This is the weekly summary of the Humanist Network News (HNN). The Humanist Network News (HNN) is published every Wednesday via e-mail and on the Institute for Humanist Studies (IHS) Web site. This diary is a slightly reformatted copy of the weekly email they send me, which I post here every Thursday (Yes, I have permission from the IHS). (CP @ MLW, BT, SP)
October 19, 2005
Humanist Network News
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- White supremacist: Jews expelled Darby from atheist group
- IHS policy director deftly debates minister on Constitution
- Iranian humanist named first “Secularist of the Year”
- Assisted suicide to be debated soon in Canada
- Secular Coalition rolls up sleeves and digs in
- The Harriet Miers Nomination: What does religion have to do with it?
- There is no God (and you know it)
- Requiring pharmacists to be professionals
- Rationally Speaking: Are crowds wise?
- Humanism in a strange land
- Film Review: Wallace and Gromit
- Sweet Reason, I feel guilty about my skepticism?
- Letters to the Editor
- Cathartic Comics
- Humanist Humor
- Poll of the Week
Summaries and links across the break. As always, anyone and everyone is more than welcome to write a more in depth diary on any of the stories.
I have included MY TAKE with some of the summaries.
1.White supremacist: Jews expelled Darby from atheist group
This July, Larry Darby, head of the Atheist Law Center, hosted an event with David Irving. A controversy broke out in the freethought community, as many consider Irving to be a Holocaust denier. Now a recent article in a white supremacist publication is accusing Jews in the atheist movement of running Darby out of organized atheism. MORE. MY TAKE: Of course! The Jewish atheists! They’re behind everything! [snark] Why even give press to these moronic neo-nazis, anyhow? Maybe because they are among the 39% who still think Bush is doing a good job. Man, do I hate ignorance and hate.
2. IHS policy director deftly debates minister on Constitution
Last night IHS Public Policy Director Tim Gordinier skillfully debated a Christian activist on religion, government and the Constitution. An audio recording of the event is available on the HNN Web site. MORE. MY TAKE: I have yet to listen to this debate, but Gordinier consistently writes great columns for the HNN, so I’m confident it was an ass-kicking.
3. Iranian humanist named first “Secularist of the Year”
Maryam Namazie has won the first Irwin Prize for Secularist of the Year for her tireless work in opposition to the Iranian theocracy and the rise of political Islam throughout the world. The £5,000 ($8,750) prize, sponsored the National Secular Society (NSS), was presented to Ms. Namazie on Oct. 8 by the well-known British journalist Polly Toynbee. MORE. MY TAKE: This is the type of individual we should be allying ourselves with in the middle east. We should be supporting her movement in order to create change from within countries, rather than trying to force change from the outside at the barrel of a gun.
4. Assisted suicide to be debated soon in Canada
The Canadian parliament may soon debate the issue of assisted suicide in Canada. But will the Oregon right to die case influence the debate in Canada? HNN reader and Canadian humanist Michel Virard examines this issue. MORE. MY TAKE: It is always interesting to see how our more educated and enlightened neighbor to the north deals with issues that our country struggles with.
5. Secular Coalition rolls up sleeves and digs in
Herb Silverman, president of the Secular Coalition for America, reports on a recent meeting of the SCA board of directors. The SCA made a name for itself in the media. Now it’s time to make a name for itself in the halls of Congress. MORE. MY TAKE: Hopefully, after 2006, the SCA will have a democratic majority to work with. If you have yet to look into the SCA, please read this article and contribute if you can afford to.
6. The Harriet Miers Nomination: What does religion have to do with it?
FindLaw Columnist and constitutional expert Marci Hamilton examines what role religion played in President George W. Bush’s nomination of Harriet Miers to U.S. Supreme Court. MORE. MY TAKE: If you think a SC Justice’s religion is irrelevant, read this.
7. There is no God (and you know it)
HNN reproduces an excerpt from Sam Harris’ forthcoming An Atheist Manifesto. Harris is the author of the international bestseller The End of Faith: Religion, Terror, and the Future of Reason. MORE.
8. Requiring pharmacists to be professionals
Sexual Intelligence publisher and writer Marty Klein, Ph.D., reports: “Acting on verified reports of medication being withheld from patients, Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich has ordered that the state’s pharmacists fill prescriptions for emergency contraception (EC). Now Judge John Belz has denied a petition brought by an anti-choice law firm asking to block the law’s enforcement.” MORE. MY TAKE: Good job Gov. Blagojevich. Good job judge Belz. I know nothing else about these two people, but they made the right decisions in this case.
9. Rationally Speaking: Are crowds wise?
Rationally Speaking columnist Massimo Pigliucci was a bit puzzled by the book The Wisdom of Crowds. Are crowds actually wise? MORE. MY TAKE: It seems to me that the opposite is true: Crowds tend to get swept into a mob mentality.
10. Humanism in a strange land
Canadian columnist Doug Thomas explores the issue of helping humanism grow in Canada. MORE.
11. Film Review: Wallace and Gromit
HNN film critic Carolyn Braunius writes: “Wallace and Gromit in The Curse of the Were-Rabbit is a freakishly good time. MORE.
12. Sweet Reason, I feel guilty about my skepticism?
A skeptic in the Bible Belt feels guilty about not believing in God. MORE.
13. Letters to the Editor
Lots of letters this week on the Flying Spaghetti Monster. Other letters tackle euthanasia and neo-conservative interpretations of the Constitution. MORE.
14. Cathartic Comics
…an assortment of cartoons and comic strips about humanism, atheism, religion, science and freethought. READ THEM.
15. Humanist Humor
This week’s joke involves a lawyer and an ethical dilemma. MORE.
16. Poll of the Week
Should humanists proselytize to those with no religion? CAST YOUR VOTE.
About the IHS:
The IHS promotes nonreligious perspectives on social, political, and ethical issues and serves as a resource for and about the humanist community. Questions, comments, concerns, got a better joke or a story? Send a letter to the editor.
If anything here interests you, you may also be interested in my diary on what it is like to be a secular humanist in today’s political climate: I Am The Boogeyman.