Humanist Manifesto III

Humanist Manifesto III - Overview

Published in 2003 by the AHA the Humanist Manifesto III superseded the Humanist Manifesto II. This manifesto sought to make its affirmations more general in its tenets then the previous two versions. 

Humanist Manifesto III Affirmations

Knowledge of the world is derived by observation, experimentation, and rational analysis. Humanists find that science is the best method for determining this knowledge as well as for solving problems and developing beneficial technologies. We also recognize the value of new departures in thought, the arts, and inner experience—each subject to analysis by critical intelligence.

Humans are an integral part of nature, the result of unguided evolutionary change. Humanists recognize nature as self-existing. We accept our life as all and enough, distinguishing things as they are from things as we might wish or imagine them to be. We welcome the challenges of the future, and are drawn to and undaunted by the yet to be known.

Ethical values are derived from human need and interest as tested by experience. Humanists ground values in human welfare shaped by human circumstances, interests, and concerns and extended to the global ecosystem and beyond. We are committed to treating each person as having inherent worth and dignity, and to making informed choices in a context of freedom consonant with responsibility.

Life’s fulfillment emerges from individual participation in the service of humane ideals. We aim for our fullest possible development and animate our lives with a deep sense of purpose, finding wonder and awe in the joys and beauties of human existence, its challenges and tragedies, and even in the inevitability and finality of death. Humanists rely on the rich heritage of human culture and the lifestance of Humanism to provide comfort in times of want and encouragement in times of plenty.

Humans are social by nature and find meaning in relationships. Humanists long for and strive toward a world of mutual care and concern, free of cruelty and its consequences, where differences are resolved cooperatively without resorting to violence. The joining of individuality with interdependence enriches our lives, encourages us to enrich the lives of others, and inspires hope of attaining peace, justice, and opportunity for all.

Working to benefit society maximizes individual happiness. Progressive cultures have worked to free humanity from the brutalities of mere survival and to reduce suffering, improve society, and develop global community. We seek to minimize the inequities of circumstance and ability, and we support a just distribution of nature’s resources and the fruits of human effort so that as many as possible can enjoy a good life.

Signature List

Philip Appleman Poet and distinguished professor emeritus of English, Indiana University

Khoren Arisian Senior Leader, NY Society for Ethical Culture

Bill Baird Reproductive rights pioneer

Frank Berger Pharmacologist, developer of anti-anxiety drugs

Howard Box Minister emeritus, Oak Ridge Unitarian Universalist Church, Tennessee

Lester R. Brown Founder and president, Earth Policy Institute

August E. Brunsman IV Executive director, Secular Student Alliance

Rob Buitenweg Vice president, International Humanist and Ethical Union

Vern Bullough Sexologist and former copresident of the International Humanist and Ethical Union

David Bumbaugh Professor, Meadville Lombard Theological School

Matt Cherry Executive director, Institute for Humanist Studies

Joseph Chuman Visiting professor of religion, Columbia University, and leader, Ethical Culture Society of Bergen County, New Jersey

Curt Collier leader, Riverdale-Yonkers Society for Ethical Culture, New York

Fred Cook Retired executive committee member, International Humanist and Ethical Union

Carlton Coon Former US Ambassador to Nepal

Richard Dawkins Charles Simonyi professor, University of Oxford

Charles Debrovner President, NACH/Humanist Institute

Arthur Dobrin Professor of humanities, Hofstra University and leader emeritus Ethical Humanist Society of Long Island, New York

Margaret Downey President, Freethought Society of Greater Philadelphia

Sonja Eggerickx Vice president, Unie Vrijzinnige, Belgium, and vice president  International Humanist and Ethical Union

Riane Eisler President, Center for Partnership Studies

Albert Ellis Creator of Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy and founder of the Alber Ellis Institute

Edward L. Ericson Leader emeritus, Ethical Culture

Roy P. Fairfield Cofounder, Union Graduate School

Antony Flew Philosopher

Werner Fornos President, the Population Institute

Levi Fragell President, International Humanist and Ethical Union

Arun Gandhi Cofounder, M.K. Gandhi Institute for Nonviolence

Kendyl Gibbons President, Unitarian Universalist Ministers Association

Babu R.R. GogineniExecutive director, International Humanist and Ethical Union

Sol GordonSexologist

Ethelbert HaskinsRetired treasurer of the Humanist Foundation

Jim HerrickEditor, the New Humanist

Pervez HoodbhoyProfessor of physics at Quaid-e-Azam University, Islamabad, Pakistan

Fran P. HoskenEditor, Women’s International Network News

Jone Johnson LewisPresident, National Leaders Council of the American Ethical Union

Stefan JonassonImmediate past president, HUUmanists

Larry JonesPresident, Institute for Humanist Studies

Edwin KaginFounder and director, Camp Quest

Beth LamontAHA NGO representative to the United Nations

Gerald A. LarueProfessor emeritus of biblical history and archaeology, University of Southern California

Joseph LeveeBoard member, Council for Secular Humanism

Ellen McBrideImmediate past president, American Ethical Union

Lester MondaleRetired Unitarian Universalist minister and signer of Humanist Manifestos I and II

Henry MorgentalerAbortion rights pioneer

Stephen MumfordPresident, Center for Research on Population and Security

William MurryPresident and dean, Meadville-Lombard Theological School

Sarah OelbergPresident, HUUmanists

Indumati ParikhPresident, Center for the Study of Social Change, India

Philip PaulsonChurch-state activist

Katha PollittColumnist, the Nation

Howard RadestDean emeritus, the Humanist Institute

James “Amazing” RandiMagician, founder of the James Randi Educational Foundation

Larry ReykaPresident, the Humanist Society

David SchaferRetired research physiologist, U.S. Veterns Administration

Eugenie ScottExecutive director, National Center for Science Education

Michael ShermerEditor of Skeptic magazine

James R. SimpsonProfessor of international agricultural economics, Ryukoku University, Japan

Warren Allen SmithEditor and author

Matthew Ies. SpetterAssociate professor in social psychology at the Peace Studies Institute of Manhattan College, NY

Oliver StoneAcademy award-winning filmmaker

John SwomleyProfessor emeritus of social ethics, St. Paul School of Theology

Robert TappDean, the Humanist Institute

Carl ThitchenerCo-minister, Unitarian Universalist Church of Amherst and of Canadaigua, New York

Maureen ThitchenerCo-minister, Unitarian Universalist Church of Amherst and of Canadaigua, New York

Rodrigue TremblayEmeritus professor of economics and of international finance, Universite de Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Kurt VonnegutNovelist

John WestonMinisterial settlement director, Unitarian Universalist Association

Edward O. WilsonProfessor, Harvard University, and two-time Pulitzer Prize winner

Sherwin WineFounder and president, Society for Humanistic Judaism

Dr. George B. KauffmanProfessor of Chemistry, California State University at Fresno

Nobel Laureates


Philip W. AndersonPhysics, 1977

Paul D. BoyerChemistry, 1997

Owen ChamberlainPhysics, 1959

Francis CrickMedicine, 1962

Paul J. CrutzenChemistry, 1995

Pierre-Gilles de GennesPhysics, 1991

Johann DeisenhoferChemistry, 1988

Jerome I. FriedmanPhysics, 1990

Sheldon GlashowPhysics, 1979

David J. GrossPhysics, 2004

Herbert A. HauptmanChemistry, 1985

Dudley HerschbachChemistry, 1986

Harold W. KrotoChemistry, 1996

Yuan T. LeeChemistry, 1986

Mario J. MolinaChemistry, 1995

Erwin NeherMedicine, 1991

Ilya PrigogineChemistry, 1977

Richard J. RobertsMedicine, 1993

John E. SulstonMedicine, 2002

Henry TaubeChemistry, 1983

E. Donnall ThomasMedicine, 1990

James Dewey WatsonMedicine, 1962

Past AHA Presidents


Edd Doerr1995-2002

Michael W. Werner1993-1994

Suzanne I. Paul1992

Lyle L. Simpson1981-1984

Bette Chambers1973-1979

Lloyd L. Morain1969-1972, 1951-1955

Robert W. McCoy1966-1968

Vashti McCollum1962-1965