What we're about

About Us and Our Values:
The Humanist Chaplaincy at Harvard & MIT works with atheists, agnostics, and allies at Harvard, MIT, and beyond: to create an inclusive new model for how humanists celebrate life, promote reason and compassion, and better the world for all.  

Our organization was founded as the first-ever “humanist chaplaincy” to serve nonreligious students at a college or university. In addition to providing humanist philosophical guidance and counseling for over 40 years, we sponsor and advise humanist, secular, and interfaith groups at Harvard and MIT, and offer weekly secular mindfulness meditations.

Humanism is a progressive lifestance that, without supernaturalism, affirms our ability and responsibility to lead ethical lives of personal fulfillment, aspiring to humanity's greater good -- it is, in short, good without god.

Please check out our website: https://www.humanistchaplaincy.org/.

Upcoming events (2)

Secular Mindfulness Meditation

Link visible for attendees

Join us for an online secular mindfulness meditation led by Rick Heller, followed by a discussion.

To join the meeting, just visit the URL below. No experience is necessary. All welcome!

https://us02web.zoom.us/j/82066058076?pwd=RHJIK0Fya1RYSVh2Y2UxWjQwSUlKZz09
Meeting ID:[masked]
Passcode:[masked]

Our meditations have been collected into a book published by New World Library: Secular Meditation: Practices for Cultivating Inner Peace, Compassion, and Joy (http://www.newworldlibrary.com/BooksProducts/ProductDetails/tabid/64/SKU/83697/Default.aspx).

We also have a Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/groups/207307035531/).

Email Rick Heller at [masked] for more information.

The Ethics and Politics of Human Enhancement

Phillips Brooks House

We join Greater Boston Humanists for their final event of 2022, just before the Winter Solstice (12/20) and holiday weeks.

The speaker will be James Hughes, at Phillips Brooks House at Harvard University for SUNDAY, DECEMBER 18 at 1:30 pm. speaking on "The Ethics and Politics of Human Enhancement: A Technoprogressive Overview".

This talk is co-sponsored by the Boston Futurism and Transhumanist MeetUp group. There will be a hybrid option (see below).

Most debates over the ethics and politics of human enhancement are ahistorical, assuming wrongly that enhancement and its consequences are imminent dilemmas rather than a part of the human condition since we became human. We have used technologies to extend our health and longevity, control our reproduction, and enrich our senses and cognition for hundreds of thousands of years. Genetic engineering, psychopharmaceuticals, artificial limbs and organs, and brain-computer interfaces are simply the latest ways to accomplish these ancient aims.
Critics often identify these technologies with their advocates, such as transhumanists, presuming that they will have predictable social consequences. In fact, the tiny transhumanist movement will have little impact on how enhancement is adopted, compared to the political debates that determine access to all medical therapies. For instance, access to reproductive and longevity technologies will be shaped by the global crisis of falling fertility and rising old-age dependency. The debates over body modification and cognitive liberty will take place within a global political polarization between cultural traditionalists and cosmopolitan.

Enlightenment humanism is one of the values beng contested in these coming debates, alongside liberal individualism, scientific empiricism and techno-optimism. Religious conservatism is the strongest predictor of hostility to liberal freedoms, empiricism, technology, and of course, humanism. For conspiracists on the far right humanism, transhumanism and cyborg technologies are all part of a Luciferian future. Technoprogressives, partisans of egalitarianism, liberal individualism and techno-optimism, as represented by the IEET, are attempting to create a political agenda that recognizes the desirability of universal access to safe human enhancement, and grapples with the policies that would achieve this goal.

How does the enhancement agenda articulate with other social movements, such as reproductive rights, disability rights and neurodiversity? How can we ensure enhancements are safe and effective? Who should have access to them, and can society afford to subsidize their use?

James J. Hughes is sociologist and bioethicist. He is the Executive Director of the Institute for Ethics and Emerging Technologies which he founded with Nick Bostrom. He is Associate Provost at UMass-Boston and taught health policy at Trinity College in Hartford. He is the author of Citizen Cyborg: Why Democratic Societies Must Respond to the Redesigned Human of the Future, and is currently writing a book about moral bioenhancement tentatively titled Cyborg Buddha: Using Neurotechnology to Become Better People.

He has written on transhuman enlightenment, moral enhancement, and the future of democracy and produced the weekly public affairs radio talk show program Changesurfer Radio.

We look forward to seeing you for a discussion of important issues and convivial community building! Join us for discussion and special snacks before the holidays for this live event. Join us for HumanLight or whatever holidays you are in!

If you cannot attend in person but wish to join our hybrid Zoom attempt, please request the Zoom link by sending a message on thia MeetUp page

https://www.meetup.com/greaterbostonhumanists/events/290067858/

and provide your email address.

Past events (928)

Secular Mindfulness Meditation

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