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New Humanist Manifesto 2000 Looks to the Next Century

by Deidre C. Conn

The following article is from the Secular Humanist Bulletin, Volume 15, Number 4.

Paul Kurtz, professor emeritus in philosophy at the State University New York at Buffalo, founder of the International Academy of Humanism and the Council for Secular Humanism—the umbrella organization of the Campus Freethought Alliance—has drafted a third Humanist Manifesto, known as Humanist Manifesto 2000. It differs from previous manifestos in its all-encompassing, planetary outlook. It was released in the Fall 1999 issue of Free Inquiry magazine.

The Manifesto, already endorsed by over 100 distinguished humanists from around the world, challenges the world to "preserve human rights and enhance human freedom and dignity, but also . . . our commitment to humanity as a whole." It calls on human society to use science and technology as positive tools for solving such social problems as overpopulation, starvation, and environmental destruction within the next century. States Kurtz, "As we enter the new millennium we should not worry about Armageddon, but rather should untap the tremendous potentialities for human progress in the next century and beyond."

According to Chris Kirchhoff, Harvard University junior and Political Affairs Director of the Campus Freethought Alliance, "This is a platform the Campus Freethought Alliance can use to remind religious critics that humanists everywhere aspire to have heaven on earth, right here, right now. The Humanist Manifesto is a noble call for a secular garden of Eden in the only world we know."

August E. Brunsman IV, Ohio State University senior and Internet Resources Director of the CFA, adds, "I think the HM2K itself servers as a powerful reminder that compassion isn't just about one's heart, but one's mind as well. Simply wishing to help other people is not enough, we must also be willing to gain a better understanding of ourselves and our world so that we can help as much as possible. We must also be willing to admit when a path we thought was helpful really isn't, or at least can't be demonstrated to be so."

Some within the humanist community have worried that they must agree with this document if they belong to a CSH-affiliated organization, including the CFA. According to Matt Cherry, Executive Director of the CSH, this is not the case. "This is not a Council for Secular Humanism document; it is a humanist document. Only individuals who wish to endorse this manifesto should do so."

The list of individuals endorsing the Humanist Manifesto 2000 includes science fiction writer Arthur C. Clarke, anthropologist Richard Leakey, and biologist Richard Dawkins. 

For copies of the Manifesto, contact Ranjit Sandhu at (716)636-7571 ext. 201. For more information, go to http://www.secularhumanism.org/manifesto

Deidre C. Conn is a Graduate Assistant at Morehead University and a founder of the Campus Freethought Alliance.

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This page was last updated 12/04/2003

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