March 02, 2014

No, Obama is not a humanist

Bill Nye, President Barack Obama, Neil de Grasse Tyson
And he's certainly not a secular humanist.

That's despite the attempt of folks like the American Humanist Association to imply he is one, by showing this picture of Obama with Bill Nye and Neil de Grasse Tyson at a recent White House event, a student film festival honors which had nothing to do with humanism, especially with secular humanism.

Here's the intro on the AHA Facebook page:
President Obama met two AHA awardees today, and took a selfie to memorialize it! He's will (sic) Bill Nye, AHA's Humanist of the Year 2010, and Neil deGrasse Tyson, AHA's 2009 Isaac Asimov Science Award recipient.
But, implication and reality are different things.

As I said on the AHA Facebook page:
Why are you picturing the man who **increased and expanded** President Bush's office of faith-based initiatives? That's not to mention drone warfare, warrantless wiretapping and other anti-humanist actions.
Period and end of story. More on that here. David Hoelscher writes that, at all of its various levels, governments in the U.S. give more than $70 billion a year to religious agencies.

And, per Hoelscher's essay, it's arguable that the AHA posted this, and posted it as it did, for classist reasons.

Also, there's an elemental logical fallacy here.

I would consider this a visual version of a false appeal to authority, trying to use President Obama's mug as a claim to the value of humanism. And, knowing how some people I know online love, and others "love," my pointing out of philosophical issues, it's important to do just that.

And, most commenters there are committing the fallacy of the undistributed middle, as AHA may be. In this case, it's the idea that every non-Bushie Republican is a humanist. 

And, per people who claim Obama is unprecedented among presidents in recognizing people of unbelief, er ... NOT! Per Wikipedia, I present his predecessor:
George W. Bush acknowledged those who do not worship during a November 3, 2004 press conference when he said "I will be your president regardless of your faith... And if they choose not to worship, they're just as patriotic as your neighbor.
So much, once again, for the soft bigotry of low expectations, eh? More here in the opening paragraph on this page of the press conference from which this was transcribed.

Were this a political ad and I were PolitiFact or similar, it would definitely be a 3-Pinocchio rating.

And, another reason why I'm not part of organized humanist, especially secular humanist, movements. Or Gnu Atheist ones. 

And, that leads me to reiterate the point in the opening paragraph.

The American Humanist Association is ultimately about secular humanism, not humanism in general. The drone warfare and other things excludes him from being a humanist in general in my book; his support for "civic religion" via the White House's faith-based services office, of continuing to proclaim National Day of Prayer, etc. certainly excludes him from being a secular humanist, or a secularist, in the First Amendment understanding of the word at its best, in general.

And, all those O-bots on AHA's Facebook page are, as is normal with O-bots, or Obamiacs, burying their heads in the sand if they try to pretend otherwise. 

Ditto for people on Facebook groups who think I'm imagining something, or reading something into nothing.


dhoelscher said...

I agree. btw, your post is being discussed here in case you want to check it out:

Wanda Brown Foster said...

As one Secular Humanist, I can tell you that none of us think he is one of us. What we do believe is that he is an honest man with a penchant for reason. Being religious is not a turnoff for a secular humanist. Being a dumbo is.