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Corporal Punishment and Religion

Corporal Punishment and Religion

It is impossible to discuss the morality of corporal punishment on children without addressing the religious beliefs that perpetuate it.

Child abuse in the name of religion is still child abuse

I do not spank my child. Never have. It is unnecessary, abusive and counterproductive to raising a respectful child. How do I know this? I know this because in addition to being a Humanist, I am also an animal trainer. And no reputable animal trainer hits their animals. Why? Because it not only doesn’t work, it strengthens the behavior you don’t want!

If something doesn’t work then there is no good reason to do it. People might persist out of ignorance or superstition, but they aren’t doing it because it works.  In the case of hitting and harming a child, because there is no good reason to do it, it’s considered abusive.  The only reason that can be given to justify it is a religious one.

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Humanist Adoption

Humanist Adoption

Do Humanists adopt? Of course we do! And we make darned good parents too.

Who is your hero - humanist adoption

Full disclosure: My husband and I have not adopted a child. We haven’t had the economic resources to be able to afford to. But we’ve discussed it.  I have friends who have adopted children and this family has written about the experience here: https://chronicleofsocialchange.org/opinion/atheists-in-adoption-proud-caring-and-secular/8262

To me, adoption is an obligation of being human. If you have the resources to care for a child who lacks a family, you should. No child should be left without a home.

Parenting to me as a Humanist is a privilege. I don’t own my kid. I am his temporary steward. I do this job voluntarily. And not just because he came out of me, but because caring for other people, especially children, and helping them to learn the skills they need to become independent and their own stewards is the highest form of giving I can conceive of.  You are literally giving of yourself to benefit another human being.  It doesn’t really matter who the child is, if you are in a position to help them, you should. And giving yourself over to this task feels fabulous.

Parenting is hard work. It’s exhausting. It’s expensive. It’s a responsibility. But responsibility is what gives our life meaning and purpose. Caring for others is a good purpose to have.  When you are actively caring for someone else, in between those moments when you think you are losing your mind in frustration, you get the sense that you are doing this thing called life right.


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Sea World Controversy

My thoughts on Sea World

I get asked about Sea World a lot and as a former marine mammal trainer, I felt like I needed to weigh in. That's me in the photo below with a dolphin named Hiapo at the Kewalo Basin Marine Mammal Laboratory.

Jen Hancock training a dolphin in Hawaii 1989

Obviously most people saw Blackfish, and recently a new book has come out from a former trainer saying that the psychological and physical effects of confinement on orcas is  immoral. (see: http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2015/03/150329-orca-blackfish-seaworld-dolphins-killer-whales-ngbooktalk/)

My response to this as a former dolphin trainer was duh! Why did it take him so long to figure that out? How could he not know going in that keeping marine mammals like dolphins and orcas in captivity is cruel? When I was taught to train - that was the first thing that was drilled into me. It's emotionally and psychologically very hard on these captive animals because of the conditions of captivity.  Our job as trainers is to help keep them sane given the immense stress captivity causes.
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Strategic Planning - for Success

Planning for Success

It isn’t that hard to think through potential consequences. The more you think, the more successful you will be.

We need to work past our current problems

I was contacted the other day by a guy who wants to form a Humanist political party. He apparently was unaware that a Humanist Party already exists, because he apparently didn’t bother to google the words “Humanist” and “Party” together. In other words, he had a great idea and wanted to get it off the ground and instead of doing any research, decided to promote the idea and see if anyone would help him.

Here’s the problem with that approach. It doesn’t work. Why, because it isn’t thought through.
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How critical are you of the news?

Where you get your news from matters

Critical thinking is important and it doesn’t take much effort. Failure to verify whether what you think you know is so can lead to bad decisions and even worse public policy.

Critical thinking. It's not just for debunking religion

Forbes has an excellent article – on the anatomy of a lie. Specifically it is about how a lie about how minimum wage will cause employers, specifically restaurants to shut down propagated and what that tells us about how we get our news.

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