October 2019 archive

September 2019: Humanists and Racial Bias

Bias is everywhere in our society – so began biological anthropologist Greg Laden, providing numerous examples from recent news at our September Community Gathering. And humanists aren’t immune from exhibiting bias because we all are products of our environment. Our biology, our genetic makeup, Laden argued, is not the culprit as much as is our culture.

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Understanding How We Think Can Help Us Make Sense of the World

By Nathan Curland

I was introduced to the book Thinking, Fast and Slow by Lee Wetzel at a Critical Thinking Club Meeting a few months ago. Lee is a financial consultant and cited the insights in this marvelous book to describe why investors can make decisions that appear to an outside observer to be irrational, thus contradicting the prevailing economic theories that the stock market is composed of rational actors. This intrigued me, so I went to the Hennepin County Library system to order a copy, which I received in about three months.

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Reimagining Humanism: Let’s Promote Widespread Human Flourishing

By Jerry Smith

The meanings of the words “humanism” and “humanist” have evolved considerably from the time of the Renaissance. Then humanists were people, like Erasmus of Rotterdam, who discovered, read, and often translated writings of classical Greece and Rome, secular works that lay outside the dominant Christian worldview. 
Much more recently, humanism has been defined by three “Humanist Manifestos,” each emphasizing secularism, naturalism, and humanitarianism.

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Anti-Semitism: A Personal Story

By Harlan Garbell

As some of my friends and colleagues in HumanistsMN know, I was born and raised in a Jewish household. When I was a child, my father, the son of recent Russian-Jewish immigrants, would often tell me stories of his own childhood in the mean streets of  Chicago’s West Side during the 1920s and 30s. Many of these stories seemed like they came from a different world. The recurring themes were things I fortunately never experienced: poverty, violence, and pervasive racial and religious discrimination. 

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