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Reasonable belief is humanistic.

In his letter to the editor (September/October 2003 issue of the Humanist), Robert L. Rodgers opines that the concept of belief is contrary to Humanist principles and ought to be omitted from Humanist Manifesto III. Such a position, however, necessarily oversimplifies both Humanist philosophy and real life.

While most of us would agree that Humanism places a high value on reason, Rodgers seems to suggest that reasonable belief is an oxymoron. This, of course, isn't the case, unless one thinks that all individuals can lead a life in which virtually all decisions are based upon a scientific analysis of relevant evidence. By necessity, however, we all are constantly developing beliefs about various matters, from the trivial to deeply reasonable beliefs.

Rather than criticize the concept of belief outright, Humanists should accept the concept of reasonable belief and aim criticism at unreasonable belief. While the range of reason allows for differing opinions about various concepts within the Humanist camp (reasonable minds will sometimes differ, after all), the myth and superstition of virtually all of the world's ancient religious institutions clearly fall outside the parameters of reason.

David Anthony Niose

Lunenburg, MA
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Title Annotation:letters to the editor
Author:Niose, David Anthony
Publication:The Humanist
Date:Nov 1, 2003
Words:191
Previous Article:The issue at hand.
Next Article:Medicating the mentally ill is humanistic.


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