I am soon off to Ghent, where I will be speaking on a panel Saturday morning on whether there can be universal values other than secular ones. I think not. Here are details:

‘Freethinking Women’s Organisation of Oost-Vlaanderen’ has organised a debate on 3 March 2012 in Ghent, Belgium on ‘Can universal values be other than secular values?’ Speakers are: Muslim Feminist Nahed Selim, MEP Sophie in ‘t Veld, and politician Ann Brusseel and campaigner Maryam Namazie. The event begins at 10.00am and will be held at Geuzenhuis gent, Kantienberg 9, 9000 Gent. Here is more information.

Will be back blogging on Sunday.


  1. You are totally wrong in your ideas.
    Universal values are not values denied by one third of populations living on Earth.
    Secularism is highly rejected not only by Muslim societies but other religious and non religious communities as well.
    Universal values are those values recognized by human being regardless of believes, backgrounds, place of living and social classes. An example can be given as “Justice”, “Law”, “Truth” and some other universal values which are recognized as a whole by all human being everywhere and with no exception.
    Your claims, reasoning, discussion and supportive declarations to prove that your values are universal, are themselves a poof that they are not universal. If were so, there was no need you try too hard to prove them so.
    good luck

    1. jalal, I think I can see where your confusion stems from. When we talk about universal values we mean things that exist in the actual universe, not things that are excreted from the imaginations of fearful primitive people.

      One third of populations living on earth, you say.

      Damn! We’re making progress.

      1. kevinalexander,
        If you think that the universe mean just harshly civilized people like you not what you call them primitive ones that still remain one third of world population, then you are finished! No discussion needed and the job is complete! In fact all things are fit all values are universal. But still the question remains: what would be the reason for your hard efforts and severe discussions to prove that your values( already assumed universal) are universal?!
        Ha ha ha jammed?!

  2. I would recommend Stanislaw Lem’s short story The Seventh Sally, or how Trurl’s own Perfection Led to no Good.

    In it, I found one of the most profound statements ever:

    No, Trurl. A sufferer is not one who hands you his suffering, that you may touch it, weigh it, bite it like a coin; a sufferer is one who behaves like a sufferer!

    If only more people read Lem…

  3. Indeed, secular values are the only ones which stand a chance of being universally accepted, because they are rooted in reality. They are rooted in our capacity to suffer, i.e. in our biology, an undeniable fact even for the most extreme fundamentalists.

    How can people not see that the most important objective we can think of is to eradicate preventable suffering? Sure, we are not omnipotent: we have not yet found a cure for some diseases, we don’t know how to cure psycosis, but we do know how to cure starvation: it only takes food.

  4. Oh…

    You should post these things earlier in advance! Ghent is not too far from here and I’d have liked to see this…

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