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:

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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Main Elements of Humanism

What are the main elements of humanism?

Since I get asked this a lot – I thought I would share what I wrote on Quora

What is Humanism?  Humanism is ...


According to the definition of Humanism by the American Humanist Association – there are 7 elements of Humanism – see: Humanist Manifesto III

Humanism is:

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Humanism vs. Supernaturalism

Humanism vs. Supernaturalism

Humanism is not a theological rejection of religion.  It’s a pragmatic rejection of all supernaturalism The difference matters – here’s why

Critical Thinking - it's not just for debunking religion

First, Humanism is a philosophy. What is a philosophy? According to the Atlas Society – which is an objectivist group but whose definition of philosophy I totally agree with, Philosophy is: “a comprehensive system of ideas about human nature and the nature of the reality we live in. It is a guide for living, because the issues it addresses are basic and pervasive, determining the course we take in life and how we treat other people.”

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Philosophy & Psychology

Philosophy and Psychology

How Humanism improves psychology and how psychology improves Humanism.

The Power of Humanism

Modern psychology is largely a result of the Humanist movement. Some of the first Humanists were Humanistic Psychologists and their impact on the field of psychology can’t be overstated. Why did a philosophy have such a huge impact on the practice of psychology?

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The Do’s and Don’ts of Discipline

The Do’s and Don’ts of Discipline.

Why corporal punishment doesn’t work.

Child abusers should not be allowed to hide behind religion

Not only am I a Humanist, I’m also a Humanist Parent, the author of The Bully Vaccine and an experienced animal trainer. I want to address the issue of corporal punishment because there is a religious book, To Train Up a Child which purports to explain how to use corporal punishment to discipline a child and some of the fans of this book have been beating their children to death. Literally. (See:

I wanted to address this because not only is the idea of corporal punishment stupid, it’s counterproductive and no good animal trainer would endorse what is in that book. Why? Because it doesn’t work!  I’m going to address this topic as an animal trainer first, and as a humanist parent second.

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Free Thought and Civility

The Dark Side of Free Speech

Comment moderation & free speech within the Freethought community

If we want to encourage freethought, we must first encourage civility

One of the blogs I read regularly is Neuromarketing. I like it because it is incredibly geeky, but also because it is a really helpful blog. How do our brains work? How can I use that to my advantage? Ok, so now I’m sounding a bit like an evil genius trying to take over the world. I trust you know that I’m not and that I am putting this knowledge to good and noble purposes.

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Why I do Humanist Outreach

Why I do Humanist Outreach

Humanism is important. People need to know that they have an alternative. And no, just promoting atheism isn’t enough.

I am a Humanist, Jennifer Hancock

I do what I do because I think Humanism is important. I think it can help not only transform the world, but that it can transform people’s lives And not in a pie in the sky kumbayah sort of way, but in very practical pragmatic ways.

Humanism is a philosophy of life. It is an approach. That’s all it is. It is a way of choosing to see the world and an active reminder to ourselves that we should and can be better. Are the assumptions Humanists make about the ultimate nature of reality true? Honestly, it doesn’t even matter. Our focus is to every day try to improve ourselves and who we are with what we have to work with here and now. And we choose this approach because quite honestly, there aren’t any other good alternatives. 

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What can be done about School Bus Bullies

What can be done about school bus bullies?Understanding the School Bus Bullies

and how to prevent their recurrence

Like almost everyone, I was horrified by the video of a school bus monitor in NY enduring 10 plus minutes of harassment. However, unlike everyone else, I was actually watching it with a technical eye. You see, I am the author of a book called The Bully Vaccine, which takes an operant conditioning approach to ending bullying.  The contents of the video show two things.  One, what not to do when bullied. And two, school districts need to do a much better job of training their employees on how to handle problems.

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Gender Roles, Feminism and the Humanist Perspective

Gender Roles don't make any senseGender Roles, Feminism and the Humanist Perspective

I was asked to comment on the Humanist perspective as it relates to gender roles and feminism. So, that’s what I’m doing.  You might be unhappy to find out that we don’t really have a consensus on these issues as Humanists. For instance, some of us are ok with porn and some of us think porn exploits women. With that much range on some very basic issues within the Humanist community, it makes it rather hard to comment and make a blanket statement about the Humanist perspective on topics related to gender. But there are some basic concepts that almost all Humanists agree on, so I’ll focus on those.

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