Category Archives: Progressive Humanism

Humanism and Race

The humanist deplores all discrimination based on racial differences. But to go beyond that and insist that race doesn’t exist as a biological reality is to violate humanism’s preference for the scientific method. Continue reading

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Human Social Evolution

We need an explanation of how complex human societies have evolved to match the more comprehensive one we alredy have for the evolution of biological life. Here is the script for a talk I gave May 6 in Albuquerqe at an AHA conference. Continue reading

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Levels of Knowledge

Knowledge need not be information within a single human brain. It can be a body of information shared by a cooperating group of people, which evolves as it is transmitted from one generation to the next. This obvious concept refutes those who claim there is no group selection among human populations. Continue reading

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Let Our Conscience Be the Guide

Conscience is the hardwired instinct to cooperate with other members of the group. Conflict between groups can override this instinct. With war between the superpowers no longer feasible, a world at peace is attainable. Continue reading

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Dawkins and Group Selection

Both biologists and anthropologists have claimed that with rare exceptions, the principle of selection by groups does not operate as an evolutionary force. I believe that the biologists are right but the anthropologists are wrong. I have the temerity to take on the great Richard Dawkins in this essay. Continue reading

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One Planet, One People. Beyond "Us vs. Them"

That’s the name of my second book, available on amazon.com and elsewhere. It sums up much of the thoughts on these pages and much more.. Please buy a copy. Continue reading

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The Great Divide

A deep gulf divides those who believe in miracles from those of us who are satisfied that evolution explains how we happened. There is, of course, evolution in evolutionary theory itself. Continue reading

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Coming Out of the Closet

Many Americans think like humanists but shy away from identifying themselves as such. There is still a prevailing sense that it’s somehow more respectable to be a follower of some religious faith than an avowed freethinker. What can be done about it? Continue reading

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Family Values

The family as we know it is normally monogamous and evolved several hundred thousand years ago. Ever since, it has rested on an uneasy equilibrium: will the husband stay the course and not go off philandering, and is the baby really his? Now we have DNA tests, and all bets are off. Continue reading

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Human Destiny?

It’s hard to give up the idea that humanity is proceeding towards some predetermined goal or condition, but it’s worth the effort. We are what the people who preceded us made of us, and what we do now shapes the future of our descendants. Continue reading

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Sex, Race, and Religion

My book, “Culture Wars and the Global Village,” is based in part on this essay, originally written in 1989, which I have rescued from my files and slightly revised. It doesn’t tell you all you need to know about these subjects, but it’s a good start. Continue reading

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On Human Intelligence

The creationists and many of the classical philosophers agree that there is something special about the human mind, that defies scientific analysis and can only be explained on some such basis as intervention by a higher power. I don’t agree, and while I cannot prove my case, I can develop a plausible theory, anchored in facts, that indicates a) we got here on our own; b) it wasn’t inevitable that we happened; on the contrary, human intelligence succeeded in evolving despite long odds against it. Continue reading

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Recognition

Humans have an uncanny ability to recognize other humans, starting with the distinction we draw between people we already know and strangers. It’s part of our human nature, an integral part of our equipment as social animals. But do we still need that instinctive “friend or foe” response when we meet outsiders? Continue reading

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Humanism vs. Atheism

People who believe in God can’t be atheists, but can they be humanists? I provide a rather nuanced answer. A belief in a divine power isn’t necessarily inconsistent with the humanist impulse. It’s how far you carry that belief that matters. Continue reading

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Concerning Progress

People who say they don’t like progress are misusing the term.. We need a whole lot more of it, and soon, on global issues like the environment and avoiding nuclear war. Continue reading

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Altruism Revisited

What is it that distinguishes humankind from other animals on our planet? I argue that it is the progressive enlargement of the society with which the individual identifies. The big transition occurred at the dawn of the Neolithic. This approach sheds light on many questions about the nature and future of our species, including the age-old issue of the meaning of life. Continue reading

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The Evolution of Natural Selection

Evolution operating on the principle of natural selection is the opposite of the second law of thermodynamics; together they constitute the yin and yang of our biosphere. But is the biosphere the only medium for this? And if the principle of natural selection applies in other contexts, can it be considered to be evolving in its own right? Continue reading

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Is War Inevitable?

I believe war has always been inevitable in the past, but is no longer. My thinking is based on what evolutionay biology says about human nature, and on the theory of natural selection as applied (cautiously!) to the evolution of ever more complex societies. Continue reading

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Discovering God

I’ve decided god(s) exist(s) after all. It was quite a revelation. Or was it? Continue reading

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Dialogue with a Creationist

Excerpts from a recent discussion I had on email with a creationist. Continue reading

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