- Valery Kuvakin. Ethics for School Students. “Ethics is an essential educational discipline, teaching it in high school is as natural as teaching Mathematics or Physics… Because of the society's indifference to moral studies, the so called 'traditional religions' are penetrating into schools. This practice is against the national Constitution, and it throws Russia back into the dead end the dark ages”.
- Valery Kuvakin. On President Medvedev's statement at the meeting concerning the teaching of basic religious culture and secular Ethics in schools, and the institution of Army and Navy chaplains. “The proposed 'ultimate response' is one I can not call a good solution. It is vague and controversial. But most importantly, it is a sheer submission to those clerical interests which use every opportunity to extend their influence far beyond the church (or mosque) yard – in this case, to educational institutions and the Armed Forces”.
- RF President Dmitry Medvedev: Introductory statement at the meeting concerning the teaching of basic religious culture and secular Ethics in schools, and the institution of Army and Navy chaplains. “I made a decision to support… the idea of teaching basic religious culture and secular Ethics in Russian schools. I also find it reasonable to have clergymen representing Russia's traditional confessions permanently employed in the Armed Forces”.
- Paul Kurtz, Founder and Chairman, Center for Inquiry. We Need New Planetary Institutions. «The planetary community today faces a grave economic crisis. Companies are faltering; unemployment, poverty, and deprivation are rising. Foreclosures are escalating, and the ranks of the jobless keep growing… Onething is evident: we will need coordinated action by the other major economies of the world if we are to succeed…» How these issues can be addressed in light of Humanist Manifestos of different years, in particular, the Humanist Manifesto 2000.
RAS GENERAL ASSEMBLY
- RAS Resolution “Concerning the IrrterAcademy Panel's (IAP) Statement on the Teaching of Evolution”. “The General Assembly of the Russian Academy of Science HEREBY RESOLVES to adhere to the InterAcademy Panel (IAP) Statement On the Teaching of Evolution”.
- Attachment: citations from The Dangers of Creationism in Education. Resolution 1580 (2007) adopted on October 4, 2007, by the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly.
STATE AND SCIENCE
- Obama: Science Is More Essential than Ever Before. Remarks by the President at the National Academy of Sciences Annual Meeting. The White House. Office of the Press Secretary, April 27, 2009. “Today, of course, we face more complex challenges than we have ever faced before… At such a difficult moment, there are those who say we cannot afford to invest in science, that support for research is somehow a luxury at moments defined by necessities. I fundamentally disagree. Science is more essential for our prosperity, oursecurity, ourhealth, our environment, and our quality of life than it has ever been before… So I'm here today to set this goal: We will devote more than 3 percent of our GDP to research and development… This represents the largest commitment to scientific research and innovation in American history”.
EVENTS AND COMMENTS
- For a Secular State in Russia. Press conference at the Institute for Religion and Law. Key topics: threats to secular state in Russia: an onslaught on culture, education and science, and witch–hunt; mobilizing all civil forces in Russia in defense of secular state and discussion of a Manifesto for secular state; the policies of the Moscow Orthodox Patriarch and clericalization in the various of social life; preliminary results of the All-Russia campaign, “No to Inquisitors!”.
- Press release distributed at the press conference “No to Inquisitors”: We Are for a Secular State in Russia. “We propose for discussion a Manifesto for secular state and announce the launch of a broad–based civil movement to defend civil state, in which participants will now act collectively, rather than in isolation…”
- Zinaida Zhukotskaya. “Philosophy as a Mission”. VII Marxist Readings in Nizhnevartovsk (dedicated to the memory of Vladimir Zhukotsky). The readings traditionally concern Karl Marx's legacy and the overall theoretical prospects of Marxism. Discussions focus on the humanization of social and economic relations in modern Russia, and on other issues of Humanism, philosophy, history and culturology.
- Attachment: Vladimir Zhukotsky. Modern Humanism. “Humanism is not about presenting the human being as the 'hub of the universe', with the whole world serving egoistic human interests. Humans, however, partake of the truth of being, which both elevates them and imposes an obligation. Humanism is not promoting the right to individualization (as an end in itself), but rather the right of the human race to exist in the face of the universe and universal secrets”.
- Yulia Senchikhina. Focusing on the Human Problem. On the Outcomes of the 6th International Summer School (Moscow, July 5 – 15, 2009). The event was organized by the Humanity Center for Enquiry and sponsored by the MSU Philosophy Department, the State University of New York at Buffalo, NY, and the Center for Inquiry (Amherst, NY). Participants included Polish and Russian academics (lecturers), students, professors, journalists and scholars from many Russian cities. The 2009 Summer School demonstrated a steady and growing interest to the issues of Humanism, modern worldview and innovative thinking styles.
PEDAGOGY OF HUMANISM
- Erast Kozlov. Moral Education: What Moscow School Directors Say. “The Russian Academy for Education” has developed a complete academic course in secular Ethics, a set including syllabus and textbooks for students of grades 1 through 11… This is an effective alternative to the broadly advertised course in Orthodox culture… Experience with moral teaching is shared by a large group of Moscow school directors where an academic set of Ethics textbooks has been tested for over five years”.
WHAT IS HUMANISM?
- Humanism and Christianity: a Dialogue. Alexei Golovko, a Christian Humanist, talks about “three degrees of humaneness”. “In its highest degree – the beneficial human – you can spot a believer. The spiritual human is, however, very close to the former, and there should not be any fundamental contradictions between them making a dialogue impossible”.
- Vladimir Uchaikin. Time to Wake Up! “Just substitute faith for knowledge, replace critical thinking with unreflective compliance – and that will be enough to easily lead people wherever the 'chiefs' wand to go, or lead them nowhere and make them suffer endlessly 'for the sake of a better tomorrow' (paradise or Communism, name one). Reason is then nothing but a handicap…”
ON THE HISTORY OF RUSSIAN SCIENCE
- Iosif Rapoport, the Pioneer of Chemical Mutagenesis. Geneticist Natalia Delone remembers one of Russia's most prominent scientists, an all-round scholar and extraordinary personality. Three times he was nominated to the “Hero of the Soviet Union” title for his courage in war, and was later awarded with the title of the “Hero of Socialist Labor”. He was the only one who dared to openly oppose the Lysenko clique back in 1948.
- Valery Kuvakin. We Lost a Friend. (Inna Maximova. 1958 – 2009). Inna Maximova, Chief Engineer of the Kolomna Printing Works, passed away prematurely after a lengthy illness. She helped us launch all the RHS publications, Zdravy Smysl in particular… One day, when it seemed that Zdravy Smysl would soon be discontinued forthelackof funds, Inna Alexeyevna said with genuine compassion: “I wish it would not happen. But if this is unavoidable, we will help you with the last issue, even if don't have a penny…”
- Vsevolod Lyashenko. Farewell to Colleague (Oleg Lishin. 1931 – 2009). “He taught Educational Psychology, and was surrounded by a large school of followers and sincere admirers… Apart from teaching, Oleg and his wife were actively (and personally) involved with the activities of Dozor (“Patrol”) groups. Half a century after WW2, Dozor members are searching battlefields forunburied remains…”
- Gennady Shevelyov. The Controversial Daniil Granin. “This book by Daniil Alexandrovich, which is a collection of extremely interesting memoirs and reflections, contains some statements that may surprise our Atheist reader. …He is really sympathetic of Secular Humanism, which encompasses a modern version of reasonable, non-fanatical, scientific Atheism. This was demonstrated by his appreciation of Zdravy Smysl which he communicated in a 1999 letter to Editor-in-Chief Valery Kuvakin…”
- Vitaly Ogvozdin. The Religious “Wimps of My Memory” by Daniil Granin. “Unlike the close family and friends who experienced the renowned author's love, the subsequent generations got his exciting books, including these (unfortunately) pro-religious thoughts, which, however, provoke thinking, make you argue and reflect on the most important things in your own life and around you. Is it worth nothing?..”
FROM EDITOR'S CORRESPONDENCE
- Valery Kuvakin – Tatiana Yakovleva. The Problem of Unattended Elderly and Children. “…The Pensioners could be appointed guardians to pre-adult orphans, thus putting an end to the lonely existence of both kids and the old ones, expanding the space of mutual love, and educating responsible citizens…”
- Three Jubilees. Mark Rozovsky answering questions by Zdravy Smysl (interviewed by Alexander Loktev). “Musical buffoonery offered by the U Nikitskih Vorot ('At Nikitsky Gate') Theater: Mark Rozovsky, its Art Director, staged his own play based on 'The Saga of the Tsar Max-Yemelyan', a poem by Semyon Kirsanov. This production is associated with three anniversaries: 50 years of the Nash Dom ('Our Home') variety show studio set up by the Moscow State University (MSU), 40 years since 'Saga…' was first produced, and 40 years since the studio was closed by the MSU Communist Party Committee for being 'anti-Soviet'…”
- Oleg Yanenagorsky. Anticipated Entertainments. Sketches. A piece of philosophical prose, which is also lyrical and mildly humorous.
- Fund for the Future: To Be Continued. An update on the construction of the nearly-complete Home of Humanism and Scientific Education near Moscow.
- Vsevolod Lyashenko. The Opponent Is Happy, but…