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The second Humanist Manifesto was written in 1973 by Paul Kurtz and Edwin H. Wilson, and was intended to update the previous one. It begins with a statement that the excesses of Nazism and world war had made the first seem "far too optimistic", and indicated a more hardheaded and realistic approach in its seventeen-point statement, which was much longer and more elaborate than the previous version. Nevertheless, much of the unbridled optimism of the first remained, with hopes stated that war would become obsolete and poverty would be eliminated.
Many of the proposals in the document, such as opposition to racism and weapons of mass destruction and support of strong human rights, are fairly uncontroversial, and its prescriptions that divorce and birth control should be legal and that technology can improve life are widely accepted today in the Western world. Furthermore, its proposal of an international court has since been implemented. However, in addition to its rejection of religion, various controversial stances are strongly supported, notably the right to abortion.
Initially published with a small number of signatures, the document was circulated and gained thousands more, and indeed the AHA website encourages visitors to add their own name. A provision at the end that the signators do "not necessarily endors[e] every detail" of the document, but only its broad vision, no doubt helped many overcome reservations about attaching their name.
One of the oft-quoted lines comes from this manifesto is, "No deity will save us; we must save ourselves."
The 120 signatories to the manifesto included the following:
- H. J. Blackham
- Brigid Brophy
- Francis Crick
- H. J. Eysenck
- Raymond Firth
- Antony Flew
- Hector Hawton
- James Hemming
- Margaret Knight
- Ritchie Calder
From the United States of America:
From the USSR:
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