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Saturday, 10 January 2009

Misleading author

When recently I posted on this blog a plea for plain speaking I did not mention misleading authors. One such close to home is Mark Vernon, who describes himself as an agnostic.

In a series of Teach Yourself books Hodder Headline has published his book called Teach Yourself Humanism.

It is not really about the Humanist ethical tradition but about humanitarianism in a whole ragbag of ideas. As such it may well confuse any enquirer because it claims that “Humanism in the history of ideas is almost impossible to pin down”. This is not the case, of course, as Humanism is a set of ideas based on the assumption of a natural universe without any supernatural elements acting upon it and is the result of chance, necessity and choice.

Religions and philosophies that teach otherwise may include elements of humanitarianism but that does not amount to Humanism.

The title of the book is so misleading that it seems to me to be a breach of the Trade Descriptions Act.

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