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. 4, July-August

America's Addiction to Belief
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] Henceforth, people will be looking at the universe with the eyes of oxen. --Katib Chelebi, seventeenth-century geographer "Barack Obama won't show us his birth certificate," insists Steve, a Connecticut resident and...
Defending Climate Science Today
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] "DENIAL AIN'T just a river in Egypt" Mark Twain famously quipped. After almost a decade of delay in addressing the climate changes brought on by well-documented global warming, certain segments of American society are still...
Hiroshima and Nagasaki: Sixty-Five Years Later
MOST PEOPLE who have been to contemporary Hiroshima have seen the Atomic Bomb Dome, the shell of a building that was some sixty meters from the hypocenter of the 1945 atomic blast, and which now serves as a modern symbol of that bitter truth commonly...
It's Bigger Than You Might Think: Broadening the Science vs Religion Debate
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] SKEPTICS SOMETIMES frame the science versus religion debate as one of knowledge and enlightenment versus ignorance and superstition. This framing oversimplifies the problem in a number of ways. It leaves the impression that...
Martin Gardner: The Polymath
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] MARTIN GARDNER, who died on May 22 at the age of ninety-five, was described in his New York Times obituary as a polymath. That's a word not often used anymore, because there are few who embody its meaning (my American Heritage...
Messin' with Texas: What We Can Learn from the Textbook Debacle
TEXAS HAS BEEN in the news lately, and not in a good way. Its State Board of Education, which is firmly in the grip of the religious right, just took a meat axe to statewide history and social studies standards. The board's right-wing faction wants...
Michael Shermer (1954-Present)
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] "When we say we are 'skeptical,' we mean that we must see compelling evidence before we believe. It prevents us from believing in illusions and spares us a lot of sorrow" --Michael Shermer Michael Shermer, executive...
Mutilation by Any Other Name
IN AN AGE of PSAs and the Vagina Monologues, many of us consider ourselves informed and educated about institutionalized female violence. "It happens over there" we tell ourselves, pointing to remote locations on a map, barely envisioning what "it"...
Seen & Heard
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] "Personally I can feel afraid of Muslims because I really have no idea if in their hearts they hate non-Muslims. There are so many interpretations of the religion that I hear told--sometimes it is a very extreme translation...
Spoil the Earth, Spare the Child: Freeman Dyson's Inconvenient Climate Views
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] THERE HE was, gnomically staring out from the cover of the March 29, 2009, New York Times magazine. The accompanying article proclaimed Freeman Dyson as a global warming heretic. Was he actually allying himself with the know-nothing,...
That Illegal Look
THE LAWMAKERS running Arizona apparently need a quick lesson in their own history. Rather than learn about the state to which they or their parents likely immigrated, they'd rather ban such education and cripple their constituents with the same ignorance...
The Issue at Hand
In his acceptance speech at the 69th annual conference of the American Humanist Association (which will be featured in these pages in the fall), Humanist of the Year Bill Nye remarked that if you're someone who likes to worry, you're living in the...
Wonders, Not Miracles
AS A PEDIATRICIAN, I have a seemingly endless collection of hilarious stories. A toddler came in for a visit carrying along his security object--a spatula. Later that day, an otherwise perfectly well-adjusted mother admitted to me that she is terrified...
You Don't Know Jack
You Don't Know Jack Written by Adam Mazer; directed by Barry Levinson; released by HBO Films [ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] Reporter: There are those who would say about Dr. Jack Kevorkian: "Right message; wrong messenger." Geoffrey Fieger: And...