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. 70, No. 3, May-June

A Questionable Pro-Choice Strategy (in 140 Characters or Less)
IN FEBRUARY a woman named Angie Jackson made national headlines by live-tweeting her abortion. In doing so, she sparked a firestorm of criticism and raised important questions about what role, if any, such efforts to demystify abortion should play...
Children of the CHON: What We Know about Genesis
BACK IN EARLY 2001, scientists at Ames Research Center in California were exploring some of the interesting organic chemistry that was believed to be occurring in the depths of interstellar space. While most of the general public still viewed "outer...
Christians, Homosexuality, and the Same-Sex Marriage Question
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] HUMANITY HAS a curious relationship with sex. It obviously enjoys it--there are nearly seven billion people in the world and not all that output could be the fruit of duty. Yet, for a practice so widespread and frequent, its...
Club Controversy: Religious Right Tries New Tactic to Win Public Support for Religious Discrimination
CONSIDER THE following scenario: Law students get together and form a social club. A fellow student gets wind of it and asks to join the club. The leadership at first says yes, but then they find out that the student is a humanist. They reverse themselves...
Everything Matters: Poetry and the Police Department
IT HAS been bandied about and argued that poetry--or any art for that matter--changes nothing. But every, thing changes everything, including the least utterance, whether or not we track its significance. Among other many-splendored things--dance,...
Helen Kagin (1934-2010)
"No child will ever be turned away from Camp Quest for inability to pay." --Helen Kagin Helen Kagin, MD, was born Helen McGregor Smith on January 31, 1934, in Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada--a city whose name she never failed to pronounce correctly,...
Science on the Go, under Siege, and at the Edge
WHAT TO READ when time is short? Presumably, you will have torn through this issue of the Humanist by days end. And certainly you demand both substance and poignancy, regardless of word count. You likely crave variety, currency, and a hearty dose of...
Strategies for Fighting Blasphemy Laws in a Post-Tolerant World
THE NEW DECADE was ushered in by a disturbing headline: "Irelands New Blasphemy Law Goes into Effect." New blasphemy law? Don't those belong in some earlier century? The unfortunate answer is no--blasphemy laws are making a comeback, and not just in...
Texas Fool Board
IN MARCH the Texas Board of Education voted 105, along party lines, to amend elementary and high school standards in sociology, government, economics, and history curriculae, essentially replacing textbooks with right-wing political propaganda. The...
The Humanist Interview with Rebecca Newberger Goldstein: 14 Questions about 36 Arguments for the Existence of God: A Work of Fiction
AUTHOR AND PHILOSOPHER Rebecca Newberger Goldstein's new novel, 36 Arguments for the Existence of God: A Work of Fiction (Pantheon, 2010), follows the past and present of one Cass Seltzer, a professor of the philosophy of religion who Time magazine...
The Issue at Hand
BLASPHEMY! The word is almost onomatopoeic in the sense that all anyone has to do in order to claim a sacred offense is cry it out loud. But what happens when the authorities start to listen? From plots to kill staff members of the Danish newspaper...
The Mystery of Evil and Suffering
If God is all-powerful and all-knowing, and if God is good, how can he allow evil and suffering to exist? Scholars know this question's answer by the four-syllable name theodicy. The ancient Hebrews, those who wrote the Hebrew Bible and those who wrote...
War in a Box
THE EVENT on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives on March 10 was monumental--the first major congressional debate about ending U.S. military operations in Afghanistan since lawmakers authorized the invasion of that country in autumn 2001....