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. 57, No. 4, July-August

All-American Degeneracy
I am a healthy American male who has never raped anyone. On various jobs, I have been alone with coworkers I was attracted to and have not felt the need to express that attraction through sexual harassment. As a college instructor, I have had attractive...
A Reply to Mattel
Mr. Fitzgerald, I am very glad you responded to my article in the January/ February 1997 Humanist. This gives me an opportunity to reply with some thoughts I consider important. The points I make in my article, of course, speak well enough for themselves,...
Barbie Talks Back
In keeping with the policy of The Humanist to accommodate the diverse social, political, and philosophical viewpoints of its readers, this occasional feature allows for the expression of alternative and opposing views on issues previously raised within...
Empowerment of the Poor: Eliminating the Apartheid Practiced by Financial Institutions
My efforts to empower Third World poor began, appropriately enough, with an independence movement--the independence of Bangladesh. In 1971, my homeland was confronted with a war, bloodshed, and a tremendous amount of misery. During that war, I was...
Foreign Political Interference ... Vatican Style
Reports that the Chinese, Indonesian, and perhaps other foreign governments tried to influence the White House through political contributions to the Democratic Party during the 1996 presidential election have prompted vocal outcries from Republicans...
How Do You Get to Carnegie Hall? Practice, Practice, Practice
You can't learn how to play the piano just by watching. The teacher sits beside the student, pointing out how to improve technique, correcting flaws. And you can't be taught gymnastics by watching an instructional video. You have to get up on the...
Methods of Media Manipulation
We are told by people in the media industry that news bias is unavoidable. Whatever distorsions and inaccuracies found in the news are caused by deadline pressures, human misjudgment, budgetary restraints, and the difficulty of reducing a complex...
Scientists and Religion
Nature magazine reported on a new study of the religious beliefs of scientists in its April 3,1997, issue. The study, conducted by University of Georgia historian Edward J. Larson and Washington journalist Larry Witham, replicated as closely as possible...
Sealed with Controversy: Anatomy of Activism at the Local Level
When Stow, Ohio, Councilmember Cari Orris leaked an internal memo to the press in duly 1996, the thirty-five-year-old former journalist and community counselor had no idea how much her faith in reason would be challenged. Orris would ignite a firestorm...
The Blues Artist as Cultural Rebel
The tension between the African American sacred music known as gospel and the secular music known as blues is philosophically illuminating. Man, gifted black vocalists, composers, and instrumentalists honed their respective arts within the nurturing...
The Psychic Infection of Heaven's Gate
In trying to explain the thirty-nine suicides of Heaven's Gate members earlier this year, one could declare them a product of modern times, related to UFOs, comets, and the lack of spiritual meaning in our hightech society. But this would be untrue.The...
The Ultimate Civil Liberty
By the time this issue of The Humanist is in your hands, the United States Supreme Court will have announced its decisions in two cases, from the Second and Ninth U.S. Circuit Court districts, challenging the constitutionality of laws criminalizing assisted...
The Word on Terrorism
Trying to console me after a gradeschool fracas, my parents used to say, "Neve, sticks and stones can break your bones, but words will never hurt you." Yet words are hurtful, as George Orwell chillingly portrayed in his book 1984, which describes...
Vouchers and Educational Equity
In my last column, "Vouchers: The Heart of the Matter" (May/June 1997), I reviewed Joseph Claude Harris' book The Cost of Catbolic Parishes and Schools, which noted but did not explain the implosion of Catholic schools over the last thirty years. Harris...
What Social Security Crisis?
Perhaps no noun in our political vocabulary is more misused than the word crisis. It's a term meant to suggest that institutions are at a fundamental turning point. If Social Security is at such a point--as some pundits and lawmakers claim--it isn't...