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. 66, No. 4, July-August

Corporate Media and Advocacy Journalism
WE SEE THIS KIND OF NEWS STORY now and again. Sometimes we try to imagine the people behind the numbers, the human realities underneath the surface abstractions. But overall, the responses testify to journalism's failings--and our own. "Poor...
Getting What We Deserve
IN HIS 1980 BOOK, The Belief in a Just World: A Fundamental Delusion, social psychologist Melvin J. Lerner presents empirical evidence indicating that we seem to have a strong need to believe that people get what they deserve and deserve what they...
Humanist Profile: Julia Sweeney: (1961-Present): Comedian and 2006 Humanist Pioneer
"Thank goodness there is a Humanist organization so that we can identify ourselves as part of a group. Because, it's true, we're group-seeking animals ... we need groups and we need names for our groups, and it's a really efficient way for telling...
Mayors Respond to Washington Leadership Vacuum on Climate Change
Recognizing that global warming may fast be approaching the point of no return and that the world cannot wait for the U.S. government to act, hundreds of U.S. city mayors have pledged to cut emissions of greenhouse gases. By signing the U.S. Mayors...
Overcoming Antagonistic Atheism to Recast the Image of Humanism: 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 of Importance to Humanists and the Humanist Movement
THE CURRENT COLLECTIVE membership of American Atheists, the American Humanist Association, and the Freedom from Religion Foundation is less than 25,000 members. That number includes people like me who are members of more than one of these organizations....
Refurbish Your Church-With Tax Dollars
FEW PEOPLE WOULD dispute that Boston's Old North Church is a national treasure. In 1775, its steeple was used to signal Paul Revere that British troops were on the move, the famous "one if by land, two if by sea" code that is taught to every schoolchild....
The Costs of Felony Disenfranchisement: An Interview with Conned Author Sasha Abramsky
The Humanist: How did you come up with the idea for the book? Abramsky: I'd been doing a lot of criminal justice related journalism for about a decade and one of the things that interested me was that, as more and more people went into prison,...
The Five Minute Decision That Saved the World
THIS PAST JANUARY 19, 2006, a forgotten hero of our time was honored at a special ceremony held in the Dag Hammarskjold auditorium at the United Nations in New York City. Stanislav Petrov spoke at the UN and was presented with a World Citizen Trophy...
The Issue at Hand
PEOPLE MENTION THE THOUGHT around the water cooler. Pundits convey the idea in scattered editorials. But it all seems to remain in the category of loose talk and offhand opinion, becoming a sort of accepted common understanding, easily securing...
The Sage of Unbelief: George Eliot and Unorthodox Choices
TODAY IT APPEARS that we live in a world where many of our ideals seem lost and forgotten and a disturbing indifference has settled in. A number of people suffer from either knee-jerk conformity or ironic detachment. As a result we may have at last...
Toward a New Assumption in Law and Ethics
IN 1848 NEW ENGLAND, Phineas Gage was a foreman on a railroad construction project. While he was working with explosives, a 3 1/2 foot long by 1 1/4 inch diameter iron bar shot through his cheek, upward through the front of his brain, and out the...
What Can Reasonable People Learn from a Faith Healer?
ONE CAN PROBABLY LEARN more from a faith healer than one would expect. Abstract philosophical and theological ideas can often be understood best when seen working in actual practice. So let's look at an event that happened several decades ago in...
Why the Terrorism Scare Is a Moral Panic
THERE IS LEGITIMATE CONCERN in the United States about foreign terrorists attacking Americans on U.S. soil. However, the concern has been hyped beyond reason. One only need compare the terrorist threat with the Cold War danger posed by intercontinental...
Worth Noting
* Environmental pioneers were honored in May by the Whitley Fund for Nature. In addition to Manfred Epanda Aime, who establishes nature preserves to protect chimpanzees and gorillas in West Africa, and Nguyen Thi Phuong Dung and Suprabha Seshan...