Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Humanists vs Atheists

The current fanatical humanists really get on my nerves. They do not see that they are falling into the same trap as the people they oppose. Richard Dawkins is a prime example. There is a nice chart about religious extremism which includes people who think that Apple is God. They should add a column for people who think Dawkins is God.

Early humanists like Hobbes and Erasmus were not necessarily atheists although some saw them as atheists. What they meant is that people should not abdicate responsibility for their religious views and practices to a church and to a priest. If you do you are letting someone else make decisions about beliefs that are fundamental to who you are, and this is never a good thing. Now the humanist movement and particularly the British Humanists are trying to impose their views in the same way. Even in the 20th century humanists like Santayana and Lippmann were not suggesting that atheism was the answer. They said that everyone must find their own answer. It is personal. I do not think badly of those who hold a religious view of any type, that is up to them. I think they are wrong if they try to impose that belief on others, or if they are blind to there being any alternative to their view. I also think that they must be careful to separate their beliefs from their work if they are to make objective decisions.

But I do not think that atheism should be pushed presented as the right answer. There are no right answers. To say that there are is falling into the teleological trap of believing in progress towards some ultimate goal. There is no goal, we are not going anywhere special. Humans are not particularly special within the universe. We are self conscious which means we have access to a higher level of possibilities but this is emergent from the blind actions of evolution.

The modern humanists need to get off their high horses and try reading some history and meeting some more people, rather than sitting there lecturing people on how they should run their lives.

No comments: