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Humanist Manifestos I and II: No. I & II Kindle Edition

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Length: 33 pages

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About the Author

Paul Kurtz (1925-2012), professor emeritus of philosophy at the State University of New York at Buffalo and a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, was the author or editor of more than fifty books, including The Transcendental Temptation, The Courage to Become, and Embracing the Power of Humanism, plus nine hundred articles and reviews. He was the founder and chairman of Prometheus Books, the Institute for Science and Human Values, the Center for Inquiry, the Council for Secular Humanism, and the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry. He appeared on many major television and radio talk shows and has lectured at universities worldwide.

Product Details

  • File Size: 180 KB
  • Print Length: 33 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0879750316
  • Publisher: Prometheus Books (January 28, 2011)
  • Publication Date: January 28, 2011
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004LB4C9Y
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #518,848 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Steven H Propp TOP 100 REVIEWER on April 4, 2013
Format: Paperback
Humanists, you might say, like to write "Manifestos"; the first was written in 1933, and the second in 1973. The third was written in 2003, and in-between this had been the 1980 A Secular Humanist Declaration, the 1988 "A Declaration of Interdependence," the 1996 "IHEU Minimum Statement on Humanism," the Humanist Manifesto 2000: A Call for New Planetary Humanism, and the 2002 "Amsterdam Declaration."

The first Manifesto was signed by 34 people (of whom 15 were Unitarian ministers), and it was infused by a spirit of liberal (if naturalistic) religion; e.g., "Nothing human is alien to the religious"; "religion must work increasingly for joy in living"; "Religious humanism maintains that all associations and institutions exist for the fulfillment of human life," etc.

Paul Kurtz, the author of Manifesto II, commented in his Preface, "Humanist Manifesto I, important as it was in its time, has since been superseded by events; though significant, it did not go far enough. It could not and did not address itself to future problems and needs." Thus, Manifesto II "addresses itself not only to the problems of religions and ethics, but to the pressing issues of civil liberties, equality, democracy, the survival of humankind, world economic growth, population and ecological control, war and peace, and the building of a world community." (Pg. 3)

Kurtz and Edwin Wilson (who was one of the few individuals to sign both Manifestos; see his
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I have been reading the Humanist Manifestos 1 and 2, and I find it a very thoughtful and rational document. However, I think there are some serious flaws in it. One, it has to be implemented in a voluntary fashion, or else it becomes just another social / political dogma. Two, unless people develop a naturalistic sense of altruism, symbiosis, and a form of constructive competition, humanism will ultimately collapse into a vulgar, Socially Darwinistic, and animalistic ideology where people prey upon one another. Three, the writer and signers assume everybody agrees with, and goes along with, everything they say, and people are more complex than that. Just writing off religion isn't going to make it go away. There are too many people who honestly believe in God, or a god, whether He, She, or it saves us or not. Four, by hard experience I have learned that people, whether religious or secular, tend to be our greatest hindrance in achieving our personal or collective goals. The reasons for this are many. I will give it four stars out of five.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Robert Brown on October 14, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I rated it as "I like it" because I generally agree with its position on social and religuous issues. In Manifesto I, #1, "Religious humanists regard the universe as self-existing and not created." I strongly disagree. How can something just self-exist? There must be some creator or universal intelligence. This creator gave man a mind to ponder and admire creation, and to be responsible for his own actions. Man does not need to be dependent on an organized or institutionalized religion.
#14 "The humanists are firmly convinced that existing....profit-motivated society has shown itself to be inadequate....A socialized and cooperative economic order must be established..." I agree that the profit motive system has failed. But I disagree with socialism as the cure.
In Manifesto II, #3 I have reservations about "situational ethics". Situational ethics can apply to the profit motive as Manifesto I, #14 seems to condemn. #11 advoctes universal education. I agree, but who will control this education, the government or responsible parents? #12, "Thus we look to the development of a system of world law and world order based upon transnational federal government." This part scares me as this appears to be the goal of the super-rich ruling elite. This is what we DO NOT want.
From what I've learned about the US educational system, teaching Humanism is permitted and encouraged, but Christianity is rejected. I prefer that neither play a role in public education. This book admits that some member humanists disagree with some of the policies. The Manifestos are not a "Bible" to be followed in their entirety, but just for consideration.
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By johnsash on March 19, 2015
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I thought I was getting the original version written in 1934, but it has been rewritten/redacted from the original. I was disappointed.
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37 of 58 people found the following review helpful By millerc on January 9, 2004
Format: Paperback
Since the only review of this book on amazon.com has obvious bias, I thought it might be worth while to give some responses to that commentary...
It seems that Dr. Groothuis, either intentionally misrepresents the arguments of others, or is incapable of reading and thinking at a level commensurate with his education. He claims that:
"[T]he documents claim that morality is relative to cultures and not absolute, yet they also go on to affirm various moral imperatives...
I could not remember reading such a statement in either the Humanist Manifesto I or II, so I re-read the entire thing to look for it. Since he gives no quote or page number, I assume that he was reading the following:
"We affirm that moral values derive their source from human experience. Ethics is autonomous and situational, needing no theological or ideological sanction. Ethics stems from human need and interest. To deny this distorts the whole basis of life. (Humanist Manifesto II, p. 17)
This says nothing about ethics being relative to cultures. What it does say, is that ethics must be based on a rational understanding of the particulars of a situation -- that is, we must choose the best alternative given, based on our own social needs, and not on moral absolutes given by some unseen deity. To rely on the supposed words of a deity, simply removes the burden of forming the society we wish to have from our own shoulders, and places that burden on something else in which we blindly place our faith.
Dr. Groothuis also equates Humanism with atheism. Paul Kurtz refutes this claim as well:
"[V]iews that merely reject theism are not equivalent to Humanism. (Humanist Manifesto II, p. 15)
Like many Christians Dr.
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