As I mentioned here the other day, I was quoted in Sunday’s Boston Globe Magazine in a feature about Humanism. David Abel contacted me July 25 to request permission to quote my blog entry on the Harvard Humanist conference that took place back in April (during which I participated in a panel on the “next generation” of Humanism). He had chosen a few quotes of mine that were particularly critical of the conference, and he asked if I had anything more to add. I wrote (in part):
The one other thing I’d prefer be made clear is that overall I support humanism, as I made clear in the first 2/3 of that entry. Rabbi Wine (who was killed Sunday night in a car accident) really won me over by stressing the importance of providing a supportive social network for nonbelievers, basically keeping all the positive non-supernatural aspects of a church community. More info on him at http://www.shj.org/.
David wrote back to explain that he only wanted to hear about the dissent from people following the conference. I didn’t respond after that, because I wasn’t really interested in supporting that bias. There was so much more to it than that — it’s a little frustrating seeing your point of view boiled down to a few sentences chosen just to support someone else’s argument, but hey, that’s life.
So, overall the story could’ve come out much worse than it did. Here’s the really funny thing, though, what you don’t see in the online version of the article: there’s a sidebar item titled “Notable Skeptics.” Who would you put on that list? Randi? William of Occam? Feynman? Here’s the Boston Globe’s list, in order (they have headshots, too):
- Karl Marx
- Friedrich Nietzsche
- Ayn Rand
- Carl Sagan
- Kurt Vonnegut
Seriously, Boston Globe? You’re seriously going to start off a list of “prominent non-believers” with Karl Marx’s giant Ewok melon head? Where’s the companion sidebar to that, “Notable Theists,” led off by Adolf Hitler?
Anyway, that’s my story, for those of you e-mailing me to find out why I’m so down on humanists. Here’s a link to the blog entry quoted in the Globe.