Sunday, November 25, 2007

Humanist Symposium

humanist symposium logo
Welcome to
the 11th Humanist Symposium.

Humanism is a way of thought that affirms the inherent dignity and worth of human life and our ability to seek truth, gain wisdom, and tell right from wrong through the application of reason.

One of the things humanists are associated with, sometimes (but see below) the main if not only thing, is atheism. It's not surprising that almost half of our submissions are on that topic - but only half. So let's get started.

First, we're people, many of us with families, and sometimes that leads to questions about the children. One such is, "What will children choose if they grow up in a mixed-religion household?" Jenny and her commenters wonder that in Choosing Religion posted at the so called me.

On the other hand, though, Deirdré Straughan describes how her daughter chose, and she uses that word deliberately, atheism in Raising a Non-Believer posted at Countries Beginning with "I".

And in case your children (or you) are wondering what that entails, Spanish Inquisitor tells us what's involved: How To Become An Atheist posted at Spanish Inquisitor.

But maybe all this atheism is just a trend? Dawkins, Hitchens, Harris - just the cool kids everyone wants to be like, until they're suddenly not cool any longer? Greta Christina looks at that theory in Godless is the New Black: Is Atheism Just a Trend? posted at Greta Christina's Blog.

Of course, for some folks atheism isn't a trend at all, or even a simple fact, but a painful necessity. Ebonmuse and his commenters offer some advice to an atheist about coming out to his in-laws,posted at Daylight Atheism.

And the Exterminator talks about someone for whom it's a choice denied in Join me in welcoming Name Withheld posted at No More Hornets - and his commenters do just that.

And in that post, and the comments, we see that atheism is like other parts of being human. But that shouldn't surprise us. Of course being human is far more than atheism, or theism for that matter.

Here are some posts that demonstrate that, beginning with a celebration of the Net and how it can introduce us to the best of ourselves: Paul Sunstone's musing on "the interconnectedness of humanity through the internet", How the Net Fascinates Me posted at Café Philos: an internet café.

What makes us human? One of the things that differentiates us from other animals is (we think) that we alone foresee our deaths. Helga Sombrofsky looks at that from a biological, evolutionary perspective in Life Without Death posted at Questions and Chaos.

Death, and knowing about it, thinking about it, certainly is one of the big things in life. Dwight Lyman thinks "strangely, it enriches life to know the truth" and tells us why in Fictitious Intermediaries & Death posted at thenakedatheist.

Another thing that makes us human? Ego. Cats may have it, but they're, well, cats: it works for them. For us, it can be a problem. therapydoc talks about balancing ego and self in Being Great and the Self in Self-esteem posted at Everyone Needs Therapy.

Another? We're "the learning animals." Alvaro Fernandez looks at human intelligence, and the need to stop thinking about it as fixed and to focus on improving everyone, in Is Intelligence Innate and Fixed? posted at SharpBrains.

And what's more human than money? Shaun Connell gives us one view of Money - Ayn Rand's - posted at Reason and Capitalism (though I have to warn you that, perhaps not surprisingly, there are a lot of intrusive ads).

One more thing humans can do is rise above their instincts. On another front entirely, Russell Blackford takes on the "ethical 'yuck' factor" and its proponents in Margaret Somerville is at it again: Shadows of the Endarkenment from Montreal posted at Metamagician and the Hellfire Club.

I'll finish up with a post that pretty much summarizes what we humanists are: a poem about giving thanks. It's by Cuttlefish, and it's called An Atheist Gives Thanks posted at the Digital Cuttlefish

So that's the Humanist Symposium's Eleventh Edition. The next edition will be at evanescent on December 16. Use this link to submit, and I'll see you there.

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At 3:11 PM, November 25, 2007 Blogger The Exterminator had this to say...

Thanks, Ridger, for including my post in this excellent edition of the symposium.

At 6:31 PM, November 25, 2007 Blogger Spanish Inquisitor had this to say...

The Symposium looks good, but I noticed that a lot of the links don't work, at least on 2 computers I have. Both links to my site are incorrrect. There are other sites, like Greta's I'm getting 404 error messages on.

At 6:45 PM, November 25, 2007 Blogger The Ridger, FCD had this to say...

I have absolutely no idea how that happened. Seriously. But it's fixed now. Thanks so much.

At 9:16 PM, November 25, 2007 Blogger Spanish Inquisitor had this to say...

Looks good now. Good job!

At 10:04 PM, December 05, 2007 Anonymous Anonymous had this to say...

Thanks for putting this together! My website had a glitch and shifted my URLs a bit. My new url for the money post is Is there any way you could edit that in? I also took most of the ads down.

Btw, I LOVE the quote at the bottom of your site. It gave me chills. :P


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