In Humanity We Trust

May 6, 2015

The story of evolutionary humanism.
For far too long now human thinking has been governed by rigid political or religious ideologies. Even today these ideologies have a devastating influence on international politics. But it may well be that this will change over the next few decades. For nothing is as powerful as an idea whose time has come…

Walter Gontermann
(as Charles Darwin, Julian Huxley, Wilhelm v. Humboldt, Karl Marx, Macbeth)

Susan Bonney-Cox


Hamed Abdel-Samad
Mina Ahadi
Uwe-Christian Arnold
Rolf Bergmeier
Richard Dawkins
Karlheinz Deschner
Carsten Frerk
Colin Goldner
Elke Held
Wolfram P. Kastner
Ralf König
Ingrid Matthäus-Maier
Philipp Möller
Holm Putzke
Hermann Josef Schmidt
Michael Schmidt-Salomon
Peter Singer
Volker Sommer
Herbert Steffen
Jacques Tilly
and others…


Ricarda Hinz, Jochen Schreiber
Elke Held, Michael Schmidt-Salomon
using extracts from the book:
„Hoffnung Mensch – Eine bessere Welt ist möglich“
(Piper Verlag 2014)

Michael Schmidt-Salomon

voice-over speaker:
Phil Bonney
Toni Dunham
Katie Jordans

sound mixing:
Wolfgang Seifert

Robert Spence
Angela Lahee

film quotes:
Alejandro Amenábar: „Agora – Die Säulen des Himmels“ (2009)
Alan Parker: “Angel Heart” (1987)
Unesco-Archives, Paris
Medienarchive ARD/ZDF/3sat/Arte/ORF/SF

vr3 virtual production Düsseldorf

directed by:
Ricarda Hinz

On behalf of the Giordano Bruno Foundation, 2014

We thank the friends and supporters and the donors´circle members of the Giordano Bruno Foundation (gbs), without whose support neither the many activities of recent years nor this film would have been possible.

24 comments on “In Humanity We Trust

  • 1
    maria melo says:

    The word evolutionary along with humanis doesn´t make too much sense to me (nor does transhumanism).
    It Julian Huxley who coined the term I guess and I know not much about it, but visited a site online and the quote ” Todays humans are the neanderthals of tommorrow ” makes even less sense to me.

    Report abuse

  • The wise man will be as happy as circumstances permit, and if he finds the contemplation of the universe painful beyond a point, he will contemplate something else instead.

    ~ Bertrand Russell

    Report abuse

  • I cringed at the thought of creating an uniform world view, one with hope.

    This just smacks of someone wanted to impose their crackpot notions, someone willing to lie for the political “good”. This reminds me of Animal Farm where the pigs came to behave just like the men they overthrew.

    By including the artistic people, they ensured clever, well executed public events.

    Report abuse

  • This is an impressive piece of work. It is so pleasing to discover a large group of people have been working on problems I have not had the time or energy to tackle. The project took a huge number of volunteers. How on earth did they organise that? I can’t imagine any organisation I have ever been associated with, including ones I lead, ever pulling something like that off.

    It was also fun seeing pre-schoolers do their best to explain evolution. They did pretty well. What a great start these kids are getting!

    Report abuse

  • I found the video inspiring. I wholeheartedly support the notion that In a civilised (and educated) society the right to self determination should be the guiding principle. This inevitably means secular governance based on reason, evidence & rational thought. Political and religious dogma has been for too long the driving force of Man’s inhumanity to Man. The sooner it is consigned to the dustbin of history the better.

    Report abuse

  • 8
    maria melo says:

    I am sorry to argue, but…

    “Political and religious dogma has been for too long the driving force of Man’s inhumanity to Man. The sooner it is consigned to the dustbin of history the better.”

    What is political dogma I wonder.
    It is of corse a claim full of ideology, comparable with a “motor of history” and des-humanization of religion and I don´t quite agree with.

    Remmember “The mission” ? Didn´t catholic priests had some influcence in the way people considered natives ? (just an insignificant example to remember that your claim is too strong and “des-humanizing).

    Report abuse

  • And by 14 minutes it becomes a synthesiser of ideology again. It becomes too certain of the extent to which particular ideas of concern (eg about animal welfare) must be taken.


    By not just sticking to the facts and letting others draw their conclusions as unaffiliated activities is why, great as much as some of this is, it becomes divisive.

    Report abuse

  • Maybe I have read too much into the film, but what I also took from it was the ‘evolutionary’ aspect. “Today’s humans are tomorrow’s Neandertals”

    Static ideologies based on dogma (oxford dictionary definition of dogma: “A principle or set of principles laid down by an authority as inconvertibly true”, are – based on what is happening in the world today – getting us as a species precisely nowhere.

    Surely we need a system of governance that is free of religious / and party political dogma, that can adapt to to the extraordinary pace and extent of change in our understanding of the Universe of which are an pretty insignificant part.

    Phil I note your comment “By not just sticking to the facts and letting others draw their conclusions as unaffiliated activities is why, great as much as some of this is, it becomes divisive.” But surely division is inevitable in human affairs, it’s why most of us like to live in a democracy.

    At the moment I am not aware of any political organisations that adequately reflect many of the views I see expressed on this site. On a personal level I feel totally unrepresented by any of the UK’s political parties. “Evolutionary Humanism” looks to be the best option I’ve yet encountered. But if you know of something better….?

    Report abuse

  • But surely division is inevitable in human affairs,

    Only if you seek to draw us together over interpretations rather than draw us together over process.

    Atheist+ took the single idea of lacking a belief in gods and tried to lever in a lot of left wing politics and a particular flavour of feminism, declaring atheism was simply rational as were these other political positions. Now much as I am irredeemably left of centre (I’m just wired that way) I think being atheist is a likely endpoint for the intelligent rightwinger (which political moral position I see as being one suited to the anxious.) My equity feminism was quite out for Atheist+. This fragmented Atheism rather than make it inclusive, and we would do better to have the most inclusive identities we can muster. I worry that Evolutionary Humanism in building to far from the simple baseof what is evidently true might do the same for Humanism…to whit, put some off.

    As for politics I’m keen to see what Sandi Toksvig does with the Womens Equality Party, dedicated to reason and evidence, and I am super keen on the work of the Equality Trust feeding solid scientific evidence into all parties and interest groups about the virtues of working towards greater equality.

    I expect to see political parties become less obviously ideological and become rather “publishers” of workable collections of policies culled from the varieties of single interest pressure groups.

    Report abuse

  • 13
    maria melo says:

    The documentary is worth seeing (I´ve watched twice) trying to make sense of the two words humanism and evolutionary (there´s no doubt that evolution made a revolution if we understand our place in nature), although I may disagree with extreme views that I think don´t help the understanding of the human mind, I assume that making anachronistic and moral historical assumptions doesn´t help the cause.

    Report abuse

  • 14
    maria melo says:

    Anyway, humanism should be necessary in Germany as far as main laws mention the word God – I was told- and guess, some german deputees would like to mention the word in the European Constitution too.
    Wish german humanism good luck.

    Report abuse

  • As with every school of thought and every movement, this one is met with its’ challenges. However, as narrated towards the end that this movement will anticipate and embrace change, even if that change opposes old standing thoughts, it has the potential to evolve. Think of it like a plant still growing that doesn’t yet have all of the components a fully mature fruiting tree has.

    Report abuse

  • “Today’s humans are the neanderthals of tomorrow” can make sense when you take it not too literally. Consider that change is constantly occurring not just day to day, but minute to minute and so forth. After-all each day brings its own changes and differences from the day prior.

    Report abuse

  • 17
    maria melo says:

    I consider the sentence naive and funny, and recall a phrase written on a wall , something like in may is always april (april is a month of revolution imn here).

    Report abuse

  • In my view, Marxism was a fundamentally immoral system. People should be compensated based on their contribution.

    “We shouldn’t flatter ourselves just because […] we put on a smart watch.” Sure we should!!!

    Report abuse

  • I’ve looked at this again and more thoroughly and there is a lot to like but I find a gaping hole that leaves it feeling a little superficial. The problem the Foundation sets itself is generating a coherent world view. The outputs of the Enlightenment are seen as bleak and in need of an uplift.

    This seems wrong to me. I think children not promised everlasting life and a shiny god-given purpose will be at least as happy as those promised them. The problem is only one of transition. There is no need to build an optimistic worldview. This is just further solepcism. The lives and views will be manifold. We are a hugely variegated lot, manufactured with large tolerances by our genes and given firmware by our cultures of quite enormous scope. Our delights and our purposes will be as numerous as our number.

    No, this mooted worldview is only reductive. The gaping hole is the failure to discuss moral authority and moral authorship. This is the discussion to have. For me, as I’ve said in the past, I declared myself atheist (the political stance) to better deal with moral issues (and truth is very much a moral issue). The supernatural hypotheses of religion can only damage the moral process, the debate and the daily due diligence needed. I believe the story is a great one to make. There is no loss but rather a gain in the need to do one’s own moral thinking, a greater chance of seeing new harms and join the negotiation . I think it the greatest output of Enlightenment thinking.

    (Perhaps we can even kill off that substandard Golden Rule and step up to Platinum by knowing better each others needs. A moral directive that would, in effect, have you get your granny a subscription to a Lad’s Mag whilst you got that lavender scented toiletry gift set isn’t so impressive. Go Platinum. Do unto others as they would wish…)

    Report abuse

  • Our delights and our purposes will be as numerous as our number.

    The flip side of this coin might be imprinted:
    Our miseries and stifled ambitions will be as numerous as our number.

    One unintended consequence of Evolutionary Humanism, putting homo Sapiens at the center of the universe, has been our proud accomplishment of multiplying and dominating the earth. We need to recognize our status as just another animal, and create conditions for stabilizing and reducing our number. Grand abstractions mean nothing to migrants crammed into sinking boats trying to reach Europe. Muslim populations will dwarf what remains of Euro-Caucasians by mid century. If we don’t recognize the concrete obvious consequences of the future and take international action to reduce world population now we will continue to multiply like rats in the absence of cats. Already we see hundreds of millions scurrying over the damned, the dead and the dying trying to find the next rat hole.

    Report abuse

Leave a Reply

View our comment policy.