OF HUMANISM IN HOUSTON
early history of Atheism and Freethought in Houston, going back to the
nineteenth century, has been described by Arnold (2005). Humanism did not
enter on the scene until Julian Huxley, received an appointment in 1910 as
the founding faculty member of the Biology Department at Rice Institute.
Julian was the grandson of Thomas Henry Huxley an early associate of
Charles Darwin. A Symposium to mark the centennial of Julianís birth was
held by Rice University in 1987 at which papers on various aspects of his
career were given. These papers formed the basis of a book edited by
Waters and Van Helden which was published in 1992. It appears that Julian
developed his views on science and religion while in Houston and gave a
series of lectures on "Biology and Man" after he left. These
lectures later developed into what he called "scientific
humanism" and later "evolutionary humanism". The Humanist
magazine and its fore-runners were started in the 1920ís. The first
Humanist Manifesto was published in 1933 and the American Humanist
Association was incorporated in 1941.
An inaugural meeting was addressed by Beth Fennell who
later married Dr Corliss Lamont. Regular meetings were attended by as many
as 60 participants. A newsletter has been published continuously since
1985, during most of the first ten years under the editorship of Frank
Prahl. Besides those listed below other members of note during the early
years included Barbara Bullock, Charles Fisher, Moie Hamburger, Bob Helken,
Douglas Hook, Professor Konstantin Kolenda, Frank Prahl, Joyce Terry, Ben
Levy and Abby and Ariel Thomann. Professor Kolenda continued the
association with Rice University and wrote a column on Philosophy in the
Humanist magazine for several years. Professor Kolenda was also the author
of several books including "Cosmic Religion: The Autobiography of the
Universe" (1987). The group was the subject of two articles in the
Religion Section of the Houston Chronicle (1978, 1981) Some early meetings
of HOH were held in the Womenís Center of Houston, followed by a move to
the Montrose Library.
Arnold, Gipson, (2005), "Atheist and Freethought History in Houston", to be published.
Huxley, Julian, (1992), "Evolutionary Humanism", Prometheus Press. Originally published as "Essays of a humanist" Harper & Row (1964).
Kolenda, Konstantin, (1987), "Cosmic Religion: The Autobiography of the Universe", Image Books, Doubleday.
Moore, Louis, Religion Editor, Houston Chronicle September 16, 1978 and Houston Chronicle January 17, 1981
Waters, C. Kenneth and Albert Van Helden, (1992), "Julian Huxley: Biologist and Statesman of Science", Rice University Press.
*Note: Some editing of Robert Finch's original work was done in the final paragraphs by HSH founder Daniel Strain, to enhance the accuracy of some details regarding HSH.
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