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This Week in Humanism 2018–09–23


Author(s): Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Publication (Outlet/Website): Medium (Humanist Voices)

Publication Date (yyyy/mm/dd): 2018/09/23

“Today marks the eighth anniversary of the death of Argentine thinker and writer Mario Rodríguez Cobos, who wrote under the pen name Silo. The founder of Universalist Humanism or New Humanism described himself simply as a writer and thinker.

That his legacy goes far beyond that is beyond doubt. On this occasion we would like to publish excerpts from the preface of the book “Silo a cielo abierto” by his friend Dario Ergas.

“Silo would insist many times after that, one thing is pain and another suffering. Pain is overcome with the advance of science and justice, but suffering is mental, it is proper to consciousness and cannot be overcome by scientific or political progress; it requires an evolutionary effort to differentiate the essential engine of human life from desires, which trap us and distract us from true meaning. The noblest tasks of the human being, I would repeat in many ways, are the overcoming of pain and suffering. […]”


“At the Fort Dodge Correctional Facility, an unusual group is catering to the spiritual needs of those who have no religion at all.

Ben O’Donnell, an inmate, grew up in the church, if not necessarily believing in God.

“I grew up in a very, very religious family,” he said. “We’re Irish to the hilt, and Irish people are Catholic one way or another even, if they’re not Catholic. So I was, strict Wednesday services, Saturday, Sunday. Reading the Bible. Had nuns that pinched me back here (on the neck). Those pinches, they’ll send a lightning bolt through you.”


“There is something special about walking into a bookstore and exploring the collection. Though I don’t do it purposefully, if it is my first time there, I tend to follow a similar path through the store to get myself acquainted. First, I float toward the literature section and walk across the wall from A to Z, scouring through the names of authors both familiar and unknown. Then, my eyes wander to the history and philosophy sections, where I can usually find esoteric titles that sometimes hint more at the tastes of the bookstore employees than the interests of their customers.

This brick-and-mortar meandering is in stark contrast to the clickbait world of the internet. In fact, online retailers such as Amazon have vastly changed the way we consume books. Any product, for that matter, is filtered through the technology giant’s recommendation algorithms and spit back at the customer in the hopes of making a sale. What we do not often consider is how these algorithms are destroying the humanistic side of reading and how we share books with others.”


“They looked the perfect couple, Robyn in her long white dress and Andrew in his kilt. They were married in Edinburgh in August by Caroline Lambie, a humanist celebrant, who had her own humanist wedding in 2007. But this couldn’t happen in England and Wales, where humanist weddings are not legally recognised and humanist couples are obliged to have a civil ceremony in addition to one that reflects their beliefs. This not only involves more greater cost and more organisation, it patently discriminates against their human rights.

Change came to Scotland in 2005 when the registrar general changed the law. Since then humanist marriages have mushroomed in number. Last year there were 28,440 weddings in Scotland; the Church of Scotland conducted 3,166, the Roman Catholic Church 1,182. In contrast, there were 5,912 humanist weddings, 3,283 of them conducted by Humanist Societycelebrants. More and more couples are opting for a non-religious belief ceremony that reflects the strong values held by humanists — values that do not depend on a deity or supernatural source for their convictions.”


“Two religious organizations in Louisiana have filed a lawsuit in federal court in an attempt to stop their local library from hosting a Drag Queen Story Time, which they say is unconstitutional.

Filed Tuesday in Lafayette, Louisiana, by Warriors for Christ and Special Forces of Liberty, the groups maintain that the much publicized event, which is slated for Oct. 6, at the Lafayette Library, violates the establishment clause of the First Amendment because it furthers the religion of secular humanism, according to local media outlet KADN.

“By bringing this lawsuit, we are unapologetically and firmly defending the civil rights movement led by Pastor Martin Luther King,” said Christopher Sevier, an attorney who’s representing the two organizations.”



In-Sight Publishing by Scott Douglas Jacobsen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. Based on a work at


© Scott Douglas Jacobsen and In-Sight Publishing 2012-Present. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Scott Douglas Jacobsen and In-Sight Publishing with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. All interviewees and authors co-copyright their material and may disseminate for their independent purposes.

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