Humanist Perspectives: issue 211, Winter 2019/2020

Issue 211, Winter 2019/2020

cover of issue 211
Humanist Perspectives is a refreshing, rational analysis of modern events and culture and is available at select magazine stores or by online subscription.
Unless otherwise specified, images are royalty-free (from Wikimedia or Pixabay) or created specifically for HP and protected.

Inside Front Cover

From Humanist Canada: Regina High School Students Dominate National Essay Contest by Lloyd Haykeye Robertson
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Students from Regina, Saskatchewan, took first and third prizes in the English language section of the Humanist Canada Essay Contest, a national contest for high school students.


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Editorial

Illuminations by Gary Bauslaugh
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How should we respond to pseudoscience? We could simply dismiss it as irrational. But Darwin spoke of the need for an approach that seeks “the gradual illumination of minds.”


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Features

Regulating Alternative Medicine by Timothy Caulfield
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Decisions to use alternative medicine, now a very big business indeed, should be based on accurate information But it is becoming increasingly difficult to differentiate between real science and pseudoscience.


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The Need to Believe by James E. Alcock
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Our beliefs do not generally come to us through a careful and thoughtful process of rational analysis, but from other sources such as cultural background or personal experiences. Such beliefs are often very difficult to expunge with facts and reason.


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Skepticism and Guided Curiosity by Dale Beyerstein
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Hardly a week goes by without some politician or advocacy group lamenting the need for more affordable housing.


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Anecdotes and Arguments by Trudy Govier
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“The rhetorician may say to the logician that anecdotes can be highly persuasive; the logician will reply that that’s precisely the problem.”


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Surely you’re joking, William Paley by Nicholas Griffin
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Explanations can be genuine or they can be specious. A genuine explanation must be specific and the agencies appealed to must be ones for which we have independent knowledge


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Environmental Sensitivities: The Dose is the Poison by Arthur Leznoff
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Why do some people seem to have extraordinary sensitivity to the presence of certain agents, such as perfume, that appear in our environment? What happens when such conditions are subjected to scientific analysis? How cognitive behaviour therapy can help many people get over this troublesome disorder


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Of Loose Wires, Green Goblins, and Other Matters by Ian Johnston
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Scientists need to beware of their own foibles: fads, fallacies and self interest and self justification in the name of science. Johnston writes of his own struggles with the marginally scientific world of psychotropic medicine


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In addition, Humanist Perspectives offers a lively Letters-to-the-Editor section as well as Book Reviews, books available for review and snippets of international news of interest to humanists.

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