accepts that heaven is something for which we should
work now – here on earth – for all men together to enjoy. An Atheist accepts
that he can get no help through prayer, but that he must find in himself the
inner conviction and strength to meet life, to grapple with it, to subdue
it and to enjoy it. An Atheist accepts that only in a knowledge of himself
and a knowledge of his fellow man can he find the understanding that will
help lead to a life of fulfillment."
Now in its fourth decade, American Atheists is dedicated to working for the
civil rights of Atheists, promoting separation of state and church, and providing
information about Atheism.
The organization was founded by Madalyn Murray O'Hair, the noted Atheist activist,
as the result of her successful battle against mandatory school prayer and
bible recitation. Over the last thirty years, American Atheists has:
•Fought fervently to defend the Separation of Religion from Government Appeared
in all forms of media to defend our positions and criticisms of religion and
•Held Atheist conventions and gatherings throughout the United States, including
"Atheist Pride" Marches in state capitals.
•Demonstrated and picketed throughout the country on behalf of Atheist rights
and state church separation. The organization has marched to defend the rights
of intellectuals such as writer Salman Rushdie, protested the use of government
funds to support public religious displays, and conducted the first picket
of a Roman Catholic pope in history.
•Published over 120 books about Atheism, criticism of religion, and state/church
separation.Published newsletters, magazines and member-alerts.
•Built a broad outreach in cyberspace with mailing lists, an ftp and web site,
FaxNet and other projects to keep members and the general public informed.
•Fostered a growing network of Representatives throughout the nation who monitor
important First Amendment issues, and work on behalf of the organization in
•Grown a network of volunteers who perform a variety of important tasks in
their community, from placing American Atheist books in libraries to writing
letters and publicizing the Atheist perspective.
•Preserved Atheist literature and history in the nation's largest archive
of its kind. The library's holdings span over three hundred years of Atheist
thought.Provided speakers for colleges, universities, clubs and the news media.
•Granted college scholarships to young atheist activists
About American Humanist
HUMANISM AND ITS ASPIRATIONS
Humanist Manifesto III, a successor to the Humanist Manifesto of 1933*
Humanism is a progressive philosophy of life that, without supernaturalism,
affirms our ability and responsibility to lead ethical lives of personal fulfillment
that aspire to the greater good of humanity.
The lifestance of Humanism—guided by reason, inspired
by compassion, and informed by experience—encourages us to live life well
and fully. It evolved through the ages and continues to develop through the
efforts of thoughtful people who recognize that values and ideals, however
carefully wrought, are subject to change as our knowledge and understandings
This document is part of an ongoing effort to manifest in clear and positive
terms the conceptual boundaries of Humanism, not what we must believe but
a consensus of what we do believe. It is in this sense that we affirm the
Knowledge of the world is derived by observation, experimentation, and rational
analysis. Humanists find that science is the best method for determining this
knowledge as well as for solving problems and developing beneficial technologies.
We also recognize the value of new departures in thought, the arts, and inner
experience—each subject to analysis by critical intelligence.
Humans are an integral part of nature, the result of unguided evolutionary
change. Humanists recognize nature as self-existing. We accept our life as
all and enough, distinguishing things as they are from things as we might
wish or imagine them to be. We welcome the challenges of the future, and are
drawn to and undaunted by the yet to be known.
Ethical values are derived from human need and interest as tested by experience.
Humanists ground values in human welfare shaped by human circumstances, interests,
and concerns and extended to the global ecosystem and beyond. We are committed
to treating each person as having inherent worth and dignity, and to making
informed choices in a context of freedom consonant with responsibility.
Life's fulfillment emerges from individual participation in the service of
humane ideals. We aim for our fullest possible development and animate our
lives with a deep sense of purpose, finding wonder and awe in the joys and
beauties of human existence, its challenges and tragedies, and even in the
inevitability and finality of death. Humanists rely on the rich heritage of
human culture and the lifestance of Humanism to provide comfort in times of
want and encouragement in times of plenty.
Humans are social by nature and find meaning in relationships. Humanists long
for and strive toward a world of mutual care and concern, free of cruelty
and its consequences, where differences are resolved cooperatively without
resorting to violence. The joining of individuality with interdependence enriches
our lives, encourages us to enrich the lives of others, and inspires hope
of attaining peace, justice, and opportunity for all.
Working to benefit society maximizes individual happiness. Progressive cultures
have worked to free humanity from the brutalities of mere survival and to
reduce suffering, improve society, and develop global community. We seek to
minimize the inequities of circumstance and ability, and we support a just
distribution of nature's resources and the fruits of human effort so that
as many as possible can enjoy a good life.
Humanists are concerned for the well being of all, are committed to diversity,
and respect those of differing yet humane views. We work to uphold the equal
enjoyment of human rights and civil liberties in an open, secular society
and maintain it is a civic duty to participate in the democratic process and
a planetary duty to protect nature's integrity, diversity, and beauty in a
secure, sustainable manner.
Thus engaged in the flow of life, we aspire to this vision with the informed
conviction that humanity has the ability to progress toward its highest ideals.
The responsibility for our lives and the kind of world in which we live is
ours and ours alone.
The National Center for Science Education, founded
in 1981, engages in a number of activities advancing two primary goals: improving
and supporting education in evolution and the nature of science, and increasing
public understanding of these subjects. This work is supported primarily by
membership contributions, with some additional assistance from grants.
NCSE provides information and guidance to citizens
faced with local creationist challenges:
•Expert testimony for school board hearings
•Advice on how to organize, including referrals to others who have faced similar
•Information (including article reprints) on evolution, "creation science",
and the evolution/creation controversy
Educating the Public through the Media
•NCSE provides background material and commentary to journalists who are covering
the creationism controversy
•Executive Director Eugenie Scott, Ph.D., writes articles about science education,
and the problems posed by creationism, for numerous general, scientific, and
•NCSE's speakers, especially Dr. Scott, participate as guests on national
and local radio and television programs
Networking with Other Organizations
•Referrals: People concerned about other issues frequently call and are given
referrals to appropriate organizations (for example, anti-censorship groups);
these other organizations also refer people concerned about evolution/creation
conflicts to NCSE
•Consultations: NCSE provides expert witness referrals and/or consultation
to legal organizations in litigating creation/evolution cases
•Speakers' bureau: NCSE sends speakers to scientific, educational, legal and
civil liberties organizations, informing them of the issues and recent events
•News and information sharing: Examples – A speaker for a civil liberties
organization who had been invited to take part in a radio talk show reviewed
NCSE-provided materials to prepare for questions concerning creationism; organizations
preparing reports on the state of education, and controversies in education,
contact NCSE for information about science education and the creation/evolution
•Coordinated action: Other organizations call NCSE for assistance with local
problems. For example, when the Vilas Park Zoo, a public zoo in Wisconsin,
set up a creationist display, an organization there contacted NCSE, and our
state representative and local members helped zoo personnel prepare a scientifically
•Reports of the National Center for Science Education, a bi-monthly journal
with news of current events; discussion and commentary on issues in evolution
education and the creation/evolution controversy; resources for evolution
education; scholarly refutations of "scientific evidence against evolution";
and reports on developments in evolutionary science and on public understanding
of the issues.
•Reviews of Creationist Books – scientific evaluations of creationist textbooks
•Voices for Evolution – position statements by scientific, educational, religious,
and civil liberties organizations
•Pamphlets on specific topics
•Assistance to educators
•Directly or through our state representatives and local volunteers, NCSE
participates in curriculum development and text reviews
•NCSE offers workshops at teachers' conferences on how to teach about evolution
•NCSE answers requests from teachers concerning methods and materials for
•NCSE's Pre-Publication Review Project helps publishers locate scientists
who review textbooks for accurate, up-to-date content
Devoted to understanding why some people believe
in gods, and what the psychological and social consequences of those beliefs
are. The author of epiphenom reads the research, and when he finds something
juicy he writes it up and posts it on epiphenom
Who is he? Well, he's Tom Rees, a medical writer by profession, living and
working on the south coast of England (Hove, actually). he has a PhD in biotechnology,
and an interest in what makes people tick.
His contribution to the sociology of religion, on the causes of international
differences in religiosity, was published recently in the Journal of Religion
In the media:
•He's an Op-Ed columnist for Free Inquiry, the transnational secular humanist
•Reasonable Doubts Episode 62 - Religion and Society
•Who needs God? - article in New Humanist January 2010.
•Appearance on BBC Radio 4 in August 2009.