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Thirukkural Stories for Children

by Dr. Saroja Ilangovan

Forward by the Author

I feel fortunate to be born as a Tamil woman and to learn about Thiruvallural, who created this marvelous code of ethics Thirukkural about 2038 years ago. The morals illustrated by the Kurals (two line couplets) can be applied to any world citizen regardless of religion or ethnic background.

Based on the Kural’s meaning, I created fictional stories. This book is mainly written for young minds ages 6 to 10 years old to serve as a beacon for a happy, guilt-free, joyous life. The names are not indicative of any real persons. The personal photographs and the scenery shots are from my collection. The people in the photographs have given their permission to be included in the book.

The donations offered for this book will be used for education of under privileged children I Periyar Nagammai Illam in Trichy, Tamil Nadu.

I wish to offer my gratitude to my children, especially Kani Ilangovan, and to my husband Dr. Somasundaram Ilangovan for their inspiration, typing, editing and loving encouragement.

Saroja Ilangovan, M.D.

May 18, 2009

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The Enlightenment Vision: Science, Reason, and the Promise of a Better Future
                     By: Stuart Jordan, president, Institute for Science and Human Values

Binding: Hardcover Pages: 284
ISBN: 978-1-61614-640-5 Shipping Weight: 2lbs
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Prometheus Books.
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“From Enlightenment lessons to the prospects for planetary humanism, Stuart Jordan casts an epochal eye on humankind’s progress and asks, if the primary goal of the Enlightenment was a higher state of civilization for all, are we any closer to achieving it today? Forget about what you believe—if you think the human species can ultimately survive, read this book and find out why.”

—Jennifer Bardi, editor, The Humanist

“This is the author’s personal grand tour of the age of reason, from its pioneers to modern practitioners and beyond: a critique of their methods, successes, and failures; and an examination of the underlying human strengths, weaknesses, and failures that affect the pace and prospects for realizing the Enlightenment vision. [Jordan] advocates truth, transparency, and the teaching of critical analysis as antidotes to disinformation and propaganda.”

—Goetz K. Oertel, PhD, physicist, astronomer, techno-manager, and president emeritus, Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy

In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, a major cultural shift took place in western Europe. Leading thinkers began to emphasize the use of reason to tackle the challenges of material and social life, and they questioned the tenets of Christianity concerning the existence of God, the purpose of life, and the needs of the individual. Instead of religion, intellectuals put their faith in science and humanistic ethics in the hope of improving the secular lives of people everywhere. Today we call this development the Enlightenment. Contemporary society is the principal beneficiary of Enlightenment discoveries.

In this thought-provoking analysis, physicist Stuart Jordan evaluates the progress that global society has made since the Enlightenment. The author begins by pointing out features of present-day society that are the direct descendants of the Enlightenment’s discoveries and advances: our technology, modern medicine, science-based worldview, democratic political institutions, and concepts of human rights are all an outgrowth of the pioneering efforts of Enlightenment reformers.

But along with these benefits, Jordon notes that we are also the inheritors of some significant problems produced in the wake of these advances; overpopulation, nuclear proliferation, and global climate change are just some of the recent developments that seem to threaten the whole Enlightenment project. Also of great concern is the continuing economic disparity between prosperous and impoverished nations, as well as the persistence of widespread ignorance and destructive reactionary forces bent on provoking new conflicts.

Despite these and other daunting challenges of the twenty-first century, the author concludes on a cautiously optimistic note, predicting that the Enlightenment vision of prosperity, security, justice, and good health for all will eventually be achieved.

Stuart Jordan is a retired senior staff scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center and is currently president and board member of the Institute for Science and Human Values. He holds a doctorate in physics and astrophysics and is a Rhodes scholar.





Nathan Bupp

  In his extraordinary career, Paul Kurtz has distin­guished himself as an internationally recognized expert on American philosophy, secular humanism, critical thinking, ethics, and skepticism. In Meaning and Value in a Secular Age, editor Nathan Bupp has compiled Kurtz’s seminal writings about eupraxsophy, a thoroughly secular moral vision that is rooted in science and em­phasizes ethical and exuberant living. Written with elo­quence and scope, these incisive essays show how Kurtz’s brand of humanism reaches above and beyond the cur­rent “new atheism” to successfully bridge the cultural divide between science and value, thereby providing a genuine and constructive alternative to religion. Bupp’s informative introduction helpfully places the concept of eupraxsophy in historical perspective, showing why it is critically important in the world today.

“With his pioneering spirit and relentless efforts, Paul Kurtz has done more to advance a positive image for a secular society devoid of religion than any other person in our generation and perhaps in history. In an era like ours of angry atheists he is a breath of fresh air. Eupraxsophy does matter if we want to change our world. This may be his most lasting contribution, so it’s wonderful to have all of these essays spanning his career together in one volume. Very highly recommended.”

Nathan Bupp (Amherst, NY) is the vice president of communications for the Institute for Science and Human Values. He is a former vice president at the Center for Inquiry and former associate editor of Free Inquiry, where his articles and book reviews have been published. He is a contributor to Dewey’s Enduring Impact, edited by John R. Shook and Paul Kurtz.

 To purchase this title:

Contact Prometheus Books at 800-421-0351 or visit your favorite local bookstore or online retailer.

African-American Humanism : An Anthology

By Norm R. Allen, Jr.


The Black Humanist Experience : An Alternative to Religion

By Norm R. Allen, Jr.

The first book dedicated entirely to humanists of African descent, The Black Humanist Experience gives African American humanists the opportunity to discuss their reasons for leaving the religious fold and embracing a humanist life stance. As a minority within a minority, African American humanists may often feel isolated and misunderstood. These thoughtful essays help to draw attention to the vitality of the humanist movement within the black community and they put many myths about humanists to rest.
Contrary to popular stereotypes, most humanists do not reject religion out of disillusionment, ignorance, desperation, or misanthropy. The contributors to this volume demonstrate that the decision to adopt the humanist viewpoint is based on intellectual honesty and the best information provided by science, history, comparative religion, and other scholarly disciplines. Moreover, they show that a central concern of humanists of all races is preservation and promotion of what humanist philosopher Paul Kurtz calls "the common moral decencies" shared by most religious and ethical systems.
At a time when faith-based organizations are favored politically, especially within the black community, this timely collection of essays shows that humanism, with its emphasis on reason, free inquiry, moral decency, and justice, offers much to the challenges facing African Americans.

Book Binding: Paperback


© Institute for Science and Human Values