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Are you a universist?

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bernt

Re: the Brights intentions (was The meaning of God )

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Jeremy, I don't know, I have written to them and got clear answers, but as you say it doesn't have to be a conscious intention but its clear that they are not much concerned about the aggressive atheists who diss the Brights so it works this way even if they didn't set it up as a functionally rigged trapping in the first place. They reacted to being named The godless and felt a need for a less outcast name. Now to my very wild alternative to Bright. Would it be arrogant or silly to propose that we see us all as The Joiners. What is a Joiner? One dictionary say this: 1. To come together so as to form a connection: 2. To act together; form an alliance: 3. To become a member of a group. 4. To take part; participate: So The Joiners Movement would be all of us who see the merit in being inclusive and having all humans in our caring thought regardless of their faith. As Naturalists we could include fundies by explaining their supernaturalism as a typical human anthrocentric and anthropomorphic interpretation of our natural world. Sure they exclude us but we as Naturalists we include them all, even the atheistic loners who don't want to join any atheistic or secular humanistic or freethinking community of joiners. All of us is included in humanity and to be a Joiner is to realize that to exclude anybody is to make us less human. We don't have to support their supernatural claim at all, we could explain it to be a human notion among others and it is up to them having an extraordinary claim to argue for it. I see naturalism as the common to all default position. So let us all join The Joiners Movement Bernt with tongue in cheek smiling friendly towards all The Brights.
bernt

Including or excluding circles Us vs Them

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there is an old Quaker? joke. "He exluded me drawing a narrow circle of evangelistic literalism but I draw a wider circle that included him in the Inner Light of Reason. " Not a literal quote but a remake of it. Don't tell the Quakers! Ok if it is about Us vs Them we need to include our friends and exlude our enemies? Isn't this rather obvious. Brights then make two circles and friends have a naturalistic worldview that exludes any faith in the supernatural and the mystic. They forgot to exlude the paranormal? They forgot to exlude the overbelief in logical axioms? Ok they wanted to be as inclusive as possible while still have a constraining borderline. Now Ford Vox comes along and propose Universism as an alternative with a twist. Why not only exlude what is based on blind faith and include such decisions that is rationally based and some Deism seems to be? E.O.Wilson seem to be rational in his Deism? Martin Gardner seems to be in his Fideism which is a variety of Deism? I am not so sure but all this is way above my intellectual capacity and most of my neighbours are apatists or apatheists and go for other circles. Does it feel ok and doesn't harm others by craving others to adhere to the norms of the religion then it is ok to them. Live and let live they tell me. But the faith in in the supernatrual is harmful I tell them. Don't have to be they say. Their two big Circles look like this. 1. Circle One. Non-organised individualists. If you keep your inner thoughts to yourself and never push anybody in any directions then it is ok to have any crazy faith. 2. Circle Two. Those who are engaged in converting or deconverting others by insisting that we need to have rights or public equal space for a particular faith or non-faith. My two circles is different. 1. Circle One. Enjoyers of this world. This include both atheists who enjoy this life and theists who enjoy this life as it is and take religoon as a social symbolic construct but not as a postmodernist relativistic construct. 2. Circle Two. People who insist that this world and this life is something bad and that this life we go through to prepare for the next better life depending on how we behave here now. They say that to crave things now is what makes us suffer, they say that to listen to music that you enjoy comes between you and God. They say that the Body is not to enjoy, neither your own or anybody cause God is a spirit and the Body is bad. so my two circles are inclusive and exluding too but allow religious feeligns as long as they emerge out of the natural body and don't debase it or talk bad about it or say it is sinful or a cause of our suffer and a burden to cast off. Ok E.O.Wilson could be wrong but from an evolutionary perspective religion could be a consequence of our adaptation to big groups. We ahve to deal with many diverse taste and preferences of the others in the big group. So something has to be refered to as a mediator and religion has filled that role and only if we come up with good secular alternatives will religion get less political power. Brights is one such initiative and Universists another. I find the Universists too relativistic for my taste and the Brights not enough Enjoying this life. So my naive proposal is to rename the Brights as the Enjoying Brights or maybe just The Enjoyers. Bernt Rostrom Hudiksvall Sweden
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Re: Including or excluding circles Us vs Them

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berntQuote:1. Circle One. Enjoyers of this world. This include both atheists who enjoy this life and theists who enjoy this life as it is and take religoon as a social symbolic construct but not as a postmodernist relativistic construct. I think I understand where you are coming from, and would be sympathetic to your viewpoint if human culture were stable. But it is not. Religions are memes; infectious and, as you implicitly point out, sometimes pernicious but sometimes not. The problem is that a benign religion, like any other parasite, can evolve into a dangerous parasite, and there is nothing we can do about it.Take the religion of my forbears, Judaism. They began with a military escape (from the Egyptians); well planned, well executed, and care to harm as few of the "enemy" as possible. Bravo. Then the invasion and genocide in Canaan; few events in recorded history are more brutish than that cold blooded conquest. The leader says, "kill all the men and adult women, sell the virgins in to slavery". They put together a pretty ordinary theocracy, then lost their country and become scattered around the globe; without arms or armies, they become a peaceful people, concerned with studying their book and making up justifications for the violence of their past. Seem harmless enough.Then secular Jews build a country. Good thing or bad? I'm not going there, its not germane to this point. Religious Jews are still seen as, see themselves as, generally act as, a pretty peaceful bunch, more inclined to throw rocks at their own than lob shells at anyone else. But what does the future bear? Wouldn't the world be safer without the potential for this brand of fundy fanatics getting control of their secular brethren's powerful weapons? I say yes. I say, the only real defense against the excesses of religion; the canaanite genocides, the european inquisitions, the "witch" burnings, the crusades, the holocaust: is the elimination of this dangerous parasite, in all its verities, from our cultural meme pool. Science is neither a philosophy nor a belief system. It is a combination of mental operations that has become increasingly the habit of educated peoples, a culture of illuminations hit upon by a fortunate turn of history that yielded the most effective way of learning about the real world ever conceived. E.O.Wilson
bernt

Religion as a lethal meme visus

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I say, the only real defense against the excesses of religion; the canaanite genocides, the european inquisitions, the "witch" burnings, the crusades, the holocaust: is the elimination of this dangerous parasite, in all its verities, from our cultural meme pool. Jeremy1952Yeah, I thought so from 1953 to 1983 and acted to eliminate all religion from 1963 up to 1996 or so. Recent study has shown that about 90% of world population is "religious" and that figure is growing while the Church attendency is declining. Peopel are more individualistic now but not less religious. I agree with you that absolutism of fundy literalism is really lethal meme visus indeed. How to survive that threat? We need to cooperate with al the non-fundies and non-authoritarian and non-absolutistic belivers so we have a chance of being heard on equal footing. The ideological absolutists exists within Marxism too so it is not only faith i nGod that is fundy in it's apporach. Read the atheism.about.com Austin Cline, he says in the Letter section to one writer. "I enjoy this life..." and even if he would scorn my naive The Enjoyers he would stand by his sense of this world and life as to be enjoyed and there is a lot of religious peopel who would stand by it too. The dangerous fundies would say that this world is between us and God cause God is Spirit and to love this life instead of God is the greatest sin. So if we make a circle big enough to include all peopel of good will and exlude those of il lwill then who to disapprove of this being a good proposal Bernt
Naturyl

Re: Religion as a lethal meme visus

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Quote:How about something like "Scientific Humanism" or "Naturalistic Humanism" then?How about "Humanistic Naturalism," the term that Bernt and I (independently of each other) both came up with at about the same time?This term describes my worldview perfectly, because it shows that I am first and foremost a naturalist, but I also happen to be of a humanistic persuasion. This is important simply because not all naturalists are also humanists, or even sympathetic to humanist ideas. On the other hand, all humanists are to some extent naturalists, but many are only minimally naturalistic in that they continue to accept free will, which is made untenable by a consistent naturalism. Naturalism, if taken seriously, leads to a high degree of skepticism regarding traditional ideas of contra-causal or 'libertarian' free will. So, to me, a humanistic naturalist is someone who accepts a consistent (deterministic) naturalism, but tempers this with humanistic ideas.Depending on whether or not Bernt accepts determinism, he may define "humanistic naturalism" somewhat differently. This is my version of the term, to give you an idea of what I intended to convey when I came up with it.For some related reading, have a look at this article, entitled "A Question for Brights: How Naturalistic Are You?"naturalism.org/currents.htm#Brights
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Re: Religion as a lethal meme visus

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I'm stuck on the word freethinker as the best fit for who I am. Having a one-word description makes it simple to communicate. I like Humanistic Naturalism, but it doesn't flow off the tongue. So is someone who adheres to a humanistic naturalism philosophy or worldview a humanistic naturalist? The problem I see with this is that naturalist already has a meaning. I am not a naturalist...I see real estate.I guess I'm a humanistic freethinker. HmmmChris "When once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward,for there you have been, and there you will always want to be."
Naturyl

Re: Religion as a lethal meme visus

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You're right in that 'humanistic naturalism' is a mouthful and does not slip off the toungue without some pushing. Your concern over the meaning of 'naturalism' is less critical to me simply because naturalism has an established philosophical meaning as well, which is in line with what many freethinkers believe. However, I do see your point and find it valid.If we're looking for one quick word (and I think a lot of us are), both 'freethinker' and 'humanist' are excellent choices. The only concern I have with 'freethinker' is that it carries a subtle implication of superiority (much like 'Bright' does as well). One can argue that if we are freethinkers, those who don't agree with our worldview must be unfreethinkers, slavethinkers, or something similar. Of course, we know that the term isn't necessarily meant that way, but opponents will seize on anything they can, and the possible implication of superiority is almost as much of a problem for 'freethinker' as it is for 'Bright,' IMO.I think that 'freethinker' is good, but 'humanist' is better still. If we use a broad definition of humanism, most freethinkers, Brights, and the like would be included. The International Humanist and Ethical Union offers a "Minimum Statement on Humanism:"Quote:Humanism is a democratic and ethical life stance, which affirms that human beings have the right and responsibility to give meaning and shape to their own lives. It stands for the building of a more humane society through an ethic based on human and other natural values in the spirit of reason and free inquiry through human capabilities. It is not theistic, and it does not accept supernatural views of reality.This leaves out almost no one but perhaps the most nihilistic and cynical of atheists. By this 'minimum statement' definition, which is recognized as the 'least common demoninator' required to claim 'humanism' as one's worldview, few of us would be excluded. Based on these and other considerations, I now feel that the term 'humanist,' even without direct reference to naturalism, is probably the best option currently available.
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Re: Religion as a lethal meme visus

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NaturylYou make an excellent point here:The only concern I have with 'freethinker' is that it carries a subtle implication of superiority (much like 'Bright' does as well). One can argue that if we are freethinkers, those who don't agree with our worldview must be unfreethinkers, slavethinkers, or something similar.This air of superiority is one I can live with until a better word comes along. Arrogant as it sounds, I do view theists as unfreethinkers. Their belief system is shackled and controlled by immutable religious dogma. But your point is well taken and I see the need to come up with a less abbrassive/confrontational term.Humanist doesn't work without the adjective "secular" attached. Humanism is NOT necessarily atheistic. There is actually a type called "religious humanism," amongst many other branches. Atheistic humanism is but one branch, even if it is the most well known. Here is how Dictionary.com defines the term:Humanism1. A system of thought that centers on humans and their values, capacities, and worth. 2. Concern with the interests, needs, and welfare of humans: "the newest flower on the vine of corporate humanism" (Savvy). 3. Medicine. The concept that concern for human interests, values, and dignity is of the utmost importance to the care of the sick. 4. The study of the humanities; learning in the liberal arts. 5. Humanism A cultural and intellectual movement of the Renaissance that emphasized secular concerns as a result of the rediscovery and study of the literature, art, and civilization of ancient Greece and Rome.Merriam-Webster includes as a tertiary defintion:..."a doctrine, attitude, or way of life centered on human interests or values; especially : a philosophy that usually rejects supernaturalism and stresses an individual's dignity and worth and capacity for self-realization through reason."I've always considered the word Humanism as a fine description of my worldview, but when trying to come up with a single term that will be widely accepted and won't cause any potential problems you have to be very cautious. According to Frederick Edwords of the American Humanist Association there are many different types of Humanism including...Literary HumanismResaissance Humanism Cultural Humanism Philosophical Humanism Christian Humanism Modern HumanismSecular Humanism Religious Humanism Here is my fear. We grow accustomed to calling ourselves humanists, and one day I have a Bible-thumper say, "Hey, wadda ya know...I'm a humanist too!" Umm...no you're not damnit.As long as we call it secular humanism we're fine. But simply humanism doesn't seem like a smart move. Unless we can explain to the world that all humanists are atheists from this point forward...I will refrain from using the term.I'm an atheist. I'm also a secular humanist. And I'm also a freethinker. Oh, and a skeptic.My atheism states that I am without belief in a deity. My secular humanism tells you that I am not just without a belief in a deity, but also that my worldview is humanistic. And freethinker lets you know that my application of reason does not just apply to my religious views, but to anything and everything. And skepticism means I want to see some damn evidence before I believe.Shit, now that I think about it I'm a naturalist and a materialist. Perhaps even a 3/4 objectivist.What a task. Coming up with the perfect word is quite a challenge.Chris "The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who cannot read them"
Naturyl

Re: Religion as a lethal meme visus

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Quote:Humanism is NOT necessarily atheistic. There is actually a type called "religious humanism," amongst many other branches. Atheistic humanism is but one branch, even if it is the most well known.Well, to split hairs a bit, it seems to me that the majority of religious humanists are also atheistic in that few accept anything that could be legitimately termed a 'god.' However, many go on to set humanity up in the vacant spot left by the jettisoned deity, which potentially raises certain questions. It could be argued this substitution constitutes a form of theism in and of itself, but there is a ton of room for semantic disputes which are notriously difficult to resolve. I am familiar with such disputed from my years as a high-ranking organizer of pantheism (itself essentially a substitution of nature for deity), which faces many similar controversies in that the modern version is largely atheistic, yet the reference to 'theism' carries certain implications which can be very hard to deny.Probably the potential for this sort of semantic morass is the biggest problem with the adoption of 'humanism,' and I thank you for reminding me of it.Finally, althought it is increasingly rare, I will concede that there are a few folks who are standard-variety theists who insist on referring to themselves as 'humanists' as well. Although these are too rare to constitute much of a real problem, they could be used by other theists to undermine our (widely accepted) version of humanism.Quote:Here is my fear. We grow accustomed to calling ourselves humanists, and one day I have a Bible-thumper say, "Hey, wadda ya know...I'm a humanist too!" Umm...no you're not damnit.I can't say that it isn't a legitimate concern. Theists are notorious for using any possible method at their disposal to say "I'm one too," and therefore undermine the strength and autonomy of opposing positions. This is another strong point, although I'd imagine there is little need to say that the same possibility is equally (and perhaps More) likely with "freethinker." I personally have observed theists say "I'm a freethinker too" on several occassions.Secular Humanism is a good alternative or modification, and it is one that I personally happen to like. However, it suffers from two potential problems - first, it is two words and not a signle, concise term, and secondly, Pat Robertson and crew have badmouthed "secular humanism" almost as much as they have "atheism," therefore nullifying a lot of the potential for public image improvement. Persoanlly, I barely care, so I use 'secular humanism' frequently and will likely continue to do so. As an umbrella term, however, I think it may not suffice.Quote:What a task. Coming up with the perfect word is quite a challenge.It really is. Until one works at it for a while, it is difficult to realize just how daunting such a seemingly simple task can be. IMO, the fact that much of the community sees 'Bright' as the best available option should say something about the poverty of good alternatives.Despite having just established the small likelihood of accomplishing anything, I'll offfer one more possibility - 'realist.' This is a very broad and general term with a fairly clear colloquial meaning, it is a small, easy word, and it applies to almost everyone in the community to a greater or lesser degree. However, a potential problem is (yet again) the 'tone of superiority.' An implication might be percieved that theists and others are 'unrealists,' 'fantasists,' etc. Of course, we know that this is entirely correct, but it still probably wouldn't do to say so bluntly (although whether or not an implication is 'blunt' is debatable). In any case, this 'tone' problem seems more difficult to avoid than one might initially think it would be.
bernt

Re: Religion as a lethal meme visus

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Naturyl wrote: Quote:As an umbrella term, however, I think it may not suffice. Quote:What a task. Coming up with the perfect word is quite a challenge.It really is. Until one works at it for a while, it is difficult to realize just how daunting such a seemingly simple task can be. IMO, the fact that much of the community sees 'Bright' as the best available option should say something about the poverty of good alternatives. Paul Geisert gave it many moths. Realist is good but has some problems too. My bad argueing would be that it is soo obviously persfect that it would already be in use if it is a functional word. I tried Realism as early as 1997 if I remember but very few liked it. Now that says nothing, words need to be proposed by carismatic persons like Naturyl Good luck indeed. Chris your words are really true. "What a task. Coming up with the perfect word is quite a challenge." So one way would be to concentrate on what the words refer to or the practical outreach. But that is not easy at all either. Is this all a bit like Pop and Rock music success? To get out they need the right text and melody and maybe any name will be accepted if people like the music. But how they relate to the audience and Press Media and the Fans is essential too. Many factors are interdependent on each other. Center for Naturalism has a very good site. But only 38 on their yahoogroups list. Brights Movement has no some 755 in their Forums. So no wonder Paul adn Mynga see it as a success. Over 20,000 signed up Brights worldwide. but I wrote to ask the biggest small country Secular Humanist org. Norway who ahve 64,000 paying members. No answer and I wrote a kind email asking them very politely to answer three short questions. As I remember 1. Is the Brights known in Humanist Norway? 2. What name do you use. Bright or a translation? 3. Do the humanists see it as a Unifying Umbrella or a competing org? somethign like that, My memory could fool me. A month has gone but no answer. And only 10% supported Brights in IIB so that says it all. Several Humanist Leaders see it as divisive. They write Editorials on their concern about Brights being divisive. So I hope The Brights start listening to al lthe feedback and try to draw wise conclusions. "What a task. Coming up with the perfect word is quite a challenge."Indeed.
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