Here is a powerful and amazing statement defending secular humanism on Al-Jazeera television. The woman is Wafa Sultan, an Arab-American psychologist from Los Angeles. I would suggest watching it ASAP because I don't know how long the link will be active. LinkI wasn't able to see the clip (something must be wrong with my settings), but I found a transcript, and many other pages devoted to her. My enthusiasm soon flagged. Most of those pages are by fans who cheer her every riposte like a winning goal, and a lot of her claims are as wildly exaggerated as her foes'. For example,
The Crusader wars about which the professor is talking – these wars came after the Islamic religious teachings, and as a response to these teachings. This is the law of action and reaction. The Islamic religious teachings have incited to the rejection of the other, to the denial of the other, and to the killing of the other. Dhimmi WatchThis is literally true (that the Crusades came after Islam), but misleading in the implication that the Crusaders were acting in self-defense. Each of the several Crusades was a little different (the Children's Crusade being the maddest adventure), but in several the chief motivation of the instigators was a land-grab. Also, our psychologist ignores utterly the four-century experience of Arab Spain, which with all its faults, was generally a collection of much more enlightened and far more tolerant regimes than the genocidal Christian monarchy that succeeded them.
Or this, from the Al-Jazeera broadcast cited:
The Jews have come from the tragedy (of the Holocaust), and forced the world to respect them, with their knowledge, not with their terror, with their work, not their crying and yelling. Humanity owes most of the discoveries and science of the 19th and 20th centuries to Jewish scientists. MEMRI TV transcriptDarwin? Pasteur? Boyle? Marie Curie? Edison? Marconi? The Wright brothers? And on and on, the list of non-Jewish scientists of note. Many important scientists have been "Jews" in some sense (mostly the DNA sense; I don't know but I doubt that Jonas Salk, for example, was a frequent attendant at temple). Many more (naturally) were not. The idea that Jews have a superior genetic ability for science is not merely racist, it's unscientific. Currently some of the most important inventors in chemistry, medicine and electronics are Indians (see Indian Scientists)-- but not because of genes. Here for example is a page listing major inventors of the 20th century: Learning Site.
My Jewish roommates in college (both temple-goers) liked to boast that the three greatest scientists of recent times were all Jewish: Marx, Freud and Einstein. In fact none of them was in the only sense that should matter: each rejected Jewish mysticism and religion quite forcefully.
I'm all for secular humanism. I just wish it could be more secular and more scientific.