Humanism: Principles, History and Relevance

Jim Barnett, Ph.D.

11 a.m., April 28, 2019

Efforts to understand the universe, live a good life and build a just society without relying on supernatural revelations have a long history, stretching back half a millennium BCE to the Greeks and other ancients. The resulting humanism was often oppressed by powerful religious institutions. Early in the 20th century, the principles of modern humanism were articulated in the first humanist manifesto. The document reflected the changes in thinking in response to scientific advances and addressed the economic, political and social issues of the time. Does humanism offer solutions to the challenges of the 21st Century?

After retiring from the bio-pharmaceutical industry a few years ago, Jim attended the Humanist Institute (now the education department of the American Humanist Association) where he studied humanism in depth. He is one of the founders and the board president of the Bay Area Humanists in San Francisco.

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