Humanist quote for today

Believing there is no God gives me more room for belief in family, people, love, truth, beauty, sex, Jell-o, and all the other things I can prove and that make this life the best life I will ever have. Penn Jillette

Sunday, February 13, 2011


Science & Critical Thinking - the Secular Humanist View is our regular column in Malawi's Sunday Times Newspaper which we will now publish weekly on this blogsite. Older issues will be made available in due course on our linked site
February 11, 2011
By Harold Williams
What is wanted is not the will to believe, but the will to find out, which is the exact opposite.
Bertrand Russell
We are moulded as children by ‘authority’ – our parents, schoolteachers and religious leaders. Unquestioning obedience is probably the quickest way to develop, learn and establish our position in society. However, if our intellects are to develop we need to begin to question. Just as our bodies mature so should our minds – and that requires critical thinking - a scientific approach to the physical world and a questioning approach to ideas, beliefs and opinions. We need to develop Intellectual Autonomy and become Independent Thinkers.
Autonomous persons are in charge of their lives. They are not irrationally dependent on others and not controlled by infantile emotions. They have self-control. They are competent. … In forming beliefs, critical thinkers do not passively accept the beliefs of others. … They are not limited by the accepted way of doing things. They evaluate traditions and practices that others often accept unquestioningly. … They function from values they themselves have freely chosen. (Richard W. Paul & Linda Elder: Critical Thinking: Tools for Taking Charge of Your Professional and Personal Life. ISBN 0-13064760-8)
The desire to conform, not to be seen as being different from the crowd, is very strong in the human psyche and difficult to overcome. Most people are Intellectual Conformists. In this state they may easily accept the status quo, unquestioningly submitting to dominant groups in society such as politicians, traditional and religious leaders, and captains of business. Thinking for oneself does not always go down well with these dominant groups which need the passivity of the masses to maintain control and to gain or retain power, wealth and influence.
Secular Humanists have generally gone through a period of critical thinking and honest self-evaluation. They often find that the generality of the public is disturbed by pronouncements that may challenge comfortable beliefs and habits. In this series we will challenge many of your cherished beliefs. We hope that you will understand the honest process that preceded the challenge. We hope that you, also, will discipline yourself and examine your beliefs with a critical and honest mind. Just a few suggestions for the exercise:
  • Do we REALLY need a Messiah to cure the problems of our nation? Or do we require good policies honestly and vigorously applied?
  • Is our President REALLY the ‘father of the nation’? Is that what we voted for?
  • How is it that many self-anointed Christian leaders live a rich and ostentatious family life at the expense of their ‘flock’ whilst espousing a doctrine that demands they leave their families and give up all worldly goods? Should we REALLY believe such hypocrites and show them honour?
  • If each religious group claims to follow the one true faith, how can we know which group is REALLY right?
Or are they all wrong?
Honestly, now!

Thursday, February 10, 2011


On Sunday, 6th February, 2011 at the Association's offices in Lilongwe Founder/Chairman of ASH, Dr. Paul Munyenyembe chaired a meeting of delegates from the north to the south of Malawi representing Lilongwe, Blantyre, Zomba, Mulanje branches and University of Malawi chapters at Chancellor College and Bunda College of Agriculture. As well as reveiewing activities to date and strategising on the way forward, delegates, in a sign of the growing maturity of ASH, appointed for the first time a full board of nine directors to oversee and direct the Association's activities. Previously, due to low membership numbers, the organisation had been effectively run by the ever active Executive Secretary, George Thindwa and informal contacts with founder members. George remains as Executive Secretary and Paul Munyenyembe, who brings considerable stature to the post, was unanimously re-appointed as Chairman even though he is now resident in neighbouring Zambia. It was thought that an active Vice-President would be capable of performing regular functions in his absence.
A full list of  office holders and contact details will be posted later.