The Malta Humanist Association is an organisation for humanists in Malta. We promote education, science, reason and rationality, and oppose superstition and dogma. We strive towards a more secular nation where church and state are separate. The Malta Humanist Association was set up in a meeting attended by founding members Ramon Casha, James Debono, Philip Manduca, …View full post
Malta Humanist Association are able to offer a number of ceremonies and services related to life events – especially baby namings, weddings and funerals. Read more about the services we offer, or contact one of our accredited celebrants directly to find out what kind of personalised, meaningful ceremony we can provide for you. If you …View full post
by Ramon Casha; photos by Ramon Casha except sheep and chimpanzee photos – see image description. Background Prior to around 1995, when I got onto the internet and started chatting across the Atlantic, I had never heard of “creationism”, nor did I have the slightest idea that there were people in any significant numbers who …View full post
by Ramon Casha – vice president, Malta Humanist Association Throughout history, there have been a number of occasions when we discovered or invented something that completely changed us. In this article I’ve restricted myself to the last 500 years or so. There were many other earlier examples but in recent times they’ve come faster than …View full post
On any given day on Facebook, you are likely to see several graphics claiming incredible health benefits for some exotic plant, or claiming that some “alternative medicine” procedure can do everything that normal medicine can do but better. Very often these are accompanied by claims of people who tried them and testified to their efficacy. …View full post
In recent weeks, there have been some people expressing concern over what they believe to be dangerous “chemtrails” in the sky. Chemtrails are claimed to be white trails of chemicals sprayed by aircraft as they pass overhead, either to somehow affect people on the ground, or, in a more recent variation of this idea, to …View full post
Good without God It’s very difficult to find a nice, short, succinct phrase that neatly sums up what is Humanism, but the catchphrase “good without God” is a pretty good fit. However I’ll try to go a bit beyond that, keeping things simple while also accurate. Religion and morality Throughout history and in most places, …View full post
The 2014 World Humanist Congress, gathered in Oxford, UK, on 8-10 August 2014, adopted the following declaration on freedom of thought and expression:View full post
It was smiling faces all round and rainbows everywhere as the speaker called out the result – the bill has passed. The new Civil Unions bill gives same-sex (or opposite sex) couples the right to get a civil union which will have the same legal rights as marriage, including adoption.View full post
“So you're going to sort of die?”
“Oh yes.” The cat purred as the fingers tickled it behind the ear.
The smith looked embarrassed. “When?”
The wizard thought for a moment. “In about six minutes' time.”
“Don't worry,” said the wizard. “I’m quite looking forward to it, to tell you the truth. I’ve heard it's quite painless.”
The blacksmith considered this. “Who told you?” he said at last.
The wizard pretended not to hear him. He was watching the bridge, looking for tell-tale turbulence in the mist.
-- Terry Pratchett, “Equal Rites”
Joe Magro is 56 years old. He should be getting ready for his retirement. He certainly wants to live life to the full. Yet, it is with the same calm demeanour of the above passage that he informs his interviewer that he is dying. Joe has ALS (remember the “ice bucket challenge”?), a terminal degenerative disease that will slowly, but inevitably, rob him of his ability to move. First to go will be his ability to walk, move his arms or hands and to speak, but eventually he will lose his ability to breathe.
author : A.S. Turberville
a very interesting and scholarly book about the era prior to the rise of humanism, also giving the gradual development of anti clericalism and the rise of free thinking.
available free from gutenberg library
The Malta Humanist Association would like to declare its support to the Women's Rights Foundation on their initiative to request the availability of the emergency contraceptive pill in Malta.
Emergency contraceptive pills are not illegal, but so far the Medicines Authority has refused to allow anyone to import them, without giving a valid reason.
The MHA also notes that there have been several misinformed claims on the issue, even by people in high authority, and would therefore encourage the public to seek valid scientific information individually rather than accept hearsay and sentiment-laden statements.
Emergency contraceptives prevent an egg from being released from the ovaries, and thus prevent fertilisation. They are not abortive measures and cannot interfere with an embryo once fertilisation has taken place*
There can never be gender equality when women are prevented from taking control of their own reproduction.
There is no justification for denying women the right to emergency contraceptives and the Malta Humanist Association applauds the Women's Rights Foundation for taking this initiative.
Mechanisms of action of oral emergency contraception, Gynecological Endocrinology, 30:10, 685-687
Mechanism of action of Ulipristal Acetate for Emergency Contraception: A Systematic Review, Frontiers in Pharmacology 2015; 6: 315
Emergency Contraception: A Last Chance to Prevent Unintended Pregnancy, Princeton University March 2016
The following letter was sent to all members of parliament.
The Malta Humanist Association is concerned about the apparent direction being taken in the efforts to repeal Malta’s vilification of religion law, including compromises that are being contemplated.
Freedom of Expression is one of the fundamental rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and while it is not without limitations, these limitations should be very few and included only when absolutely necessary. Examples include the requirement to say the truth on the witness stand, and the prohibition of filing false police reports. These are based on the principle of harm, as described by John Stuart Mill in his 1859 philosophical work “On Liberty”. People should be protected from harm, not ideas or beliefs.
The world was rightly shocked at the treatment of people like Raif Badawi, sentenced to ten years of jail, a thousand lashes and a large fine by Saudi Arabia for “insulting Islam”. Another case has just happened in Kuwait, where Professor of Philosophy Sheikha al-Jassem has been charged with the same crime after a complainant said he had been psychologically damaged by her remarks that the constitution is above the Qu'ran.
The main difference between Malta’s situation and that of Saudi Arabia is the severity of the sentence and the frequency with which the law is applied, but the principle in both cases remains the same - that there is a set of beliefs that is shielded from criticism, or anything that can be arbitrarily declared to be “offensive”. In the past, in Malta, this law has been used to try to stifle literary expression and prosecute people dressing in costumes in carnival. Even when the accused were liberated, the threat of this law hanging over people’s heads serves to stifle freedom of expression.
In the ECHR case of Handyside vs the UK in 1972, the court delivered the famous declaration that “Freedom of expression… is applicable not only to information or ideas that are favourably received or regarded as inoffensive or as a matter of indifference, but also to those that offend, shock or disturb the State or any sector of the population”.
Some are recommending a compromise by opening up freedom of expression only to arts and artists. This creates several new problems, since it requires an authority on what is art, or who is an artist. Courts will have to decide whether an individual is an artist, or whether an expressed opinion qualifies as art, thus creating a new privileged class whose rights are greater than the rest of the population.
It has been mentioned that proposed changes would extend this anti-discrimination protection to atheism. Speaking on behalf of the Malta Humanist Association, we have never requested nor do we desire any similar protection for Humanism. Any belief system should be open to criticism as much as a political stance or ideology: If it stands up to criticism it does not need protection. If it cannot stand up to criticism, then it does not deserve it.
The Malta Humanist Association encourages our representatives to repeal articles 163 and 164 in their entirety. Their presence in our law provides no benefit and actually harms society.
Chairman, Malta Humanist Association
The Boy Scouts of America made the headlines over the past years due to their discrimination against atheists and LGBT people. Happily, the situation in Malta (and most of Europe) is very different.
The MHA had a chat with the Chief Commissioner (I wish we could say it was round a campfire, but it was round a table), where we were reassured that Scouting is for Everyone. The Scouts in Malta have been co-educational for decades, and are LGBT-friendly as well as accepting of people with different religious beliefs, or none. There are different versions of the Scout promise, which traditionally mentions God, to cater for different beliefs.
A number of Scout groups are linked to a specific school (closed sponsored groups), and these normally only accept students of that school and are influenced by the school's ethos. For the open groups found in most cities, a lot depends on their leaders and on the region - some places tend to be a bit more conservative than others - but if anyone is interested to send their kids to Scouts, they can contact the Chief Commissioner of the Scouts who will be happy to suggest groups that are a bit more progressive.
Scouting is open to boys or girls between the ages of 5 and 26.
Visit the Scout website to learn more about Scouting
this is a journal discussing various topics available online wherein some of the writeups are free. https://philosophynow.org
Written by Christopher Dawson in 1932, this scholarly tome discusses the philosophical, theological and political issues form the end of the Roman empire to the rise of mediaeval unity. It is not a standard history book and assumes a solid knowledge of that period by the reader assisting the reader to better understand why the west drifted into its political and philosphical unity as the basis for the mediaeval era, highlighting the first attempts at the fruition of the renaissence and humanism of the furture.
The Dune series of books by Frank Herbert is a a science fiction / fantasy series that takes place far in the future, where humanity has spread throughout the galaxy and settled on a number of planets ruled by several noble houses, with an overall emperor. One notable feature of these stories is the cynical way in which religions are treated. Religion is widespread in this future - but it is designed and controlled by a number of groups and individuals for the purpose of control of the masses.
The Malta Humanist Association is concerned about a stream of misinformation that is being disseminated about a collection of books donated by the Malta Gay Rights Movement to the Education Ministry by a newly set up social media group. This misinformation is causing concern among some parents who have been led to believe that these books contain explicit sexual information, or that they teach children about sex, although - revealingly - these claims never identify which of the books supposedly contain this material.