The Humanist Advocate

Getting Started— Learning by LEGO

The following is the third in a series about the experiences of NOSHA member Robert Wilfong in his quest to introduce the LEGO teaching curriculum in a school in Bamako, Mali. He plans to update his progress and personal thoughts about the program as time permits. Here are reports from the earliest sessions, along with some observations about the Malian culture.   May 22, 2021   Seydou and I launched the Mali LEGO Project in his children’s school yesterday. Two…

Guitar Strings and LEGOs

The following is the second part of a series “From Here to Bamako” about ΝΟSHA friend and humanitarian Robert Wilfong’s experiences in pioneering a revolutionary teaching method in one small part of the world much in need of it.     Robert Wilfong recalls his first teaching experience in Bamako volunteering to help instructors at the Institut National des Arts with conversational English. His tour guide had taken him there to possibly find a solution to why Malian guitarists very rarely…

From Here to Bamako: Report from a Hometown Humanist

Some 400 miles southwest of Timbuktu—a place which may stir the imagination and conjure up a fantasy of a mystical, unknown and remote place somewhere at the Earth’s end—is Bamako, the capital of Mali in western Africa. The large, linear semi-arid geographical area the width Africa known as the Sahel, just south of the Great Sahara desert where Bamako lies would itself seem  faraway and exotically foreign to many in North America. Even with a population of about 2.5 million,…

Zooming with NOSHA

We did a short, unscientific survey in January to find out about the video conferencing habits of our humanist community since the start of the pandemic, and now that we’re on our way to being active again with our vaccinated NOSHA group later this summer, we wanted to reflect on the results.  A LITTLE HISTORY NOSHA started doing weekly Zoom “check-ins” back in late March 2020 at the suggestion of NOSHA members Joyce and Dave Thomas, our representatives with Together Louisiana,…

A Modest Proposal for a Guide to the Culture Wars

        Are the culture wars getting too weird? Too confusing? Are you not sure where you stand on Doctor Seuss or Potato Head gender? Do you have mixed feelings about cancel culture, or the future direction of identity politics? Don’t just trust to your gut, a la Donald Trump. I would like to propose a reliable guide to the culture wars. I believe your attitude toward each culture war issue will be determined by your position on a…

Is American Humanism a Failed Project?

    Probably no better quote can be found about fundamentalist religion’s theological stance towards intellectualism, the need for reason, the progressive nature of human knowledge, the inevitable rise of specialization and expertise in a complex world, and the institutions that promote and sustain them, and the folly of superstition and dogma, than this from Bill Donahue writing for the radically theocratic Catholic League: “Susan Jacoby…. is not ready for the asylum, but she is ready to find a home…

Rethinking the First Amendment

      Make no mistake. Social media has indeed distorted our reality. How do you know what you read is real? How can information authentication be trusted in today’s polarizing America? The Information Age has split our society and made us live in multi-dynamic realities. This is dangerous because it is only the beginning of what will become the new norm in a society that has become increasingly immersed in the virtual world.   The distant, far-from-actuality realities we…

2021: NOSHA is Alive and Well (For Now)

            Writing in NOSHA News fifteen years ago this month, Connie Gordon Schultz marked  the occasion of the first meeting of the “revived and reconstituted” New Orleans Secular Humanist Association after the crushing devastation Hurricane Katrina bore on the city, and perhaps prophetically, but certainly welcomed, the reunification was just in time for the group’s  annual winter solstice celebration December 18, 2005. About 30 members, some of which are shown in the photo, attended and…

A Robert Ingersoll Xmas Twofer

    A Christmas Sermon  (1891) The good part of Christmas is not always Christian — it is generally Pagan; that is to say, human, natural. Christianity did not come with tidings of great joy, but with a message of eternal grief. It came with the threat of everlasting torture on its lips. It meant war on earth and perdition hereafter. It taught some good things — the beauty of love and kindness in man. But as a torch-bearer, as…

Exhale

The modern humanist tradition, both secular and religious, appears to have escaped a serious threat to its progress, perhaps even its survival with the defeat of Donald Trump in the 2020 election for President. Trump’s incompetence as a leader and lack of inspiration as a visionary, coupled with his keen but bungling aptitude for authoritarian, anti-democratic, and demagogic persuasion and control, and his divisive rhetoric, mendacity, and self-dealing corruption  would have given him, had he won, free reign to further…

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