Thursday, July 02, 2009

I wonder if my daughter would like to go to Camp Quest

They've got this page, titled "Affirmations of Humanism" on their website. Let me go through and see what I think of it:
A Statement of Principles

We are committed to the application of reason and science to the understanding of the universe and to the solving of human problems.

We deplore efforts to denigrate human intelligence, to seek to explain the world in supernatural terms, and to look outside nature for salvation.

So far so good.
We believe that scientific discovery and technology can contribute to the betterment of human life.

We believe in an open and pluralistic society and that democracy is the best guarantee of protecting human rights from authoritarian elites and repressive majorities.

"Open and pluralistic society" great; I'm cool with that. The last part, though...isn't that why we're fighting in Iraq? Society needs more than just the mechanism of voting.
We are committed to the principle of the separation of church and state.

Good - disarming the churches has done wonders for world peace.
We cultivate the arts of negotiation and compromise as a means of resolving differences and achieving mutual understanding.

I'm hot for negotiation; kinda cool for compromise. "Live and let live" is about as compromise-y as I think anybody needs to be.
We are concerned with securing justice and fairness in society and with eliminating discrimination and intolerance.

Justice is awesome, fairness is impossible...well, really both are impossible on a collective scale. Groups of people do a crappy job of being just and fair to each other. I'm down with eliminating discrimination and intolerance, but it depends on how you plan to do it.
We believe in supporting the disadvantaged and the handicapped so that they will be able to help themselves.

Of course, but how?
We attempt to transcend divisive parochial loyalties based on race, religion, gender, nationality, creed, class, sexual orientation, or ethnicity, and strive to work together for the common good of humanity.

We want to protect and enhance the earth, to preserve it for future generations, and to avoid inflicting needless suffering on other species.

Okey-dokey. Once again, the question is, "how?"
We believe in enjoying life here and now and in developing our creative talents to their fullest.

Perfect. Absolutely!
We believe in the cultivation of moral excellence.

We respect the right to privacy. Mature adults should be allowed to fulfill their aspirations, to express their sexual preferences, to exercise reproductive freedom, to have access to comprehensive and informed health-care, and to die with dignity.

We're talkin' about a summer camp for kids, right?
We believe in the common moral decencies: altruism, integrity, honesty, truthfulness, responsibility.

No probs with 80% of those. Got a problem with altruism - it's kind of a rickety flyer.
Humanist ethics is amenable to critical, rational guidance. There are normative standards that we discover together. Moral principles are tested by their consequences.

All right.
We are deeply concerned with the moral education of our children. We want to nourish reason and compassion.

Yup! Me too.
We are engaged by the arts no less than by the sciences.

Well, ...good.
We are citizens of the universe and are excited by discoveries still to be made in the cosmos.

We are skeptical of untested claims to knowledge, and we are open to novel ideas and seek new departures in our thinking.

We affirm humanism as a realistic alternative to theologies of despair and ideologies of violence and as a source of rich personal significance and genuine satisfaction in the service to others.

Anybody got a "theology of despair" or an "ideology of violence?"
We believe in optimism rather than pessimism, hope rather than despair, learning in the place of dogma, truth instead of ignorance, joy rather than guilt or sin, tolerance in the place of fear, love instead of hatred, compassion over selfishness, beauty instead of ugliness, and reason rather than blind faith or irrationality.

We believe in the fullest realization of the best and noblest that we are capable of as human beings.

That all sounds good, though I think they said it already.


Starsplash said...

No God, no prosperity,, joy or any other good thing you could think of.

Al said...

Do you have a post where you prove that?

Starsplash said...

That is God's job not mine.

Ole Blue The Heretic said...

Sounds like a wonderful Philosophy Al.

Starsplash said...

Absolutely fantastic. I don't have to work my butt off to prove anything.

T. F. Stern said...

While enjoying their use of generalities and carefully chosen PC terminology would only agitate folks coming off of a drug induced euphoria, perhaps a gentle reminder from George Washington’s Farewell Address would be in order.

“…And let us with caution indulge the supposition, that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect that National morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.”

Sorry, I just don’t buy into their broad brushed picture.

BTW- Happy Independence Day

LibertyBob said...

I didn't realize that Gene Roddenberry was able to create a camp for kids before his passing.

As much as I am usually fighting in favor of logic, to a certain extent I have to agree with the Washington quote. I've seen that people have varying amounts of "intellectual complexity". It won't take too long for someone with a purely scientific bent to realize the propagation of his or her genetic material does not require the presence of most other people. That leads to war. It is sometimes better to lead the simple with simple ideologies.

Al said...

Didn't George Washington, when berated for his inconsistent church attendance, admit, "You're right, Ma'am, it is inconsistent" and then never darkened the door of a church for the rest of his life?

Ole Blue The Heretic said...

Washington would go to church as President but only as a matter of public decorum.

For the most part, according to letters and diaries, he thought religion was the root of many evils.