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Saint Petersburg Branch of the Russian Humanist Society
"Zdraviy Smysl" ("Common Sense") Magazine Elected Articles
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Issue 51

EDITOR’S CORNER

  • Valery Kuvakin. Crisis: What’s There at the Bottom? “Will the crisis be overcome? Yes, certainly. But it will be superficial, palliative treatment… mostly at the expense of hardships and suffering of ordinary people. And most certainly, we will be as oblivious to the basic moral norms, and immorality which lies at the “bottom” of the crisis – which lead to the crisis in the first place – will remain there at the “bottom”…”

TOWARDS THE HORIZON OF HUMANIST ETHICS

  • Paul Kurtz, Founder and Chairman, Center for Inquiry. Toward a New Planetary Humanism. Preface to “The Code for Global Ethics” by Rodrigue Trembley. “We need as never before to recognize the necessity of developing shared values and working cooperatively to bring about a better world. But if we are to do so, we need a new code of global ethics. This book issues a powerful clarion call to do just that”.
  • Attachment: Table of Contents from The Code for Global Ethics by Rodrigue Trembley, a prominent Canadian philosopher and activist.

SCIENCE AND SOCIETY

  • Academician Garri Abelev. On the Verge… The collapse of the value system of fundamental science, resulting from its commercialization; a drain of young talent to private business and to other countries; underfunding of science related to bureaucrats’ ignorance about the nature of scientific research; and adoption of irrelevant foreign models of science development – these are the main reasons behind the disastrous condition of Russian science .
  • On Spy-Craze, Victimization of Scientists and the Status of Science in Russia. RAS Academicians Yury Ryzhov and Vitaly Ginzburg talking at the Svoboda ratio station. “What’s in store for Russia? – This question was raised by Vitaly Ginzburg. – There are two extreme options… The one is to promote education, science, and democracy – this is the glorious way, the only way to save the country and humanity as such. But the other option is essentially to go back to the same terror. So now I don’t know how it will be. … Those people, who passed the law [abolishing jury trial of particularly important cases], made great damage to the country. That is my absolute conviction”.

EVENTS

  • “Science, Public Policy and Planetary Community” – This was the title of the Center for Inquiry's 12th World Congress which took place from April 8 through 12, 2009 near Washington, D.C. The delegates represented research and Humanist organizations from U.S.A., U.K., Canada, France, Russia, China, Austria, Belgium, Australia, Italy, Senegal, Romania, Germany, etc. Discussions focused on the ways to popularize science and Humanist ideas, and the interaction between world science and Secular Humanism.
  • Solutions to Global Crisis and New World Order Models. Round table session at the RAS Philosophy Institute, March 25, 2009. In particular, Sergei Buryanov, Board Co-Chairman of the Freedom of Conscience Institute, argued for the need to “reformat the outmoded social-political matrix, which is founded upon the alliance between religion and politics, between the clergy and the authorities…”.

BILLBOARD

  • The 6th International Humanist Summer School. July 6 through 15, 2009, Moscow State University.

HUMANIST ANTOLOGY

  • Academician Nikita Moiseyev (1917–2000). Rational Humanism. “The Universal is undergoing rapid advancement through the means of self-cognition. It is quite possible that, as the system gets increasingly complex, we will reach a new qualitative bifurcation point with unpredictable consequences, beyond which the humanity will differ from its present state as much as human intellect differs from that of hominids. Modern Humanism has to respond appropriately to this reality of the world’s evolution.”

A GOOD ROUND FIGURE

  • Gennady Shevelyov. We Are Ten Already. The 10th anniversary of the St. Petersburg RHS Branch was celebrated on March, 17, 2009. The first Chairman of the St. Petersburg RHS Branch, also supervising its website, talks about Branch history, its members, achievements and challenges.

PEDAGOGY OF HUMANISM

  • Svetlana Kovalyova. Humanist Education and Human Integrity. A discussion of “methods to achieving the integrity of mind that helps mobilize the will to absorb culture, which can arguably be presented as text – in the broad sense of the word…”

HUMANISM AS WORLDVIEW

  • Valery Finogentov. Freedom of Conscience and Ideological Determinism. “Back in the Soviet era the Communist ideology was the only one inculcated into people’s minds. Today we are facing a similar inculcation of the “double-headed” ideology which blends market and consumption with religion and nationalism. This makes is very difficult for an individual to enjoy freedom of conscience, which means being free to choose and build one’s own worldview…”
  • Fyodor Zann-kai-si, Lyudmila Andreeva. Marx on Humanism as a Solution to the “Riddle of History”. “The IT society has created a technological foundation to resolve the conflicts which may appear irresolvable to a crisis-stricken mind. We believe it is reasonable, under this spiritual apocalypse, to appeal primarily to those social projects and ideas which give us some hope and optimism…”

THOUGHTS ABOUT RELIGION

  • Mikhail Bogoslovsky. Is the “One God” Really One? “Clearly, if there is only one God, then there can be only one true religion. However, each of the monotheistic religions – Judaism, Christianity and Islam – has its own doctrine which differs from those of the other two; and when it comes to the main point, the teaching about God, they are contradictory…”

HUMANIST LEGACY

  • Nikolai Gerasimov. The Humanism of Pyotr Kropotkin and the Christian Ethics.

TO TREAT ACCORDING THE SCIENCE

  • Olga Rebrova. Evidence-Based Medicine: Concept and Practice. “Facing the growing need for critical assessment of medical information, in order to establish its reliability, both health authorities and doctors have come to recognize the importance of a conceptual framework for Evidence-Based Medicine…” “The main EBM principle is as follows: each clinical decision must be based on scientific facts.

REVIEWS

  • Valery Kuvakin. “Humanism” Not Capitalized. Review of Humanism (4th edition) by Barbara Smoker, a well-known Humanist theoretician and activist. “Barbara Smoker is following this new word usage tradition, associating Humanism with the daily practices of an intellectually mature person, a citizen with a cultivated moral character, advanced legal and environmental consciousness…”

IN MEMORIAM

  • Leonid Samsonovich Salyamon (1917–2009), biologist, physician, literary critic, translator and poet. Honored Soros Professor. Member of the Russian Academy of Natural Science.
  • “A Perfect Example of a Life Pure and Noble…” by Galina Deichman, Natalia Engelgardt, Garri Abelev et al. “Throughout his long and eventful life, he was helping other people; he was in the WW2 and participated in the liberation of Leningrad… He paid a heavy price for helping Solzhenitsyn, and never regretted it… Some of his theoretical concepts underlie tumor studies. Salyamon was a broad-minded Humanist; he co-authored an Alexander Pushkin biography, and wrote profusely for Zdravy Smysl…
  • He Could Overcome the Circumstances, by Anatoly Tasminsky. “My last encounter with the patriarch was on December 24, 2008 when I brought him the new issue of Zdravy Smysl and three copies of my very recent book, which includes a essay about him…”

FROM READERS’ LETTERS

  • Dmitry Selikhanovich, student. “Thinking About Humanism…” “Humanism calls for building a more humane society by applying ethics base on natural human values, in the spirit of reason and free inquiry…”

LITERARY PAGES

  • Leonid Salyamon. Insomnia. M., 1997
  • Maya Mitnikh. What Do the Gods Covet? “God takes the best of us. I have heard these words many times at funerals, and always felt sad. One seeks consolation, and one is honored because the beloved one was “taken” for being a better person than others. So much so that one does not stop to think and protest: What kind of a crime is it to be among the best? Does it amount to capital punishment?...”
  • Lyudmila Vechikh. She Is Alive, and She Will Live On. A romantic love story.

OUR AFFAIRS

  • Fund for the Future: To Be Continued. An update on the construction of the nearly-complete Home of Humanism and Scientific Education near Moscow. Our summer place will actually start operating in summer.

OUR ADS

  • Scientific Atheism, an Introduction. Ed. by A. Kulikov. M. – 2008, 331 pp.