* * Humanist Perspectives: issue 208, Spring 2019

Humanist Perspectives: issue 208, Spring 2019

Issue 208, Spring 2019

cover of issue 208
Humanist Perspectives is a refreshing, rational analysis of modern events and culture and is available at select magazine stores or by online subscription.
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Inside Front Cover

Google Goes that Extra Progressive Mile for Sharia by Madeline Weld
.....Given social media enforcement of progressive orthodoxy in this part of the world, it may seem contradictory that Google Play Store approved the app Smart Pakem, allowing Muslims in Indonesia’s capital Jakarta to report violations of sharia law such as blasphemy and heresy. The app was created by the Jakarta prosecutor’s office...

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The Tyranny of the Oppressed by Madeline Weld
There has been some good news lately on the blasphemy front. Canada recently repealed its blasphemy law and – faith and begorrah! – so will Ireland....But it’s too early to be popping champagne for the demise of blasphemy laws in the west....[T]he European Court of Human Rights...upheld the criminal conviction of Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff...for defaming the Prophet Muhammad.... And despite the repeal of Section 296, Canadians remain saddled with human rights tribunals and hate speech laws – both of which are all too often used to harass or silence them.

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Vera Freud: Humanist and Humanitarian, 1928 – 2018 by Madeline Weld
A retired educator, Vera Freud devoted herself to her humanist and humanitarian activities to an extent matched by few. She was particularly concerned about the plight of children around the world....Along with Canadian author Margaret Atwood, she was active in the Canadian Committee for Child Haven International. She remained a patron of Child Haven International and won the UNESCO Human Rights Award in 1988.

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Restoring Realism to Citizenship and Immigration & Refugee Protection Laws by Alan Danesh
It is the supreme duty of all citizens and the Canadian leadership to seek to protect Canada from the preventable evils of tribalization and environmental degradation emanating from misguided laws on citizenship and immigration which have been enacted based on ideologies. Citizenship, immigration, and refugee protection laws should not be shaped by the desires of those who are searching for “greatness” on the international stage and at the glittering gatherings of their cliques of global elites...

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A Tribute to the Victims of the Pittsburgh Synagogue Shooting by Sophie Dulesh
.... A number of atheists and humanists wonder about how to respond to the massacre in Pittsburgh, during which the shooter said, “All Jews must die.” How does a humanist and atheist explain how such an abomination is even possible at all?.....

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The Stigmatization of Men Can Be a Humanist Issue by Lloyd Hawkeye Robertson
..... If a diverse sample of men reported a targeted imputation of character rendering them unfit for particular sorts of social interactions due to their sex or gender, then we could say male stigma exists....The purpose of my research was to determine whether male stigma exists and, in the course of doing so, describe it.....

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The Free Speech Crisis on Campus is Worse than People Think by Bradley Campbell
.... If you were a time traveler from 10 years ago – maybe even five years ago– you’d probably have trouble following some of that. What’s a microaggression? What’s woke? And how could a New York Times op-ed lead to that kind of uproar on campus?....

This article was originally published by Quillette on November 14, 2018. Click to view.

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Rationality at Risk: Three Reasons Why Humanists Should Avoid Naturalism by John Ibberson
In the course of discussing the weakness of human testimony as evidence for the occurrence of miracles, David Hume (1711-1776) pointed out that “in our reasonings concerning matter of fact, there are all imaginable degrees of assurance, from the highest certainty to the lowest species of moral evidence. A wise man, therefore, proportions his belief to the evidence” .....

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Oh No! Genderology Wars! by Dan Mayo
It was bound to happen. Not long after Gender Unicorn became a well-established sex-ed teaching tool, Gender Elephant has appeared on the scene to challenge Gender Unicorn’s hegemony. Unicorn’s failing? Not sufficiently diverse and inclusive! A failing which is, as one says today, problematic.

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Andy Mulcahy: A Voice for Reason, 1922 – 2019 by Gary Bauslaugh
June 6: 1944: D Day.... One of the survivors was young Andy Mulcahy, already a six-year veteran with the Canadian Scottish Regiment at the age of 23. He was among the 150,000 Allied soldiers who landed at Normandy that day and started their grim trek across northern Europe.... They say there are no atheists in foxholes, but that is not true. For soldiers like Andy, the horrors of war were brutal testimony against the idea of a benevolent higher presence in our midst. How could any god allow such depravities? ...

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Debunking the Ivy League Mythology by Barry Mayhew
An adage one frequently hears, both within and outside academia, is as follows: “You can always tell a Harvard man but you can’t tell him very much.” Harvard graduates, and graduates from the other so-called “Ivy League” universities... also enjoy a level of status that is considerably above that associated with most other North American institutions of higher learning..... A question one might raise is: “Why is this?” and, equally significant, “Does this enviable reputation have any validity?” ...

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Book reviews

Review of Max Tegmark’s “Life 3.0. Being Human in the Age of Artificial Intelligence” by Sophie Dulesh
Life 3.0 pursues two different topics, each of which easily constitutes a grand undertaking in itself. The first topic (A) is the fast approaching new era of artificial intelligence (AI) with all the benefits and threats it may bring to humanity. The second topic (B) is the eternal human quest to understand the universe, its origin and laws, whether life evolved or was created by design, and the use of mathematics to explore these questions.

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In addition, Humanist Perspectives offers a lively Letters-to-the-Editor section as well as Book Reviews, books available for review and snippets of international news of interest to humanists.