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Blog: Humanist Voices

Global AgeWatch Index 2013 - A New Window on Global Aging

AgeWatch womanHow is humanity doing overall? Is global human well-being improving or regressing? Since the early 90s there has been a proliferation of quantitative measures that attempt to answer that question. Name a factor that you think might be associated with well-being like education or gender equality or ecosystem sustainability, and there is likely an ongoing effort to measure it. 2013 seems to be a big year for these global measures of well-being. The latest big set of indicators is the Global AgeWatch Index.

 

(Photo: Kate Holt/HelpAge International)

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Voltaire Tweets "Common sense is not so common"

baron dholbach 2The Electronic Enlightenment is "the most wide-ranging online collection of edited correspondence of the early modern period, linking people across Europe, the Americas and Asia from the early 17th to the mid-19th century — reconstructing one of the world's great historical "conversations."" Alas, a subscription is required, but it may very well be worth the cost for students of this pivotal historical period.

(Picture: Baron D'Holbach, 1723-1789)

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Evolution of the Moral Mind

http://delightmakers.com/admin/wp-content/uploads/binti-jua-333x400.jpgMany theists have a hard time imagining how science and evolution could explain altruism, compassion, and morality. They seem to feel these phenomena are evidence for either a god or an immaterial spirit only humans possess. Sorry to burst your bubble, but there have been many advances in our understanding of these seemingly deity-inspired emotions and behaviors.

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Giacomo Leopardi - A Largely Unknown Major Enlightenment Thinker

giacomo-leopardi-1-sizedUsing seven translators, a major work (2,500 pages) of one of Europe's greatest Enlightenment era thinkers and atheists is now available in English: Zibaldone, by Giacomo Leopardi. "Today it is considered the greatest intellectual diary of Italian literature, its breadth and depth of thought often compared to the work of Schopenhauer and Nietzsche."

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Evolution of the Religious Mind: Finding Patterns

Pattern recognition is not unique to Homo sapiens. In fact, many animals are adept at perceiving cause and effect relationships in their environment. Taking advantage of such patterns to optimize survival and reproductive success is the key to many species’ longevity. In humans, with our capacity to comprehend complex systems and to retain them in our individual and collective memories, both the advantages and disadvantages of our ancient pattern recognition “software” becomes magnified exponentially.

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Who the Who Are Affects What the What is

freedom-birds-20249289Humanists in Minnesota, meet diversity and inequality. Diversity and inequality, meet Humanists in Minnesota. Introductions are usually made when people/things are strangers to each other. What difference does it make to our understanding and practice of Humanism whether we bypass diversity and inequality or take them into account? 

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September 21st is International Day of Peace

united nations blue peace symbol 9-999px copyThe International Day of Peace is more than a day of observance. It is a chance for those of us truly interested in creating a humanistic world to build platforms for a future in which violence, killing, torture, genocide, militarism, and war are confined to history. Far from an unachievable utopian ideal, a world of peace is within our capabilities as humans. It's a choice we make or don't make.

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Evolution of the Religious Mind: Groupishness

Religion has played a major role in every human society throughout history. In fact, it is so prolific that some refer to humanity as “homo religious[1].” Many theists believe this is proof that humans were designed, by God, to seek him out to form a personal relationship for eternity. To these people, there is simply no other plausible explanation. However, many evolutionary psychologists would beg to differ. There are in fact many theories which seek to explain the evolutionary pressures that led to our religious wiring. In the next several posts, I will attempt to piece together some of the more salient explanations.

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Finding Love

Penguin Couple 1 by Merlin2525Recently, my family was invited to a church wedding. As a humanist, I used the invite as an opportunity for my son to visit a church and get an idea what all the commotion is about. During the service, the pastor started to talk about love and told everyone that the only way we can truly love is by embracing God’s love. This started me to think what do we know about love?

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