The Humanist Hour #192: Susan Sackett & Scott Lohman on the Humanism of Star Trek

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Gene Roddenberry was openly humanist, and his best-known creation, Star Trek, reflects his views in many ways. Our guests this week talk about how Star Trek informed their humanism and how they use the show to educate others about humanism.

Susan Sackett became Roddenberry’s executive assistant in the mid-1970s and a humanist shortly thereafter. She contributed story ideas for two episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation and worked with Roddenberry until his death. She joins us to talk about her career with Roddenberry, working with some of the Star Trek original series actors, and her career in humanism after Roddenberry’s death. Sackett also serves on the AHA Board of Directors.

Scott Lohman is the former president of the Humanists of Minnesota and a self-professed “serious geek.” He runs Diversicon, a science fiction convention in Minnesota, and gives presentations on humanist principles using examples from Star Trek. He joins us to talk about teaching Star Trek to children at Camp Quest.

Susan’s links:

Scott’s links:

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  • Ethics

    Humanists have a great opportunity to promote the philosophy by supporting fan-created Star Trek shows. “Star Trek Coninues” produces new episodes with the original characters, and the results are as good — or better — as the first series. Your donation to Star Trek Continues is also tax deductible! Another promising project is “Star Trek: Captain Pike,” currently in production. This project has some amazing actors involved. Both have Facebook pages, and both would welcome your funding, Each show will draw more people to a universe where reason, optimism, empathy, and diversity are central features.

  • iconoclast73

    Star Trek left a great impression on me growing up – it presented a positive view of the future with people for the most part having moved past money-grubbing, partisan politics, and worshiping quirky deities. In those days, you couldn’t overtly promote a humanist message – you had to kind of sneak it in. Roddenberry was great at that.

  • John Thomas Saglime Jr

    Roddenberry could be a flawed man at times, but his original vision of the future was a bright one. The perfect balance of hope, unity, and courage. The Enterprise represents to me what humanity can be, a diverse collection of self-actualized individuals determined to explore what the galaxy has to offer and yet willing to defend what is right, standing against the evils of the world.

  • Over a decade ago, just when my son was ready for kindergarten, we watched some episodes of Enterprise which was being first televised. Just the two of us, like a ritual. Since then we’ve seen every episode of every Star Trek series and we are currently half-way through ST:TNG for the second time, usually over a leisurely dinner.
    I had an idea that this would be the best way to innoculate my son against the craziness of religion and show him the bigger picture of Life, the Universe and our unique human destiny. I recommend it to every parent. I am confident that this simple and enjoyable quality time with my son has done him more good than any other part of his education.
    South Hadley, MA