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← Can we at least demand 'Secular Communion'?

Cartomancer's Avatar Jump to comment 12 by Cartomancer

I think Myers' dislike for the term "humanist" is almost entirely semantic actually - it is, after all, a very broad term that has different meanings to different people in different contexts. From his writings it is abundantly clear that most of the values he espouses would be recognised by the majority of humanists as a part of their own moral philosophy.

The squid comment is clearly a joke - PZ is obsessed with marine cephalopods and they form an ongoing comedic trope on his Pharyngula blog - but from the context it seems also to be a nod to the perceived speciesist overtones of the term "humanist". Dawkins alludes to these in several places too. For someone who is so deeply involved in animal biology, rather than someone taking his cues directly from the history of renaissance and enlightenment thought, it is perhaps a natural conclusion to arrive at.

I don't really use the term humanist to describe myself either, but it is probably the label which best fits in many circumstances, and I'm happy to be identified with it in opposition to those for whom god, not man, is the primary object of our moral, political and philosophical contemplation.
As a medievalist I am of course legally required to point out that the traditional view of the emergence of humanism in Renaissance Italy is a misleading and outdated piece of Burckhardtian Victoriana, so consider yourselves told.

Sat, 10 Nov 2007 11:51:00 UTC | #82954