Critiquing the Atheist Humanist Manifesto - Some Personal Thoughts
Let me summarize these beliefs in a simple list:
1) Nature is the self-existent prime reality.
2) Humans are the product of blind, evolutionary forces.
3) Each person has inherent worth and dignity.
4) Truth is derived from scientific observation and rational analysis. It should be used to develop beneficial technology. All other expressions must ultimately be subject to rational analysis.
5) Humanism is "guided by reason, compassion, and experience," but values and ideals are always subject to change.
6) There's a duty to live ethical lives of "personal fulfillment," and to seek the "greater good of humanity."
7) Human values must take into account many factors of human and environmental wellbeing in order to avoid violence and suffering, and bring about a world where peace, justice, and opportunity are available for everyone.
8) Freedom and responsibility should be balanced in our lives, as well as when we participate in the democratic process.
2) If human beings are just processes of blind material evolution from a self-existent universe, then why do human beings have intrinsic value? What about being an "accident" of material evolution endows a universal and eternal dignity to each individual?
3) Why should we strive for justice for all? Why should the powerful not rule the weak? Why should we have compassion on others? Why should we eradicate suffering? All of those realities involve some people making sacrifices to their well-being to lift others up to a better life. How can we say there is a moral imperative to do this? Wouldn't we have to say something more along the lines of, "if you feel like helping others, then do it."?
5) What makes democracy a better political system than a dictatorship? If someone is powerful and is embracing who "they are" as a product of evolution, why is that bad, except maybe we end up on the side of the persecuted?
Materialism only Provides Clear Value in Terms of Bodily Functions