- Valery Kuvakin: “Scepsis” in Russia: Unthought of Before, Is It Possible
Now?" - The RHS President welcomes the second issue of the “Scepsis” magazine.
“We share the values maintained by the editors...
EDUCATION AND HUMAN RIGHTS
- Clericalization of School Is Illegal / A Second Appeal of the “Common
Action” Initiative Group appeals to the Russian Education Minister Vladimir
Filippov with regard to unlawful attempts to introduce “Basics of Orthodox Culture”
classes in general education curricula. “Understanding of religion should be developed
from a modern, scientific worldview, based on human and Humanist values...”
HUMANISM AROUND THE GLOBE
- From the President. A message by Roy Brown, President of the IHEU, reads: “There is increasing awareness among politicians and religious leaders alike that if we are ever to escape from the vortex of violence and retribution that has characterized much of human history secularism is the only possible way forward...” / International Humanist News, August 2003
THE PRICE OF THE LIFE STANCE IS THE HUMAN LIFE
- In a letter that arrived from Pakistan without return address, Mustafa Kamal
Pasha (nom de plume) calls on the Russian public to add their voice in support of
dr. Younas Sheikh who is locked up in death cell on fabricated charges of blasphemy.
“I’m writing on behalf of dr. Younas Sheikh and other humanists from Pakistan...”
- Mustafa Kamal Pasha concludes his article, The Dangerous Polisy of
Islam: “The West must give moral support to the 3 rd world liberals, secularists and
humanists especially in Islamic religious countries and societies”.
DISCUSSING THE NEW TEXTBOOKS ON HUMANISM
- For Collective Humanism by Alexander Shutov is a review of the two Humanism textbooks: Basics of Modern Humanism by
V. Kuvakin, I. Borzenko. A. Kudishina, and Humanism and Civil Society by
G. Givishvili. “Even the 19th century philosophers were aiming at “humanization of
circumstances”, and the Common Sense talks about a humane future society. That is
impossible unless Humanism becomes an ideology and political agenda...”
HUMANISM, DEMOCRACY, HUMAN RIGHTS
- Sergey Borodavkin offers his Reflections on the Subject of Russian
Democracy. In the wake of Russian parliamentary elections he concludes that “It seems
that the primary element of democracy – its subject – will not be an individual, but rather
a grassroot unit of people bonded by common professional interests, national identity, or
a system of values...”
WHAT IS HUMANISM?
- In his essay on Biological Aspects of Humanism, the scholar and Medical
Professor Vsevolod Lyashenko asks whether we can actually do without our
“biological” humanity, which is rooted in our instincts? The answer is: certainly not! “I
am human, and let the humanity persist!”
CELEBRATING LEO TOLSTOY’S 175TH ANNIVERSARY
- Anna Kudishina: The Genius Denunciator of Untruth. “Since his early
youth, Tolstoy sought to create a “new religion” that would correspond to the spirit of
times. He found this type of “religion” in his ethical and philosophic teaching, which he
hoped would promote a psychology of vigilant, sensible humanity. This is the essence of
Tolstoy’s attitude: while talking of heavenly things, he does care about earthly matters,
about human beings”.
- Arseny Chanyshev: Giordano Bruno. Towards Quincentenary. “...In Russia,
too, the 400th anniversary of the execution of Bruno passed almost without notice. This
was an important date, though not exactly a jubilee. His birthday anniversary was in 1948,
and the next one will be in 2048. Those of us who have just turned twenty have a chance to
celebrate it – they will be only 67 or 68 years old.”
THE LESSONS TO BE LEARNED. TERRORISM OF TODAY
- Clark R. Chapman and Alan W. Harris A Sceptical Look at September 11th / How
We Can Defeat Terrorism by Reacting to It More Rationally. “At the one-year anniversary,
we examine reactions to the September 11, 2001 attacks in the context of other causes of
premature deaths. An objective of terrorism is to multiply damage by inducing irrational
fears in the broad population. One defense is to learn to evaluate: such situation more
- Alexander Kraynev. Protecting the Reason – a Task for the Reasonable /
Review of the Articles Collection “In Defense of Reason: Opposing the Onslaught of
Charlatanism and Paranormal Beliefs on Early 21st Century Russian Culture”. According to
the author, the goal of the Moscow International Symposium “Science, Antiscience and
Paranormal Beliefs” (October 2001) was to a great extent achieved during the event.
Publication of Symposium papers, will be the next important step augmenting the success.
- In his polemic essay Are Jews Needed in Russia? / In Response to the Publication of
Volume 2 of “200 Years Together” by Alexander Solzhenitsin, Lev Fontalin
regretfully points to the fact that “...the author has followed the same old tendency: the
extremely complex system of cultural, economic and political relations between the two
peoples is reduced almost to the level of a police-style investigation into actual and
alleged wrongdoings of the Jews against the Russians...”
- Gennady Shevelev, Chairman of the RHS St. Petersburg branch.
Reflections of a Saddened Optimist: “RHS leaders should, first, be more persistent
in pressing the government for the same level of funding as enjoyed by the Orthodox
Church; and second, lose no time in learning some basic entrepreneurial skills, hire… a
good manager and open some profitable business”.
- Valery Kuvakin. Humanism – Persistent Work of Humanity (replying to my RHS’
colleague). “...I am positive that what we are doing is very important for the country. This gives me energy to do it and help others doing it. Here, in fact, one does not need money, but only reason and conviction.”
- Following Alexander Kruglov’s definition, Fairness means
complying, in every situation, to that type of virtual agreement on mutual relationships
that would ensure maximum benefit to each party... This implies equal significance
(absolute dignity) of all parties who entered the agreement, and an adequate reciprocity
of their rights and obligations.
- Mikhail Beilin, a prominent Russian chess player and personal coach of
the 1954 1955 World Champion Vasily Smyslov. The Solid Content.
- Valery Kuvakin briefly reviews the Contemporary skeptical literature
issued in English (based on the Prometheus Books’ catalogue).