Thursday, 12 January 2012

BHA definition of Humanism now includes 'scientific method'

Humanists4Science (H4S) Mission is "To promote, within the humanist community, the application of the scientific method to issues of concern to broader society." and the Humanists4Science (H4S) Vision is "A world in which important decisions are made by applying the scientific method to evidence rather than according to superstition."

In February 2011 Humanists4Science made written recommendations to the BHA Board to include 'science' and 'scientific method' in the BHA Strategy viz.

1) include 'science' in BHA Vision.
2) include in BHA Aim “humanists understand that reason and scientific method provide the best ways to understand the universe“
3) include in BHA Aim 'public understanding of science' and 'scientific method'

From November 2011 the BHA Strategic Aims mentions 'science' & 'scientific evidence':-

'humanists strive to be rational, looking to science in attempting to understand the universe'.


'We will give philosophical and practical support to significant initiatives to meet global challenges, showing how these initiatives rest on our principles of accepting scientific evidence'

Today I'm pleased to report that the BHA website has a new definition of humanism mentioning 'scientific method' twice:-

Throughout recorded history there have been non-religious people who have believed that this life is the only life we have, that the universe is a natural phenomenon with no supernatural side, and that we can live ethical and fulfilling lives on the basis of reason and humanity. They have trusted to the scientific method, evidence and reason to discover truths about the universe and placed human welfare and happiness at the centre of their ethical decision making.


Defining 'Humanism' 
Roughly speaking, the word humanist has come to mean someone who:
  • trusts to the scientific method when it comes to understanding how the universe works and rejects the idea of the supernatural (and is therefore an atheist or agnostic) 
  • makes their ethical decisions based on reason, empathy, and a concern for human beings and other sentient animals 
  • believes that, in the absence of an afterlife and any discernible purpose to the universe, human beings can act to give their own lives meaning by seeking happiness in this life and helping others to do the same.
BHA Defining 'Humanism' (click image for larger view at 13th January 2012) or click following link for todays view   

I'm delighted to advise that in the last year H4S has achieved its aims of including 'science' & 'scientific evidence' in the BHA Strategy and 'scientific method' in the BHA definition of Humanism.

Chris Street, 
Chair Humanists4Science
13th January 2012

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