The New Humanist Blog has announced that it plans to poll its readers on topics of interest and/or importance. First up is — not much surprise here — the question, “Are Dawkins and Hitchens good for humanism?”
Now, I have to say that I’m never entirely sure what people mean by humanism, anymore. Back in the early 1990s, I thought it was the idea that human beings are responsible for the problems which afflict our species, and that human beings are going to have to solve them. (This line comes straight out of Isaac Asimov’s memoir.) Today, it sometimes sounds like a label people apply to themselves to distance their position, at least in their own eyes, from the Uppity Atheists. It can also be an umbrella term to include religious folk who like Asimov’s line about human responsibility (though they might be a little put off by the remarks in the same memoir about the history of religion being “the history of human misery and black times”).
I’m also curious why New Humanist has chosen to focus on Dawkins and Hitchens. Is it a straight-up question of book sales? (PZ, where’s your book? When all the Uppity Atheists meet in the South Pacific at the antipodal point of Nicaea, you’re going to get left out of the Godless Orthodoxy!)