Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Polly Toynbee's humanist manifesto

The president of the British Humanist Association takes to her Guardian platform again to issue a ringing manifesto for the humanist cause. It has a certain poetry to it, the rythmn of a stump speech. And it is, of course, quite barmy. Some of the "shots" -- over Aids/ condoms, for example -- are even cheaper when you consider that she chaired the Catholic Voices v Protest the Pope debate, and heard about the rates of effectiveness of condoms-based campaigns in Africa and the need to address other, deeper causes of the spread of the virus. The statistics and the argument may not have convinced her; but surely she should have acknowledged that a coherent answer did exist, rather than the one she chooses to parody? But that might have spoiled the rhetorical cadence. So it's a triumph, really, of rhetoric over reason.