Talk:Humanism/Archive 1

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This is an archive of past discussions. Do not edit the contents of this page. If you wish to start a new discussion or revive an old one, please do so on the current talk page
Before archiving, this page has been refactored – see the bottom section details on 2006-08-21 till 2006-11-10 refactoring.

Humanism – long dead, or a new term?[edit]

Originally untitled initial comment of this talk page

Humanism as a worldview is so dead to most Wikipedians that it is listed in Category:Renaissance. Wetman 02:13, 13 Aug 2004 (UTC)

User:Stevertigo thinks that humanism is a neologism! Wetman 18:50, 26 Aug 2004 (UTC)

Humanism – the future, a religion, assuming the best, or a club?[edit]

Section title created on 21 Aug2006 to hold (originally titled or untitled) comments displaying views on the article's topic itself.

Religious Humanism will come to the fore[edit]

This subsection holds a personal view on the article's assumed TOPIC, which is not the purpose of article talk pages – and a reaction thereupon.

Humanism is not dead, God forbid ;-) The mistake secular humanists make (if they make any, of course...) is that theism, or deism, and religion are one and the same. In rejecting the first two, they unaccountably toss out religion with the bathwater.

A case can be made that life, love and nature are sacred to humanity. Further, the edifice of a "church" can perform functions on behalf of humanists that they cannot do alone. An example is teaching humanism, promoting world community, and opposing divisive theistic influences from an equal footing.

Humanists need to view Man scientifically, and to have an institution that oversees our interests. For too long, the organized religions have benefitted from the granular, unorganized state of humanism - so much so that we remain close to a medieval world where mankind remains in poverty.

Once humanists understand the value of the "church" edifice, minus the theistic and supernatural aspects assocaited with it to date, then the movement will come into full flower.

Only then will we emerge from being considered as mere atheists, from being viewed in terms of who we are not, rather than as the species seeking to govern ourselves, as we are.

Dwight G. Jones 30 Jan2005

Dwight, thanks for providing a fine example of what bias really looks like. Alienus 16:44, 1 November 2005 (UTC)

Is it a religion?[edit]

This subsection holds a personal view on the article's assumed TOPIC, which is not the purpose of article talk pages – and some (similar) reactions thereupon.

Originally untitled created at top of this talk page.

Isn't humanism itself a "religion"? Humanists have faith in what humans can accomplish (is this a correct definition?). Is that "faith" any different from a religious faith? — 3 Nov2005/4 Nov2005 (was unsigned, undated; other contributions)

It is not a religion and doesn't require 'faith' in anything. Humanism encourages rational thinking and reasoning. Religious people have had powerful representation from religious governing bodies for mellenia while the rest of us have had no representation at all. I see humanism as a way to join an organisation of people who share and represent the views I already had. I don't think anyone is ever converted into humanism. Everyone I know who has joined a humanist organisation, have done so because they realised humanism was already compatible with their current view of the world and can act as a kind of trade union representing and campaigning to protect the rights of its members.
In today's society we have information coming out of our ears and thus it is more important than ever to have the skills to logically and rationally evaluate what is and isn't credible. Such skills should be taught in school but generally are not. Such skills are discouraged by every organised religion i'm aware of.
Factoid Killer 13:46, 9 February 2006 (UTC)
"Humanism can be used in some ways to fulfill or supplement the role of religions in some people's lives, and therefore qualifies as a stance on religion."
Simply because humanism is amenable to being incorporated into religious dialog doesn't necessarily make it a "stance on religion", just as legal codes are not themselves stances on religion (though are present in - and when secular, sometimes amend or intercollate with [ie. asylum] - most religions). Ethical points of view are not the sole domain of religions. It does not qualify, except maybe, in a small way, to those people who are both religious and otherwise humanistic (otherwise being that their religion doesn't already incorporate the parts of humanism the person is borrowing from whatever nonreligious humanistic policy they've borrowed them from). 04:39, 30 July 2006 (UTC)

Wikipedia humanistic ?[edit]

This subsection holds a personal view on the article's assumed TOPIC, which is not the purpose of article talk pages.

Originally untitled created at top of this talk page.

Wikipedia is very much a humanist project. Benw 4 Feb2005

Ibn-arabi on 3 Jan2006 repeated the 3 sentences behind "responding to another point:" from his simultaneously introduced Two historical points (...) here and referred to those comments.

So Basically...[edit]

This subsection holds a personal view on the article's assumed TOPIC, which is not the purpose of article talk pages.

So basically humanists choose to assume the best in people, instead of expecting the worst in people. So it leads to a mindset where you want to see the good in people even though you know not everyone is good instead of just expecting that everyone will backstab you and is bad? Can anyone clarify if this is true, or what they believe it means. — QuestionMan 29 Mar2006 03:29 (UTC) (was unsigned, undated; other contributions)

This is not at all true. What you're describing is optimism, not humanism. Humanism asserts the value of human beings; it doesn't assert that human beings are trustworthy, perfect, ideal beings (though it may assert that there ain't anything better to choose from). It's possible to believe (quite realistically) that humans are capable of backstabbing one another, without turning one's back on humankind altogether. -Silence 05:35, 29 March 2006 (UTC)
Humanists tend to believe that human beings matter in the sense of being worthy of our caring about their well-being, and that they have an inherent capacity to be good even if they don't always manifest this. Humanists do not "assume the best" in people in the sense of believing that people will always act in good ways. However, humanists tend to "assume the best" in people in the sense that they observe that when people are treated in a way that assumes their goodness (insofar as this is consistent with a charitable interpretation of the available evidence), then this will tend to elicit their best. Another way of saying this is (to paraphrase Thich Nhat Hanh) "what you water is what will grow": by focusing on human goodness, without denying the existence of other human aspects, one tends to encourage the flowering of that goodness. Humanists believe that there is lots of goodness out there waiting to flower if one provides the proper opportunity and encouragement, and that human beings feel most fulfilled when manifesting their goodness. -Rhwentworth 16:23, 29 March 2006 (UTC)
In short (and rather roughly), humanism says that humanity does not need a god to tell it what is good and what is not, it can figure that out on its own with simple logic.  VodkaJazz / talk  21:46, 27 May 2006 (UTC)
Or, even shorter: Yeah, some people suck, but we're still the only game in town. Al 00:00, 28 May 2006 (UTC)

Sec Hum social club[edit]

This subsection holds a personal view on the article's assumed TOPIC, which is not the purpose of article talk pages. — It was originally untitled inserted underneath Ibn-arabi's 3 Jan2006 comment (on history of humanism), to which it has little relevance

I was introduced to Humanism by someone who thought I would be interested. I was. I could see myself being one. However, from reading the article, I would not want to be a Humanist. I mean, a lot of Secular Humanism sounds like a peeve against religion, like another Satanism. A mere reaction by the disillusioned, against religion, but by the sophisticated...? The Humanists I have talked to, all have their own philosophy. All different. I realize that with intelligent people this happens. So why do Secular Humanists reject so strongly Religious Humanism? Are they anti-religious first and just want to belong to something? Does that make Sec Hum just a social club? There are anti-religious tendencies in the article. Yet Humanism came from religion. I don't understand how the Humanism of today apparently belies its spiritual legacy. Is Humanism so fickle? Elementalwarrior 14:50, 8 August 2006 (UTC) 14:47, 8 August 2006 (UTC)

Style: rough prose[edit]

my god this is confusingly worded. Can someone simplify? — Gctegpipes 2 Apr2005 (was unsigned, undated)

Originally untitled created at top of this talk page, thus out of context.

Yeah, this is extremely difficult to read and confusingly worded. Protagoran formula? wtf is that? Could someone with more knowledge in this topic please rewrite or heavily edit this? thanks Vonkwink 10 Apr2005

Notable humanists (?)[edit]

Plato, Bertrand Russel[edit]

Content originally of the above section title, for getting shown in Contents like other subsections, this subtitle was created on 21 Aug2006.

if humanism is defined as "man is the measure of all things", it seems that many of the people on the list don't fit- plato, particularly, but others as well. Bertrand Russell, for instance, may have been a humanitarian, but that isn't the same thing as a humanist . . . can some justification be given for their inclusion? --Heah 18:14, 6 May 2005 (UTC)

if the definition defined the term your point would be well taken, but alas, it is just one of many possible definitions of the term. beyond that definitions rarely function as ways of determining what is and what is not something. many of the people on the notable lists are self-avowed humanists, and thus are humanists inasmuchas they did live a life that was not humanist. --Buridan 11:45, 7 May 2005 (UTC)
Either the list of humanists stays here, or... we create a category Humanist and tag those people's entries, then link to the category page. However, since the content is not currently reproduced elsewhere, and it is neutral in that it is non-exclusive in its intepretation of humanism, i think it should stay until other means of representing the knowledge is found. --Buridan 13:10, 8 December 2005 (UTC)


Originally a separate section a little farther down, moved here on 21 Aug2006.

I snipped the list and put it here, the resolution should probably be to cut the list in the end because it does not 'add' to the article. The right way of doing this is to create a categoy and add people to it, then for us to link to that category. Then if we want to have subcategories as suggested above, we can. I'll work on the category in a few minutes. Category:Humanists already exists, let's just use that.
I added all of the people that have pages to the appropriate categories. --Buridan 18:00 - 21:30, 9 December 2005 (UTC)

List of some well-known humanists[edit]

(It should be noted that the versions and definitions of humanism accepted by these people vary widely.)

Buridan 18:00 (- 21:30), 9 December 2005 (UTC)

Numbering of about half the alphabetical list, without changing the order of people, by Vkvora2001 on 5 Jun2006 in several stages without text on this talk page or as edit comment: since that looked as if the first half was different from the second, reverted while refactoring 21 Aug2006.

David Usher[edit]

Originally a separate section a little farther down, moved here on 21 Aug2006.

David Usher's most recent CD 'If god has curves' has many humanistic themes. In fact, in "Love will save the day" he has a quote of Gloria steinem saying 'We are talking about a society in which there will be no roles, other then those chosen, or those earned. We are really talking about HUMANISM" [emphasis my own, of course]. Throughout the CD, humanism as an idea seems constant. It's even called 'if god had curves' which can be interpreted in many ways, including religion softened, less rigid and formal. It's all, of course, open to interpretation, but for the time I believe he can be classified as a humanist, and so I wish to restore him, but will not, until some form of agreement is reached. Curufinwe 05:30, 2 Jun 2005 (UTC)

I was the jackass who removed him, I was unaware of his most recent album, which I am glad has been brought to my attention. He should be restored if this is the case. It would be useful for there to be some information about his humanistic ideas on his page. — Benw 4 Jul2005 (was undated)


Originally a separate section a little farther down, moved here on 21 Aug2006.

I noticed Silo appeared added to the top of the "well known humanists" section. You'll be aware that he's the guy behind the controversial "humanist movement" or "humanist party" or "humanist international" - usually kept at arms length from other humanist organisations. Rather than removing him entirely, I've put him futher down the list as appropriate alphabetically. --Dannyno 08:59, 18 August 2005 (UTC)

Revision as of 17:10, 4 October 2005 had removed above comment by Dannyno with edit comment: "humanism does not equal atheism (of course for some it does, but not for all)" by Tedernst
Restored 21 Aug2006 (while refactoring this talk page) because Dannyno had merely mentioned the controversy while also (though hesitatingly) acknowledging Silo belongs in the list. The articles on Silo and Humanist Movement prove he cannot be disputed to at least have been a humanist, be it not in the sense the IHEU may prefer; just as a theologist can be a Christian while banned from the Roman Catholic Church. — SomeHuman 21 Aug2006 01:27 (UTC)

Style: announcing policy proposal[edit]

This is just to inform people that I want Wikipedia to accept a general policy that BC and AD represent a Christian Point of View and should be used only when they are appropriate, that is, in the context of expressing or providing an account of a Christian point of view. In other contexts, I argue that they violate our NPOV policy and we should use BCE and CE instead. See Wikipedia:Neutral point of view/BCE-CE Debate for the detailed proposal. Slrubenstein | Talk 22:55, 15 May 2005 (UTC)

This proposal was rejected. Tedernst 17:04, 4 October 2005 (UTC)
Wikipedia policy has no preference, one may freely choose BC/AD or BCE/CE. The proposal to change the policy to enforce solely BCE/CE as (if) more NPOV, for the entire Wikipedia, was rejected by a (small) majority. I assume it is most proper to use the first style on Christian subjects, the second in articles about other religions or humanism; for most topics it should not matter but just stay consistent throughout an article. The discussions indicated that, besides a stance towards religion having an influence, especially scholars are familiar with and often use BCE/CE. — SomeHuman 21 Aug2006 01:27 (UTC)

Style: regarding Humanism – Religion – a Church[edit]

Originally untitled created at top of this talk page, following the bad example by Vonkwink 10 Apr2005 that was later placed under 'Style: rough prose' (hence "I don't like... either").

I don't like the way this article has been written either. Humanism is solely a human ethical and philosophical approach to life and Humanists are either athiests or agnostics. The whole point of Humanism is that it comes from a human perspective only and excludes everything eminating from religion. Just because Christians describe themselves as Humanists because their religious beliefs are moral and therefore humane does NOT make them Humanists in the sense of Humanism, it just means they are humane! Humanism is a humane philosophy so Christians like to attach the title Humanism to their faith but this does not make Christians Humanists - it is a contradiction in terms! Religion is a system of belief in/worship of a supernatural power (such as a god) so Humanism is not a religion. This does not mean Humansim is not organised or being promoted, but it does not need a 'church' which is a Christian concept. There is already the 'International Humanist and Ethical Union' organisation which is the world umbrella for representing Humanist, ethical culture, rationalist, secularist and freethought groups as well as the Humanist groups within different countries. Additionally Humanism is being taught about in many British schools. — User:Upfront (had signed by username without logging in; other contributions) 2 Jul2005

Originally an as hereunder titled section farther down, since Upfront's comment had been created at top of this talk page and had no title to refer to. <[moved 21 Aug2006 and thus hereunder "(above dated April 2005)" which had been another user's date just near Upfront's July 2005 comment, taken out of Stevertigo's text.]

"Humanists are either atheists or agnostics"
User:Upfront's statement is not correct. Articles about general topics need to first reflect their general meaning - not a specific or 'originalist' version of it.
PS: removed trivial dablink: "Humanistic" redirects here. For the 2001 album by Abandoned Pools, see Humanistic (album).Steve|talk 01:41, 31 October 2005 (UTC)

Originally in a section that had by then been titled, not by its contributers, 'random complaints' (underneath above comment by Upfront 2 Jul2006 and a comment to which it had little relevance by Vonkwink 10 Apr2005 that since 21 Aug2006 is found in section 'Style: rough prose'),

I have just been introduced to Humanism, by someone who thought I would be interested. I was. However, from reading this confusing and biased article, I would not want to be one.
Humanism starts out as a religious movement. The article makes it sound anti-religious.
How can a philosophy so belie its spiritual heritage? I see on this discussion page claims that most Humanists have spiritual views. The article needs to reflect or say that better. — Elementalwarrior 14:50, 8 August 2006 (UTC)

This article is very contradictory[edit]

This article is very confused as a whole. Perhaps this is not surprising if it reflects different viewpoints, but nevertheless something should really be done about it. In the first line: Humanism aproaches life... focusing on human solutions without recourse to "a god" or sacred texts or religious creeds. (Humanism defined as secularism?) Then in the same paragraph: "The first humanists were orators or poets of biblical or philosophical ideas." Medaeval European scholars who spoke of biblical ideas, but not as sacred? Then the next section discusses renaissance humanism, which may be ultimately secular, but saying so would hardly be uncontraversial. And then comes religious and secular humanism, or religious and secular secularism if the first section's definition is to be taken!

Humanism has many meanings; could the authors make clear that it is several things being discussed and not one? (I am sadly not competent to rewrite any section well.)

(The first section made the ridiculous assertion: "traditional ethical systems... apply only to particular ethnic groups". I have deleted this because it is blatantly false as a generalization. It would be arguable whether it was even applicable to any particular traditional ethical system.) CSMR 03:46, 4 October 2005 (UTC)

Inappropriately inserted, one indent further, between the 2nd and the last paragraph by CSMR at 03:46; Tedernst should have referred to the first two paragraphs while respecting chronology and the CSMR comment as one whole.

This is a really important point. Humanism does not equal secular humanism or atheism. Of course some people use the word that way and it's definitely appropriate for this article to note that and talk more about these views. The article also should discuss the other meanings of humanism and give all fair treatment. Tedernst 17:10, 4 October 2005 (UTC)

New Humanism and Neo-humanism[edit]

New Humanism (disambiguation) and Neo-humanism probably both need to be represented on this page. Tedernst 05:43, 6 October 2005 (UTC)

Style: too many "quotations."[edit]

Seriously. Qualifying so many nouns by surounding them in quotation marks gives the impression that the article is either poorly cited or written by someone who's dying to use weasel words (e.g. _Some_ People Say...). Both of these are -- explicitly -- spelled out in the style guide as things to avoid. I get the impression (whether correct or not) that it was written or edited at some point by a user who disagrees with humanism itself and wants to undercut the article in a sneaky and underhanded way to avoid NPOV accusations. Philisophical debates do not belong embedded in the articles themselves; if there's an intelligent, coherent, and cited refutation of some points, I'm in favor of adding a section to the article. Having the article deviate radically from encyclopedic style this way gives rise to poor readability as well as a slew of other issues. — 14 Oct2005 (was unsigned, undated)

Article revision 28 Oct2005 
and discussion on balance secular/religious humanism

Originally untitled created near the top of this talk page (immediately under its creator Wetman's 26 Aug2004 remarks).

There are many good suggestions here, but nobody's implemented them. Out of gentle frustration, I've made a serious attempt to clean up this page. I welcome your criticism and amendments, though I would suggest that most of what I did deserves to be kept pretty much as is. Alienus 19:25, 28 October 2005 (UTC) (compare before/after)

There is an unacceptable bias in understanding right from the start in this article. It is not good to anchor humanism in a secularistic mode of thinking, or in a secular *variation* of humanistic thinking

<quote>...humanism does not itself explicity deny the existence of God but instead rejects the importance of the supernatural in human affairs, in general, and the role of religion in public affairs, in specific.</quote>

The very first sentence shows this bias:

<quote>Humanism is an active ethical and philosophical approach to life, focusing on human solutions to human issues through rational ("reasonable") thought, without recourse to supernatural entities, such as a God or gods, or to sacred texts, traditions or religious creeds.</quote>

Shakespeare and Montaigne are considered high points of humanism, and both seemed to believe that God is a real and active power in the world. One can be fully a humanist and believe that *human* fulfillment requires a depth of spiritual and even religious life or ongoing co-operation with the highest power. There is no contradiction in such a view. The source of the humanist tradition, the Greeks, was quite a religious culture. To draw a big bold line between religious and humanistic spirits does a terrible disservice to the idea and to the readers of the article. The concept is far more complex than the introductory paragraph allows.
Wilson Delgado 22:34, 31 October 2005 (UTC)

With all due respect, I believe that my description of humanism is accurate with regard to modern, as opposed to historical, versions of the philosophical stance.
Secular and religious humanists alike reject the importance of such things as God or the Bible in matters of ethics. While the religious humanist might believe in the existence of a God, you won't hear them say that abortion is right or wrong because of God's wishes or the words of the Bible. Instead, any arguments on this controversial issue will be rooted in what's good for people, as best as we can determine. Likewise, while a religious humanist might even pause to pray to God for help and guidance, they won't just sit there afterwards, waiting for a response; they'll act on their own.
Contrast this with adherents to divine command theory, who say that something is moral only because God sanctions it. Likewise, contrast it with the sort of existentialist who agrees with divine command theory about the need for God to sanction morality so as to legitimize it, but happens to disagree about the existence of God. Both of them put the supernatural and religious as the source of morality, whereas modern humanists of either stripe do not.
In short, even the most religious humanist looks to humanity for truth and morality, not to the supernatural. In this way, the description I gave is true and unbiased. I'm not claiming secular humanists are right and religious humanists are wrong, or the other way around. Instead, I'm showing where they agree and disagree, while recognizing that secular humanism is the one people think of when humanism comes up.
As for Shakespeare and Montaigne, if they were alive today then I'm not sure whether they'd qualify as humanists in the modern sense. And it is this modern sense that the article should focus on, with historical roots left as an aside. Humanism is a broad enough term as it is, without us stretching it to cover all prior meanings. It is not, as one person jokingly claimed at a UU church, merely the belief in the existence of humans.
Now, if you think you can update the text to remove bias without introducing error, I welcome your suggestions on just how that might be done. We could go on forever about the theory of what humanism is, but it's counterproductive compared to focusing on the concrete details of what the article should say. The fact that you perceived a bias is itself an issue, even when no bias exists, and I would like to believe that thee could be changes that clarify the issue so as to prevent further misunderstandings, without compromising on accuracy. Alienus 16:44, 1 November 2005 (UTC)

Thank you for this explanation. I will certainly continue to think about it. Here are some points that occur to me now.
1. My first reaction is that there would be little problem if the article is defined as being about modern philosophical humanism. But if a reader goes to an encyclopedia to look up *Humanism*, he/she may very well have historical concerns and interests, not to mention the desire to know how the historical and the modern term fit together. The larger simpler category "Humanism" should not be co-opted only by the historical version or by the modern philosophical version -- not in an encyclopedia, anyway. Look at what other encyclopedias do with this term.
2. If the human person is judged to be essentially a religious being as in most of the cultures of the world today (i.e., related to a Supreme Being, called into a personal relationship with an Ultimate Person), then modern philosophical humanism as defined seems condemned to work with a kind of truncation of the human. Why could modern philosophical humanism not have a valid religious version?
3. Nietzsche was quite the modern humanist (loved the Greeks, Montaigne, Emerson, Goethe, Burckhardt), but for all his focus on humanity, he ended up using religious terminology (Dionysus, amor fati) to express himself. The atheist humanist slips the religious function back in. The influential Stoics thought reason itself divine. Sometimes it is hard to separate the human and the divine. Wouldn't it be better to leave the level or mode of religious belief out of the core description of Humanism writ large?
4. Christian humanism is a current phrase and so it is confusing if humanism implies a thoroughgoing bracketing of God. One can *focus* on the human world and use only secular argumentation / reason while still deriving insights and large ethical principles from religious traditions. Some say that modern humanist Kant translated his religious piety into an ethical system.
Thanks for your consideration of these points. — Wilson Delgado 21:36, 1 November 2005 (UTC)

These are fair points. After reading them, I took the liberty of spying on the competition by looking up humanism and secular humanism on Encarta. To save you the trouble, the links are and Please take a look at both of these short pages.
1. The Encarta article immediately defines humanism, rather broadly, then talks about its origins. I think this is a reasonable way of handling the topic, though we can go a bit deeper that that. Consider, by analogy, that an article on democracy might talk about democracy in general, move on to the roots of democracy, then present examples of modern democracy and a bit about the future of this political system.
I think we should change the intro so that, like Encarta, it first defines humanism in terms of an affirmation of the dignity and worth of the individual, based on the notion that people are rational and capable of truth and goodness. This seems to be a more broad and neutral definition, therefore a good starting point. If desired, we can then contrast it with opposing views, such as Calvinism (total depravity).
After that, in the interests of explaining what all this actually means, it's fair to go on to say that humanism stresses the importance of humans while reducing or removing the importance of the supernatural. Humanists depend on rationality, not revelation, in determining facts. They depend on their own moral compass, based on a rational evaluation of the issues, as opposed to counting on divine revelation to settle the matter.
A humanistic Jew, for example, would not be content with following Kosher laws just because "it is written" or "we've always done it that way" or even "God says so" (unless and until it can be demonstrated that God had a good reason that still applies today). Such a person would demand a rationally justifiable basis for ethics so that, even though they would very much qualify as a religious humanist, they would agree with even the most secular of humanists on these ethical matters.
In short, the emphasis on rationality necessarily knocks various forms of traditionalism and religiosity. Also, I think it's key to show that this is an active philosophy to live by, not merely an arm-chair stance. To be a humanist is to act like a humanist, not merely affirm the truth of humanism. In this sense, it is akin to a religion without being one.
I'd like to work some of the above into a more concise form and merge it in with the current text. I think that would address some of the issues with historical scope and the appearance of bias.
2. The religious version of modern philosophical humanism that you speak of is called religious humanism, which has a section devoted to it in the article. In fact, the views you expressed in your point are quite consistent with religious humanism, in that you seek to retain the trappings and terminology of religion while otherwise being a humanist. In fact, differences in language are one of the most obvious distinctions between religious and secular humanists; the former tend to sound like traditional religionists even when they express clearly humanistic arguments, while the latter tend to avoid religious words.
In any case, what you said about a "truncation of the human" matches the part of the article where it talks about the common religious humanist belief that secular humanism "rejects the full emotional experience that makes us human" and "inadequate in fulfilling the general human need for a philosophy of life".
In short, I think that the current text gives adequate expression of the religious humanist view already. If you have any specific suggestions on improving the coverage of religious humanism, I very much welcome them. In case it's not obvious, I would consider myself a secular humanist with substantial exposure to religious humanism.
3. Like I said, one of the big differences between religious and secular humanists is language, rather than content. A secular humanist might speak of having "confidence" in the basic goodness of humanity, while a religious humanist would more likely say they had "faith" in it. As for Nietzsche, he was the father of existentialism, a stance that has some things in common with humanism but is not fully humanistic. In any case, he was fond of using religious terminology ("God is dead") as a religious humanist might, not as a traditional Christian would.
The notion of separating the human and divine is an issue only for those who believe in the existence of a divinity, so it has no meaning for a typical secular humanist, who would simply say nothing is divine. (Interestingly, a deistic religious humanist would say everything is divine, which likewise removes the issue.) I realize that you want to play down the conflict between secular and religious humanism, or make room for more religious humanism, but the distinction is very real and cannot be fairly ignored. To pretend that self-avowed humanists are all either religious or all secular would be biased. Both types exist, and the article must reflect this. If anything, it might be clearer if the sections on the two were shortened, with the material about the conflict separated into a third section. I'll think about this.
4. Christian humanism is one form of religious humanism, sure. I avoided the term only because there is a wide variety of religious humanism, some of it associated with various traditional religions, some of it not. I'm not a Christian humanist, so I'm probably not the right person to fully explain that POV. The Christian humanists I've met do fit what I said above, in that they still speak of God, but they don't rely on God when determining what is true and right. My suggestion here is that you wait until I finish integrating the changes noted above, then see if you can flesh out the religious humanism section to better explain the stance.
Are you ok with the changes listed above? Is there anyone else watching this who wants to contribute? Alienus 17:45, 2 November 2005 (UTC)

On first reading, I very much like the direction you are taking here (and I agree with the distinctions you make). The best strategy may be, as you suggest in Number 1 above, to give the broad understanding of humanism, then perhaps say that for most (English-speaking?) people, the term suggests the modern philosophical humanism that you define, but that there are variants that make the term ambiguous. The history helps to show how the various usages evolved. (Just an aside -- in my own circles, humanism almost always means the cultural, literary tradition and its vision rather than the philosophical one. In a philosophy department, however, things are probably very different.)
Thanks for your reflections and your work on this great and many-levelled subject. I will take a look at the article again in a week or two.
Wilson Delgado 20:56, 2 November 2005 (UTC)

Removed Philo box[edit]

Per comments on my talk, I may agree. — St|eve 19:01, 4 November 2005 (UTC)

Note 21 Aug2006 while refactoring: The general overview philosophy box at the bottom of the article had been removed by Tedernst that 4 Nov2005.

Steve, you made a round of changes after I started my last edit, so I had an edit conflict. I did my best to merge our changes together, but some of your work might have gotten lost in the shuffle, so please give it another look. In the future, it might be helpful if you left some indication that you were working on the next version, as I did in my conversation with Wilson Delgado. — Alienus 23:46, 6 November 2005 (UTC)

Galileo affair[edit]

The Galileo topos is a misleading cliché. See, for example, .

<quote> Galileo's condemnation: The real and complex story Georgia Journal of Science, 2003 by McMullen, Emerson Thomas ABSTRACT Often the Catholic Church's condemnation of Galileo Galilei is viewed as the prime example of an ongoing "war" between science and religion. Just as often the reason for this condemnation is thought to be Galileo's advocacy of Copernicanism. The true story is much more complex than these assumptions. Firstly, modern historians of science do not accept the "warfare" thesis of science versus religion. Secondly, Galileo's claim that each planet orbits an imaginary point that, in turn, orbits another imaginary point near the sun, may not have been the root cause of his troubles with the Church. The reasons behind Galileo's sentence are complex. There are several factors besides Copernicanism. One is angering his friend, Pope Urban VIII. Recent documentary discoveries indicate that another factor was Galileo's advocacy of atomism, which undermined the Church's scientific understanding of the Eucharist. </quote>

Wilson Delgado 21:36, 13 November 2005 (UTC)

second. — 4 Dec2005 (was unsigned, undated; other contributions)
It's not misleading at all. All it says is that the trial "forced the choice between basing the authority of one's beliefs on one's observations, or upon religious teaching." If you trouble to read the actual accusation and condemnation of Galileo, you'll find that the Inquisition ruled that he had held beliefs contrary to religious truth (naming heliocentrism and nothing else) and that he had continued to argue for this even when told it was wrong (like, not basing his beliefs on their religious authority). Nothing about atomism. The Humanism article takes the Inquisition's opinion at face value. I don't see why an article on Humanism needs to psychoanalyze the Inquisition like the old "Good morning" -- "Gee, I wonder what he meant by that" joke.
More relevant would be to inquire into what other people at that time thought it was about. That would have to do with the history of humanism; inquiries into the intrigues at the Vatican and the cover stories it decided to use (if in fact the Inquisition was not speaking the truth about the matter) belong in other articles.
Oh, BTW . If Fordham University is engaging in anti-Catholic distortions of the record, we really are in trouble. Dandrake 02:25, 5 December 2005 (UTC)
I just happened in here and am not really involved with this article, but after posting the thing just above, I begen to think -- dangerous! -- and now it seems that the little suggestion could be a good one. I mean, about finding and documenting what people thought at the time about things like the Galileo case. It would contribute to the history of humanism. Never mind what the apologists for the Inquisition thought; what about people who were considering doing some free thought and discourse? Surely somebody out there knows something about it and might find it worth writing up.
Meanwhile, I'd like to share this contemporary reaction (1644): "... I could recount what I have seen and heard in other countries, where this kind of inquisition tyrannizes; when I have sat among their learned men, for that honour I had, and been counted happy to be born in such a place of philosophic freedom, as they supposed England was, while themselves did nothing but bemoan the servile condition into which learning amongst them was brought; that this was it which had damped the glory of Italian wits; that nothing had been there written now these many years but flattery and fustian. There it was that I found and visited the famous Galileo, grown old, a prisoner to the Inquisition, for thinking in astronomy otherwise than the Franciscan and Dominican licensers thought..." (Areopagitica (1644))
The question, of course, is not whether he was right or wrong in his incurious, essentially anti-intellectual treatment of this subtle, subtle matter; what matters in the history of Humanism is whether the viewpoint he encountered among Continental scholars was widely shared. Dandrake 06:08, 5 December 2005 (UTC)
But did it really "force the choice" -- especially when there continued to be religiously believing scientists, who must have also been giving some authority to their observations rather than to religious belief, which could not possibly comment officially on everything that could be observed? Perhaps helpful here will be the page at , which says

<quote>The condemnation of the Holy Inquisition, therefore, should not be seen as a prohibition of the Church regarding science, but rather, philosophy. If the condemnatory decree did not mention philosophy explicitly, this was because at that time the distinction between both matters was not entirely defined. The intention of the condemnation, however, seems quite clear.</quote>

Wilson Delgado 19:36, 5 December 2005 (UTC)
As to the second point, I will continue (because it so often gets glossed over or direclty denied) to harp on the fact that the Inquisition really did condemn heliocentrism (at that time) as being against the faith and not allowable for a Catholic to hold or defend. One could reasonably say that the lack of a clear distinction between philosophy and science was the problem. But as long as that problem existed, scientists (as we know call them) needed to keep looking over their shoulders.
As to "force the choice" I see you have a point. It seems the wording could be made more precise. I'd better leave the tuning of the nuances to the Humanists, who know their own issues better than I do. Note, though, that there there was a price to pay for not letting the choice be forced on one: restricting one's scientific work to things the Church didn't worry about. In practice, as you will pint out, it wasn't a terribly narrow restriction. In principle?? "The difference between theory and practice is always greater in practice than it is in theory" as someone remarked. But maybe this is aconter-example. Dandrake 01:26, 6 December 2005 (UTC)


I'd like to suggest removing the recently added link to antihumanism. It doesn't appear to be a genuine page. — Alienus 16 Nov2005 (was unsigned, undated)

The humanist bandwagon[edit]

Uhm, since when is Mother Teresa a humanist? Ditto for JP2. — Alienus 7 Dec2005 (was unsigned, undated)

I tend to agree there are a number of persons whose beliefs in revealed prior knowledge are in opposition to humanist philosophy. I would suggest that these two members of the list should be removed. They may well be humanitarians, but they are not humanists. Benw 18:03, 7 December 2005 (UTC)
I think you are assuming that these two had "faith", for them as in many educated catholics, God may be little more than "pure act", the first force which set the universe in motion, and the bible is merely wisdom literature, and the church itself a means to do what they consider good, and institutionalized humanism. Their faith can be quite different from that of the layity.
But on rethinking my additions in response to you query, I think Lidell may not belong on the list, he's a little too fundy. --Silverback 19:05, 7 December 2005 (UTC)
I don't see anything about the two that makes them humanistic. Where did you get the idea that they are? Also, how familiar are you with their social policies? I ask this pointed question because there are some rather anti-humanistic elements to them. Alienus 21:37, 7 December 2005 (UTC)
I think people are missing the point. I don't believe that humanism is neccesarily opposed to theistic belief. However both did believe in recieved wisdom from god. Doubt is an extremely important aspect of humanist philosophy. Neither Mother Teresa nor John Paul II were open to doubt (for the most part) when it came to Catholic doctrine. Look at the way JPII framed his stance towards homosexuality, and look at the way in which Mother Teresa's hospitals operated. Neither of them seemed very interested in questioning Catholic dogma. Benw 03:24, 8 December 2005 (UTC)

Inappropriately inserted, one indent further than the comment hereunder by Alienus at 03:37; Buridan should have referred to Benw 03:24 while respecting chronology.

not all forms of humanism require religious scepticism. Humanism requires one thing, basic faith in the capacity of your fellow man to do good. Once that is established, then you move into the varieties of humanism, such as secular humanism, which tends to have the hard-line anti-religion stance, but this is not an article about secular humanism, is it?--Buridan 13:17, 8 December 2005 (UTC)
Indeed, it's not their theism that rules out the claim that they're humanists. Rather, their ethical stance is incompatible. I read an interesting little book called The Missionary Position: Mother Teresa in Theory and Practice, by Christopher Hitchens, and it pretty much punctures any case for her as a humanist. I'm calling for her removal from the list unless someone can come up with citations to support her continued inclusion. Alienus 03:37, 8 December 2005 (UTC)
religious faith does not exclude one from being a humanist, it just excludes one from being some radical forms of humanist. since this article represents all of humanism, and not whatever any single one of us believes to be humanism, religious people should stay. there is a longstanding tradition of various religious humanism, it follows most of the same principles as other humanisms and generally bases the need for humanism on an idea of god that is non-interventionist or external to our world. --Buridan 13:13, 8 December 2005 (UTC)
Humanism rejects the supernatural, even religious humanists. John Paul II's belief in miracles is a clear belief in the supernatural. Although he tended to be more inclined then other popes towards a humanist point of view, (his fairly strong acceptance of science for example) he still had a strong belief in revealed prior knowledge. (The contents of the bible as the "word" given by God) In my view Mother Teresa's views were fairly similar and that's why I included her as someone who is not a humanist. Benw 13:40, 8 December 2005 (UTC)
aye, but the problem there is that you have not provided evidence of either for us to consider, you have just asserted your view is x, and that it is correct. Humanism does not reject the supernatural either, that is your view. humanism says that humanity is the core/center/main concern. there is religious humanism, several million people probably exist in that realm. while i realize that you prefer to think in terms of secular humanism, or something similar, it is important to be neutral to your opinion unless it can be well supported with facts. --Buridan 13:58, 8 December 2005 (UTC)
Guys, my complaint here is not that these two people believe in the supernatural, but that their ethical stance is not humanistic. Teresa, for example, was more concerned with baptizing people so that they'd die Catholic than medicating them to block the pain. A humanist, even one who believes in an afterlife or whatever, would not put their supernatural beliefs above human suffering. As I see it, the burden of proof is on whoever claims JP and MT are humanists. I've seen no evidence, no citations, no support. If none is forthcoming, I will go ahead and remove them myself. Alienus 17:36, 8 December 2005 (UTC) (was unsigned, but dated)
before you delete them, ask whether they fit with the definition provided by the Catholic religion: or perhaps Christian Humanism perhaps it is only your perspective that says they aren't, and there are more possible perspectives to investigate, even more than the two i've provided -- Buridan 22:35, 8 December 2005 (UTC) John Paul II's radical humanism.... -- Buridan 22:59, 8 December 2005 (UTC)
Apparently St. Theresa's autobiography explains her humanism as the new humanism of the Catholic church -- Buridan 22:59, 8 December 2005 (UTC)

Buridan's changes[edit]

Originally a separate section, made subsection on 21 Aug2006.

I have some direct questions about your changes. In general, you watered down claims to the point where they're mostly water. I don't want humanism to be reduced to something bland and inoffensive through an excess of weasel words. I'd like you to document your claims that:
1)Some versions of humanism do not base our dignity and worth on the special attributes that distinguish humans; our ability to determine what's right all by ourselves, without help from above.
2)Some versions of humanism do not entail a commitment to the search for truth and morality through human means and methods.
3) Some versions of humanism are compatible with ethical traditionalism.
If no support is forthcoming, I will go ahead and revert these myself. Alienus 17:49, 8 December 2005 (UTC)

1) what special attributes do you refer to? reason? there is TAZ, which is humanist and anti-rational
2) Radical Humanism denies the centrality of truth because truth is determined by those in power. Morality is fine, but we have to realize critiques of power found in radical humanism there too.
3) Erasmus of Rotterdam, Antiphon, likely others all hold a version of humanism is compatible with ethical tradionalism and in fact certain ethical traditions are precisely the result of humanism.
The reason that I watered it down is because it started reading like secular humanism, instead of humanism. There are more forms of humanism in the world than secular. Depending on what you hold to be the central tenet of humanism, will cause you to hold different set of things to be or not be humanism. However, while many groups are happy with defining their particular tenet to be central at this point in time, if we look both at the history of humanism, and the diversity represented in that history, I don't think we are able to make the strong claims that I edited down. My position is to support the npov here, and that is what I put forth. If you want to put forth a secular humanist definition then we need to do that on [Secular Humanism], likewise [Christian Humanism] goes in its appropriate place. -- Buridan 22:29, 8 December 2005 (UTC)

Saints and Popes[edit]

This sub-subsection was a by Buridan at 23:02 promoted section header above Alienus' normal (thus untitled) continuation of a discussion underneath Buridan's comment of 8 Dec2005 22:29 (UTC).

I took a look at both of the links, but I don't see how they fit. The Catholic Encyclopedia speaks of a long-dead historical movement, while the Christian humanism definition describes something I'm quite familiar with but which doesn't match either JP or MT. I'm sorry, but I just don't see how, by even these broad definitions, either of these famous dead Catholics can be called humanists. The key issue, once again, isn't secularism but, to quote the Christian humanism page, "advancement of the common good, morality grounded in human experience, equality for all classes of people, and focus on this natural world". Check out JP's record on liberation theology and MT's views on suffering, if you want further confirmation. As it stands, I'm still leaning heavily towards deletion. Got anything else? Alienus 22:58, 8 December 2005 (UTC)

As a side note, perhaps both of these URL's could be added as references, to flesh out the verifiable sources of the page. Want to do that? Alienus 23:00, 8 December 2005 (UTC)

Just google it, you'll find plenty of references toward the humanism of both. careful with the threads ;) i suppose we can add these shortly. maybe not right now as i'm being querolous--Buridan 23:02, 8 December 2005 (UTC)
I followed the link to the firstthings essay and was deeply revolted. The article kept referring to humanism as "false humanism" while calling JP2's anti-humanistic policies an example of "radical humanism" and "true humanism". Radical doesn't even begin to cover it. Calling JP2 a radical humanism is like calling Richard Dawkins a radical theist.
This looks like a desperate and dishonest effort to steal the H word away from those evil atheists. If you want to claim that JP2 is a humanist, you're going to have to specify that this is a form of humanism that is radically different from what everyone else means when they speak of humanism. It's not even compatible with generic religious humanism, because it's so conservative on social issues. I know and have known quite a few religious humanists, and not a single one was half as homophobic as JP2.
I'm going to delete the links. If you want to put them back, you'll need to come up with a sufficiently strong disclaimer to prevent anyone from confusing these two people with actual humanists. Alienus 23:12, 8 December 2005 (UTC)
look up 'catholic new humanism' and you'll see that JPII is clearly that. Now, you might argue that it doesn't fit with your understanding of humanism, but it is a understanding of humanism. I'm going to revert until you find clear evidence that they are not humanists, also most humanists aren't atheists, only the most vocally opinionated humanist usually are.... --Buridan 23:28, 8 December 2005 (UTC)

Time and Consensus[edit]

Originally a separate section, made subsection on 21 Aug2006.

It is best when faced with edits which haven't reached resolution to either 'be bold' but accept reversion or continue the discussion until consensus is found. In the case above, I reverted because I do not think that the issue is settled (and believe me, i am not a fan of the people in question.) But there has to be a 'standard' for inclusion and it can't be 'i think it is humanism' it has to be 'there is no legitimate claim that they are humanists'. In the case of both of these individuals, they are humanists in the context of the New Humanism of the Catholic Church, which might be something different than what other people mean when using the word. So my point here is to either discuss in order to find a new standard of inclusion ... or be patient enough until others find one.--Buridan 23:33, 8 December 2005 (UTC)

I have to agree with Alienus in the sense that just because you assert you believe in a "New Catholic Humanism" this makes you a humanist. If this is the case one could assert the existence of and their belief in a New Roman Catholocism while at the same time holding explicitly pagan views. (Issues of the possible pagan influence that exists in Catholocism aside) What would be the result of that, would these people be able to claim that they are Roman Catholics just because they assert the existence of a New Roman Catholocism. I think because of the appearance (rightly or wrongly) of positive connatations of the a word like humanism it is ripe for hijacking by other groups who want to attach their belief systems to the word. I think we need to be serious about setting standards for what humanism means, standards that don't result in the page being filled with whatever someone wants to say humanism is. I would hope that more users get involved in this discussion. Benw 08:12, 9 December 2005 (UTC)

Inappropriately inserted, one indent further than the comment hereunder by Buridan at 11:29; Silverback should have referred to Benw 08:12 while respecting chronology.

Sorry, "we" don't set standards for what humanism is, if any inclusion is disputed, the standard becomes has any authoritative source or the general society characterized them or their organization or philosophy as humanist. The way defend their inclusision is with sources. Although, our standards of civility probably should allow the names to stay in until a reasonable chance to stay in to allow a reasonable chance for sources to be tracked down. Also, perhaps figures should be allowed to be listed, who clearly meet even the stricter definitions, even though the term humanist many not have been common at their time period, such as Albert Schweitzer.--Silverback 12:23, 9 December 2005 (UTC)
I am fine with standards, so long as standards capture what people mean when they say humanism. If you purposefully exclude things that people commonly regard as humanistic, or humanism, then you've not written an encyclopedia or even wikipedia article about humanism, you've written an opinion, and that should be avoided. NPOV and inclusion are the way to go. Saying, "I don't think it belongs", does not cut the mustard of truth when there is ample evidence in google that a significant population thinks it does belong. What you have to do is say something like, from these specific perspectives on humanism, which i think are inclusive, x is not humanism. But what I've been seeing so far is perhaps somewhat perspectival approaches. --Buridan 11:29, 9 December 2005 (UTC)
We should purposely exclude things that have insufficient support. The burden of proof is not on the party disputing the inclusion. In the case of the people (and gods) that I deleted from the humanist list, there has not been sufficient support for their continued inclusion. Reverting my deletion is how you start an edit war, not how you come to a consensus.
My suggestion for a compromise is to break the list up, either by grouping or by annotating, to distinguish between people by the sort of humanist they are. Categories might include "Ancient and Mythical Humanists", "Medieval Humanists", "Modern Humanists", and "Radical Humanists". JP2 would fit into that last category, JC into the first. If MT fits into any category, it would likewise be the last. Alienus 17:04, 9 December 2005 (UTC)
I think that if people want to start an article about New Catholic Humanism they should. I really have trouble with accepting that a large number of people accept this doctrine as a humanist one. I was unable to find mention of it in more then a few places. The new Catholic dictionary defines humanism as: Name given to the intellectual, literary, and scientific movement from the 14th to the 16th centuries, which aimed at basing every branch of learning on the literature and culture of classical antiquity. [#] It goes on to conclude that: The extreme humanistic spirit rebelled against theology and the Church, and the moral and religious views of pagan antiquity led many humanists to live dissolutely. Peter Angeles, in his Dictionary of Philosophy defines humanism as among other things, "dedicated to fostering the individual's creative and moral development in a meaningful and rational way without reference to concepts of the supernatural." (Angeles, 118). New Catholic Humanism or indeed even Catholic Humanism are not Humanism. Perhaps the problem is that in this article we've been to inclined to lump all different variations of humanism together, perhaps we need to make a more determined effort to split them off when necessary. I'm not going to deny that there are a number of Catholics whom are in our list of "well known" humanists, but to say that two people whom were so observant of Catholic dogma (one of whom was able to create it as well) is deceptive. John Paul the II and Mother Teresa 's inability to rely on doubt rather then dogma is what makes them not humanist in the sense of this article. I'm afraid that if we keep changing the entry on humanism, to include all the contradictory philosophies that have called themselves humanist, our list of "Well known" humanists will be endless and readers will not be able to learn anything about what humanism is by reading the article. Benw 17:36, 9 December 2005 (UTC)

"Jesus was a great humanist"[edit]

Originally a separate section, made subsection on 21 Aug2006.

Here is a source for jesus as a humanist, I assume others can be found

  • "The fact that Jesus was a great humanist has been lost on the feeble minded. In religious humanism, people are the first and primary consideration. People are more important than dogmatic, brittle, religious laws, creeds, rules, theologies, beliefs and man-made doctrines. Religious laws and institutions are not sacred. Jesus attacked authoritarian religion at every turn, replacing it with a humanistic religion. His insistence that “the Kingdom of God is within you” was combined with a blinding emphasis on the needs of human beings.“The sabbath was made for people ... people were NOT made for the sabbath” (Mark 2:27) The humanism of Jesus: what a breath of fresh air that blows through the theological smog.".[1]
  • "Religious Humanism is as old as Jesus."[2]

--Silverback 17:26, 9 December 2005 (UTC)

Mother Teresa[edit]

Originally a separate section, made subsection on 21 Aug2006.

Mother Teresa is highlighted in this discussion of Franciscan humanism.[3]--Silverback 17:58, 9 December 2005 (UTC)

  • "All mourned her death, bid her the warmest welcome on her visits to the land of her forefathers and felt proud of the fact that this illustrious humanist woman was an Albanian; she belongs to the Albanians as much as she does to the entire humanity." President Moisiu [4]
  • "When identifying specific religious humanists, Mother Teresa comes readily to mind as do Pope John Paul II, Billy Graham, and Mahatma Gandhi."[5]

--Silverback 18:12, 9 December 2005 (UTC)

Looks like some people use "humanist" to mean humanitarian. This usage, however, is not what the article is about. Alienus 19:39, 9 December 2005 (UTC)
yes, i think everyone pretty much understands that you are willing to enforce your opinion over and above any evidence. the outcome is that we'll just let wikipedia do what it does best, self-edit the categories. --Buridan 20:52, 9 December 2005 (UTC)
According to the article: ...all forms of humanism are built around a rejection of the importance of the supernatural in human affairs, regardless of whether or not it exists. This would seem to rule out listing people such as Paul of Tarsus or Mother Teresa as humanists. I'm not an expert on humanism, but something seems to be inconsistent. -Rholton 01:39, 10 December 2005 (UTC)
Uhm, yeah, she's not a humanist at all, but religious partistans want to impose their POV by misapplying the term to their own heros. Alienus 07:53, 10 December 2005 (UTC)

Was inappropriately inserted on top of and one indent further than the comment by Rholton at 01:39; Alienus should have referred to Buridan 20:52, 9 Dec2005 while respecting chronology, as on 21 Aug2006 could stil be corrected incl. Buridan's reaction:

About Buridan's 20:52, 9 Dec2005 comment: Wow, that was an incredibly revealing hostile comment. I was clearly making a mistake in thinking your motives were honest. From now on, I know exactly how much weight to give to your comments. Thank you. Alienus 07:53, 10 December 2005 (UTC)
no, that was just remarking on your actions, first you deleted them. them i reverted it awaiting evidence, extensive evidence was provided, and more is readily available, and you deleted it it again. the reasons for your deletions were clearly not on the basis of anything beyond your understanding of humanism, which does not seem to account for the wide variety of uses the term has. i'm not sure why you interpret it as hostile, as it just describes what you were doing. --Buridan 12:22, 10 December 2005 (UTC) (end of reaction on the formerly inserted part)
actually, i've made this debate pretty much moot.--Buridan 12:22, 10 December 2005 (UTC)

Burida's section 'Lists' created here 9 Dec2005, is moved as subsection into the earlier created section Notable humanists?

Buridan's burden[edit]

Originally a separate section, made subsection on 21 Aug2006.

Let's discuss issues:
1) Please document what form of humanism doesn't affirm dignity and worth on the basis of our ability to rationally determine what's right. I am unaware of any such form, as even religious humanism draws its ethics from humanity.
2) Likewise, please document what sort of humanism does not entail commitments to searching for truth and morality through human means and so on. As mentioned above, even religious humanism rejects transcendental ethics.
3) For that matter, please document how humanism doesn't endorse a recognition of universal morality based on our commonalities. I wonder if you're making this up or just don't know what humanism is.
4) "Atheistic humanism" is both confusing and highly POV. Jesuit theologian Henri de Lubac famously used this term as a slur against secularism. Flew, a former atheist, has also used this term. Since the article later divides humanism into its secular and religious versions, there is no room for this term.
5) Bad to documenting, show us how humanism fails to deny the importance of the supernatural in human affairs.
6) Explain why you re-inserted the entirely unnecessary phrase "as a group of related philosophies". It would almost seem as if you were eager to revert everything instead of to treat my changes as a good faith attempt to improve the page.
7) Furthermore, explain how religious humanism merely recognizes religion as opposed to endorsing it. All humanists recognize religion, just as they recognize dogs and cats. But recognition is not an endorsement.
8) Would you like some links to show how "humanist" is often used to refer to religion humanitarians? You showed me some yourself, with regard to Mother Teresa, remember?
9) Explain why you reinserted a few lines of white space that I cleaned up. Again, are you blindly reverting or actually looking at my changes?
10) Pay attention! Some of my changes were about content, others about grammar and brevity. Consider each one on its own merits.
Unless you can address these points, you are not acting in good faith. I will not stop making these changes unless the issues are genuinely considered and there is a consensus against my suggestions.Alienus 04:10, 11 December 2005 (UTC)

1. did above, the question is whether there are humanisms that do not base that dignity in rationalism, and yes there is at least one.
2. i don't disagree with it entailing that, but i don't know what delimiters you are putting on human means.
3. there are many humanisms and very few universalize, only a few propose universalist ethics. look up relativism in regards to humanism. there are many citations both in google and in
4. this really doesn't matter to me. my thought was you made that change solely so you could claim good faith.
5. we have shown that there are many people that accept dualism in regards to humanism, including the catholic church. that is clear already. whether one is a humanist depends on whether or not you think the ultimate solution relies on human action.
6. there are many versions of humanism, not just the rationalist, not just the catholic, not just the alienus versions.
7. this part of the entry likely needs extended, not cut out.
8. you do not get to redefine the common usage of terms to fit your ideological position, on wikipedia, we take the world as it is presented and we make the entry fit it. you might want to call beijing, peking, but if both are used, then the entry speaks to both.
9. i reverted your changes, in their entirety as other than one difference, which may be reinserted, they were reverting the article to its prior narrow interpretation.
10. i noted your changes in whole.
if you make the changes again, i'm tagging it for npov on the basis of the unwillingness to recognize the wide variety of perspectives that are known as humanism.
the goal here is npov, inclusion, evidence, and revision. we've not made it to neutrality, there are several pushing for inclusion, evidence has been provided, and yet, you keep going the way of exclusion, and narrow, non-neutral interpretation. to me, it became clear on friday when you deleted without discussion materials for which evidence was not only easily found, but prevalent in favor of your own interpretations. that was not 'good faith'. i'm not going to pursue an edit war, but I can't let this article devolve into a narrow interpretation either, as then it becomes useless to understand the breadth and depth of humanism.
the solution is give it time,wait a few weeks for things to settle down, so we can gather the research, then aim for inclusion and neutrality in the next version. --Buridan 04:55, 11 December 2005 (UTC)
Tag it any way you like, as you've shown that you are willing to violate the rules. Even after admitting that some of my changes were just fine, you reverted them. In short, you're living up to your name. Alienus 05:26, 11 December 2005 (UTC)
While I'm still entirely unhappy with you, I'm focusing on improving the article, not bearing you up. Therefore, I've restored some of your better changes, while leaving out the ones I object to. Better to compromise than edit war. Alienus 21:49, 11 December 2005 (UTC)

Humanism Atheistic?[edit]

This suggests humanists have a belief that there is not a god. Humanism doesn't represent this type of view at all. The view of humanism is that there is no reason to believe there is a god or any other form of supernatural phenomenon because there is no evidence of its existence. That's not the same thing as holding a belief that there is not a god.

That, by definition, makes humanism agnostic. Not having a blief is a long way from believing the opposite. Factoid Killer 14:02, 9 February 2006 (UTC)

Since atheists do not necessarily believe that there is no God - they may reject theism for reasons other than that they think it is possible to say that God does not exist - your observations make no sense. --Dannyno 16:27, 9 February 2006 (UTC)
Just now having read wikipedia's definition of the term 'atheistic' I take your point. However, the term 'Athiest' represents two divides of people. Those who believe there is no god and those who are agnostic. The term 'Athiest' while correct, is more ambiguous. The term 'Agnostic' is more specific and thus should be used in the place of 'Atheistic'. lists this as a definition of Atheist.. a·the·ist ( P ) Pronunciation Key (th-st) n. One who disbelieves or denies the existence of God or gods.
And this as a definition of Agnostic... ag·nos·tic ( P ) Pronunciation Key (g-nstk) n. One who believes that it is impossible to know whether there is a God. One who is skeptical about the existence of God but does not profess true atheism. One who is doubtful or noncommittal about something.
The latter, by far, more closely represents the humanist philosophy. — Factoid Killer 16:58 - 17:06, 9 February 2006 (UTC)
Some humanists are definitely theists, others are clearly atheists and still others are definitely agnostic, so humanism can't explicitly mandate a position on theism. However, humanism does reject the importance of god, whether or not god exists. Humanistic ethics are based on our interests, not divine command or holy texts. Alienus 17:47, 9 February 2006 (UTC)
I can not agree completely with this statement by Alienus: humanism can in theory involve and it has in practice sometimes involved a belief in the importance of the divine / gods / God / the Sacred Order. *Secular* humanism may perhaps usually not do this, but humanism as an overarching concept includes people who see the *human* relationship with the divine as essential to *human* fulfillment. On the theoretical level: if you have a theistic humanist, and the God in whom there is faith is one that has chosen to be significantly involved in an important relationship with humanity, why *should* the theistic humanist "reject the importance" of God, or the best available access to that God? Now, if you have a faith that believes that God has become *human* and ontologically affected humanity, how can such a humanist avoid the implications of that belief for human existence? Wilson Delgado 22:06, 9 February 2006 (UTC)
I don't think you quite got my point. Religious humanists do speak of god and don't say god is irrelevant. However, when it's time to decide what's right and wrong, they may give credit to god, but they base their decisions upon our interests, not god's will. They reconcile the two by saying that god wants what's in our interests, so we're doing god's will. In this case, god winds up playing a relatively minor role in religious humanist ethical thought. Alienus 22:15, 9 February 2006 (UTC)
Very well said. But if the theistic humanist judges a co-operative relationship with God / gods / the Sacred Order to be in our best interests, and that humanist believes that guides or helps to achieving that relationship are available in religious / scriptural forms, I don't see how the divine is a minor part of the ethical self-understanding of the believing theistic humanist. And what if the humanist sees "being godlike" is the very definition of ethical fulfillment? God is a big part of that equation, and the humanist would be "anti-humanistic" to avoid the realm of the sacred in norming his/her actions. 02:22, 10 February 2006 (UTC)
A secular humanist does avoid the "realm of the sacred" in norming their actions, and yet they're no less humanistic for that. The ethics of secular and religious humanists are identical; the only difference is that the latter invokes religious terminology. In contrast, the ethics of an orthodox religionist are radically anti-humanist. Look at Mother Teresa's endorsement of human suffering; good Catholicism, yet incompatible with humanism. For any sort of humanist, the theism is irrelevant; human interests predominate. Alienus 05:29, 10 February 2006 (UTC)
Yes, I agree about the secular humanist avoiding the realm of the sacred. But I don't see the case about the radical anti-humanism of orthodox religionists: human suffering is endorsed heavily in the humanist tradition: the suffering of the lover, the suffering of the hero (Greek tragedy being a prime source for the idea of ennobled suffering, with Prometheus as the leading humanist god / exemplary saint). Mother Teresa's message may be: suffer not for the sake of suffering but for the sake of the love that calls for that suffering -- be willing to endure the worst and even try to "like" it for the greater value (human and divine) that is our greatest fulfillment and our ultimate vocation *as human beings*. Wilson Delgado 14:07, 10 February 2006 (UTC)
The article suggest that the dominant forms of humanism 'express a disbelief in the supernatural'. Humanism isn't about this. Humanism is about relying on rational thinking, logic and reasoning as oposed to beliefs. Humanism does not express a disbelief of the supernatural but rather suggests that because there is absolutely no evidence for the supernatural that we have no reason to believe it exists. Those two statements are very different. Considering we have no reason to believe something exists is NOT the same as believing it doesn't exist. As a humanist I find the statement incorrect, demeaning and otherwise offensive. Factoid Killer 09:10, 15 February 2006 (UTC)
Just wanted to add that Just because a person can be both humanist and religious does NOT in any way mean that humanism is or can be religious. That's like saying a footballer can play golf and therefore golf is part of footballing. It's a fallacious argument. Humanism isn't specifically about rejecting theism. Rejecting theism is merely the usual result when you partake in and apply rational thinking and logic to theistic belief systems. Factoid Killer 12:10, 15 February 2006 (UTC)

"(and typically reject the existence of a supernatural)"[edit]

This would qualify as a belief that is just as irrational as a belief in the supernatural. You cannot, through logic and reasoning, come to the conclusion that supernatural phenomena doesn't exist in the same way you cannot come to the conclusion that the supernatural does exist.
Having a belief that there is no supernatural goes against humanist philosphy.

This is the Amsterdam Declaration. Show me were it says we are to reject the supernatural?...
To reiterate a previous point, the fact that some humanists may also be atheists does not mean humanism is atheist. To say humanism is compatible with some or most atheistic beliefs is ok. To suggest that that means humanism is or can be atheist is a falacious argument. Factoid Killer 12:29 - 12:46, 15 February 2006 (UTC)

From my talk page: "Secular humanism is largely atheistic. Humanism in general need not be. However, even religious humanists base their ethics on human interests, not divine right, so their moral theory is agnostic at best." Do you disagree?
Also, rejecting the existence of the supernatural is hardly irrational. All you have to do is look around, notice the lack of evidence for a supernatural, and conclude that it doesn't exist. The reason I inserted that phrase is to make it clear that secular humanists typically reject not only the existence of God but of any supernatural entities, such as gods and ghosts. In other words, secular humanism has a naturalistic worldview with no room for magic, other than the David Copperfield stage trickery sort. Alienus 15:21, 15 February 2006 (UTC)
Rejecting the existence of anything without evidence that it doesn't exists is just as illogical as accepting the existence of anything without evidence that it does exist. It becomes just another irrational belief. I say again, accepting there is no evidence and paying no credence to something as a result, is not the same as having a belief that it doesn't exist. Factoid Killer 15:25, 15 February 2006 (UTC)

Was inserted under Alienus' 1st paragraph saved at 15:21 ending on "Do you disagree?"

About your 1st paragraph: Secular humanism is NOT atheistic. It may attract people who are atheist and it may be compatible with atheism but it itself is NOT atheistic. No their moral theory is not agnostic. You can't be religious and agnostic. Factoid Killer 16:02, 15 February 2006 (UTC)

Alienus at 23:29 had inserted a comment "I address this below" between both above paragraphs by Factoid Killer ("...philosphy" saved at 12:29 and "This is..." at 12:46 respectively); at the same time Alienus had inserted the following 1st paragraph underneath Factoid Killer's 12:29 - 12:46 comment, and the 2nd underneath Factoid Killer's 16:02 comment

About the the Amsterdam Declaration: First, show me where the link says anything about secular humanism. The section of the article that we're discussing starts with "Though the dominant forms of humanism". This means we're talking about secular humanism in specific, not humanism in general. If it had said that all of humanism was atheistic or agnostic, it would simply be mistaken. Fortunately, it says no such thing.
About Secular humanism: The reason it's call "secular" is precisely because it rejects theism, religion and the supernatural. It takes a naturalistic worldview. Now, you could argue whether it's rejecting theism in favor of outright atheism or just a form of agnosticism, but you're not arguing that. Note that secular humanism isn't religious at all (and humanism is not a religion). In contrast, religious humanism accepts theism, religion and/or the supernatural. What links the two is their humanistic ethics, which are agnostic in that God is not the source of morality, nor even particularly important. Rather, morality is a matter of how humans act to further human interests. All humanists, whether secular or religious, effectively disregard God when it comes time to decide what the right thing is.
About 'Rejecting the existence': I don't have the time to list all of the errors in this, and I don't need to spend that time, since it's irrelevant. If you want to claim that atheism is irrational, you're not a humanist and you don't understand humanism. Alienus 23:29, 15 February 2006 (UTC)
Oh I see you have no comeback. I argument isn't just that atheism is irrational but that humanism is not atheistic. I provided you with a link to the Amsterdam declaration which doesn't indicate in any way that secular humanists are atheistic. Provide me with some sort of official doctrine that suggests that humanists have a belief that the supernatural doesn't exist and I will accept your stance. If you can't I will be changing this page and providing sources for those changes. As such any attempts by you to revert it will be seen as vandalism.Factoid Killer 10:28, 16 February 2006 (UTC)
  • Sayeth Factoid Killer: "You can't be religious and agnostic." Sayeth Silence: "Hahahaha. Wrong." -Silence 12:15, 16 February 2006 (UTC)
The statement is correct in the context in which it was used. Factoid Killer 12:29, 16 February 2006 (UTC)
How so? Also, it is not irrational to believe that gods or the supernatural do not exist anymore than it is irrational to believe that Santa Claus, Batman, or leprechauns do not exist; whether believing in the nonexistence of such silly things is "irrational" or not depends entirely on the specific definition an individual uses of "belief". While some use it exclusively for absolute, unshakeable, faith-based convictions, others use it merely for what a person happens to think or acknowledge to probably be the case (including opinions and assessments), and most people fall somewhere between the two extremes. As such, this argument seems, on a fundamental level, to be more semantic than anything: Alienus is defining atheism as merely "lack of theism", whereas Factoid Killer is defining it as "rejection of theism based on a personal, faith-derived conviction that gods do not exist"; if the same definition was used for these terms, there'd likely be little, if any, disagreement. Likewise, the conflict over whether or not "secular humanism" is atheistic (or how atheistic it is, or how commonly atheists are also secular humanists and vice versa) results from vagueness over exactly what is or isn't "secular humanism"; since secular humanism is, fundamentally, nothing more than "believing in human-centered values rather than religious ones", it's not a jump at all to say "all secular humanists are irreligious", but it is a jump to say "all secular humanists do not believe in god" (atheism and/or nontheism, depending on your definition), because not all non-religious people are non-theists (and obviously not all non-theists are non-religious!); conflating the two concepts, while understandable from a Western perspective (where "atheism" and "irreligion" have long been quasi-synonyms, and belief in God long been taken practically for granted as a factor in any religion), can only lead to confusion. One can be an atheist and a humanist without being a secular humanist (for example, a Buddhist who doesn't believe in god would arguably not be "secular", since they follow a religion, but would certainly be non-theistic), and one can be a secular humanist without being an atheist (such as by holding vague supernatural or spiritual views that are considered "non-religious" which happen to include theism; you'll find if you interview people about their religiousness these days that "religion" is becoming a dirty word (associated with "organized religion") and many people are flocking to New Age mysticism and otherwise disorganized forms of individualistic spirituality which, while "secular" by certain definitions of the word ("not specifically relating to religion or a religious body"), are nonetheless commonly theistic, even if in a very vague and personal way). So, while there may be a very strong correlation between being a secular humanist and being an atheist (though the opposite is much less true), there are always exceptions. -Silence 21:12, 16 February 2006 (UTC)

Alienus had inserted this at top of the above Silence / Factoid Killer / Silence intermezzo.

Listen to me very carefully, Factoid Killer, because I'm only going to explain this to you one more time. The issue is not whether humanism is atheistic; it is not. The issue is whether secular humanism is atheistic and agnostic; it is. If you can't understand this distinction, you should stay away from editing these pages. If you make changes that show an ignorance of this distinction, I will revert them without further explanation. That's all. Alienus 21:34, 16 February 2006 (UTC)
This 'issue is not whether humanism is atheistic; it is not. The issue is whether secular humanism is atheistic and agnostic;' is a straw man argument and thus is Fallacious. You know as well as I do the portion of the article i'm disputing relates to secular humanism. In fact the title of this discusion makes it quite clear. I'm sorry you were unable to come up with a solid argument to represent your position. — 17 Feb2006 (was unsigned, undated) (context indicates that Factoid Killer here forgot to sign in and thus the talk history showed [t]his IP address)

Style: POV[edit]

This section had been created (titled 'POV') at top of this talk page.

The entire tone of this article does not maintain a neutral and balanced POV. Historical and contemporary humanism are much more religious then as presented here. The largest humanist groups are religious not secular. 2ct7 21 Feb2006 (was unsigned, undated)

Disagree. Unless you cite specifics in the article that are POV I will disagree. Oh and PLEASE SIGN YOUR POSTS Signature guideline -- ×××jijin+machina | Chat Me!××× -- 18:08, 24 June 2006 (UTC)


This subsection had been created as section at top of this talk page, immediately above section 'POV' that inappropriately stood there.

This article is very biased. It is opinionated, reactionary, revisionist, and apologetic especially in its treatment of religion.

Humanism isn't just a set of beliefs but also practice, so is religion. (no need to get into discussion of existence of god for this). Historically, that is, not just in current opinion of some[!], humanism as practice was the cornerstone of good behavior and manners towards others, a practice to be cultivated through letters, as prescribed within religion.

So, to say throughout this article things like: "Humanism can be used in some ways to fulfill or supplement the role of religions in some people's lives" is a blatant and artificial attempt to provide an explanation where one is not needed. In fact the point is extremely trivial : that, in history, religion and humanism were one and the same.

To say that humanism 'fulfils or supplements' is an extremely subjective POV type observation where religion is seemingly 'using' humanism. The writer may believe that but its not true if the religious person is a model humanist for no other reason than being religious (and so practising humanism good civil behavior because of its religiously mandated value).

This condescending thing goes on and on in the article, ending up with a very superficial, especially historically superficial, unsuccesful and perhaps false essay.

I've belaboured this before (two historical points .. ), but the essay seems to have gotten worse.


--Ibn-arabi 12:54, 3 August 2006 (UTC)

A blitz of edits, and why they were reverted[edit]

The following is an explanation to Dacoutts as to why I chose to revert his/her recent batch of edits on the Secular humanism article. For the same reasons, I chose to revert Dacoutts' edits of the Humanism article.

Hello Dacoutts. Your edits of the secular humanism article were quite numerous, and done in rapid succession. I see now that you have done a similar thing with the Humanism article. The problem with these rapid edits is that they drastically change an article without giving other editors a chance to work with you on the edits, make corrections when mistakes are found, or deliberate and come to consensus if there are significant disagreements. Many editors have put a lot of effort into developing these articles, and to single-handedly make big changes in a short amount of time disregards their previous efforts, even though those efforts may have been well-researched or hard-won through a process of deliberation.

Many of the edits you made were either inaccurate or contentious, or else against Wikipedia formatting standards. It is standard to bold only the title word of the article once in the introductory paragraph. But you have bolded more than just the title word, and throughout both the Secular humanism and Humanism articles. The errors, controversial assertions and disregard for Wikipedia formatting standards prompted me to restore the earlier version of the Secular humanism article. I could have picked through all of the article and reverted only those parts that had problems, but they were so numerous that I chose to do a whole-sale revert. Some of the stuff is good, and I hope you will make more contributions, but please slow down so that I and other editors have a chance to respond to your changes before the articles are transformed beyond recognition!

As for the "H" issue: The article is about secular humanism, which is just one subcategory of Humanism. The terms are not equivalent, since there are many Humanists who consider themselves religious. Yet you deleted many instances in the article where it said "secular humanism" and replaced it with "Humanism." Humanism has its own article, and information about the life-stance of Humanism in general ought to be added there. Most secular humanists I know are quite adamant about their use of the adjective "secular," and indeed, the Council for Secular Humanism almost always refers to the life-stance it promotes on its website and in its publication Free Inquiry as secular humanism, not Humanism. The authors you cited who were in favor of the capital H, sans adjective, were expressing a preference, and inviting other Humanists to adopt this preference, for a number of strategic reasons. As a Humanist, I agree with their suggestions, but they are not the final authorities on how Humanists and secular humanists ought to refer to themselves, and many humanists disregard their preferences. An encyclopedia article, like a dictionary, ought to describe how terms are actually used, not prescribe the so-called "correct" way to use them. If you were to edit the secular humanism article to indicate that some secular humanists prefer to call themselves Humanists, that would be fine. But not all of them prefer that, and it's not the only correct way. Rohirok 02:16, 25 February 2006 (UTC)

Wrong, wrong, wrong[edit]

This subsection had been created as section though it simply replies on Rohirok's 25 Feb2006 02:16 (UTC) criticism.

Many editors have put a lot of effort into developing these articles, and to single-handedly make big changes in a short amount of time disregards their previous efforts, even though those efforts may have been well-researched or hard-won through a process of deliberation.

The problem is that they are wrong, and the world body responsible for secular humanism has officially endorsed the view that secular humanism is correctly known as Humanism with a capital H, and no adjective.

As for the "H" issue: The article is about secular humanism, which is just one subcategory of Humanism. The terms are not equivalent, since there are many Humanists who consider themselves religious.

Yes, secular humanism (correctly known as Humanism) is one subcategory of "humanism" but NOT Humanism. However, how do we then distinguish between the general term humanism (which can also be typed in Wikipedia as Humanism, and still get to the general term only), and the correct term for secular humanism, which is Humanism? Maybe what we need is a disambiguation page. However, the secular humanism page should be the correct home for all content pertaining to Humanism (as in secular humanism). If you are humanist (little h) and have secular views, that means you're just a liberal humanist (same as humanist) with secular views. However, I repeat, Humanism is the official correct term for my beliefs and I completely resent your action in reverting my edits. This is a question of freedom of religion and belief, and you are deliberately suppressing my rights.

The authors you cited who were in favor of the capital H, sans adjective, were expressing a preference, and inviting other Humanists to adopt this preference, for a number of strategic reasons.

The IHEU is the world organisation for Humanism (secular humnanism), not just some authors with opinions. They are not suggestions, but endorsed official statements.

Many of the edits you made were either inaccurate or contentious, or else against Wikipedia formatting standards. It is standard to bold only the title word of the article once in the introductory paragraph.

I accept that my bolding was excessive, and would agree to change that aspect of my edits.--Couttsie 02:04, 25 February 2006 (UTC)

On 26 Feb2006, Dacoutts (aka Couttsie) moved content of the article at 00:35 (UTC) and at 00:52 its entire talk page here above that existed at that moment, to a new Humanism (disambiguation) article and talk page; thus reserving the Humanism title for other content. All was moved back to Humanism: article at 15:03 (UTC) by 2ct7 (diff) and talk at 17:48 (UTC) by Rohirok. No changes (as by unaware users) seem to have been made during those hours on the disambiguation talk page; the contributors to the then near empty Humanism talk page could easily spot a message stating the move. — SomeHuman 21 Aug2006 while refactoring this talk page
See reactions in sections created on the Humanism talk page that day: Wikipedia:Five pillars at 15:22, and More on disambiguity at 16:57.


I noticed a link to Objectivism as a related article. First of all, this points to a disambiguation page instead of directly to an article, which is not ideal. Second, I'm guessing the intention was to point to (Randian) Objectivist philosophy. If so, I don't know that it's accurate to relate it to Humanism, at least not without some sort of caveat.
I'd like to remove the link unless and until we can come up with a solution to this. Alienus 00:58, 26 February 2006 (UTC)

I agree. --Couttsie 01:05, 26 February 2006 (UTC)
Ok, I pulled Objectivism out for the moment. Please note that I'm not currently arguing against its inclusion, just removing it because it's definitely wrong now and we need to discuss how to insert it.
First, does anyone think that the objectivism mentioned is generic objectivism as opposed to Randian Objectivism? Alienus 01:32, 26 February 2006 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Five pillars[edit]

Wikipedia uses the "neutral point-of-view", which means we strive for articles that advocate no single point of view. Sometimes this requires representing multiple points of view; presenting each point of view accurately; providing context for any given point of view, so that readers understand whose view the point represents; and presenting no one point of view as "the truth" or "the best view." It means citing verifiable, authoritative sources whenever possible, especially on controversial topics. When a conflict arises as to which version is the most neutral, declare a cool-down period and tag the article as disputed; hammer out details on the talk page and follow dispute resolution.

and also keep in mind:

Disambiguation in Wikipedia and Wikimedia is the process of resolving ambiguity—the conflict that occurs when a term is closely associated with two or more different topics. In many cases, this word or phrase is the "natural" title of more than one article. In other words, disambiguations are paths leading to different topics that share the same term or a similar term.

Dacoutt's many edits reflect a non-nuetral POV that Humanism is only what the IHEU defines it to be and that the many Humanist organizations that are not due paying members of the IHEU have no right to use the term Humanism (or at least be defined as Humanist in Wikipedia).

Moving the more general previous article on Humanism to a disambiguation page was not an act of good faith. Disambiguation is for different topics that have the same name, not for the general definition of a topic so that the non-disambiguated page can have a specific non-nuetrual POV article.
2ct7 15:22, 26 February 2006 (UTC)

More on Disambiguity[edit]

A good example of the proper use of disambuguity is in the Mercury article. Those are seperate topics that share the same name, unlike the different types of Humanism, which are all the same topic.

What's being done here would be analogous to as if the article of Christianity claimed that only Catholic Church could define what Christianity is. That their claim is the only definition in use and no other organization is really Christian, and that only the Crucifix is the official symbol of Christianity. That all other groups that claim to be Christian be ghettoized to a seperate disabuguity page. How could that possibly be a NPOV?

2ct7 16:57, 26 February 2006 (UTC)

Fair enough, but now what do we do with Humanism (disambiguation)? It's a big large for a mere disambiguation, I'd say. Alienus 17:09, 26 February 2006 (UTC)
I would vote in favor of deleting it because it is almot identical to the original which I restored.2ct7 17:52, 26 February 2006 (UTC)
Strange as it may seem, I am in agreement with Dacoutts on one point: I think that Humanism as a life-stance should be given its own article. It's a more focused movement than the general humanism covered in this main article, and analogous in many ways to a religion in its own right. The Humanism article should continue to cover humanism in general, and the Humanism (disambiguation) page ought to be deleted as superfluous (I have tagged it for speedy deletion, by the way). However, perhaps we ought to start a new article, entitled Humanism (life-stance) to cover the more focused movement Dacoutts has attempted to make the subject of the Humanism article. If we do so, it will still have to neutrally describe the varieties of belief and practice among Humanists, and not prescribe IHEU's views as the only "correct" or "official" version of Humanism...Rohirok 21:35, 26 February 2006 (UTC)
I've deleted Humanism (disambiguation) (and Talk:Humanism (disambiguation)), thought not for the reasons laid out in the speedy-deletion tag. After all, non-neutrality is not a speedy-deletion criterion. However, it was a cut-and-paste of the content here, with only minor edits. This loses the edit history and record of who authored the page. The proper way to do this is with a page move, which cleanly renames the page while maintaining the edit history. However, before anyone does that I'd strongly suggest they gain consensus for the change here. I don't have any opinion on the page title or content, by the way - I just don't like cut-and-paste moves (especially when they're done in apparently contentious situations like this). CDC (talk) 00:20, 27 February 2006 (UTC)
Dacoutt's aerticle certainly was informative and I agree it should be preserved under something along the lines of Humanism (life-stance). Like any philosophical or religious topic there are many veiwpoints that are strongly held and that must be represented. There is still a lot of room for additions in the main article, which I would hope would be done as additions and refinements rather then whole sale deletes. (ps - sorry I posted some stuff out of the proper new-discussion-at-the-bottom format previously.)2ct7 01:14, 27 February 2006 (UTC)
Dacoutts has created a new article called Humanism (lifestance). This is good in one way, since the word humanism has been used as a self-identifier by many people who are not Humanists (Pope John Paul II, for example). The main humanism article can treat all such usages of the word through history, in addition to some information on Humanism, while the Humanism (lifestance) article can focus on the non-theistic lifestance as promoted by IHEU, the Council for Secular Humanism, and other unaffiliated Humanists...Rohirok 01:56, 28 February 2006 (UTC)
Rohiroks's above suggestion of 26 Feb2006 at 21:35 (UTC), is currently reflected by Humanism (life stance)SomeHuman 21 Aug2006 01:27 (UTC)

Details on 2006-08-21 till 2006-11-10 refactoring[edit]

This talk page has been refactored.
  • Many comments had no signature and/or no date.
  • Many comments had been put on the top of the talk page, often without a section title.
  • Many comments had been inserted between preexisting comments of users, or even between lines of another user's single comment.
  • New sections had been created to continue a discussion from an earlier section.
  • Comments had been put underneath a section (usually the one at the bottom at that time), though not relating to the other comments in that section.
  • The talk page had been moved to another article for a while (thus 2 talk pages existed), and was then moved back.
  • The talk page grew far beyond a recommendable size, especially for some browsers..

This had confounded other users who in turn may have been forced to use an irregular style of commenting.
It had become impossible for users new to the talk page, to find help there for properly contributing to the article.

The first stage of refactoring became ready on 21 Aug2006, heavily relying on the talk page history:

  • Signatures and dates were added.
  • Sections and therein the comments were put in a chronological order, with proper reference to what they reacted upon.
  • Untitled comments put at top and unrelated comments appended to an existing section, were either put into a proper existing section, or made a section and given a title.
  • The separate sections that might have been put in an existing one if the latter had been properly formatted, were moved as subsections (that still show in the contents box near the top of the page) into the proper section.

Related comments can more easily be found together.
All changes were commented in gray color, thus one may understand what happened and possibly why.

The final stage of refactoring became ready on 10 Nov2006:

  • Archived most of the sections, especially:
    • the ones that had become of little use for the future;
    • all discussions on humanism assumed to be religious/secular/atheist (thus mainly on what the topic is supposed to be about or not);
    • all discussions on which individuals are considered to be humanists, which largely depends on viewpoints regarding the above.
  • This allowed downsizing the current talk page to a reasonable level.

The article has proven to cause a lot of controversies and of confusions, it was therefore not advisable to delete or reedit parts (as one might otherwise expect of refactoring). It's been a tremendeous job and many considerations have led to the present status; users had ample time to comment before the final archiving.
— Your refactorer, — SomeHuman 21 Aug2006 - 10 Nov2006

Comments on and during 2006-08-21 till 2006-11-10 refactoring

When are you going to be done the refatoring? There are an incredible number of recent anonymous edits on this page, and a lot of them are bad. The talk page needs to be avaiable to use.2ct7 02:45, 2 October 2006 (UTC)

Definitely before Monday, probably sooner. It had been planned much earlier. Most of the possibly problematic article edits are corrected, see difference 19 Aug2006 till now. If you like to start a NEW section that does not need to refer to an earlier section, there is no reason to wait: just create one hereunder. Thanks for your concern. — SomeHuman 4 Oct2006 02:20 (UTC)
Please, accept my humble apologies. I had to postpone most of this, but will try to get it ready by Tuesday morning. — SomeHuman 9 Oct2006 00:23 (UTC)
Seems the project has been on hold for too long. Time to stop refactoring? statsone 05:04, 9 November 2006 (UTC)
Yes, I'm sorry for that. It proved rather hard to fulfill the task exactly the way I had originally imagined. The only practical solution was archiving nearly everything: either a comment had become obsolete, or it was closely related to discussions that were far too lengthy to maintain on the current talk page. Thus the now archived page contains every discussion on humanism as religious/secular/atheist (thus mainly on what the subject is supposed to be about or not). This thorough and radical approach leaves the current talk page pretty short so as not to need further refactoring and/or archiving quickly. Thanks for your patience, — SomeHuman 10 Nov2006 12:07 (UTC)