Humanists don’t have a clue

I used to identify myself as a secular Humanist. I even joined the BHA, and subscribed to their mailing list – something I still haven’t unsub’d from – so recently I received their latest bulletin entitled: “Population is a moral issue – but not like this.”

I‘m always amused by what mental contortions and subjective ideas Humanists can come out with, so I read the brief message.

Apparently, Francis Philips from the Catholic Herald has pointed out how demographics are changing, as a result of low birth rates in the 90s. She cites the then Russian President Medvedev and other experts who argued that families should be having three or more children to compensate for this disaster.

Philips goes onto ask: “’why doesn’t the Government offer incentives to married women to stay at home and have larger families?” Enter the Humanist with the chance to apply their rational atheistic worldview to this “moral” issue. I agree it’s a moral issue – but then what isn’t?

“The assumption appears to be that a significant spend on incentivising fertility – for couples who perhaps aren’t ready to have children – is preferable to simple immigration” says the BHA newsletter. The issue of parents being bribed by the state to make life-changing decisions that they wouldn’t normally make, is totally overlooked. But then, all governments consistently offer incentives to distort natural law – so we shouldn’t be surprised.

“Whatever your view, world population is certainly something that humanists should regard as a moral and social issue.” At first I was thinking ‘ok, that’s fair’, and then I thought – why? What exactly IS the issue? It’s like saying war is a moral/social concern. This is generally true, but it doesn’t mean that it’s YOUR concern. A war between two tribal religious gangs in Africa is a concern to them, but not to me. The “issue” is not actually elucidated thus far – save for the mention of changing demographics above. (Which is, of course, the issue.)

“But it’s far from clear, when there are very serious concerns about depleted resources and environmental catastrophe, that actively promoting childbirth is either necessary or wise” continues the BHA. Well, it wouldn’t be modern Leftie liberalism without including some overhyped environmentalism – a “science” that is riddled with corruption and attention-seeking celebrities and politicians.

Note how the Humanist questions whether actively promoting childbirth is necessary or wise. In other words: it would be ok, if it was necessary. Necessary…for whom? Is there any other person on the planet apart from mum and dad who can decide if having a child is necessary or not? For what other purpose, apart from for their own selfish joy and love – is there for two people to bring a child into this world? Note also how the alternatives are “necessary or wise”. What about right?

The BHA continues: “In the case of a boom like that suggested by Phillips the real intention, worse than self-interest, appears to be the interest of an in-group.” (Yes, the only thing worse than self-interest is favouring a particular group…hang on a second…) The BHA vilifies the Catholic Phillips (rightly so, because you can never vilify Christians enough) for wanting to select for a culture of “Christian Europe”. And, true to the spirit of true democracy, she wants to use government force to get her way for her gang. The BHA fairly denounces this: “rather than dialogue, education or tolerance, she sees engineering the ethnic ratio as the way to go about it.”

The BHA finishes with: “Surely we’re passed the point at which wouldbe parents can be treated solely as such, asked to breed in the name of shoring up nationally, religiously or ethnically defined in-groups.”

Well, no. We’re not past that point – because the justification for using people as cattle for some other, intrinsic, “greater” good is the root of the most prevalent political system in the world today (socialism, in all its forms). And the means of achieving this collectivist end, the same as attempted by the Third Reich and Soviet Russia, is to use government force to engineer changes in peoples’ lives and markets that have nothing to do with simply protecting their Rights – the only thing any government should be doing.

Humanists will slam the nonsense coming out of the Church, rightly so – but they don’t have a clue themselves why it’s wrong. And they disagree on this particular point, not on the far more foundational principle of individual rights, but because, on this occasion, the power of government would work against them. But show the government enough votes and it would happen.

Not once do Humanists even question the idea that government offering incentives for people to breed is a gross trespassing of its rightful powers. This issue is totally lost on Humanists, and that is the real problem. The tenets and subjective moral basis of Humanists is hardly different from religion – hence I see them as inherently no better or worse than Christians. Given enough power, I’m afraid both groups will violate my Rights, and for a long time it’s actually been the liberal lefties who are the greater sinners. One group wants me to sacrifice for God, the other wants me to sacrifice for society.

The sad thing is that Humanists and other Neo-Atheists say it all in the guise of rationality. But rationality is a virtue that has its place in a person’s philosophy. It is needed because of the nature of man and the nature of reality, i.e. his metaphysics. It has its applications in identifying the good and bad for man, i.e. his morality – and the application of that to how he should live with other men, i.e.: his politics. Humanists fail because their metaphysics, morality, and politics are an irrational jumble of conflicting ideas. So they can talk about rationality all they want; they are missing the cart and the house.

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11 Responses to “Humanists don’t have a clue”

  1. HumanistDad Says:

    You wrote:

    “The tenets and subjective moral basis of Humanists is hardly different from religion – hence I see them as inherently no better or worse than Christians. Given enough power, I’m afraid both groups will violate my Rights, and for a long time it’s actually been the liberal lefties who are the greater sinners. One group wants me to sacrifice for God, the other wants me to sacrifice for society.”

    Really? You are saying that the list of Tenets offered on Wikipedia for Humanism (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Secular_humanism#Tenets) is no different than that of Christians and that Humanism will sacrifice you for the good of society?

    I rarely come across criticism of Humanism, which is unfortunate. I want to have my beliefs challenged so that I can constantly re-evaluate them. However, your criticism brought to mind someone wearing a tinfoil hat, raging at their computer, waiting for the nurse to arrive with meds.

    Maybe you were having a bad day and, with a little reading, will consider that your criticism was irrational. If so, try posting something more coherent next time.

    On the other hand, if you remain convinced that your criticism remains solid, I can only assume the BHA was glad to be rid of you.

  2. Bob Anderson Says:

    HumanistDad,

    Secular Humanists are almost exclusively political Leftists. That means that they are collectivists and welfare-statists. This means that they are advocates of a form of cannibalism as that is what the confiscation and redistribution of wealth really is.

    Secular Humanism has replaced the worship of god with the worship of society; ie it has replaced mysticism with collectivism. Personally, I find that a moderately religious person who is generally for individual freedom (there are many people like that in America) is a far better person than most secular humanist who I find are usually rabid, Leftist nihilists.

  3. HumanistDad Says:

    Thank you Bob for adding to the inanity.

    Painting a wide brush on all secular humanists (instead of the ideology) is undisguised bigotry. Congratulations!

    Maybe I assumed too much in my previous post. You must actually click the link I provided and read the text. Nowhere do I see ‘collectivism’, ‘nihilism’ or ‘borgism’, do you? In fact, the tenets rather support the idea of freedom. However, I have found that pure freedom fighters, whom you seem to remind me of, don’t seem to understand the impossibility of total freedom and a social construct. If you wish to live among at least one other human being you have to sacrifice your total freedom.

  4. Bob Anderson Says:

    However, I have found that pure freedom fighters, whom you seem to remind me of, don’t seem to understand the impossibility of total freedom and a social construct. If you wish to live among at least one other human being you have to sacrifice your total freedom.

    This confirms everything I said about secular humanists. Thank you.

    First, you reveal your subjectivist epistemological orientation with your conception of “total freedom” meaning you can do whatever you want. A straw man if I ever saw one. Next, you posit an inherent conflict between “pure” freedom and living in society; ie you argue that individuals must be forced – and make no mistake about it, you are advocating initiatory force – for society to succeed. Thus, you share the same fundamental premise with the Conservatives that you claim to loathe. That premise is that uncompromised individual freedom leads to societal destruction.

    In the end you, as all humanists, believe that the individual must be sacrificed for the good of the collective. Which is why when humanists, who are Leftists, claim to stand for freedom, its an empty claim. When you scratch the surface, you inevitably see that the humanist’s definition of freedom has absolutely nothing to do with real freedom. For humanists, the welfare-state, regulatory-state, affirmative-action state, etc. are all somehow compatible with “freedom.” A joke amongst Rand influenced people is to rename “secular humanism” as “secular totalitarianism”.

    This is why I say that secular humanists are an enemy of genuine liberty. But this is no shock. Objectivists and secular humanists have never gotten along and never will.

  5. HumanistDad Says:

    “Objectivists and secular humanists have never gotten along and never will.”

    I can see why. We Humanists generally leave a little room for doubt in whatever we believe.

  6. Jerry Johnson Says:

    “If you wish to live among at least one other human being you have to sacrifice your total freedom.”

    This is such an uneducated thought. Is living alone somehow more conducive to “total freedom”?

    And what are the ethics of a Humanist? How does one judge what principles “enhance human well-being” and “individual responsibility”?

    And what is the “responsibility” of an individual? Says who? Responsibility towards whom? And why?

    On what right does one man decide the duties, obligations, and responsibilities of another man?

    The fact of the matter is Humanism has no coherent ethical framework thought out. It’s a free-wheeling ideology that bases itself on feelings of general “goodness and belongingness”–not realizing that these feelings are prone to cultural, historical, and philosophical variances.

    The idea that one man has to curb his freedoms and assume responsibilities to live in a society is merely one example of an ill-thought-out, false, contradictory, and ultimately destructive principle.

    You can read my detailed post on this matter for more clarity:

    http://ergosum.wordpress.com/2006/11/14/rights-and-responsibilities/

  7. HumanistDad Says:

    I seem to have fallen into a meeting of the Reflective, Electrically-Conductive, Hat Club. But, my welcome has been warm so I’ll stay awhile longer…

    “How does one judge what principles “enhance human well-being” and “individual responsibility”?”

    Well, you could start by reading Sam Harris’ latest book that argues for a scientific approach to determining what creates well-being and what does not. However, a shorter argument is do whatever you want as long as it doesn’t interfere with whatever I want to do. A Humanist may take one tentative step forward and say why not see if there are things we can do cooperatively to enhance those things we most enjoy and sacrifice a teeny amount of the things we least want to do. Of course this is optional. However, I presume the objectivist would shoot me the moment I step on the driveway with my proposal.

    “what is the “responsibility” of an individual? Says who? Responsibility towards whom? And why?”

    Ok, so while you are sitting on your back deck enjoying a beer and reading the latest issue of Driveway Targetshooting I am loudly blaring the Communist Manifesto, in pig-latin, toward your yard. There’s nothing I enjoy more than an Animal Farm inspired Latin reading of Marxism, loud and set to fireworks! You wouldn’t dare infringe on my liberty now, would you?

    “On what right does one man decide the duties, obligations, and responsibilities of another man?”

    Oh, so I CAN do this beside your home after all! Thanks!

    “The idea that one man has to curb his freedoms and assume responsibilities to live in a society…”

    …is a brilliant one especially when it keeps them out of jail, or alive.

    Don’t forget to turn out the lights when the meeting is over, we must be wary of our contributions to global climate change!

  8. evanescent Says:

    “How does one judge what principles “enhance human well-being” and “individual responsibility”?”
    Well, you could start by reading Sam Harris’ latest book that argues for a scientific approach to determining what creates well-being and what does not. However, a shorter argument is do whatever you want as long as it doesn’t interfere with whatever I want to do. A Humanist may take one tentative step forward and say why not see if there are things we can do cooperatively to enhance those things we most enjoy and sacrifice a teeny amount of the things we least want to do. Of course this is optional. However, I presume the objectivist would shoot me the moment I step on the driveway with my proposal.

    Science is a field of human research that itself requires a philosophical base. If that philosophical base is subjective and nihilistic (which it is, although science is usually practiced rationally) – the true nature of man and existence will not be identified. As example of this, I give you the nihilism of skeptics denying man’s senses and the external world. In practice, see metaphysical naturalism or physicalism.

    Even your paragraph is riddled with self-doubt and vacillating ideas: “a humanist MAY take one TENTATIVE step…SACRIFICE a TEENY amount…of course this is OPTIONAL”. So which is it?! What are we to do or not? How? Why? Make it up as we go?

    “Do what you want as long as it doesn’t interfere with whatever I want to do.”

    Unfortunately, Humanistdad, this statement is totally meaningless. It says nothing and leaves too many things unanswered: I can do whatever I want as long as it doesn’t interfere; what do you mean by “interfere”? To what extent? Where is the line of interference? “With whatever I want to do”? Don’t you mean whatever you actually DO? In other words, I can’t buy a happy meal if you’re sitting at home wanting one? Let’s say we’re both in the queue and I’m in front of you. I want a happy meal, but there is only one left – am I interfering with what you want to do?

    Am I interfering with what you want if we apply for the same job? Or pursue the same woman? Aren’t you interfering with me? Which one of us is in the wrong, and why? Which one of us needs to stop and concede to the other, and why?

    “what is the “responsibility” of an individual? Says who? Responsibility towards whom? And why?”
    Ok, so while you are sitting on your back deck enjoying a beer and reading the latest issue of Driveway Targetshooting I am loudly blaring the Communist Manifesto, in pig-latin, toward your yard. There’s nothing I enjoy more than an Animal Farm inspired Latin reading of Marxism, loud and set to fireworks! You wouldn’t dare infringe on my liberty now, would you?

    As I will say in an upcoming article, your freedom end where my front door begins. Actually the current law of most Western countries with regard to noise disturbance and neighbourhood behaviour is about where it should be. I don’t think it would require much change in a free society.

    “On what right does one man decide the duties, obligations, and responsibilities of another man?”
    Oh, so I CAN do this beside your home after all! Thanks!

    See above.

    “The idea that one man has to curb his freedoms and assume responsibilities to live in a society…”
    …is a brilliant one especially when it keeps them out of jail, or alive.

    I don’t understand what you mean by this. I guess you’re saying that if we didn’t curb our freedom we would end up committed crimes, or dying. Which belies a total misunderstanding of the concept of freedom and constitutes a silly strawman of Objectivism.

    If you understood what was meant by Rights imposing a negative obligation on others, i.e.: to simply leave you alone – you wouldn’t make statements like this.

    I think you have perfectly demonstrated the point I was making in the article, Humanistdad – and don’t take this personally as I’m attacking your philosophy, not you: but you have profoundly misunderstood the rather simple philosophical points made, the humanist “philosophy” you’ve presented is baseless and capricious, and it’s also totally impotent to identify anything of truth or interest, or anything that can be practically applied to human life as a guide.

    The disappointing thing is that this is precisely what I was getting at – that Humanism has no philosophy. It is a hodgepodge of various unrelated assumptions and ideals, cherry-picked from many sources, and strung together to sound liberal and meaningful and pro-human – when in reality these assumptions and ideals are actually lifted from socialistic and fascist notions, and the morality behind them is the same as that of religion: altruism, collectivism, sacrifice, self-effacement, worship. You have replaced God with Society. How the irony is lost on you I don’t know.

  9. HumanistDad Says:

    The conversation has gotten interesting again so, sure, I’ll have another drink.

    Science is an exercise in model-building. The true nature of things is hidden from us, and may always be, so we have to model how the world works. When the model fails to account for an observation, we evolve the model. I don’t see how this is philosophy.

    “self-doubt and vacillating ideas”

    You would prefer the confident and dogmatic assertion of ideas? Any idea I accept I do so with what I trust to be valid evidence and I allow some skepticism so that the idea can be changed when new information comes along. If dictated, concrete rules and ideas are what you want…

    “I want a happy meal, but there is only one left – am I interfering with what you want to do?”

    Trivial, but worthwhile question. Assuming we both have a right to one, who gets it? What if the water supply is limited? What if the vaccines are limited? Humanists would likely argue that if everyone has a right to Item X (whether water or free speech) then our goal is to bring the supply and demand in line. Item Y (like a car or Happy Meals), something we don’t have a right to, can be left to the markets. So, no, you don’t have the freedom and right to fill your pool with clean water if people with a right to it have none.

    Finally, your last point about responsibilities and who decides. The same can be said of rights. Who is to say you have any rights? At the very least, if WE decide what rights we will all have (and I argue that all people have the same rights until they violate them) should we not have at least one responsibility – to honour those rights?

  10. Bob Anderson Says:

    The idea that one man has to curb his freedoms and assume responsibilities to live in a society is merely one example of an ill-thought-out, false, contradictory, and ultimately destructive principle.

    Its interesting that the Catholic Church has the same view of combining rights and responsibilities as do the Secular Humanists.

    From the Papacy’s latest Encyclical:

    Individual rights, when detached from a framework of duties which grants them their full meaning, can run wild, leading to an escalation of demands which is effectively unlimited and indiscriminate. An overemphasis on rights leads to a disregard for duties. Duties set a limit on rights because they point to the anthropological and ethical framework of which rights are a part, in this way ensuring that they do not become license. Duties thereby reinforce rights and call for their defense and promotion as a task to be undertaken in the service of the common good. Otherwise, if the only basis of human rights is to be found in the deliberations of an assembly of citizens, those rights can be changed at any time, and so the duty to respect and pursue them fades from the common consciousness.

  11. evanescent Says:

    ? Humanists would likely argue that if everyone has a right to Item X (whether water or free speech). Item Y (like a car or Happy Meals), something we don’t have a right to, can be left to the markets. So, no, you don’t have the freedom and right to fill your pool with clean water if people with a right to it have none.

    If one doesn’t own or is unable to own something, i.e.: someone else’s property, please explain what “Right” you think someone who needs something suddenly gains compared to the “Right” they don’t have for something they don’t “need” (your words) like a car or happy meal.


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