Humanism: An Enlightened Life Stance

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Humanism: An Enlightened Life Stance

<p>The no-religion category has now overtaken all religions in the Australian Census. What is the belief system motivating this paradigm shift? Humanism holds that the best knowledge is to be obtained

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The no-religion category has now overtaken all religions in the Australian Census. What is the belief system motivating this paradigm shift? Humanism holds that the best knowledge is to be obtained through science, and the best morality is motivated by human welfare. Related descriptions include Freethought, Rationalism, Secularism, Atheism – and there are societies supporting each theme. With enlightenment comes the realisation that humans are responsible for their own welfare. We have one life, and wish to make the most of it – for ourselves and for others.


SUGGESTED READING


COURSE OUTLINE

  • Origins in the scientific revolution and the Enlightenment.
  • Development of humanism in Europe.
  • Humanism comes to Australia.
  • The freethought movement today.
  • Relation to science.
  • Relation to politics.
  • A scientific basis – the importance of sentience.
  • Maximising human welfare.
  • Animal rights.
  • Application to current issues including free speech, voluntary assisted dying, abortion.
  • Statistics of belief systems around the world.


PLANNED LEARNING OUTCOMES
By the end of this course, students should be able to:

  1. Outline the origins of the freethought movement in the Enlightenment.
  2. Understand the statistics of belief systems and the Australian census.
  3. Appreciate neuroscience as a source of illumination in assessing human and animal welfare.
  4. Explain the evolutionary origins of behaviour and morality.
  5. Understand why humans and animals are predisposed to favour relatives, friends and their own tribe over strangers or distant races.
  6. Overcome such shortsightedness when necessary for the greater good.
  7. Make decisions with better outcomes for all affected.
  8. Effectively lobby authorities for social change.