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The Way to a Happy Life

What is Life? Did it evolve naturally?

When considering evolution it is necessary to draw a clear distinction between evolution by natural selecti on and evolution by design — as with dogs or motor cars — and with ideas of supernatural intervention at ‘creation’ or later.

Important aspects of evolution by natural selection include the part played in it by species co-operation (i.e. without bees and insects collecting pollen from flowers, some flowers would die out; and birds protecting their chicks from predators).

Even mountains rise and fall, and everything we are aware of, except perhaps ‘atoms’ (fundamental particles of matter), had a beginning. It does not seem possible that something could go on for ever.

Humanism is build on the assumption that only atoms and void exist, so we believe that you cannot have a mind without a brain. This being so, all things of the supernatural have no place in Humanism. These include such things as the ‘Forms’ and ‘Ideas’ of the philosopher Plato, as well as spirits and angels and devils. These things are in essence contrary to what our faculties tell us. How many angels can stand on the head of a pin? In summary, we believe that our physical life is our one and only life, and we have to make it as useful and as fulfilled as possible if we are to be happy.

It follows that Humanist ethical values are not based on rewards and punishments after our deaths, but on the consequences of actions, sometimes called ‘The Doctrine of Consequences’. These take place in particular circumstances and so may be referred to as ‘Situational Ethics’.

In matters outside personal physical experience Humanists consider the evidence available at the time. In other words we Humanists try to work things out for ourselves but with the help of other people. There is not any one book which is authoritative.

Other people believe that the future is pre-ordained, or can be predicted. We Humanists believe this flies in the face of balanced evidence. Astrology makes no sense. Anyone who can foretell the future should do the football pools!

We believe that life, including human beings, developed naturally, no doubt by the process of evolution by natural selection. Humanism must conform to the teachings of science. Indeed we believe that scientific methods should be applied to the whole of human life and experiences. Some things are real and some largely illusory.