young King," tells the story of the main character who, on the eve of his coronation, has three terrible dreams. He sees gaunt and sickly children crowded together in a large room weaving his robe, their hands red...
The Future of Immortality
Death is natural, but not everything natural is good. There is a time-honored tendency to erect an altar to nature while simultaneously rebuking human civilization for its ingenuities. We choose to imagine the natural world as a sort of Disney character...
The Issue at Hand
Others in the world often accuse those in North America of provincialism--of either being unaware of much beyond national borders or imagining that one's own interests and ways of thinking are universal. But a significant portion of the young people...
The Privacy Paradox: 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 Broached within These Pages
Eavesdropping on conversations is not as satisfying as it used to be. No more straining to decipher hushed murmurs, slyly feigning disinterest while fighting off twinges of guilt. The ubiquitous cell phone conspires with the now-entrenched belief that...
Warning: The Legal System May Be Hazardous to Your Health
The Bush administration's initiative to reform medical malpractice laws should raise the larger question about the consequences of a legal system that bestows astonishing awards for pain and suffering. While the economic impact of these payments is...
What Robert's Rules of Order Can Teach Us about Electronic Voting Standards
Robert's Rules of Order (RRO) is widely quoted but rarely read. In fact, unless you are a parliamentarian, you can get along with a visceral appreciation of the actual content. But when it comes to electronic voting, it is worth taking a closer look...
When a Win May Not Mean Much
On February 25, 2004 the United States Supreme Court ruled seven to two in Locke v. Davey that Washington State has the right to exclude a divinity student from a state scholarship program. At first glance this would seem to be a victory for church-state...