Humanist Manifesto

Humanist Manifesto

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Humanist Manifesto is the title of three manifesto
Manifesto
A manifesto is a public declaration of principles and intentions, often political in nature. Manifestos relating to religious belief are generally referred to as creeds. Manifestos may also be life stance-related.-Etymology:...

s laying out a Humanist
Humanism
Humanism is an approach in study, philosophy, world view or practice that focuses on human values and concerns. In philosophy and social science, humanism is a perspective which affirms some notion of human nature, and is contrasted with anti-humanism....

 worldview. They are the original Humanist Manifesto
Humanist Manifesto I
A Humanist Manifesto, also known as Humanist Manifesto I to distinguish it from later Humanist Manifestos in the series, was written in 1933 primarily by Raymond Bragg and published with 34 signers. Unlike the later manifestos, this first talks of a new religion and refers to humanism as a...

(1933, often referred to as Humanist Manifesto I), the Humanist Manifesto II
Humanist Manifesto II
The second Humanist Manifesto was written in 1973 by Paul Kurtz and Edwin H. Wilson, and was intended to update the previous one. It begins with a statement that the excesses of Nazism and world war had made the first seem "far too optimistic", and indicated a more hardheaded and realistic...

(1973), and Humanism and Its Aspirations
Humanism and Its Aspirations
Humanism and Its Aspirations subtitled Humanist Manifesto III, a successor to the Humanist Manifesto of 1933 is the most recent of the Humanist Manifestos published in 2003 by the American Humanist Association...

(2003, a.k.a. Humanist Manifesto III). The Manifesto originally arose from religious Humanism
Religious humanism
Religious humanism is an integration of humanist ethical philosophy with religious rituals and beliefs that center on human needs, interests, and abilities.-Origins:...

, though secular Humanists
Secular humanism
Secular Humanism, alternatively known as Humanism , is a secular philosophy that embraces human reason, ethics, justice, and the search for human fulfillment...

 also signed.

The central theme of all three manifestos is the elaboration of a philosophy
Philosophy
Philosophy is the study of general and fundamental problems, such as those connected with existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind, and language. Philosophy is distinguished from other ways of addressing such problems by its critical, generally systematic approach and its reliance on rational...

 and value system which does not necessarily include belief in any personal deity or "higher power", although the three differ considerably in their tone, form, and ambition. Each has been signed at its launch by various prominent members of academia
Academia
Academia is the community of students and scholars engaged in higher education and research.-Etymology:The word comes from the akademeia in ancient Greece. Outside the city walls of Athens, the gymnasium was made famous by Plato as a center of learning...

 and others who are in general agreement with its principles.

In addition, there is a similar document entitled A Secular Humanist Declaration
A Secular Humanist Declaration
A Secular Humanist Declaration was an argument for and statement of support for democratic secular humanism. The document was issued in 1980 by The Council for Democratic and Secular Humanism , now the Council for Secular Humanism...

published in 1980 by the Council for Secular Humanism
Council for Secular Humanism
The Council for Secular Humanism is a secular humanist organization headquartered in Amherst, New York. In 1980 CODESH issued A Secular Humanist Declaration, an argument for and statement of belief in Democratic Secular Humanism...

.

Humanist Manifesto I



The first manifesto, entitled simply A Humanist Manifesto, was written in 1933 primarily by Roy Wood Sellars
Roy Wood Sellars
Roy Wood Sellars was an American philosopher of critical realism and religious humanism, and a proponent of emergent evolution. His son was the philosopher Wilfrid Sellars...

 and Raymond Bragg
Raymond Bragg
Raymond Bennett Bragg was an American Unitarian minister who played a key role in the writing of the Humanist Manifesto.- External links :* http://www.uua.org/uuhs/duub/articles/raymondbragg.html...

 and was published with thirty-four signatories including philosopher John Dewey
John Dewey
John Dewey was an American philosopher, psychologist and educational reformer whose ideas have been influential in education and social reform. Dewey was an important early developer of the philosophy of pragmatism and one of the founders of functional psychology...

. Unlike the later ones, the first Manifesto talked of a new "religion
Religion
Religion is a collection of cultural systems, belief systems, and worldviews that establishes symbols that relate humanity to spirituality and, sometimes, to moral values. Many religions have narratives, symbols, traditions and sacred histories that are intended to give meaning to life or to...

", and referred to Humanism as a religious movement to transcend and replace previous religions based on allegations of supernatural revelation. The document outlines a fifteen-point belief system, which, in addition to a secular outlook, opposes "acquisitive and profit-motivated society" and outlines a worldwide egalitarian society based on voluntary mutual cooperation, language which was considerably softened by the Humanists' board, owners of the document, twenty years later.

The title "A Humanist Manifesto" - rather than "The Humanist Manifesto" - was intentional, predictive of later Manifestos to follow, as indeed has been the case. Unlike the creeds of major organized religions, the setting out of Humanist ideals in these Manifestos is an ongoing process. Indeed, in some communities of Humanists the compilation of personal Manifestos is actively encouraged, and throughout the Humanist movement it is accepted that the Humanist Manifestos are not permanent or authoritative dogmas but are to be subject to ongoing critique.

Humanist Manifesto II



The second Manifesto was written in 1973 by Paul Kurtz
Paul Kurtz
Paul Kurtz is a prominent American skeptic and secular humanist. He has been called "the father of secular humanism." He is Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at the State University of New York at Buffalo, having previously also taught at Vassar, Trinity, and Union colleges, and the New School for...

 and Edwin H. Wilson
Edwin H. Wilson
Edwin Henry Wilson was an American Unitarian leader and humanist who helped draft the Humanist Manifesto of 1973....

, and was intended to update and replace the previous one. It begins with a statement that the excesses of Nazism
Nazism
Nazism, the common short form name of National Socialism was the ideology and practice of the Nazi Party and of Nazi Germany...

 and World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 had made the first seem "far too optimistic", and indicated a more hardheaded and realistic approach in its seventeen-point statement, which was much longer and more elaborate than the previous version. Nevertheless, much of the unbridled optimism of the first remained, with hopes stated that war would become obsolete and poverty would be eliminated.

Many of the proposals in the document, such as opposition to racism
Racism
Racism is the belief that inherent different traits in human racial groups justify discrimination. In the modern English language, the term "racism" is used predominantly as a pejorative epithet. It is applied especially to the practice or advocacy of racial discrimination of a pernicious nature...

 and weapons of mass destruction
Weapons of mass destruction
A weapon of mass destruction is a weapon that can kill and bring significant harm to a large number of humans and/or cause great damage to man-made structures , natural structures , or the biosphere in general...

 and support of strong human rights
Human rights
Human rights are "commonly understood as inalienable fundamental rights to which a person is inherently entitled simply because she or he is a human being." Human rights are thus conceived as universal and egalitarian . These rights may exist as natural rights or as legal rights, in both national...

, are fairly uncontroversial, and its prescriptions that divorce
Divorce
Divorce is the final termination of a marital union, canceling the legal duties and responsibilities of marriage and dissolving the bonds of matrimony between the parties...

 and birth control
Birth control
Birth control is an umbrella term for several techniques and methods used to prevent fertilization or to interrupt pregnancy at various stages. Birth control techniques and methods include contraception , contragestion and abortion...

 should be legal and that technology
Technology
Technology is the making, usage, and knowledge of tools, machines, techniques, crafts, systems or methods of organization in order to solve a problem or perform a specific function. It can also refer to the collection of such tools, machinery, and procedures. The word technology comes ;...

 can improve life are widely accepted today in much of the Western world
Western world
The Western world, also known as the West and the Occident , is a term referring to the countries of Western Europe , the countries of the Americas, as well all countries of Northern and Central Europe, Australia and New Zealand...

. Furthermore, its proposal of an international court
International court
International courts are formed by treaties between nations, or under the authority of an international organization such as the United Nations — this includes ad hoc tribunals and permanent institutions, but excludes any courts arising purely under national authority.Early examples of...

 has since been implemented
International Court of Justice
The International Court of Justice is the primary judicial organ of the United Nations. It is based in the Peace Palace in The Hague, Netherlands...

. However, in addition to its rejection of supernaturalism, various controversial stances are strongly supported, notably the right to abortion
Abortion
Abortion is defined as the termination of pregnancy by the removal or expulsion from the uterus of a fetus or embryo prior to viability. An abortion can occur spontaneously, in which case it is usually called a miscarriage, or it can be purposely induced...

. The general tone of the second Manifesto has been perceived as moving away from sympathy with libertarian socialism
Libertarian socialism
Libertarian socialism is a group of political philosophies that promote a non-hierarchical, non-bureaucratic, stateless society without private property in the means of production...

 toward a more economically neutral stance.

Initially published with a small number of signatures, the document was circulated and gained thousands more, and indeed the AHA website encourages visitors to add their own name. A provision at the end noted that signators do "not necessarily endors[e] every detail" of the document.

Among the oft-quoted lines from this 1973 Manifesto are, "No deity will save us; we must save ourselves," and "We are responsible for what we are and for what we will be," both of which may present difficulties for members of certain Christian, Jewish, and Muslim sects, or other believers in doctrines of submission to the will of an all-powerful God.

Expanding upon the role the public education establishment should play to bring about the goals described in the Humanist Manifesto II, John Dunphy wrote "the battle for humankind's future must be waged and won in the public school classroom by teachers who correctly perceive their role as the proselytizers of a new faith: a religion of humanity that recognizes and respects the spark of what theologians call divinity in every human being." and "Utilizing a classroom instead of a pulpit to convey humanist values in whatever subject they teach, regardless of the educational level - preschool day care or large state university."

Humanist Manifesto III



Humanism and Its Aspirations, subtitled Humanist Manifesto III, a successor to the Humanist Manifesto of 1933, was published in 2003 by the AHA, which apparently wrote it by committee http://www.americanhumanist.org/who_we_are/about_humanism/Humanist_Manifesto_III/Notable_Signers. The new document is the successor to the previous ones, and the name "Humanist Manifesto" is the property of the American Humanist Association.

The newest one is deliberately much shorter, listing six primary beliefs, which echo themes from its predecessors:
  • Knowledge of the world is derived by observation, experimentation, and rational analysis. (See empiricism
    Empiricism
    Empiricism is a theory of knowledge that asserts that knowledge comes only or primarily via sensory experience. One of several views of epistemology, the study of human knowledge, along with rationalism, idealism and historicism, empiricism emphasizes the role of experience and evidence,...

    .)
  • Humans are an integral part of nature, the result of unguided evolution
    Evolution
    Evolution is any change across successive generations in the heritable characteristics of biological populations. Evolutionary processes give rise to diversity at every level of biological organisation, including species, individual organisms and molecules such as DNA and proteins.Life on Earth...

    ary change.
  • Ethical
    Ethics
    Ethics, also known as moral philosophy, is a branch of philosophy that addresses questions about morality—that is, concepts such as good and evil, right and wrong, virtue and vice, justice and crime, etc.Major branches of ethics include:...

     values are derived from human need and interest as tested by experience. (See ethical naturalism
    Ethical naturalism
    Ethical naturalism is the meta-ethical view which claims that:# Ethical sentences express propositions.# Some such propositions are true....

    .)
  • Life’s fulfillment emerges from individual participation in the service of humane ideals.
  • Humans are social by nature and find meaning in relationships.
  • Working to benefit society maximizes individual happiness.


Signatories included 21 Nobel laureates.

Other Manifestos for Humanism


Aside from the official Humanist Manifestos of the American Humanist Association
American Humanist Association
The American Humanist Association is an educational organization in the United States that advances Humanism. "Humanism is a progressive philosophy of life that, without theism and other supernatural beliefs, affirms our ability and responsibility to lead ethical lives of personal fulfillment that...

, there have been other similar documents. "Humanist Manifesto" is a trademark
Trademark
A trademark, trade mark, or trade-mark is a distinctive sign or indicator used by an individual, business organization, or other legal entity to identify that the products or services to consumers with which the trademark appears originate from a unique source, and to distinguish its products or...

 of the AHA. Formulation of new statements in emulation of the three Humanist Manifestoes is encouraged, and examples follow.

A Secular Humanist Declaration



In 1980, the Council for Secular Humanism
Council for Secular Humanism
The Council for Secular Humanism is a secular humanist organization headquartered in Amherst, New York. In 1980 CODESH issued A Secular Humanist Declaration, an argument for and statement of belief in Democratic Secular Humanism...

, founded by Paul Kurtz
Paul Kurtz
Paul Kurtz is a prominent American skeptic and secular humanist. He has been called "the father of secular humanism." He is Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at the State University of New York at Buffalo, having previously also taught at Vassar, Trinity, and Union colleges, and the New School for...

, which is typically more detailed in its discussions regarding the function of Humanism than the AHA, published what is in effect its manifesto, entitled A Secular Humanist Declaration
A Secular Humanist Declaration
A Secular Humanist Declaration was an argument for and statement of support for democratic secular humanism. The document was issued in 1980 by The Council for Democratic and Secular Humanism , now the Council for Secular Humanism...

. It has as its main points:
  1. Free Inquiry
  2. Separation of Church and State
  3. The Ideal of Freedom
  4. Ethics Based on Critical Intelligence
  5. Moral Education
  6. Religious Skepticism
  7. Reason
  8. Science and Technology
  9. Evolution
  10. Education

Humanist Manifesto 2000


Humanist Manifesto 2000: A Call for New Planetary Humanism is a book by Paul Kurtz
Paul Kurtz
Paul Kurtz is a prominent American skeptic and secular humanist. He has been called "the father of secular humanism." He is Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at the State University of New York at Buffalo, having previously also taught at Vassar, Trinity, and Union colleges, and the New School for...

 published in 2000. It differs from the other three in that it is a full-length book rather than essay-length, and was published not by the American Humanist Association but by the Council for Secular Humanism
Council for Secular Humanism
The Council for Secular Humanism is a secular humanist organization headquartered in Amherst, New York. In 1980 CODESH issued A Secular Humanist Declaration, an argument for and statement of belief in Democratic Secular Humanism...

. In it, Kurtz argues for many of the points already formulated in Humanist Manifesto 2, of which he had been co-author in 1973.

Manifestos


Miscellaneous