- Valery Kuvakin, A Word About Corruption. “One sensible person said that in an any given country corruption will prosper until it becomes uneconomical. Sounds like truth. But in fact this concept is wrong, because corruption does not only burden the economy – it lies heavy on one’s conscience and, eventually, distorts human relations…”
RAS GENERAL MEETING: FACTS AND COMMENTS
- Academician Garri Abelev, RHS Vice President: A New Period in the life of Academy. from the Academy of Science general meeting of May 28 – June 2, 2008. “There is no doubt that Government support of the Academy played a crucial role in the re-election of Yury Osipov for his fourth term as President. Speakers were almost unanimous in welcoming his nomination – including such renowned members of the Academy as Vitaly Ginzburg and Gennady Mesiats… Now that the Academy is entering a new stage in its history, we want to see how the most difficult research organization issues will be addressed.”
- Interview with Nobel laureate, Academician Vitaly Ginzburg: I Want to Believe in the Triumph of Russian Science. “If the Government continues to provide sufficient research funding (which it seems willing to do) and launches housing construction projects for young researchers, if fast and effective decision making procedures are developed and RAS adopts a more thorough election process, then Russia will have a good chance to rank high among the leading scientific powers…”
RELIGION, SCIENCE, SOCIETY
- On Ferry Tales, Religion, and Belief in God’s Existence, by Vitaly Ginzburg, Physicist and Nobel laureate, one of those who signed the “10 Academicians’ Address” to the President arguing against the clericalization of school. “The purpose of school is to educate people in such a way that a grown-up individual would not believe in ferry tales, but would instead have scientific knowledge about nature, society and himself. Bringing Creationism into public schools is inconsistent with this goal…”
- Academician Eduard Kruglyakov, Chairman of the RAS Commission Against Pseudoscience: Pseudoscience Might Turn Russia into a Land of Savages. The difficulties faced by modern Russian science are not limited to short rations and brain drain. Enormous damage has been done to science, and to the nation as a whole, by hyper-active phony scientists taking full advantage of liberalization.
SCIENCE AND SOCIETY
- Leonid Ponomaryov, Apology of Science. “Given the government’s treatment of science and education, the next generation will not only be left without science, but even without knowledgeable experts to tell a true scientific discovery from cranky ideas like those proliferating today…”
- Alexander Sergeyev, Pavel Amnuel, Alexander Chubenko. From the Science Journalists Club’s Mailbox (Science Journalists Club is a popular Web resource). Commenting on the claim that even tap water turns into “Holy Water” on Christmas: “Holy Water is even found in the toilet tank – it’s also tap water, is it not?.. Or does water know better to turn ‘holy’ in the right place?”
- Igor Vostrikov. Humanism in Higher Education Institutions. Round Table Session at the Astrakhan State University. In late June, 2008, the Astrakhan branch of the Russian Humanist Society hosted a round table discussion on “Humanism Within the Russian Vocational Education System.” The participants resolved that more efforts were needed to put into practice the theoretical points written into the Humanist Manifesto 2000 and in RHS program documents.
- Sergei Burianov, Sergei Mozgovoi, Co-Chairmen of the Board, Freedom of Conscience Institute. Russia for Democracy: The All-Russian Civil Congress held its 5th Extraordinary Convention in the Leningrad Region. The forum was co-chaired by United Civil Front leader and world chess champion Garri Kasparov, Co-Chairperson of the “Voice of Beslan” civil organization Ella Kesayeva, Executive Director of the civil movement “For Human Rights” Lev Ponomaryov, Executive Secretary of the St. Petersburg Human Rights Council Natalia Yevdokimova, and the Director of the Andrei Sakharov Museum Yuri Samodurov. The Convention was attended by many RHS members. Delegates spoke in favor of of conscience and a secular state in Russia.
LAW AND CULTURE
- Marina Kuleshova: Cultural Legacy Lost in the Legislative Jungle. “What happened was a drastic paradigm change, with the interests of private capital and wealthy individuals promoted extensively at all levels of the law-making process, with public interests shifted to the margin. This is extremely detrimental to cultural legacy.”
WHAT IS HUMANISM?
- Valery Finogentov, How Does Religion Relate to Morality: theoretical introduction and illustrations (Part 2). The author provides examples of solutions to the “religion and morality” problem suggested by thinkers of different times, such as Plato, Kant, Bulgakov, as well as by the contemporary U.S. Humanist Paul Kurtz. “Paul Kurtz … sees morality as proceeding from humanity, as naturally inherent in human beings. One of his articles is entitled precisely: ‘Morality is Natural’…”
- Valery Kuvakin: “The sad news about Peter’s death was so unexpected and shocking for me and all his Russian friends…” Address by the Russian Humanist Society President read out by Paul Kurtz at the funeral service for Peter Hewitt Hare (1935–2008).
- Peter H. Hare, Why Charles Peirce (1839–1914) Fascinates Me. “He was a genius of the first rank but also a tragic and pathetic figure. If a genius of his sort had been a German, a Frenchman or a Russian he would have become a household name and cultural hero in his own country. But the anti-intellectualism and the conventional morality of American culture have made Peirce someone still unknown to most Americans, including most university-educated Americans...”
- Igor Vishev, The Paradigms of Human Mortality and the New Forms of Humanism. The author, who is an advocate of cloning research, strongly believes that “it is easy to imagine a future civilization where people will live indefinitely long while remaining young… Death must be defeated, not by death, as per Christian belief, for this is an ostensible victory, but by life itself. Life must certainly triumph as the supreme human value. Thus continues the evolution of Humanist principles.”
- Vladimir Uchaikin, It's Time to Read the Bible: “There you will find many obvious arguments (not the formal ones, as in the Constitution, but the substantial ones) against teaching it to the kids…”
- Yury Burmistrovich, From the Notes on Ancient Slavs' Spiritual Life. “While in myths the supernatural served, in particular, to explain the material phenomena for which ancient people could find no other explanation, religions have used it primarily to intimidate, oppress and subdue…”
- Mikhail Bogoslovsky, Inconsistencies of the Christ Teaching placing this teaching in opposition to common sense. In search of a stronger link between the Old and the New Testaments, Christian authors resorted to all kinds of manipulations, including the date of the forthcoming Resurrection of Christ, the site of execution, and others.
- The Language of the Slavs – the ABC. Initial Learning of the Godly and the Human. Articles: “Atheism”, “Humanism”, “Ecumenism”. – A disgusting sample of clerical culture and psychology forcing their way to secular school. They describe Atheism as immoral, Humanism, as a “Godless sect”, and Ecumenism, as the “heresy of heresies”…
- On the Danger of Velleities. A Maniacal Project. Valery Kuvakin criticizing a “Humanist ideocracy” project proposed by a Zdravy Smysl author. “[The author]… does not seem to understand why imposing a single worldview for everyone would be suicidal for humankind. His reasoning is that of an extraterrestrial, he is unwilling to grasp the incredible complexity of the human being, the scope of individual freedom and creativity, the unpredictable behavior patterns.”
- Why Such Arrogance? Vladimir Tsaplin responding to V.K.’s criticism of his project: “There is a huge of ‘ideocracies experience’ … But as we mention them at all, did they really fail because there was no alternativeto the Nazi, Stalinist or Christian Inquisition ideas? No, the reason was their inadequacy the real world and the human nature!”
- "So Easy to Pull at Religious Strings…” Svetlana Alyokhina’s response the article Clarity is Needed by Valery Kuvakin (ZS-47). “I agree with my Humanist colleagues in that introducing ‘The Basics of Orthodox Culture’ as a compulsory school subject is unacceptable”.
- “Hangover for the Feasting of Others” as Following from “Feast in the Plague Time”. Yury Pivovarov, enthusiast who runs an educational club for teenagers, responds to the ZS article on the life of bomzh (homeless people) (ZS-44). “To eradicate this phenomenon, the society must make sure that everyone who is ‘born to this world’ would be enabled to change as a person.”