A Short Film by David M. Beadle

Robert G. Ingersoll wrote this essay in 1887, the message is as urgent today as it was 127 years ago.


Recently by 12 PetalsCommentsDate
“Secular Humanism”
Aug 22, 2012
UN Declaration on the Right and Responsibility
Jun 24, 2012
Equal Dignity -- برابرى درمنزلت
Jun 20, 2012
more from 12 Petals

The trouble with Islam is ,,,

by anglophile on

that it is first a political faith and then a private one. It is written!


Human rights not science-based

by maghshoosh on


I'm not familiar w/ Fang Lizhi's views, but based on what you're saying, his claim that human rights follow from his 5 axioms of scientific inquiry which you listed is not persuasive.  The 5 axioms are fine when you're talking about scientific inquiry, but there's no objective reason to assume that they must also apply to human rights.

Our notions of universal human rights derive from a human intuition and sense of morality that has developed & matured over millennia, not from any grounding in science.  Maybe in the future when science is more developed, it will have something to say about human rights, but not at the present. The UN did not claim any scientific basis for its adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.  Since around mid 19th century, various belief systems have claimed scientific basis in order to add to their legitimacy, such as Marxism & Nazism did, and I think Lizhi is doing a similar thing.

Besides, despotic socieities can also excel in science, as did the former USSR, for example.  They simply support scientific activity, but limit other non-science related activities of their citizens.


Fang Lizhi (1936–2012): A Secular Mind for our Century

by rafshari on

Fang Lizhi (1936–2012): A Secular Mind for our Century

He was good at explaining how, for him, concepts of human rights grew out of science. In an essay..., he named five axioms of science that had led him toward human rights: 1. “Science begins with doubt,” whereas in Mao’s China students were taught to begin with fixed beliefs. 2. Science stresses independence of judgment, not conformity to the judgment of others. 3. “Science is egalitarian”; no one’s subjective view starts ahead of anyone else’s in the pursuit of objective truth. 4. Science needs a free flow of information, and cannot thrive in a system that restricts access to information. 5. Scientific truths, like human rights principles, are universal; they do not change when one crosses a political border.

(From New York Review of Book, May 10, 2012)


Secularism exaggerated

by maghshoosh on

The essay on which the video is based was written in 1887, when such glorification of secularism may have seemed a bit more pertinent than today.  But the claims it makes about secularism being about liberty and freedom of thought & expression, and avoiding exploitation, are gross exaggerations.  Most oppressive regimes of the 20th century, and among the worst in history, have been secular, although some like Nazism & Stalinism replaced ancient metaphysical religions w/ equally-baseless modern secular dogmas.  Most of what the essay attributes to secularism probably falls more appropriately under secular humanism, democracy or classical liberalism.

In the West, secularism is pretty well established, and not a primary issue.  Even in countries like Iran, where tyranny rules under the cloak of religion, gov't accountability to the public and democratic insitutiions are no less of an issue than secularism.  And, in general, one should avoid adherence to dogmatic beliefs, even secular ones.


This was music to my ear!

by aliash on

This was just lovely!!!

Dear Raoul1955, As much as I dislike religions in general, the current Iranian government in particular, and as much as I feel your heartache, I have to respectfully disagree with you! see religion is the food for the weak! Frankly it does not matter what religion you are talking about...Islam, Christianity, Zoroastrian, Judaism, Hinduism, etc.  They are all corrupt and if they get to have the power they will take advantage of the people’s weakness.  Take a look around today and take a look at the history….the Spanish inquisition, northern Ireland, Israel today with the crazy orthodox, and of course how can you forget the Christian right in the south.   Do you really think they were/are any better than then the ayatollahs? (Believe me sometimes they are actually worse!)  Incidentally do not forget that the Persian Empire actually fell to its knees not because of not being able to fight a battle but because the people were fed up with our Zoroastrian priests and their abuses!  People were simply not willing to fight for the Iranian corrupt government and rulers.    

I feel as if we Iranians have suffered from religion more than most countries on earth…It is my sincere hope and I am sincerity optimistic that we just may be seeing a light at the end of a tunnel leading to a true secular society…..This may be wishful thinking but I do believe this statement! 



by Raoul1955 on

Of course there is no 'muslim' gene or muslim race and such.  What distinguishes people [from each other] other than superficial matters such as height, complexion, and such, is their cultural values and norms. 
In Turkey the military has the muslims under control.  India is primarily a Hindu nation and the Hindu's polytheistic culture also permeates throughout the [so-called] muslim minority communities...

Jahanshah Javid


by Jahanshah Javid on

People in Iran or any Muslim country are the same as people everywhere else in the world. There's no "Muslim gene" that forever prevents the separation of mosque and state.

So if anyone has a problem understanding or accepting rational thought it's not because they're Muslim. It's because they are bullies. Muslims are doing fine in secular Turkey, India, Malaysia, Indonesia...



by Raoul1955 on

This cannot be produced or distributed in arabo-islamic nations where it is needed, whereas it can, and has been made readily available in the so-called christian nations!
Just a thought.