Archive for the ‘Humanist ethics’ Category

Ensaf Haidar, Raif Badawi and Waleed Abulkhair awarded Freethinker Prize 2015

Thursday, October 15th, 2015

Ensaf Haidar, Raif Badawi and Waleed Abulkhair awarded Freethinker Prize 2015 Zürich, 9th October 2015. Saudi citizens Ensaf Haidar, Raif Badawi and Waleed Abulkhair received the first Swiss Freethinker Prize as appreciation of their courageous commitment to promote humanist and secular values, The award by the Freethinkers Association of Switzerland carries a prize money of 10.000 Swiss franks. Ensaf Haidar was handed the prize at a reading organised by the Freethinkers, Amnesty International Switzerland and the Zurich-based Forum for Democracy and Human Rights. In her Book «Freiheit für Raif Badawi, die Liebe meines Lebens» (Freedom for Raif Badawi, the love of my life, co-written with the journalist Andrea Claudia Hoffmann and published in German) Ensaf Haidar describes her family’s story and her fight to free her husband, who was sentenced to 1000 lashes and ten years imprisonment. In 2008 Raif Badawi had started to blog about social liberal topics. In particular, he advocated women’s rights and the separation of the State and religion. Soon several of Badawi’s articles were reprinted by Saudi newspapers and he was regularly asked to write columns. Because of an increase in threats Badawi however decided to temporarily shut down his site and the family moved to Malaysia. But they had the heart to move back to their home country and Raif Badawi re-lauched his forum and Ensaf Haidar became an active contributor herself. In 2012, Raif was arrested and Ensaf, taking several detours, fled to Canada with their three children, where she was granted political asylum. Since then, she has admirably been campaigning for the release of her husband, and is helping to maintain the public pressure on the Saudi regime. The prize money is intended to provide a small contribution to the financial hardships of the recipients, respectively, in the case of Waleed Abulkhair, his wife. Badawi and Abulkhair are not only imprisoned, the State has also blocked their savings. The Swiss Freethinkers award will be awarded every two years and is financed via a bequest.

Basel, 3 April 2013, Talk about Human Enhancement

Tuesday, March 19th, 2013

19:00 Kollegienhaus, Petersplatz, Hörsaal 118
Human Enhancement – Hirndoping und Designmenschen?
Referent: Johann Roduit Doktorand in Bioethik und Recht an der Uni Zürich
Vortrag in Englisch

Johann Roduit is a founding member of NeoHumanitas and a PhD Candidate in Biomedical Ethics and Law at the University of Zurich, Switzerland. He is also the founder of TEDxMartigny and a blogger for the Huffington Post.

“NeoHumanitas is a think tank that promotes reflection and discussion about the socio-ethical consequences of the use of emerging and future technologies on human beings.”

Roduit’s talk will be structured as follows:

1) General introduction to the debate about the ethics of enhancement
2) Quick summary of his paper on human enhancement and perfection (recently published in the Journal of Medical Ethics:
3) Longer explanation of a forthcoming paper on ideal/non-ideal theory in the debate about enhancement – the heart of his dissertation
4) Conclusion

Alain de Bottons 10 commandments for atheists

Tuesday, February 5th, 2013

1. Resilience. Keeping going even when things are looking dark.

2. Empathy. The capacity to connect imaginatively with the sufferings and unique experiences of another person.

3. Patience. We should grow calmer and more forgiving by getting more realistic about how things actually tend to go.

4. Sacrifice. We won’t ever manage to raise a family, love someone else or save the planet if we don’t keep up with the art of sacrifice.

5. Politeness. Politeness is very linked to tolerance, the capacity to live alongside people whom one will never agree with, but at the same time can’t avoid.

6. Humour. Like anger, humour springs from disappointment, but it’s disappointment optimally channelled.

7. Self-Awareness. To know oneself is to try not to blame others for one’s troubles and moods; to have a sense of what’s going on inside oneself, and what actually belongs to the world.

8. Forgiveness. It’s recognising that living with others isn’t possible without excusing errors.

9. Hope. Pessimism isn’t necessarily deep, nor optimism shallow.

10. Confidence. Confidence isn’t arrogance, it’s based on a constant awareness of how short life is and how little we ultimately lose from risking everything.

Ireland: Bill proposes full legal status for humanist weddings

Friday, May 4th, 2012

The Irish government is expected to back new legislation giving humanists the same status as organised religions and civil registrars in conducting marriage ceremonies (…). The Bill proposes to amend the Civil Registration Act 2004, which regulates the registration of civil marriages. Today, apart from Health Service Executive registrars, only a member of a “religious body” may celebrate legal marriages (…). This includes organisations such as the Pagan Federation Ireland and the Spiritualist Union of Ireland, but not members of the Humanist Association of Ireland (HAI), who currently conduct humanist wedding ceremonies even though these are not legally recognised (…).The proportion of couples choosing a non-religious, civil wedding ceremony in Ireland has increased from 6 per cent in 1996 to more than 23 per cent in 2006, according to the Central Statistics Office.

The HAI has nine accredited celebrants who conducted 153 marriage ceremonies last year.


US: Study on link between religiosity, compassion, generosity

Wednesday, May 2nd, 2012

Highly religious people are less motivated by compassion than are non-believers

“Love thy neighbor” is preached from many a pulpit. But new research from the University of California, Berkeley, suggests that the highly religious are less motivated by compassion when helping a stranger than are atheists, agnostics and less religious people.

In three experiments, social scientists found that compassion consistently drove less religious people to be more generous. For highly religious people, however, compassion was largely unrelated to how generous they were, according to the findings which are published in the most recent online issue of the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science.

The results challenge a widespread assumption that acts of generosity and charity are largely driven by feelings of empathy and compassion, researchers said. In the study, the link between compassion and generosity was found to be stronger for those who identified as being non-religious or less religious.

“Overall, we find that for less religious people, the strength of their emotional connection to another person is critical to whether they will help that person or not,” said UC Berkeley social psychologist Robb Willer, a co-author of the study. “The more religious, on the other hand, may ground their generosity less in emotion, and more in other factors such as doctrine, a communal identity, or reputational concerns (…)  this research suggests that although less religious people tend to be less trusted in the U.S., when feeling compassionate, they may actually be more inclined to help their fellow citizens than more religious people,” Willer said..” Continue reading on ScienceDaily.

An interview with A.C. Grayling

Wednesday, November 2nd, 2011

A.C. Grayling is Master of the New College of the Humanities, and a fellow of St. Anne’s College, Oxford. At the time of this interview, he was professor of philosophy at Birkbeck College, University of London. He is the author of many books, most recently, “The Good Book: A Humanist Bible.” In unusually accessible prose, writing from a humanist perspective, Grayling has continued the Socratic tradition of raising the basic philosophical questions that touch upon our lives.

Watch the video on the NY Times.

Berne, 12-14 December 2011: Einstein Lectures on “Religion without God”

Monday, October 24th, 2011

Einstein Lectures 2011

Prof. Ronald Dworkin New York, University

Einstein’s Worship
Monday, 12 Dezember 2011, 19:30, Aula University Berne

Faith and Physics
Tuesday, 13 Dezember 2011, 17:15, Room 120, Main building University Berne

Religion without God
Wednesday, 14 Dezember 2011, 19:30, Aula University Berne

Lectures open to public, no entrance fee

US Atheists Seek Chaplain Role in the Military

Sunday, May 8th, 2011

In the military, there are more than 3,000 chaplains who minister to the spiritual and emotional needs of active duty troops, regardless of their faiths. The vast majority are Christians, a few are Jews or Muslims, one is a Buddhist. A Hindu, possibly even a Wiccan may join their ranks soon. But an atheist?
Strange as it sounds, groups representing atheists and secular humanists are pushing for the appointment of one of their own to the chaplaincy, hoping to give voice to what they say is a large — and largely underground — population of nonbelievers in the military.


Donate to non-religious organizations!

Monday, August 16th, 2010

In case of natural destasters we all feel like helping. Medical and infrastructural help is alsways necessary. Further help unfortunately often leads to more dependence.

Which organization can I trust?

Many of the internationally active organizations have a religious background or are even openly persueing missionary goals.
“Glückskette” a swiss fundrising organization is collecting all over Switzerland and is then distributing the money to different organizations. HEKS and Caritas, two church based charity organizations, receive a considerable part of their funds from “Glückskette”.

FAS is recommending  to donate directli to non-religious organizations!

in Switzerland, alphabetically:
>Ärzte ohne Grenzen
>Rotes Kreuz
>Terre des Femmes

>Terre des Hommes


Non-religious fundraisers international:
>Humanist Charities USA
>Non believers giving aid

The Moral Naturalists

Friday, July 30th, 2010

Where does our sense of right and wrong come from? Most people think it is a gift from God, who revealed His laws and elevates us with His love. A smaller number think that we figure the rules out for ourselves, using our capacity to reason and choosing a philosophical system to live by.

Moral naturalists, on the other hand, believe that we have moral sentiments that have emerged from a long history of relationships. To learn about morality, you don’t rely upon revelation or metaphysics; you observe people as they live.

This week a group of moral naturalists gathered in Connecticut at a conference organized by the Edge Foundation. One of the participants, Marc Hauser of Harvard, began his career studying primates, and for moral naturalists the story of our morality begins back in the evolutionary past. It begins with the way insects, rats and monkeys learned to cooperate.