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UUCF Dr John Shook Presents "Where Do Humanists Get the Right?"

** sorry for the late notice here. This is the first in a new series of Monday evening meetings with the UU humanists. It will be in church areas, but not to worry. Entirely nontheistic and naturalistic. Expand your horizons in Fairfax. Special thanks to the UUs and organizer Mary Bellamy.

Where Does Humanism Get the Right?

Dr. John R. Shook will lead a discussion at the Monday, March 4 meeting of the UUCF Humanist Group on "Where Does Humanism Get the Right?" When humanists are asked about their ethical principles, they have short lists of rights and values to point to. We know our moral priorities, but do we really know how we know them? How do we justify those priorities, but not others? Simply being non-theistic is hardly enough to justify an ethics, and seeing lots of consensus on ethics isn't enough either. Unless humanism has a way to explain where it gets the right to decide what ethics should be, its priorities look subjective, arbitrary, fundamentalist, or or even faith-based. We have to seriously ask whether humanism can explain more about its ethics than "Humanism is about making a lifestance choice," or "That's just how we feel about life," or "We just know what is ethical," or "This ethics is what we ultimately believe in."

Dr. Shook is a scholar and professor living in Washington, D.C. He received his PhD in Philosophy at the University at Buffalo, and from 2000 to 2006 he was a professor of philosophy at Oklahoma State University. In 2006 he went back to Buffalo to work at the Center for Inquiry, and also become research associate in philosophy and faculty member of the Science and the Public EdM program at the University at Buffalo. He moved to DC in 2010, and he currently holds four positions in the humanist community: as Director of Education and Senior Research Fellow for the Center for Inquiry; the Education Coordinator for the American Humanist Association; a Co-Mentor with the Humanist Institute, and President of the Society of Humanist Philosophers. Dr. Shook has published many books in philosophy and secularism, including The God Debates: A 21st Century Guide for Atheists, Believers, and Everyone in Between. He is now working on the forthcoming Oxford Handbook of Secularism with his co-editor Phil Zuckerman.

Future events:

April 1 -- Frank Bellamy, a Board Member of the Secular Student Alliance and the founder of the Secular Legal Society at the University of Virginia Law School, will talk about the current state of the secular movement on college and high school campuses.

April 24 -- David Niose, President of the Secular Coalition for America, will lead us in our consideration of his book Non-Believer Nation: The Rise of Secular Americans.

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  • Don W.

    It was an excellent presentation, precisely on a topic which is needed for the secular community going forward.

    March 4, 2013

  • Sarah H.

    Love John! Such a great speaker and smart! Also, the group was very nice and welcoming :)

    March 4, 2013

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