In the previous post I mentioned Humanism. Let’s review its Manifesto #3.

These comments of mine are not meant to refute such an enlightened philosophy. Just having a taste of it while highlighting some corner cases.

Knowledge of the world is derived by observation, experimentation, and rational analysis.

That’s alright. Except there’s a new player now: the learning machines. So a bit snobbery “rational analysis” may be rephrased as the “processing and predicting”. I’m currently reading an amazing book on this topic: “The Most Human Human”.

Humans are an integral part of nature, the result of unguided evolutionary change.

Unguided, huh. I guess, we should take it as an axiom in order to not multiply entities. It’s just unknown; any “chaos” may be an unknown order. Check this out: the bifurcation diagram in the Mandelbrot set!

At this point any amount of mythology may be injected without much contradiction while interpreting every process as a tool. I guess, this is a nice middle ground to have fun on instead of aggressive opposition.

Ethical values are derived from human need and interest as tested by experience.

I won’t pretend that I understand this one. Maybe another time.

Life’s fulfillment emerges from individual participation in the service of humane ideals.

Sounds cheerful. But wait, which ideals are “humane”? “Inflicting the minimum of pain” hints my dictionary, with an example: “humane methods of killing”. Pairs well with the military connotations of “service”.

Let’s try this one: life’s fulfillment emerges from individual participation in the games of life. It’s nicely self-referent while emphasizing participation.

Humans are social by nature and find meaning in relationships.

Ok, bonding with peers is fun sometimes. And being on my own is nice too. We are almost always surrounded by human-made things, in the indirect “relationships” with unimaginable number of creators and maintainers.

Working to benefit society maximizes individual happiness.

Sounds like reiteration of “participation in the service of humane ideals”, except that “humane ideals” have some attempt at universality while “society” may be interpreted as an in-group. And if we measure a “social benefit” by asking every human about how happy they are, initial statement becomes: working to make everyone happy maximizes individual happiness. Apparently, until it’s not. When gifts cease and sacrifices begin.