Understanding Humanism

Understanding the World

How do humanists answer questions about the world around them and decide what to believe?

Humanists believe the world is a natural place with no supernatural side (they will be atheists or agnostics). They believe that science and the search for evidence provides the best way to answer our questions about the world.

5+

Overviews
Age 5+
Understanding the world

Presentations
Age 5+
Understanding the world

Slides to support the information sheets and activities

Information
Age 5+
Understanding the world

Activities
Age 5+
The Emperor’s New Clothes

Asking questions

Films
Age 5+
Philip Pullman on curiosity

Children’s author Philip Pullman describes how our curiosity makes us special.

7+

Overviews
Age 7+
Understanding the world

Presentations
Age 7+
Understanding the world

Slides to support the information sheets and activities

Information
Age 7+
Understanding the world

What is a humanist approach to understanding the world?

Individual humanists answer the question

Activities
Age 7+
The Trial

Explore different types of evidence

Beliefs and evidence

How might our beliefs be mistaken and what counts as good evidence?

Assessments
Age 7+
Understanding the world: multiple choice questions

Understanding the world: fill in the blanks

11+

Overviews
Age 11+
Understanding the world

Presentations
Age 11+
Understanding the world

Slides to support the information sheets and activities

Information
Age 11+
Understanding the world

What is a humanist approach to understanding the world?

Individual humanists answer the question

Science and religion – humanism and religion

Is ‘humanism or religion’ a better way to frame the division between these two approaches to answering questions?

Miracles: a humanist perspective

Activities
Age 11+
Science and religions: questions activity

Which questions can and can’t science answer?

Natural explanations

How might humanists explain unusual events?

Films
Age 11+
How do we know what’s true?

Stephen Fry explains how humanists make decisions about what to believe.

The value of science communication

Theoretical physicist, author and broadcaster, Jim Al-Khalili, explains why science communication is important to humanists.

External Resources
Age 11+
Origins

Where do our beliefs come from? This film from TrueTube explores how the circumstances of our birth and our upbringing affect the person we become. Great for exploring questions around freedom of belief.

Assessments
Age 11+
Understanding the world: multiple choice questions

Understanding the world: fill in the blanks

Understanding the world: humanist responses

How might a humanist respond?

14+

Information
Age 14+
Understanding the world

What is a humanist approach to understanding the world?

Individual humanists answer the question

Science and religion – humanism and religion

Is ‘humanism or religion’ a better way to frame the division between these two approaches to answering questions?

Activities
Age 14+
Science and religions: questions activity

Which questions can and can’t science answer?

Natural explanations

How might humanists explain unusual events?

Films
Age 14+
How do we know what’s true?

Stephen Fry explains how humanists make decisions about what to believe.

How do you know what is true?

Humanists explain how they make decisions about what they believe to be true.

What is Scepticism?

Philosopher Stephen Law introduces what humanists might mean when they talk about scepticism.

Rational belief

Philosopher AC Grayling emphasises the importance of basing our beliefs on rational foundations.

Reasonableness comes in degrees

Philosopher Stephen Law explains how it is better to think about our beliefs as appearing on a scale of reasonableness.

Humanism and science

Theoretical physicist, author, and broadcaster Jim Al-Khalili talks about whether science is a force for good and how it can enrich our lives.

External Resources
Age 14+
Models of the solar system

Film: How did we develop our understanding of the universe? A celebration of the scientific endeavour, and how our capacity to question makes human beings special.

Origins

Where do our beliefs come from? This film from TrueTube explores how the circumstances of our birth and our upbringing affect the person we become. Great for exploring questions around freedom of belief.

16+

Films
Age 16+
How do we know what’s true?

Stephen Fry explains how humanists make decisions about what to believe.

How do you know what is true?

Humanists explain how they make decisions about what they believe to be true.

What is Scepticism?

Philosopher Stephen Law introduces what humanists might mean when they talk about scepticism.

Rational belief

Philosopher AC Grayling emphasises the importance of basing our beliefs on rational foundations.

Reasonableness comes in degrees

Philosopher Stephen Law explains how it is better to think about our beliefs as appearing on a scale of reasonableness.

Humanism and science

Theoretical physicist, author, and broadcaster Jim Al-Khalili talks about whether science is a force for good and how it can enrich our lives.

External Resources
Age 16+
Karl Popper and Falsification

Karl Popper and FalsificationA BBC animation on the scientific method and the importance of our claims being capable of being falsified

Models of the solar system

Film: How did we develop our understanding of the universe? A celebration of the scientific endeavour, and how our capacity to question makes human beings special.

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Understanding Humanism

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