Welcome to The Humanist Observer. It has been for several weeks now that I have been thinking about beginning a blog. This has been inspired by the many excellent blogs that I have been reading and occasionally posting comments on. Now I am trying to figure out how to create links to them on my blog page, but I digress.
First among them is Massimo Pigluicci of Rationally Speaking. http://rationallyspeaking.blogspot.com/
I have been following the thoughts of Massimo for some time now in the pages of Free Inquiry, Skeptical Inquirer, Philosophy Now, his previous web site, and now his blog. Massimo has Ph.D.s in both evolutionary biology and philosophy. Wow! What an intellect! I really admire him, and I can't even finish my one graduate program (but again I digress!). First for his ability to balance all those different pursuits, as well as his intellectual commitments. Being a fan of Massimo can tell you a little bit about my interests.
However, my posts will certainly go in a different direction.
I am an archaeologist, and I hope to comment in the future on what archaeology can tell us about humans as socio-cultural and political beings in the past and present. Also another related issue is how archaeological topics are viewed from the perspective of the present. One of my pet-peeves is how things like aboriginal settlement of the Americas, or cannibalism, is often viewed through inappropriate ideological lenses of both the right and the left.
I have also been reading Alonzo Fyfe of the Atheist Ethicist.
Interest in his blog reflects another of my concerns. That of morality and ethics without God or religion. Alonzo is very lucid and puts alot of work and thought into his blogs. My posts on ethics and morality surely won't be as clear and logical as his, or as long! Maybe I can coax Alonzo over to my blog to post a comment to help me out on my moral reasoning. What do you say Alonzo? (However Alonzo, if you end up reading this, I surely understand that you put so much work into your blog you probably don't have much time to comment on others).
Well from the title of my blog and from the favorite blogs I have mentioned above you might infer that I am a skeptic, an atheist, and a humanist. And you would be right! I will probably post a variety things on criticisms of religion and defenses of atheism or more broadly a humanist worldview.
Also to be touched on are social and political issues. How can we ignore the big issues in America of today, the Iraq war and immigration? I will be approaching these issues from the left. Part of my humanist ethic is that of human universalism, and the anthropologist in me greatly respects cultural diversity as well. I refuse to see the "illegal alien" as less deserving of human rights and dignity. I think the rhetoric of the nativist right in this country indirectly, and sometimes more directly, sees your average Mexican "illegal alien" (or other nationality) as less deserving of human dignity based on nationality and legal status. Too little attention is paid to the larger economic structural issues of the world economy that compel people to leave their native country to risk life, limb, and racism in an attempt at bettering their human condition. Most "illegal aliens" are the salt of the earth in my opinion. Examples of the strength and dignity of the human spirit. Their recent demonstrations were inspiring!
Also related to this in the issue of Iraq is how we as Americans rather passively ignore the deaths and suffering of Iraqis. Forget Haditha (well don't actually forget it), what about the estimated 100,000+ that have died as a result of the initial air bombardment and subsequent invasion and occupation? Many on the right I think cry crocodile tears for the Iraqi victims of Saddam Hussein and now the insurgents. This is because it serves their emotional, political, and ideological needs to feel as morally superior American liberators. Honest attention paid to greater historical contexts would reveal U.S. government and corporate complicity in the crimes of Saddam Hussein. Not too much to be proud of there as an American.
Well there you have it friends, a little introduction to some of the issues I will be touching upon in The Humanist Observer. This should give you an idea of where I am coming from.