Re: humanism vs. transhumanism?

Technotranscendence (
Wed, 1 Apr 1998 07:00:18 -0500 (EST)

At 11:31 PM 3/31/98 -0600, Thom Quinn <> wrote:
>I have met many Secular Humanists and not one of them was using it as a
>euphemism! That proves it, I'm right, you're wrong! Actually, that would
>be a silly way to go about it.

My point was I never claimed to be speaking about secular humanism,
but about secular humanists I met. Since I qualified my statements, only
a sloppy reading would mischaraterize my assertion.

>I was just pointing out that your comment
>was not a fair way to characterize humanism.

To reiterate:

"I've also noticed that many people who call themselves "secular
humanist" are really just using the term as a euphemism for

I was observing how people I've met who call themselves secular humanists
use the term. I qualified my statement in such a way that only someone
with an axe to grind would have mistaken it. I took no stand on humanISM
or secular humanISM. I was discussing secular humanISTS.

>You should try some
>scientific method which does not allow one to use such "personal" off
>the cuff observations as evidence to support claims. Have you ever heard
>of the science method?

Problem is: I did not and do not claim my "off the cuff observations" are
somehow the height of data collection. In fact, I made no claims that I
could not support. Nor did I maintain that my experience is somehow
priviliged or universalizeable.

>Of course you have. Just as I can read. I was not
>jumping on your back, why did you feel it necessary to stomp on mine?

Because you misread me.

>You just were making it sound like Secular Humanism was philosophically
>a "weak straw man" which is identical to atheism.

I made and make no claim about secular humanism as a philosophy. I
was making claims about secular humanists -- not ideas but people. I've
met a few and when we got to discussing our beliefs, it seemed to me
that most had atheism as their only binding belief -- the thing they had in
common, that they all could agree on. Some did share other things, such
as a basically JudeoChristian ethical system.

I'm not claiming that secular humanism implies this, though if secular
humanism owes anything to humanism as it has come down through
the centuries, then one might expect it to be JudeoChristian ethically
and Leftist politically. This is because few movements have outright
rejected JudeoChristian ethics -- even Marxists are animated by them
-- and humanism is generally has always been more toward the Left
end of the political spectrum.

For the record, these are just my observations. I've not done nor do
I claim to have done extensive research or randomly surveyed
secular humanists. The thing to do here, if anyone cares, would be
to do a survey of alleged secular humanists and examine the
major and influential works of secular humanism.

>This would not be a be
>a far criticism. It is like then people characterize transhumanism as
>science fiction that is confused about reality.

Again, my claim was about secular humanISTS NOT secular humanISM.
I think I have a little understanding of transhumanISM, but it would not be
wrong to examine and post observations about transhumanISTS, as long
as others and me did not confuse the two. Do you see the difference?


Daniel Ust