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. 1, January-February

An Image to Heal
She sat there in my office, her delicate face obscured by a shield of blond hair, her timid voice just above a whisper: "I want to look like the supermodels. I'm five-foot-nine, so I have the height, but I can't lose the weight. I'd like to look like...
Caging the Crazy: "Supermax" Confinement under Attack
A steel door separates the Department Disciplinary Unit from the rest of the prison of Walpole, Massachusetts. Inmates confined in the DDU are considered management problems by staff. It is a prison within a prison: convicts housed here have no contact...
Catholic Attack Ads
The impact of both Catholic and Protestant right-wing leaders was evident in the 1996 presidential election, yet neither Bill Clinton nor Bob Dole seemed willing to discuss abortion, the chief concern of the religious right and an obvious concern of...
Caveat Audiens ("Let the Listener Beware")
The Romans had a word for it. In fact, classical critics coined many terms to identify the logical errors and verbal evasions that sullied public debate. Consider: argumentum ad hominem ("argument against the person"), attacking an opponent's character...
Civility on Trial: Welfare in the Western World
In the Western world, the hot issue of welfare and related social services is being scrutinized by austerity-minded governments. Uncertainty about the security of the working and middle classes abounds. If uncertainty gives way to societal unrest resulting...
Defending the Guilty
The first time I meet Lisa, she's in the courthouse lockup, a six-by-twelve, foot cement-block cell that smells like a hundred people breathing out cigarette smoke and alcohol vapors. I run through my questions: address, age, schooling, marital status....
Election Returns
The only people busier than politicians over the past couple of months were the pundits eager to explain President Clinton's amazing comeback. How did a president left for dead in November 1994 achieve so substantial a victory two years later? The...
Is Science a Religion?
It is fashionable to wax apocalyptic about the threat to humanity posed by the AIDS virus, "mad cow" disease, and many others, but I think a case can be made that faith is one of the world,s great evils, comparable to the smallpox virus but harder...
Sanctioned Sociopathy
Long before Daniel Jonah Goldhagens Hitler's Willing Executioners: Ordinary Germans and the Holocaust - during World War II, to be precise - I was far from alone in concluding that Hitler's madness was only catalytic among a morally defective people....
Sweatshop Barbie: Exploitation of Third World Labor
My daughter Zsa Zsa, seven years old, stands in front of the toy store and can't make up her mind which Barbie doll she wants. Barbie is her idol and role model. I argue her to pick out another present of her birthday but, if I insist, I'll spoil her...
The Rights of Joe Camel and the Marlboro Man
Joe Camel banned from Rolling Stone magazine? The Marlboro Man banished from billboards everywhere? The end of Winston Cup racing and Vantage golf tournaments? Never another Virginia Slims tennis match or musical performance? Yes, if President Clinton...
The Struggle for Walden
Walden Pond in Lincoln and Concord, Massachussets - a worldwide symbol of the conservation movement - has become a battleground for often-angry opposing environmental-action groups. Some seek to preserve It as a "sanctuary," accessible only to walkers,...
Vouchers Defeated; Evolution Defended
Curiously unreported in the news roundup of the November, 5, 1996, election results was the outcome of two important referenda in Washington state. Similarly un- or underreported were the results of referenda on like topics in 20 previous elections...