Talk:Secular humanism

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Humanism: Capital "H"?[edit]

Studying for my dissertation on the topic of Secular Humanism and humanism in general, it was common practise for so many authors to distinguish between "humanism" in the sense of renaissance humanism or, say, theoretical anti-humanism (like in the work of Althusser or Michel Foucault), and "Humanism" (capital "h") as a particular belief system.

Many people do not adhere by this standard. Perhaps a large percentage are not aware of the difference. It's my hunch, though, that the page should be renamed to "Secular Humanism", and that every use of the word should be capitalised unless the reference is to general theoretical/philosophical humanisms.--Tomsega (talk) 10:22, 27 May 2010 (UTC)

While I think that capping it up makes it look clunky (and that it also makes Secular Humanism look like a kind of Religion (capped R deliberate)) it seems that the BHA follows the same style as you suggest and so the article should reflect this. Will look more into how other national organisations treat it when I get a spare minute to corroborate this. Brammers (talk) 14:08, 27 May 2010 (UTC)
I've been through the article capitalising humanism in the right context. Unfortunately I do not know how to rename articles: I think it would be a good idea to do this. The title still appears with a lower case. --Tomsega (talk) 18:26, 31 May 2010 (UTC)
It seems like quite a large step to take. I think it'd be wise to seek advice/consensus from the projects associated with the article before proceeding. Brammers (talk/c) 17:15, 2 June 2010 (UTC)
I'm worried about this. One purpose of an article such as secular humanism would be to clarify what nuances of the term there are, with proper context, and to give proper weight of coverage. It is really not so helpful to start off with any assumptions. Charles Matthews (talk) 13:17, 6 June 2010 (UTC)
Good point Charles. Maybe rather than changing the name of the article, there should be some kind of "nomenclature" section towards the top of the article or in the lead. Brammers (talk/c) 13:31, 6 June 2010 (UTC)
I don't know what's controversial about it, when you think about it. Buddhism would always appear in capitals. Roman Catholicism would always appear with both words capitalised. In the case of Secular Humanism it's just the same. --220.121.71.171 (talk) 09:14, 14 July 2010 (UTC)
Sure, if you accept that it is a world religion ... otherwise this argument by analogy seems not to have much traction. Charles Matthews (talk) 09:54, 14 July 2010 (UTC)
My question is why is half the opening paragraph of the article discussing this, to be honest I and I suspect most people do not care if there is a 'h' or 'H'. If you are worried about this differentiation then you have completely missed the point. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 58.164.237.223 (talk) 20:02, 10 March 2011 (UTC)
There are many varieties of humanism, but only one Humanism. The difference may appear subtle, but needs a (brief - not "half a paragraph") explanation in the opening sentence and early in the article itself. How does this "miss the point"? Ghmyrtle (talk) 20:21, 10 March 2011 (UTC)

No, use 'h': I am relieved to see the title has it right and I see no reason to capitalize humanism in the article body and certainly not for "secular humanism" since is does not need to be distinguished from other forms of humanism. Basic WP:MOSCAPS policy is to use caps only if sources consistently use caps and there are plenty of instances of down-cased "secular humanism" in the literature. Also, WP:DOCTCAPS tells us not to capitalize systems of thought even though they are traditionally capitalized in sources "unless the name derives from a proper noun". I also agree that the parenthetical justification for capitalizing does not belong in the lead sentence; it's difficult enough to figure out as it is without distractions about 'H'. Jojalozzo 04:42, 4 January 2012 (UTC)

Requested move[edit]

The following discussion is an archived discussion of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the move request was: page not moved Arbitrarily0 (talk) 15:21, 21 July 2010 (UTC)


Secular humanismSecular Humanism — It is very clear that in legal precedings from the US court system (Torcaso v. Watkins, 367 U.S. 488 (1961), Gillette v. United States, 401 U.S. 437 (1971)) that the name of the philosophy is styled as "Secular Humanism" with both capital letters 'S' and 'H.' The only case that does not is Edwards v. Aguillard, 482 U.S. 578 (1987), which refers to it as "secular humanism," disregarding even the capital 'S.' A specific part of the article exists to further specify that the name of the philosophy is styled as "Secular Humanism." There also seems to be a consensus on the talk page of the article about the capital 'H' issue which is in favor of using a capital 'H.' The only issue they are not sure about is the issue of the section of the article devoted to the capital 'H.' They don't want to be doing this based on false assumptions, however none of them have looked at the edit logs. Several users have changed the name back and forth. That is why, if the move is not rejected, I will then request move protection on this article. ChaosData (talk) 21:17, 14 July 2010 (UTC)

Survey[edit]

Feel free to state your position on the renaming proposal by beginning a new line in this section with *'''Support''' or *'''Oppose''', then sign your comment with ~~~~. Since polling is not a substitute for discussion, please explain your reasons, taking into account Wikipedia's policy on article titles.
  • Oppose: US case law should not be the deciding factor when deciding the style for an article on the English-speaking Wikipedia. Various Hansard references, like this one from Canada and this one from New South Wales, use the lower-case term. Clearly there are varieties of English at play here. It should be established whether the uncapitalised "secular humanism" exists, and if so, I think that this should remain the article title and that the concept of "Secular Humanism" be clearly explained in a nomenclature section. The change should not be effected solely on the grounds that it is backed up by one legal case in one country. Brammers (talk/c) 22:48, 14 July 2010 (UTC)
Apologies, two cases, not one. My point still stands. Brammers (talk/c) 08:43, 15 July 2010 (UTC)
  • Oppose: I agree with the reasons Brammers mentioned already, but I also think it is genuinely unnecessary - and if sources become more abundant in the future that style secular humanism as Secular Humanism, we could end up moving the page back to its present title. I think explaining the usage in the article would suffice. There are many philosophical, religious, or political standpoints that are commonly written either/or (Liberalism vs. liberalism, Conservatism vs. conservatism, Humanism vs. humanism, Existentialism vs. existentialism), and most of the time the style simply depends on its location in a sentence (beginning) or use in a title, so I don't think we should give undue weight to the style choices of court case documents. John Shandy`talk 03:34, 15 July 2010 (UTC)
  • Oppose: The only relevant set of considerations is Wikipedia title policy, which is nowhere cited. I also have to say that the supposed consensus in favour of a move is invisible. There is no consensus at all. Charles Matthews (talk) 07:02, 15 July 2010 (UTC)
  • Oppose. Ocaasi (talk) 22:19, 16 July 2010 (UTC)Capitalizing the term is an appeal to a distinct, formal group ideology, like Catholicism or Baptism, but secular humanism is more of a philosophy--like utilitarianism or moral relativism--than it is a group-mitigated ideology. Lowercaps should do the job fine.

Discussion[edit]

Any additional comments:
The above discussion is preserved as an archive of a requested move. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.


Okay, talk to me.[edit]

So I will discuss this POV embarrassment because edit warring is childish. My first objection is to the claim that

"Secular Humanism is a secular philosophy that espouses reason, ethics, and justice, and specifically rejects supernatural and religious dogma as the basis of morality and decision-making."

My objection is that when a reader sees this article, the first thing they see is that sH "espouses reason, ethics, and justice". This is blatantly POV--not because it is not true, but because it is so vague. Nobody says they oppose reason, ethics, and justice, so why is supporting it so defining? Anyone from Lady Gaga to Rush Limbaugh to the President of Nigeria can "espouse reason, ethics, and justice". There is more to the story than this: sH espouses reason, ethics and justice instead of faith, religious morality, and absolutist moral systems. This sentence is so vague, so positive, and so universal, it sounds like it is pitching sH to the reader!

It gets worse:

"the Humanist life stance emphasises the unique responsibility facing humanity and the consequences of our ethical decisions."

This is meaningless fluff that makes Humanism sound like a cult! It simply doesn't mean anything! It is essentially big fancy words which sound nice but tell very little about what makes this philosophy different from, say objectivism. These two claims are both POV because they sound like praise and are too vague to say something meaningful about the actual stances that real Secular Humanists take. I propose the first sentence be changed to:

"Secular Humanism is a secular philosophy that espouses reason, rejects faith, and supports secular ethics, while specifically rejecting supernatural and religious dogma as the basis of morality and decision-making."

This clarifies exactly what "espousing reason" entails and specifies what general ethical system they take. For the second:

"the Humanist life stance emphasises the unique nature of humanity and the ethical responsibility that comes with it."

I think those two edits would improve the tone of the article greatly, and I fail to see why they are more POV than the sappy, vague sentences they would replace. --AxiomOfFaith (talk) 01:42, 19 September 2010 (UTC)

I strongly oppose the first change, and weakly oppose the second. The first sentence could perhaps use some improvement in specificity (though I'm not sure the case has been made yet), but if it is changed, it needs to reflect the rest of the article, particularly the values listed in the section on "Tenets". The ideas you list in your proposal are not among those tenets, particularly not to the weight you've assigned them, and as a result violate our policies on neutrality. I oppose the second change only because I don't think its an improvement. I like the previous wording better -- it has better flow and more accurately captures the intended message IMO. Ultimately, I see no reason for that change. Jesstalk|edits 02:14, 19 September 2010 (UTC)
I feel like we're running in circles here. Both sentences are way too vague and a bit too biased. I would be very happy if you could fix this, since I apparently cannot. Please do, because as it is these sentences are not encyclopedic.--AxiomOfFaith (talk) 02:18, 19 September 2010 (UTC)
I understand you feel that way. I don't. If you'd like the section changed, you're going to have to do the work and propose a change yourself. I outlined the issues in your last proposal, but you're welcome to address those objections or suggest something altogether new. Jesstalk|edits 03:54, 19 September 2010 (UTC)
Axiom, you've changed the list of the basic tenets of secular humanism. What reliable source of information on what those tenets are did you use? -FisherQueen (talk · contribs) 12:29, 19 September 2010 (UTC)
Incidentally, I don't agree with you that their tenets are poorly defined. 'Reason' means something very specific to a secular humanist, and Rush Limbaugh definitely does not espouse or support it. In the same way, the belief that human beings have power over their own actions, and responsibility for them, is quite different from, for example, Christianity. But if you want to change this, you need to demonstrate that the list of tenets is incorrect, and that you have a source which defines them more accurately. It isn't cool to change their tenets simply because you think they should have different tenets, and your edits thus far don't indicate that you know very much about the tenets of secular humanism, so I'm reluctant to agree that you're the best person to define them without the use of sources. -FisherQueen (talk · contribs) 12:35, 19 September 2010 (UTC)
Perhaps reason is appropriate. You're right about that. But what about "ethics" and "justice"? Those are practically universally valued, but they must mean something different to Secular Humanists. I respect that, but why do we have to phrase it in such a way. Why not "reason, consequentialist ethics, and naturalism or "reason, ethics grounded in humanity, and the natural world". [1]--AxiomOfFaith (talk) 12:51, 19 September 2010 (UTC)
Ethics is different than morality, and you may find that such a "philosophical discussion of values" is not universally adopted. Namely, those of a religious stance who accept the moral prescriptions of their religion as dogma are certainly not philosophically discussing anything. Furthermore, it is a foundational tenet of Secular Humanism, and is hence appropriate in the lead. I do agree (pending the agreement of other editors) that justice could be replaced, but it should be replaced with another foundational tenet, not with something like "naturalism", which is a product of those tenets. Jesstalk|edits 14:31, 19 September 2010 (UTC)

────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────I've left in your change from justice to "the search for human fulfillment". I'm not sure that's the best thing that could go there, but it's okay for now. I also removed "morally good" from the end, as it seemed redundant and unnecessary. I'm not sure how I feel about changing "ethics" to link to Secular_ethics#Humanist_ethics. I'm right on the verge of changing that back... but I'd like the opinion of other editors (or some time to mull it over) before I do. Ideally, linked terms should direct to the term they're highlighting, unless the surrounding text lends context which changes the meaning of that term. Secular humanists espouse "ethics", not some custom flavor of it... Then again, the newly linked article does touch on humanist specific issues while staying in the correct domain. What do other editors think? Jesstalk|edits 14:53, 19 September 2010 (UTC)

I agree that morally good was redundant. My bad. Maybe it looks bad if the link links to something else, but I don't think that it makes any sense to just say it espouses "ethics". This is because, contrary to what you say above, ethics in its broadest form is adopted, if not universally, by whatever Secular Humanism can be distinguished from. That is, alternatives to secular humanism, ie religious-based morality, nihilism, SbnR, etc, do sometimes pursue ethical questions. Because of this, we need to specify further in order to distinguish Secular Humanism from all of its alternatives. We don't say that Barack Obama is "a president", but "the President of the US" because there are other presidents out there. Here, we need to say Secular' ethics to distinguish it from at least some of the other ethical schools of thought out there. I believe that most religious people do (if subconciously) subscribe to something vaguely similar to Kant's Categorical Imperative or (like me) Divine Command Theory. Most secular humanists do not. Therefore, we need to be more specific than just "ethics". --AxiomOfFaith (talk) 18:06, 19 September 2010 (UTC)
Not every word in the lead needs to independently distinguish the entirety of the topic from every other topic conceivable. Secular humanism is about ethics; it is about what ethical and practical frameworks best work to maximize the health and prosperity of humanity. It is distinguished from other such ethical frameworks by its other tenets which those frameworks do not share. Linking to ethics is entirely appropriate. What I would like comment from other editors on (besides us), is whether linking to a start-class article on "ethics with respect to Secular Humanism" is more appropriate. I'm not sure if it is, but I'm willing to be persuaded. Jesstalk|edits 18:18, 19 September 2010 (UTC)
I see. Let's wait for other editors now.--AxiomOfFaith (talk) 18:30, 19 September 2010 (UTC)
No other editors have contributed, so I'm going to revert it to ethics on the grounds I outlined above. I also undid some of your recent changes to the first paragraph, since I don't think they're an improvement (or, in some cases, totally accurate), but I've left most of your new changes in. Feel free to bring them up here if you disagree. Jesstalk|edits 23:25, 20 September 2010 (UTC)
I am basically happy with this now. I don't see any of the problems that made it POV to me in the first place, so I don't propose any more changes.--Axiomtalk 23:56, 20 September 2010 (UTC)
Good to hear. Thanks for your contributions. As a note, I will likely change "search for human fulfilment" with something more in line with the tenets listed in the article at some point, but I think everything is definitely a step in the right direction. See you around :) Jesstalk|edits 00:31, 21 September 2010 (UTC)
By the way, I apologize for dragging this and baraminology out for so long with (mostly) you and Fisherqueen. See you!--Axiomtalk 02:32, 21 September 2010 (UTC)

Deletion of Humanism (life stance)[edit]

To my dismay, that article has been deleted - here. I have asked that the text be made available so that relevant parts can be merged into this article. One problem, it seems to me, is that this article (Secular humanism) seems to be quite US-centric, and there is a need to include a more global view, to report and incorporate, for instance, the approaches followed by (and statements made about) organisations like the British Humanist Association. What do other editors think about this? What should the implications be for this article? The text of the deleted article is currently here. Ghmyrtle (talk) 09:20, 19 January 2011 (UTC)

I have now made an attempt at incorporating what I think are relevant parts of the deleted article into this article. I've also made a few (limited) changes for style, but almost all of the pre-existing text and refs (or lack of them) are intact and unchanged, so far as possible (for good or ill). I am happy to discuss this further. Ghmyrtle (talk) 16:34, 27 January 2011 (UTC)

Global perspective?[edit]

"The release in 1980 of A Secular Humanist Declaration by the newly formed Council for Democratic and Secular Humanism ("CODESH") gave Secular Humanism an organisational identity." Maybe I'm wrong, but isn't CODESH a US or North American organisation? This quote from the History section, and a similar one under Tenets, don't seem appropriately global. MartinPoulter (talk) 11:18, 20 January 2011 (UTC) Now that I've written that, I see the post by Ghmyrtle about and agree with his complaints. MartinPoulter (talk) 11:19, 20 January 2011 (UTC)

Changes since this time last year[edit]

Hello, the reason I made the previous two edits was that I felt the articles readability from this time last year had deteriorated from the point of view of a person who had no knowlege of the subject. Discussion of semantics over 'h' and 'H' in particular are unhelpful and I believe should be limited to discussion pages or atleast the Terminology section. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 58.164.237.223 (talk) 20:29, 10 March 2011 (UTC)

The article has been expanded to incorporate material previously included in another article, Humanism (life stance), now deleted on the basis that the content should be merged with this article, and to present a more international rather than US-centred perspective. The distinction between humanism and Humanism should be obvious. Outside the US in particular, the term "secular humanism" is often seen as derogatory, and international bodies use the term Humanism. This needs a brief explanation both in the introduction and early in the main article text. Ghmyrtle (talk) 20:42, 10 March 2011 (UTC)
It is dissappointing that the other article was merged as having just re-read both articles it appears to me they do warrent seperate pages. That the introduction and first section of the current article need to be spent defining such differances indicates as much.—Preceding unsigned comment added by 58.164.237.223 (talk) 20:54, 10 March 2011
I agree it was disappointing - see thread above, and the discussion here - but we've moved on. A brief explanation of the semantics - which certainly does not dominate either the introduction or the article as a whole - is both necessary and illuminating. Ghmyrtle (talk) 21:00, 10 March 2011 (UTC)

My edit to "Comparison with religious humanism"[edit]

This section currently contains the following passage:

  • Some varieties of religious humanism, such as Christian humanism include belief in God, traditionally defined. Secular humanists typically reject the idea of God and the supernatural as irrational and believe that these are not useful concepts for addressing human problems.[citation needed]

I say that this is not actually true; Christian humanism was/is an educational reform movement, related to Renaissance humanism, and not a part of the movement currently called Humanism. Specifically, it does not involve human-generated and human-based ethics, only human-focused (specifically Christendom-focused) academic studies. Of course, there are Christians who follow the modern Humanist movement; but they would not necessarily be "Christian Humanists" anymore than Christians who are scientists are "Christian Scientists". Ben Standeven (talk) 20:07, 24 April 2011 (UTC)

It's my understanding that Renaissance humanism is related to modern humanism. Do you have a reliable source to cite for your interpretation? thx1138 (talk) 20:16, 24 April 2011 (UTC)
For the claim that Renaissance humanism isn't the same thing as modern Humanism (of course, the early modern Humanists like Voltaire presumably thought of their philosophy as an outgrowth of Renaissance humanism):

The historian of the Renaissance Sir John Hale cautions against too direct a linkage between Renaissance humanism and modern uses of the term: "Renaissance humanism must be kept free from any hint of either "humanitarianism" or "humanism" in its modern sense of rational, non-religious approach to life ... the word "humanism" will mislead ... if it is seen in opposition to a Christianity its students in the main wished to supplement, not contradict, through their patient excavation of the sources of ancient God-inspired wisdom"

[Hale, 171. See also Davies, 479-480 for similar caution.]

But looking through the article, it doesn't seem as if Christian humanism has any clear meaning; so I guess it could just as well refer to Christians who are Humanists as anything else. That said, the passage does seem redundant with the one before (about religious Humanists possibly being theistic, deistic, etc) and I don't think the description of what secular Humanists believe is accurate. They might think those things, or they might not. Ben Standeven (talk) 21:23, 26 April 2011 (UTC)

This section should not be included at all: its' slanted and lacking in objectivity. The fairest thing to do is to let readers look at the page on Christian humanism and draw their own comparisons. Comparisons drawn from a Humanist viewpoint are necessarily subjective. 24.86.226.181 (talk) 16:24, 12 June 2012 (UTC)

Two Kinds of Atheists in this World, Amigo...[edit]

(Thoughtless comment removed.) Bloomingdedalus (talk) 04:06, 21 June 2011 (UTC)

Do you have any sources linking that poster image with the "happy human" logo? There are similarities, but no necessary connection. If sources don't exist, it's hardly a "controversy". Ghmyrtle (talk) 08:27, 21 June 2011 (UTC)
On first glance; I think the design is more likely to make the shadow it casts (i.e. a "$" sign) a bit more realistic and less to do with humanism itself. I'm not really familiar with the movie or the book though. --Connelly90[AlbaGuBràth] (talk) 15:55, 21 June 2011 (UTC)

Simple version[edit]

simple:Secular humanism desperately needs improvement. Please please please! 24.68.21.222 (talk) 22:49, 26 September 2011 (UTC)

Why not remove the article and redirect to the main Humanism article? At the top of that article it states: "This article is about human-centered philosophy", i.e. secular humanism.

In fact, I don't think the course of action I've just suggested is the correct one. I have always advocated that the main Humanism article (from which the IHEU logo should be removed) should be an overview of the use of the term, and the main article about the "human-centred philosophy" (if that is how one wishes to describe it) should be the one under Secular Humanism. I say this even as a British Humanist, even though we hardly use the term Secular Humanism. Dadge (talk) 22:32, 3 January 2012 (UTC)

"human reason, ethics, justice" in the lede[edit]

Is the current lede "Secular Humanism, alternatively known as Humanism (often with a capital H to distinguish it from other forms of humanism), is a secular philosophy that embraces human reason, ethics, justice, and the search for human fulfillment. It specifically rejects religious dogma, supernaturalism, pseudoscience or superstition as the basis of morality and decision-making." appropriate?

Or should the lede be changed to "Secular Humanism, alternatively known as Humanism (often with a capital H to distinguish it from other forms of humanism), is a secular philosophy that embraces the search for human fulfillment while specifically rejecting religious dogma, supernaturalism, pseudoscience or superstition as the basis of morality and decision-making." (Or something else entirely?)

Saying that it embraces "reason, ethics, (and) justice" seems inherently POV to me, as each one of these simply sounds like a positive descriptor which serves no purpose in distinguishing the topic from other philosophies of ethics and serves only to promote the topic above other systems. What ethical system wouldn't describe itself as embracing "reason ethics and justice"? 89.100.150.198 (talk) 01:50, 4 January 2012 (UTC)

Obviously, "reason, ethics, and justice" should be in quotes to distinguish it from being the opinion of Wikipedia. Jim1138 (talk) 01:56, 4 January 2012 (UTC)
Sorry, I put "reason, ethics, and justice" in quotes to show that I was quoting from the article, it isn't in quotes within the article itself (and as far as I know the article isn't listing those attributes from one source). Even if it were, I still think it would be POV. We could probably find a quote calling humanism something along the lines of "godless and evil", but that doesn't mean we should accept such a quote as NPOV and acceptable for inclusion simply by dint of being in quotation marks. 89.100.150.198 (talk) 02:50, 4 January 2012 (UTC)
As background, this wording was a compromise editors made last year, after disagreement over something even worse. I was never a fan of this version, since it isn't directly attributable to any one source. It's sort of "this is obvious after reading the sources, and we don't have a better version, so we'll use it". I'd welcome a better description, but I don't think simply chopping it off to read "humanism is about seeking human fulfillment" is at all helpful to the reader. BTW, there are many ethical systems which don't embrace "reason, ethics and justice". Most religious systems, for instance, embrace following the commandments of their deity, not reasoning through problems in a search for human fulfillment. Humanism is distinguishable from those systems due, in part, to that emphasis on reason. Finally, we're not saying "Humanism is an ethical system which embraces ethics". We're saying "Humanism is a philosophy which embraces ethics". Therefore, the redundancy you point out isn't apparent to me. Is there a source you'd propose which we could use to write up new wording? Or, do you have a new wording in mind?   — Jess· Δ 02:55, 4 January 2012 (UTC)
All "philosophies" (in the sense of guidlines for living) "embrace ethics", just using different definitions of "ethics". In what sense of the word are you using "philosophy" here? 89.100.150.198 (talk) 05:21, 4 January 2012 (UTC)
Also, religions tend to see following the commands of their deity as being reasonable, and see reason as leading logically to belief in and thus obedience to their deity. Aquinas, for example, was big on reason. 89.100.150.198 (talk) 05:24, 4 January 2012 (UTC)

I lean towards the "something else" option. I think "embraces" and "search" are essay words, not encyclopedic and the second "secular" is redundant. The first sentence (ignoring the parenthetical distraction about H) reads like student homework, too many words not getting to the point. I think it could be much more concise. The second sentence is ok, though I'd drop "specifically". I oppose the capitalization of humanism per my comments above. My proposal:

"Secular humanism is a philosophy that rejects religious dogma, supernaturalism, pseudoscience or superstition as the basis of morality and decision-making."

Jojalozzo 04:53, 4 January 2012 (UTC)

I agree with removing the second secular, "specifically" and the capital h bit. However, I don't think describing SH in terms of what it rejects is very useful. Keep in mind, Secular humanism is still Humanism, and we need to describe that too with the addition of the secular context. We can't just breeze by the humanism stuff and focus exclusively on the secular part.   — Jess· Δ 05:25, 4 January 2012 (UTC)
@89.100 Philosophy does not mean "a guideline for living". Epistemology, for instance, has nothing to do with ethics. I'm not using any special definition of philosophy. I was quoting from the article. As for your second concern, neither the article nor I made the claim that Secular Humanism espouses reasonableness. The article says it espouses reason. Humanism's reliance on reasoning through problems to determine the best route to human fulfillment is a defining characteristic. That says nothing about whether it, or any other competing philosophy, is colloquially reasonable to adopt. By the way, please properly indent your posts. Not doing so makes the thread difficult to follow. Thanks.   — Jess· Δ 05:43, 4 January 2012 (UTC)
Jess, Epistemology is a branch of Philosophy. Secular humanism is a Philosophy of life. Different senses of the word "philosophy". So, to rephrase what I meant, all philosophies of life could be said to embrace ethics and justice, so the two phrases are redundant, serving only to put SH in a POV light. 89.100.150.198 (talk) 19:03, 4 January 2012 (UTC)
I have nothing to add here, other than to endorse the points made by Jess. Ghmyrtle (talk) 08:22, 4 January 2012 (UTC)
Oops, you beat me to it. I agree. Jess is correct. Including his comment on philosophy, which I had to study for 2 years at Yale and finally has a use! Dougweller (talk) 09:02, 4 January 2012 (UTC)
I woke up this morning with the same conclusions. My suggestion does not say enough about what SH does besides determine morality and make decisions. I think the following, with some help from the definition in the intro to humanism, is an improvement:

"Secular humanism is an ideology [philosophy?] which espouses reason, ethics, and justice without reliance on religious dogma, supernaturalism, pseudoscience or superstition."

I'm neutral regarding identifying it as philosophy over ideology. Jojalozzo 15:09, 4 January 2012 (UTC)
Maybe change "embraces... ethics" to "espouses... secular ethics"? Whatever way this goes, I can't see how "embraces justice" can be left in without a NPOV RS that specifically states that (or something very similar). 89.100.150.198 (talk) 19:08, 4 January 2012 (UTC)

I think that the collection of papers here maybe useful in this discussion on humanism and justice. I do not have the time presently to parse this for pertinent information. I present it here, for what it is worth. I will return to during the daylight hours(I am on UTC-6 time), and will see what I can glean from it. Cheers. --Adam in MO Talk 08:44, 5 January 2012 (UTC)

On the basis that the introduction should summarise the main article text, it seems to me that any summary should be drawn from what is in the sources already cited - notably the definition or explanation of Humanism used by the IHEU. Ghmyrtle (talk) 08:51, 5 January 2012 (UTC)

I find no problem with the original lead mentioning reason, etc. It is specifically a well stated goal of secular humanism, does not suggest other belief systems cannot do the same, and, less face it, a lot of belief systems put faith above reason. DreamGuy (talk) 19:22, 14 January 2012 (UTC)

  • Comment

I suspect that Secular Humanism is referred to as a philosophy in a broad sense, since every secular humanist approaches the matter from their own POV. Calling it a 'way of life is also a rather broad appellation. With regard to the phrase It specifically rejects religious dogma it may be of interest to note that Pope Benedict XVI invited four guests, philosophers and secular humanists to the Day of reflection, dialogue and prayer for peace and justice in the world held in Assisi on October 27, 2011. One of the speakers was Julia Kristeva. You may read the text of Julia Kristeva's address to the Assisi Pilgrimage for Peace here; a summary of her remarks are found here. Whiteguru (talk) 04:02, 17 January 2012 (UTC)

Order of sections[edit]

I'd like to move "Terminology" down, because the fascinating discussion of changes in the term's meaning - and reactions from the concept's opponents - is hard to understand without first giving the reader an idea of what it is the opponents are reacting to!

I also think "Ethics" is the easiest section to understand and could come right after the lede. Or "Comparison with religious humanism" could come right after the lede, with "Ethics" second. Then "Terminology" could go after "Manifestos" (which I just renamed from "Tenets"). --Uncle Ed (talk) 03:00, 26 January 2012 (UTC)

I partly rewrote and reordered the article a year ago - here, mainly - and based the order at that time on what I thought made most sense. At the same time, I tried not to delete reliable and neutral earlier contributions. I'm not wedded to the current order of sections, and if there is a better solution I would support it. There do continue to be occasional arguments over terminology, which is why it needs to be discussed with some prominence, but it's hard to comment in advance on what order works best without seeing the alternatives. But, I can see the merits of, in some way, combining, and better integrating, the sections on Ethics, Manifestos and Terminology, if that can be done in a non-confusing way. Maybe try something in a sandbox, for better collaboration? Ghmyrtle (talk) 08:35, 26 January 2012 (UTC)


Capitalization of "Humanism" and "Secular Humanism"[edit]

According to the article, the term "Humanism" (capitalized) is often used to refer to secular humanism and distinguish the referent from other types of humanism. The article capitalizes "Secular Humanism" and uses "Humanism" in place of the longer phrase. Does this style conform to our style guide (WP:MOSCAPS, WP:DOCTCAPS) and if not can we justify it? Jojalozzo 00:08, 27 January 2012 (UTC)

  • Unnecessary
  • I think it's clearer and more neutral to use the complete phrase, "secular humanism", instead of the capitalized shortcut, "Humanism". It may make sense to use the capitalized shortcut in secular humanist literature but in WP, where we have no preference for one type of humanism over others, I think we should use the complete phrase when refering to the article's subject. I also don't see a need for mentioning the capitalized shortcut in the introduction.
  • I also think it's unnecessary to capitalize the phrase "secular humanism". The WP:MOSCAPS guideline is to use caps only if sources consistently use caps and there are plenty of instances of down-cased "secular humanism" (see Google n-gram results)in the literature. Also, WP:DOCTCAPS tells us not to capitalize systems of thought even though they are traditionally capitalized in sources "unless the name derives from a proper noun". Jojalozzo 00:16, 27 January 2012 (UTC)
  • Agree. This has always bugged me. I've never looked at the sourcing for the supposed distinction, and I could maybe see an argument for caps if it's explicitly referenced that way everywhere in the literature. I think that's probably not the case. It's funny, I almost made this change myself just earlier this week when I read over the article.   — Jess· Δ 07:08, 27 January 2012 (UTC)
  • Agree to removing capitals from "secular humanism", but oppose the use of that term to replace all uses of the capitalised term Humanism. The article, and WP, takes an international perspective. Within the US, the term "secular humanism" is seen by some (but not, for instance, by the AHA), as quite usual, acceptable and neutral. However, in the whole of the rest of the world, its use is deprecated by Humanist organisations, and the term is seen as quite derogatory. This is explained in the second paragraph of the Terminology section: "...All too often secular humanism is reduced to a sterile outlook consisting of little more than secularism slightly broadened by academic ethics. This kind of 'hyphenated humanism' easily becomes more about the adjective than its referent". Adherents of this view, including the International Humanist and Ethical Union and the American Humanist Association, consider that the unmodified but capitalised word Humanism should be used." Now, there is no reason for WP to follow the line of any one organisation, however globally recognised it is. Equally, there is no reason for WP to adopt a point of view which is considered to be neutral only within one country - the US. And, editors here should not argue over the rights and wrongs of that approach - it is factually the case that Humanist organisations, internationally, deprecate the use of the word "secular". However, the article is titled "secular humanism", and in general discussion (in accordance with the MOS) that term can be used uncapitalised throughout the article - except where issues of terminology are important. For example, the term "secular humanism" did not exist before the 1930s, and therefore should be avoided in discussions of earlier history. And, it is essential that statements like "Various declarations and statements have been issued to attempt to unify the Humanist identity" remain - because that is the identity being considered, not a so-called "secular humanist" identity. So, the article needs to contain both terms, as appropriate in each case, and the issue of terminology needs to be explained, as it is now. There is a need for some tweaking of the capitals in this article, but not much. Incidentally, per the thread above this one, this is why it is important that terminology be explained early in the article. Ghmyrtle (talk) 10:08, 27 January 2012 (UTC)
    I think there is a neutrality issue in reserving the capitalized word for a specific form of humanism. Is there another way to distinguish Humanism from humanism other than "secular humanism"? If Humanism means the same thing as secular humanism, then, the capitalized usage appears to be simply a code and, IMO, a) using code is not encyclopedic and b) if we agree that secular humanism is not a proper noun then we are abusing our capitalization guidelines with the coded term. Jojalozzo 17:39, 27 January 2012 (UTC)
    The requirement to be neutral, and not to give priority to terminology that is seen as possibly offensive or derogatory, and certainly non-neutral, outweighs whatever MOS might say, in my opinion. Outside the US, the term "secular humanism" is generally used by opponents of the concept - it is non-neutral. Re the point that "Is there another way to distinguish Humanism from humanism other than "secular humanism"?" - we should not be inventing new terminology. The accepted term, globally, is Humanism with a capital H. MOS is guidance only, not holy writ. If necessary this should be discussed at WT:MOS, rather than here. Ghmyrtle (talk) 17:46, 27 January 2012 (UTC)
    I agree the issue may need to be addressed in the MOS or arbitration if there is no flexibility here. I acknowledge the public relations problem that the capitalized term attempts to address but there is a neutrality problem with our acceptance of the capitalized word to refer to a single form of humanism and there is a serious stylistic issue with our use of the capitalized term as code for non-theistic humanism, especially as it appears to be an attempt to obfuscate rather than inform. Jojalozzo 18:20, 27 January 2012 (UTC)
    A reasonable neutral position would be to use the term "secular humanism" where it is not necessary to use the term "Humanism", but to recognise that it is necessary to use the term Humanism, with capital H, in discussing organisations and individuals that have used that term. Thus, it would be quite wrong, for example, to classify someone as a secular humanist if they have described themselves as a Humanist; and quite wrong to describe an organisation as a secular humanist organisation if it has explicitly disavowed that term. And, to do that correctly and understandably in the article, it requires a brief explanation of the terminology up front, rather than imposing an inflexible approach on the grounds of MOS. The article, currently, explains this reasonably well (not perfectly - some tweaks are needed). But I fail to see how the approach I am suggesting contravenes either logic or WP core principles. Ghmyrtle (talk) 19:35, 27 January 2012 (UTC)
    A few things would help me here: 1) give us some examples from the article where we are classifying someone as a Humanist and where using some other term would be problematic, 2) respond to my arguments relating to neutrality of reserving the capitalized form for one specific form of humanism and 3) respond to the issue of our employing a term which, if I understand your explanation correctly, is intentionally general for public relations purposes while conveying (by means of capitalization) a specific meaning among the cognoscenti. Jojalozzo 20:45, 27 January 2012 (UTC)
    OK, I was speaking hypothetically, and now I've re-read the article I can be clearer. The Council for Secular Humanism uses the term Secular Humanism - capital S, capital H. Where we are speaking about that organisation and its interests (for example, in legal cases in the US), we should use that term. The IHEU and its international affiliates use the term Humanism (capital H, no "secular"), and where we are discussing those organisations we should use that term. Where we are discussing the principle in a wider context, we should use the lower case form in accordance with MOS. So, in the lede, for example, we should avoid capitals. Another example: "The release in 1980 of A Secular Humanist Declaration by the newly formed Council for Democratic and Secular Humanism (CODESH, now the Council for Secular Humanism) gave Secular Humanism an organisational identity within the United States." - correct, because the capitalised form is the form used by the sourced organisation. Again: "Apart from the need to ensure that member organisations are bona fide Humanist (or like-minded) organisations, Humanism rejects dogma...." - again, correct, because in that instance the article is discussing the IHEU. Again: "Secular humanist organizations are found in all parts of the world. Those who call themselves Humanists are estimated to number between four and five million people worldwide in 31 countries, but there is uncertainty because of the lack of universal definition throughout censuses....". I would change that, to "...Those who call themselves Humanists or secular humanists are estimated.....", in order to cover both positions. Stating that they call themselves "secular humanists" is wrong (and contrary to one of the sources). So, what I am saying is that we should not attempt to impose a rigid straitjacket of terminology in this article, because the reality is that different terms are used. And we should go with the sources. If a source says Secular Humanism, we should use that. If a source says secular humanism, we should use that. And if it uses the term Humanist, we should use that. And not, in any of those cases, be tempted to change them. Ghmyrtle (talk) 21:12, 27 January 2012 (UTC)
    Thank you. While you haven't addressed all my requests, let's agree to disagree. I think it would be very helpful to the RfC if you would summarize your position as main bullet point to make it easier for others to get an idea of what we've been up to in this thread. Jojalozzo 22:42, 27 January 2012 (UTC)
    My position is simply that different organisations, and different sources, use different terminology, with different implications. We should explain that - as the article does, in the Terminology section - but we should not, as editors, attempt to simplify, "rationalise" or gloss over that, because that would be contrary to the sources. However, on those few occasions where we are taking an overview independently of the sources - in the lede, in particular - we should use the lower case form in line with the article title and the MOS. Ghmyrtle (talk) 10:07, 28 January 2012 (UTC)

Ok guys, but why trump WP:TITLEFORMAT with that lower-case s in the title (ie secular humanism)? Also, not being familiar with upper-/lower-case doctrinal disputes, I found the last paragraph of the lede somewhat mystifying. I've therefore BRD-ed it for now. —MistyMorn (talk) 19:21, 6 May 2012 (UTC)

I understand what you have tried to do and why (without necessarily agreeing with it) - but your changes have left fundamental mistakes. In some cases, you have decapitalised the word Humanism, to humanism, leaving statements which are then nonsensical because humanism (lower case) is a much wider concept than either secular humanism or Humanism. I shall try to rescue it. Ghmyrtle (talk) 17:09, 7 May 2012 (UTC)
Erm, not in my edit: I just removed a few confusing sentences from the lede, which seemed to result from a trivial carry-over from the Talk page. —MistyMorn (talk) 19:28, 7 May 2012 (UTC)
My apologies - I was confusing your edit with those by Sinestar here - some of which had already been reverted, but others hadn't. I think a reference to Humanism with a capital H is justified in the lead, though not in the detail set out previously. Ghmyrtle (talk) 19:36, 7 May 2012 (UTC)
Thanks, no problem. (I just didn't want to get involved in the controversy, as such!) Ferry... —MistyMorn (talk) 21:48, 7 May 2012 (UTC)

Intro definition[edit]

An ip editor has been changing the intro definition, claiming that it isn't well sourced or a good summary of the body of the article. I happen to agree, but as been discussed repeatedly on the talk page, changes like removing "justice" and changing ethics to "secular ethics" have the net effect of failing to properly describe the topic. I am not happy with the intro def, but if we're going to change it to something, what we change it to should, itself, be sourced, and to to a single place. I'm happy to discuss this further, and would be happy to hear new proposals, but until we settle on an acceptable alternative, it seems to me that we should keep the version that consensus has repeatedly compromised on.   — Jess· Δ 18:55, 16 May 2012 (UTC)

Lede RFC[edit]

Should the lede retain the statement that secular humanism "embraces justice"? The rest of the article makes no mention of justice, so including it in the lede violates MOS:LEDE. The statement isn't cited, so including it is also Original Research. Furthermore, the statement smacks of advocacy. 89.100.207.51 (talk) 19:05, 16 May 2012 (UTC)

I would rather see content on the secular humanist emphasis on justice added to the article, than mention of justice removed from the lede. I expect that there are numerous references that can be used to accomplish this. TechBear | Talk | Contributions 19:42, 16 May 2012 (UTC)
RfCs are intended to get outside opinions after the issue has been discussed with the regulars on the talk page, not as a first step before any discussion at all. I already started a section above expressing my opinion on the matter in which you are welcome to participate. As of yet, you have made no effort whatsoever to discuss the topic with others. Until discussion actually takes place, I've disabled the RfC tag. I appreciate your enthusiasm, and as I've mentioned, I quite agree that the lede def is unsatisfactory, but this def was arrived upon after repeated compromises in previous discussions, and without a definition which properly encapsulates the topic in another way (which would require discussion to formulate), we should probably leave it as it is. Do you have any sources for any proper definition of SH? If so, that might give us some ideas of how better to phrase the def.   — Jess· Δ 00:11, 17 May 2012 (UTC)
I don't see why the input of page regulars is any more valid than that of non-regulars (such as myself). If there have already been previous discussions, then it seems particularly appropriate to seek outside opinion. Opening an rfc is by definition an attempt to discuss the issue. I haven't yet looked up a definition for SH, but that doesn't mean that we should open the article with material that breaches WP:OR, MOS:LEDE, and quite possibly, WP:SOAP. 89.100.207.51 (talk) 02:08, 17 May 2012 (UTC)
See the instructions for starting an RfC at WP:RFC: "Before asking outside opinion here, it generally helps to simply discuss the matter on the talk page first. Whatever the disagreement, the first step in resolving a dispute is to talk to the other parties involved." RfCs are a form of dispute resolution. There's no dispute to resolve, since you haven't discussed it with anyone. We have a lot of valid RfCs on other articles. Asking editors who are willing to help out with those to resolve a dispute that you're not even willing to discuss is wasting their time. There's nothing for them to even comment on without a prior discussion for background. Please just discuss the issue first. You're not going to receive any opposition (I agree that the current lede is poor), but we need to find an acceptable alternative. Sources for that would help. Do you have any sources?   — Jess· Δ 02:44, 17 May 2012 (UTC)
The question isn't whether I have any sources for an adequate description. The question is why the lede should contain a statement that's in breach of WP:OR, MOS:LEDE, and possibly WP:SOAP. You have stated repeatedly that the current lede is the result of compromise after multiple discussions. If that is so, an RFC is entirely appropriate. Please stop delisting the RFC, such behaviour is unconstructive. 89.100.207.51 (talk) 04:23, 17 May 2012 (UTC)
No. If multiple previous discussions have all resulted in consensus for the current lead, and no new discussion has taken place since consensus was established, then an RfC is not the next step. Discussion is. Continually relisting it against the express instructions for listing an RfC is disruptive, and outright refusing to discuss this while insisting on wasting the time of others is tendentious.   — Jess· Δ 04:32, 17 May 2012 (UTC)
I haven't participated in earlier discussions on this issue. I also agree that an RFC is inappropriate. But, regarding the substance of the issue, I feel that the initiator of this thread has a valid point. Where, in the reliable sources which are or could be summarised in the article, is the reference to secular humanism "embracing justice"? It may well be true (and I hope and believe it is), but we are about verifiability not truth. If those words or similar can be found in the sources, they should be in the article text. If they are not in the article text, they should not be in the lead, which summarises the article. Ghmyrtle (talk) 06:46, 17 May 2012 (UTC)
Although I agree with Ghmyrtle that an RfC is jumping the gun in this case, I also agree with TechBear that the secular-humanist emphasis on justice is appropriate in the lead as long as it is elaborated on in the body of the article. Miniapolis (talk) 13:33, 21 May 2012 (UTC)
TechBear is right. Why waste all this time fighting over the text in the lede when the objection to including mention of justice there would be rendered moot by incorporating a discussion of secular humanists' value for justice into the rest of the article? Do your homework. Paul Kurtz, for instance, has written in The Affirmation of Humanism: A Statement of Principles, "We are concerned with securing justice and fairness in society and with eliminating discrimination and intolerance," and the Humanist Manifesto III says, "Humans are social by nature and find meaning in relationships. Humanists long for and strive toward a world of mutual care and concern, free of cruelty and its consequences, where differences are resolved cooperatively without resorting to violence. The joining of individuality with interdependence enriches our lives, encourages us to enrich the lives of others, and inspires hope of attaining peace, justice, and opportunity for all." Dezastru (talk) 15:52, 27 May 2012 (UTC)

I'm amazed that no-one picked up these major edits to the opening sentence for seven days. (I realise I'm as culpable as anyone else.) I've reverted them, on the basis that they are, at best, fringe opinions. Ghmyrtle (talk) 16:34, 27 May 2012 (UTC)

Everyone who has commented so far has agreed that an RfC isn't the right move now. We also have general agreement that justice should be included in the body, and if so, should also be summarized in the lead. The ip editor initiating this RfC is still refusing to participate in discussion, and consequently, I'm going to remove the RfC template. Discussion can (and should) continue. I'll reiterate that the opening def, right now, isn't sourced to a single place. That is a problem. Our def, above all else, should avoid synthesis and OR. I agree with adding justice to the body if we can source it, and including it in the lead if the sources are strong enough, but our definition is a whole different topic, and it really should be corrected. That said, I don't have enough time to look up a better def myself, but if we continue the discussion, I'd advise us to move it to that topic instead.   — Jess· Δ 16:46, 27 May 2012 (UTC)
The opening sentence needs to be neutral and balanced, per WP:MOSBEGIN, but does not need to derive from a single source. Indeed, I think it would be more of a problem if it were derived from a single source. My point, today, is that describing secular humanism as a "subculture or religion" - as the OP's edits claimed - does not constitute a balanced or mainstream definition. Ghmyrtle (talk) 17:03, 27 May 2012 (UTC)
Hmm. I don't know that I agree. I don't see a problem with summarizing multiple sources for the def (see, for example, Atheism). I also don't see a problem with combining sources to form a comprehensive definition that is contained in all of them in various wording. I do, however, see a problem with evaluating a few sources, and forming a completely novel definition based on our general impression. In other words, I don't think the def is immune to our sourcing criteria, and I think the current sourcing is insufficient. I think that's a solvable problem, but I suspect that once we have better sources from which to derive a definition, that our def will change substantially. Obviously, I agree with your revert and your additional reasons for opposing the ip's content.   — Jess· Δ 19:00, 27 May 2012 (UTC)
I agree that better sources need to be found and included in the text of the article, to support a balanced and (if possible) neutral summary definition in the lede. The sources that have been found so far are highly partial - they mainly deal with the position in the US, in particular on constitution-related matters (which obviously do not represent a global perspective) - and in any case should not be added to the lede. They should be balanced with other perspectives, added into the article as appropriate, and then used (through a process of consensus, here) to inform the lede. Ghmyrtle (talk) 20:24, 27 May 2012 (UTC)

Sources that associate justice with secular humanism[edit]

This is in response to an RfC invite. The issue: The lede mentions justice as a secular humanist value but the body of the text does not. Some have suggested that the issue be resolved by inserting the term "justice" into the body of the article. This section is for the collection of sources which explicitly link justice and secular humanism. Here is an addition recently made to the Secular humanism#Comparison with religious humanism section of the article:

1
"Religious humanists include worship in their activities along with their work for humanity. Secular humanists don't invest any energy in worship. Instead, they focus their activities on social activism, such as: helping disadvantaged people, working for fair laws and social justice, protecting the environment, improving one's local community, etc.
DonaldRichardSands (talk) 14:12, 28 May 2012 (UTC) (belated)
2
Here is another. This one has been placed in the Secular humanism#Council for Secular Humanism section.
"Justice and fairness – an interest in securing justice and fairness in society and in eliminating discrimination and intolerance."
These two should resolve the problem with the lede. (These edits may need revision?) DonaldRichardSands (talk) 14:12, 28 May 2012 (UTC)
3
Herb Silverman (secular humanist) describes a joint statement he and former religion editor Skip Johnson (religious humanist?) presented in their local newspaper. Justice is mentioned as a common value between the secular humanist and the religious humanist.
  • RfC Comment - I believe the sources support the inclusion of the phrase Social justice. Justice and social justice have rather different meanings. The use of the word "justice" without further modification may well call to mind certain individuals known for fighting for "Truth, Justice and the American Way," and may well strike outsiders as being more than a bit self-serving. Social justice seems to be what the sources indicated are referring to, is rather less self-serving, and more clearly defined as well. John Carter (talk) 14:34, 29 May 2012 (UTC)
Non-RfC comment: Social justice does appear to be the more appropriate term here. A similar case is Unitarian Universalism. a13ean (talk) 15:38, 29 May 2012 (UTC)
  • Comment The RfC was not discussed and is therefore premature and flawed, I suggest removing the RfC tag. IRWolfie- (talk) 19:26, 29 May 2012 (UTC)
Yea - everyone seems to agree on that point, but the ip has edit warred for it to stay. I asked for someone to take action on ANI, but no one on ANI seems to care (not enough drama I guess). I've removed it a few times (per suggestions here), and I'd rather not be looked down upon for edit warring, despite having obvious justification. IRWolfie, or anyone else, please feel free to step in and remove the tag. If the IP continues to edit war after someone else steps in, we can go to AN3. I hope that won't be necessary. Discussion can, of course, continue as necessary without the RfC tag.   — Jess· Δ 19:37, 29 May 2012 (UTC)

Humanistic Justice[edit]

This is a response to received RfC. The word “justice” - used in defining Secular Humanism - cannot distinguish it from Religious Humanism, which patents to itself “justice” : that of the “highest form”. Uncounted number of people suffered and still many do because of applied “divine justice”. One factor can differentiate humanistic justice from religious justice: nonviolence. I am surprised that the word “nonviolence” - as an essential value - does not appear in the Lead Section. Nonviolence is an acknowledgement of being human, sharing and valuing all humanity. There is no Humanism without Nonviolence. Needless to say the quality of Nonviolence differs from the commandment of "not to kill", and which meant not to kill those who believe in your religion, while violence against other human beings was plainly justified (whether in doctrines and in actual deeds).

There is a reletively wide movement of ‘secular’ Buddhist Humanism, which suggests Nonviolence as a basic principle of new humanism:http://www2.prnewswire.co.uk/cgi/news/release?id=55989 “In elaborating on the first principle of non-violence, Mr.Ikeda stated that a new humanism must include an absolute injunction against the taking of human life. "Any form of justice that is accompanied by the violence of killing must be recognized as a false justice, in whatever logic or rationale it may clothe itself”. SafwanZabalawi (talk) 06:20, 29 May 2012 (UTC)

Minor procedural point: which received RfC? I don't see any notification from RfC bot on your user talkpage or talkpage history. IRWolfie- (talk) 09:26, 29 May 2012 (UTC)
  • I am still learning about the values of "secular" humanists. Do all secular humanists value non-violence? For example, how did secular humanists respond to Hitler? Do any secular humanists serve as police officers? Can a person who is a secular humanist carry a weapon as a police officer? Buddhism is certainly non-violent. Are the terms "new humanism" and "secular humanism" synonyms? Is non-violence included in any of the manifestos of secular humanism? DonaldRichardSands (talk) 12:21, 29 May 2012 (UTC)

Secular Humanism, non-violence and warfare[edit]

At this point, the article does not examine the relationship between secular humanism and non-violence. Perhaps we should consider developing a section on such an examination.

The article does have a section comparing secular humanism with religious humanism. This talk page section examines the idea that the difference between secular humanism and religious humanism is that secular humanism is non-violent. See the section just before this one, i.e. Secular humanism#Humanistic Justice. DonaldRichardSands (talk) 13:04, 29 May 2012 (UTC)

Exhibit #1

Secular humanist, Edward Tabash, discusses the War with Iraq. Tabash sits on the Council for Secular Humanism's board of directors.

"In conclusion, then, I must emphasize again how important it is that the Council for Secular Humanism welcomes nonbelievers of all stripes, regardless of their views on war with Iraq. The Council’s purpose is to help establish a society in which supernatural beliefs play no part in the composition of public policy. Within such a broad realm of thought and action, there is room for a wide range of differing opinions on many political issues, including whether or not there should be American military action against Saddam Hussein."

Just a general point - although clearly secular humanism (or Humanism) is important in the US, we must in this article reflect a global perspective. One of the problems with this article in the past was that it gave very undue weight to the position as seen in the US - legal arguments and so forth - which I tried to redress some time ago, and which I would not like to see reappearing. This is not a criticism of any of the recent edits or comments here, just a gentle reminder! Ghmyrtle (talk) 13:25, 29 May 2012 (UTC)
Hi Ghmyrtle, thanks for your nudge toward a global perspective. I am new to the editing of this article and have not read all the talk page discussion. Does the global community make a difference between secular and other types of humanism? If so, what are the identifying terms that would help in a search of sources? Can you, or others, point to secular humanistic organizations which publish outside the United States? Or, who are the non-USA prominent non-believing humanists? DonaldRichardSands (talk) 14:28, 29 May 2012 (UTC)
Well, for a start there are the International Humanist and Ethical Union, the British Humanist Association, and all the other groups listed in the article under "Related organizations". In terms of prominent secular humanists, we have List of humanists, though by no means all of those would describe themselves as secular humanists. Is that some help? Regarding terminology, by the way, the term "secular humanism" is regarded, outside the US, as somewhat pejorative - hence the discussion in the Terminology section on the use of the capitalised term Humanism in its place. Ghmyrtle (talk) 14:51, 29 May 2012 (UTC)
  • Yes, the internal links are appreciated. It seems that Humanists in the United States have reappropriated the term "secular humanism" from their Christian critics. Now it is considered a positive description of the Humanist movement. In one source I read recently, the author asserts that the term came into common usage in the 1980s when it was used by religious people (Christians) to speak against the Humanist worldview. Other groups have reappropriated pejorative terminology; eg. "Christian", "Mormon", "Jesus Freak", "Methodist", "pagan", etc. DonaldRichardSands (talk) 15:56, 29 May 2012 (UTC)

The General & the Specific[edit]

I have 2 observations:

/1/ Obviously, the title “Secular Humanism” implies that there is another category of Humanism which is not-secular. The same thing with “Religious Humanism”, implying another category or branch, which is non-religious. This describes a state of humanity divided on its identity. The problem is that in the same title we have the 'Specific' feature (secular or religious) competing for the 'General' root (humanism). This may hide a hint of an uncomfortable inner tension within the concept of humanism. It gets worse within religious humanism, with the 3 Abrahamic religions competing for a better place in the debate (after claiming custody on humanity, each for itself).

As previous comments explained, there are common areas where both Secular and Religious views meet. In a book on "New Humanism", a suggestion of a unified vision of "Cosmic Humanism" was also presented. In a study on Asian Humanism http://www.iop.or.jp/0212/gier.pdf there is an interesting graph about the ‘secular’ and ‘sacred’ elements and it suggests the following: Humanism: “Any system of thought or action in which human [wordly] interests, values [rights], dignity are taken to be of primary importance”.

/2/ The current discussion about “justice” as an essential ingredient of humanism - resulted in a better description: “social justice”. But social justice, say, in Pakistan, for example is highly religious, and justifies violence (to keep society’s values etc…) I think a universal statement would require this social justice to be based on Human Rights, as acknowledged by a universally accepted Declaration (of a secular institution of the United Nation). Human Rights and Nonviolence cannot be hidden from a complete definition of Humanism. SafwanZabalawi (talk) 04:01, 30 May 2012 (UTC)

  • Hi SafwanZabalawi, you may find this book of interest.
Halliwell, Martin; Mousley, Andy, editors (2003). Critical Humanisms: Humanist/Anti-Humanist Dialogues. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press. p. 233. ISBN 0-7486-1504-0. 
The authors promote a complex tradition of humanist thought which they say cannot be reduced to today's conception alone. They identify different categories of humanist thought: Romantic, Existential, Dialogic, Civic, Spiritual, Pagan, Pragmatic and Technological Humanisms. DonaldRichardSands (talk) 03:03, 31 May 2012 (UTC) (delayed signature)
  • Intersting list of branches. I think such diversity solidifies the concept of humanism. The main point lies in a general definition of Humanism which capacity can dissolve division and tension (such as with 'Secular' vs 'Religious'. After all, there can be a philosophy of humanism that is secular and religious in the same time, such as in certain forms of Buddhism.
How to streamline all phenomena of humanism under one general source? I think this is possible if humanism is defined as based on the essence of Human Rights. Most if not all values mentioned in the current definition (of secular humanism) can be found in the body of Human Rights. The freedom of viewing humanism from a religious perspective is not a contradiction under the umbrella of Human Rights, but with a clear message that religious values are subordinate to and should serve the [secular] philosophy of humanism. SafwanZabalawi (talk) 01:47, 31 May 2012 (UTC)
I do not understand how certain forms of Buddhism are secular and religious at the same time. Please explain. Jojalozzo 20:52, 3 June 2012 (UTC)
  • Jojalozzo: Apart from various Buddhist schools which mix their teachings with local customs and superstitious beliefs - the Buddhist philosophy, in its essence, focuses on the natural order of existence. Nature is not random; it manifests the Dharma or the Universal Law of Cause and Effect, the background of all phenomena. The concept of Cause and Effect as the dynamics operating in all existence - is also the background of all disciplines of science (examining natural and mental phenomena). While Buddhism does not accept the concept of God-creator, it is then viewed as a non-religious system of beliefs. However, the concept of 'The Divine' exists in Buddhism, orienting it towards religious belief, but 'the divine' here is Life, or more specifically the "Life of the Universe'- regarded as: uncreated, impartial and eternal. So, from the perspective of Abrahamic (god-based) religions, Buddhism is an atheist, secular, man-based philosophy. Nevertheless it shares with religions the teaching about the object of veneration (life) and continuity of life after death. It seems then to be the "Middle Way", neither strictly religious (in the common sense), nor completely secular.SafwanZabalawi (talk) 01:18, 4 June 2012 (UTC)
    There is overlap of most religions with the tenets of humanism (more with some than others), so in that sense we can say that any religion is both secular and religious at the same time. I think the primary criteria that separates secular humanism from religious forms is the rejection of faith and belief as a philosophical basis. I do not understand Buddhism to meet that criteria and I'm not sure I see the advantage of obscuring the faith-based characteristics of religious humanism. Jojalozzo 02:27, 4 June 2012 (UTC)
  • I'm not sure whether the definitions of 'secular' and 'religious' are mustually exclusive or that they share certain common fields. If "the religious" element is based on the concept of sacredness and divinity then secularism may not share this concept. If the element of "faith" is the basis of differentiation between philosophies then the Q is "faith in what?". In Buddhism there is no belief in God (or any external power), but there is a belief in the existence of a Principle - or a grand Law - which expresses the phenomena we observe in nature. So, there is the element of faith in a certain Order or Law by which the Universe operates (because it is not random, and phenomena are not floating but show abiding consistency). This brings Buddhism closer to - perhaps - to the approach underlying scientific research, namely that: the prior assumption of a scientist is that laws of nature do exist. If a scientist had no faith or belief in the existence of a pattern underlying causes and effects, then no one would have spent time in scientific research. (In fact "Faith in Science" became the alternative to "Faith in Religion" after rejection of churches dogmas - but this is another story). Buddhism is more concerned with the practical Q: how to live a happy meaningful life, and it answers this Q: by being in harmony with the Universal Law of Life, which manifests itself in the reality of nature (and this Law embraces both the physical and the mental aspects alike).SafwanZabalawi (talk) 07:48, 4 June 2012 (UTC)
SafwanZabalawi, just a comment on your first observation: Use of the adjective secular in the term "Secular Humanism" does not necessarily imply that there are other forms of humanism. In theory, it could be a semantic pleonasm. Dezastru (talk) 03:37, 3 June 2012 (UTC)
This is a useful observation, but since religious humanism exists, do you consider it a semantic pleonasm? Jojalozzo 20:52, 3 June 2012 (UTC)
I am not familiar enough with this area of philosophy to offer an intelligent opinion. SafwanZabalawi may be right about non-secular humanism. I was just countering the logic behind the initial premise. Dezastru (talk) 02:27, 4 June 2012 (UTC)
  • Dezastru, the field of Semantic Pleonasm is new to me, and I find it interesting especially that English is not my first language. I don't think there is 'right' or 'wrong' in coining vocabulary or presenting information with redundancy, we do it all the time to emphasise the message and deliver it (such as saying : "this is my own perspective" - here "my" and "own" solidify each other. In regrad to the word "religious" (humanism), the implication is there: there is another type of humanism which is non-religious, because any adjective has a contra. The same with "Secular" (humanism). I think one adjective can avoid giving the implication (of a different type of humanism) and this can be perhaps: Universal Humanism. The word Universal has the same weight and extension as the word Humanism, which is general in nature and has no competing or differing category.SafwanZabalawi (talk) 01:35, 4 June 2012 (UTC)

A new page on Humanism to view[edit]

Uploaded a new Wikipage on Buddhist humanism., including a comapsison with Secular and Religious humanism.SafwanZabalawi (talk) 05:56, 11 June 2012 (UTC)

Maybe the comparison would make sense at Humanism as well. IRWolfie- (talk) 12:51, 11 June 2012 (UTC)

Imported info, and terminology[edit]

Some of you may have noticed I have made a bunch of changes. Partly stuff like readability and sources. Some of the information I brought over may do well somewhere else in the article, and I invite anyone to make those changes. I do plan on doing a full read and rewrite myself, for the sake of flow and readability.

Wikipedia was also, to my eyes, inconsistent. It says that Humanism is secular humanism. It also cites sources explaining that the latter adjective is often seen as redundant, and even derogatory, especially outside the United States. And yet, the two terms are not used interchangeably (as they could be, at least from what I gathered from the talk page discussion above regarding Capitalization of "Humanism" and "Secular Humanism").

So with that in mind, maybe a seperate Humanism (life stance) page would be redundant, but that also seems to mean that this page must make use of both "secular humanism" and "Humanism", two different approaches to specifying the worldview that distinguishes itself from other forms of humanism (one of which appeals directly to what I have heard called "life stance orthography"). -Tesseract2(talk) 16:11, 23 July 2012 (UTC)

I think that the reason that the two terms are (or were) not used interchangeably in this article is that it could be confusing to do so. I regretted the deletion of the Humanism (life stance) article. It was done on the basis that "Humanism" and "secular humanism" are synonymous, which seemed in discussion to be the prevalent position among editors here. But, it may not be understood that way by readers. Using two terms in the same article to mean the same thing is, in my view, often confusing. My view is that the article should discuss the terminology issue at the outset (flagged up in the lead, then discussed in the first section following), but that then the article should stick to one term to avoid confusion. The consensus here seemed to be that the term "secular humanism" would be less confusing for most readers - even if unpalatable to some editors. Ghmyrtle (talk) 16:23, 23 July 2012 (UTC)

That doesn't make sense to me. I was more confused, actually, because the article barely used "Humanism", right after one of the largest (if not the largest) organizations involved here emphatically, explicitly states

All Humanists, nationally and internationally, should always use the one word Humanism as the name of Humanism: no added adjective, and the initial letter capital (by life stance orthography).

In my opinion, All of the content on this page should go to Humanism (life stance), and the more American 'secular humanism' should link there. On that page, both terms would be used as synonymously on Wikipedia as they are, presumably, internationally. I see the use of both terms on the "secular humanism" page as already less than ideal. Just my thoughts. -Tesseract2(talk) 14:38, 24 July 2012 (UTC)

Well, scroll up the page to the discussion we had here in January, and I think you'll find that the majority view then was different. Ghmyrtle (talk) 14:46, 24 July 2012 (UTC)
PS: Of course, WP editors and articles should not necessarily use the terminology that Humanists themselves use or approve - WP:NPOV and all that. Ghmyrtle (talk) 19:46, 24 July 2012 (UTC)

I've now made an attempt to integrate the text brought over here by User:Tesseract2, so as to incorporate it better into this article, and to remove duplication. I've also changed the text order around slightly, and removed the photo of Cambridge Humanists which I and others found uninformative. WP:BRD applies. Ghmyrtle (talk) 13:20, 25 July 2012 (UTC)

Photo of Cambridge Hamnists[edit]

I removed a recently added photo of Cambridge Humanists setting up a booth. I think it's mundane, non-encyclopedic, and communicates very little about secular humanism. Jojalozzo 16:30, 23 July 2012 (UTC)

Hamnists?? I tend to agree. A few random people milling around a stand. Shows that Humanists are human, but not much more. Ghmyrtle (talk) 17:23, 23 July 2012 (UTC)