Good Bye Yahoo Groups and Human_ism

Just found out that Yahoo is shutting down Yahoo Groups on 12/15. Just a bit gutted because it hosted the first Humanist list I was on back when it was hosted by the Internet Infidels in 1996(?). It was called Human_ism. Not sure why it was written that way. I forget if I did know. We talked about Humanism all kinds of Humanism. 

Most of us were secular humanists and we occasionally got into debates with religious humanists about which one was the correct humanism… really (OMG). We even had the founder Jeffery Jay Lowder come onto the list to tamp down several flame wars from time to time. Finally the Infidels had enough of us and set us adrift.

The list landed at OneList, soon to be rebranded eGroups in 1999, still called Human_ism. eGroups was bought by Yahoo in 2000. Before Yahoo wiped all the list website content last year you could see hundreds of messages posted each month for may years. Sometimes we spiked into the thousands when we had a passive aggressive moderator who liked to stir up crap. I remember using the search function to prove someone arguing with me held my view two years before… ahhhh memories.

We also had two moderators who, due to some existing medical and mental health issues ended their lives.

The list was heavily moderated. New people had to have their first posts approved and we had rules for discussion. Here is a bit of the rules as revised years ago when Dasha Marshall was moderator:

“Secular Humanism is understood to be the default point-of-view. We don’t debate the existence of god or argue with theists here. Human_ism is a virtual meeting place where secular humanists express themselves without having to make allowances for theistic sensitivities. Members from outside the USA are encouraged to introduce topics and ideas whether Americans are familiar with them or not. We’re here to educate ourselves and increase understanding, as well as to make friends with Humanists wherever they may be. Critical thinking skills are a must; vigorous debate is the norm. Civilized behavior is expected: trolls will be unsubscribed. Announcements will not be accepted from those who do not participate in discussions on the list.

Secular Humanism as defined by this group: Humanism is a philosophy, world view, or life stance based on naturalism–the conviction that the universe or nature is all that exists or is real. Humanism serves, for many humanists, some of the psychological and social functions of a religion, but without belief in deities, transcendental entities, miracles, life after death, and the supernatural. Humanists seek to understand the universe by using science and its methods of critical inquiry–logical reasoning, empirical evidence, and skeptical evaluation of conjectures and conclusions–to obtain reliable knowledge. Humanists affirm that humans have the freedom to give meaning, value, and purpose to their lives by their own independent thought, free inquiry, and responsible, creative activity. Humanists stand for the building of a more humane, just, compassionate, and democratic society using a pragmatic ethics based on human reason, experience, and reliable knowledge–an ethics that judges the consequences of human actions by the well-being of all life on Earth. (def. assembled by Steve Schafersman)”

I’m not sure when I took over as moderator from Dasha but in the last ten or 15 years the level of activity has dropped way off to where we are lucky to get a message a day. There are other avenues to debate and discuss secular humanism. According to Yahoo people want premium email lists – aka as not free – which I don’t buy for a second. Verizon just didn’t want to spend the money to modernize the product.

I had a feeling this was coming when they wiped user generated content last December but they probably wanted as much ad dollars as possible before shutting it down.

The reason I stumbled across the announcement was I was going to announce the shut down of the Human_ism list at the end of the year. Yahoo beat me to the punch.

I also am of the mind that arguing is passe. We shouldn’t have to debate the existence of our beliefs all the time, especially to those with like minds. Debate and rebuttals are for school debate teams not adult conversations looking for a way through this world of ours.

Bashing religion is boring, as boring as the religion itself. I prefer to solve human problems to help as many people as we can.

We could move the list to another host but I think the time for Human_ism has passed. If others want to take it on they should feel free but I won’t be joining it. I’ve moved on.