Monday, October 22, 2012

Deceased--Paul Kurtz

Paul Kurtz
December 21st, 1925 to October 20th, 2012
"Philosopher, secular humanist and religion skeptic Paul Kurtz dies at 86 in New York"

October 22nd, 2012

Associated Press

Paul Kurtz, who sought to debunk psychics, astrologers and anything related to the paranormal, has died. He was 86.

The secular humanist philosopher died Saturday at his home in the Buffalo suburb of Amherst. His death was announced Monday by the Center for Inquiry, which he founded. His family isn’t releasing the cause.

Kurtz founded the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry and The Skeptical Inquirer magazine, which advocates relying on science and reason to examine everything from alien sightings to homeopathic remedies.

He also was a well-known voice for the idea that decisions and behavior should be guided by science and reason over religion.

A World War II veteran, Kurtz earned a doctorate in philosophy at Columbia University and taught philosophy at several colleges.

"Paul Kurtz dies at 86; secular humanist philosopher"

Kurtz, who taught philosophy, saw secular humanism as a way to encourage people to find wisdom, happiness and moral awareness without a god.


Elaine Woo

October 28th, 2012

Los Angeles Times

Philosopher Paul Kurtz was called many unflattering names during his long career, including "Satanic free-thinker" and "dangerous corrupter of young minds."

But the name some of his critics considered most damning was the one he most prized.

They called him a secular humanist.

"You can call me a skeptic, a non-theist, an atheist, an agnostic, a skeptical, agnostic atheist, but the best term," Kurtz, a champion of science and debunker of religions and the supernatural, told the Associated Press years ago, "is secular humanist. I have a philosophy, a point of view, and I express it."

Kurtz, a forceful leader of the secular humanism movement that holds human freedom and creativity supreme, died Oct. 20 at his home in Amherst, N.Y. He was 86.

His son Jonathan said Kurtz had heart problems but declined to give an exact cause of death.

Kurtz taught philosophy at State University of New York at Buffalo for 26 years but was not an ivory tower recluse. An admirer of pragmatist John Dewey, he "wanted to bring philosophy from the ivory tower and deliver it to people," his son said. This stance led Kurtz to create the magazines Skeptical Inquirer and Free Inquiry, the journal Human Prospect and the publishing company Prometheus Books.

He also founded several organizations, the most prominent being the 21-year-old Center for Inquiry, a New York-based group dedicated to fostering a society based on science, reason, freedom of inquiry and humanist values.

Kurtz, who grew up with a Jewish background, criticized religion but was more than an atheist. He viewed secular humanism as a positive philosophy that encourages people to find wisdom, happiness and moral awareness without God, by improving life for oneself and others in the here and now. He coined the term Eupraxsophy to describe a nonreligious approach to life.

"No god will save us," he declared as principal author of the Humanist Manifesto II, a 1973 document signed by such prominent thinkers as philosopher Sidney Hook, writer Isaac Asimov and scientist Francis Crick, "we must save ourselves."

Nor did Kurtz believe in parapsychology, extraterrestrials, the effectiveness of chiropractic, Bigfoot or other phenomena that seem to defy scientific explanation. He assembled panels of experts to submit the most mystifying claims to critical scrutiny through the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal, which he founded in 1976 with magician James Randi and others. It reports on its investigations in Skeptical Inquirer magazine.

"He was the greatest free thought leader in America since the passing of John Dewey," said Stuart Jordan, a former NASA scientist and president of the Institute for Science and Human Values, which Kurtz launched in 2010 after resigning his positions at the Center for Inquiry because of irreconcilable differences with its leadership.

In 2008, when he was nearing 82, he supported the decision of the Center for Inquiry board to hire Washington, D.C., attorney Ronald A. Lindsay as chief executive. Kurtz clashed with the new chief over personnel changes and what he perceived as a wrong-headed turn away from humanism to "angry atheism."

Although he wasn't above such antics as Skeptical Inquirer's "Foot in Mouth Disease Award" (which went to the Rev. Jerry Falwell in 2002 for blaming the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in part on feminists, pagans and abortionists), Kurtz was dismayed by Lindsay's leadership, citing in particular his support of International Blasphemy Rights Day with contests for cartoons and slogans illustrating forms of blasphemy. Kurtz found the whole affair sophomoric and gimmicky.

"Paul was very tolerant and open-minded," said Jordan, who also has served as the center's science advisor, "but because he raised the money, once the dialogue was over he acted a little more like a field marshal.... There aren't many entrepreneurs who have not been a little like that — intense, passionate people who have good ideas and an understandable tendency to say, 'Let's do it my way.'"

Kurtz was born in Newark, N.J., on Dec. 31, 1925, the son of a free-thinking businessman and a homemaker. He was not raised Jewish and for a time affiliated with the Unitarian Church. He left when he realized "you can lead a good life without being a member of a church," according to a 1987 Chicago Tribune interview.

He enlisted in the Army at 17 and fought in the Battle of the Bulge during World War II. Later he met survivors of Nazi brutality at the Buchenwald and Dachau concentration camps, a searing experience. Throughout the war he carried a copy of Plato's Republic, the classic dialogue on the meaning of justice.

After the war he studied philosophy at New York University under Hook, a student of Dewey who became a prominent philosopher of the pragmatist school. He earned a bachelor's degree in 1948 before obtaining his master's and doctoral degrees in philosophy at Columbia, in 1949 and 1952. He taught at Trinity College in Connecticut before returning to New York for appointments at Vassar College and Union College. He joined SUNY Buffalo in 1965 and retired in 1991.

In addition to his son, he is survived by his wife, Claudine; three daughters and five grandchildren.

He wrote or edited more than 45 books, the last of which is a work on planetary ethics scheduled to be released by Prometheus next year.

Jonathan Kurtz said his father was not afraid of death and spent a "joyful" final day telling jokes and discussing his favorite football team. "His true religion," his son said, "was the NFL and the Buffalo Bills."

He took, not surprisingly, a philosophical approach to death.

"If I went to heaven or hell," he once said, "I'd try to create a revolution. I'd immediately pass out pamphlets, asking God to change the furniture in the universe and reorder it in a more just way.

"This is hypothetical, of course."

"Paul Kurtz, 86, Humanist Publisher, Dies"


Bruce Weber

October 23rd, 2012

The New York Times

Paul Kurtz, a philosopher whose advocacy of reason ahead of faith helped define contemporary secular humanism, died on Saturday at his home in Amherst, N.Y. He was 86.

He had been treated for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, said his son, Jonathan, who is the president of Prometheus Books, the publishing house his father founded in 1969, and who confirmed the death.

Professor Kurtz taught philosophy at the University at Buffalo, part of the State University of New York, from 1965 until his retirement as professor emeritus in 1991. But his wider influence came as a publisher of books and magazines devoted to fact-based, rather than faith-based, solutions to human problems, and as a writer who, in more than 40 books and hundreds of articles, promoted an ethical system independent of religion.

Professor Kurtz founded the Center for Inquiry, which promotes evidence-based reasoning and opposes organized religion, and the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal (known as Csicop), which is dedicated to debunking pseudosciences.

In 1973, as editor of the magazine The Humanist, Professor Kurtz drafted what came to be known as Humanist Manifesto II, in which he updated a 1933 document by addressing issues that the earlier document, which was largely a critique of theism, had failed to touch on, among them nuclear arms, population control, racism and sexism.

The document was signed by 120 religious leaders, philosophers, scientists and writers, including the dissident Soviet physicist Andrei D. Sakharov; Dr. Francis Crick, a discoverer of the structure of the DNA molecule; and the novelist Isaac Asimov. It argued for a system of world law that would “transcend the limits of national sovereignty.”

“Traditional dogmatic or authoritarian religions that place revelation, God, ritual or creed above human needs and experience do a disservice to the human species,” the document said.

In its best-known dictum, it declared, “No deity will save us; we must save ourselves.”
In 1980, in response to the conservative religious movement the Moral Majority, Professor Kurtz founded the journal Free Inquiry. In its inaugural issue he drafted another statement, “A Secular Humanist Declaration,” in which he warned that “the reappearance of dogmatic authoritarian religions” had become a threat to intellectual freedom, human rights and scientific progress. The statement, signed by 61 scholars, directed its objections toward “fundamentalist, literalist and doctrinaire Christianity; a rapidly growing and uncompromising Muslim clericalism in the Middle East and Asia; the reassertion of orthodox authority by the Roman Catholic papal hierarchy; nationalist religious Judaism; and the reversion to obscurantist religions in Asia.”

Not surprisingly, Professor Kurtz and the secular humanist movement drew the wrath of the religious.

“Humanism is basically Satan’s philosophy and program,” the evangelist H. Edward Rowe wrote in a 1976 book, “Save America.” “Certain features of it may sound reasonable, but it always leads to tragedy, simply because it ignores the guidance of God.”

Humanists in general and Professor Kurtz in particular have also been criticized by some atheists as not aggressive enough in opposing the credibility of religious myths. But Professor Kurtz wrote that humanists, who “may be agnostics, atheists or skeptics,” believed that their obligation was to go beyond deriding religion. In 2009, he resigned from the board of the Center for Inquiry, in part because he felt it was on too contentious a path.

“If religion is being weakened, what replaces it in secular society?” Professor Kurtz said in an interview with The New York Times in 2010. “Most of my colleagues are concerned with critiquing the concept of God. That is important, but equally important is, where do you turn?”

Paul Winter Kurtz was born in Newark on Dec. 21, 1925. His father was a restaurateur in Irvington, N.J. He attended public schools and enrolled in New York University but soon left to enlist in the Army during World War II. He fought in the Battle of the Bulge and entered the concentration camps at Buchenwald and Dachau shortly after their liberation, helping with the care of survivors.

After the war he returned to N.Y.U., where he studied with the philosopher Sidney Hook. He graduated in 1948 and went on to earn an M.A. and a Ph.D. in philosophy from Columbia.

Before Professor Kurtz landed in Buffalo, he taught at Trinity, Vassar and Union Colleges. In addition to editing The Humanist and Free Inquiry, he was the founding editor of Skeptical Inquirer, a magazine that sought to debunk paranormal phenomena, sightings of Bigfoot and extraterrestrials, communications with the dead, and other pseudoscientific claims.

Among his books on humanism is “Forbidden Fruit: The Ethics of Secularism” (2008), a prescription for living a happy, productive life free of religious dogma.

Professor Kurtz’s first marriage ended in divorce. In addition to his son, he is survived by his wife, the former Claudine Vial, whom he married in 1961; a brother, James; a sister, Evelyn Mayer; three daughters, Valerie Fehrenback, Patricia Kurtz and Anne Kurtz; and five grandchildren. After his split with the Center for Inquiry, Professor Kurtz started the Institute for Science and Human Values and the journal The Human Prospect. Prometheus Books, which publishes more than 100 books a year — fiction and nonfiction — has a back list of more than 2,500 titles. In March, it will publish Professor Kurtz’s final book, “The Turbulent Universe,” a treatise on how nations and people can come together as one world.

“He founded Prometheus as a hobby,” Jonathan Kurtz said, “and for the rest of his life he referred to it as the hobby that got out of control.”

"Paul Kurtz, 1925-2012"

Skeptical Inquirer Magazine

Paul Kurtz, founder and longtime chair of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry, the Council for Secular Humanism, and the Center for Inquiry, has died at the age of 86. He was one of the most influential figures in the humanist and skeptical movements from the late 1960s through the first decade of the twenty-first century. Among his best-known creations are the skeptics’ magazine Skeptical Inquirer, the secular humanist magazine Free Inquiry, and the independent publisher Prometheus Books.

Early Life. 

Paul Kurtz was born on December 21, 1925, to Martin and Sarah Kurtz of Newark, New Jersey. He enrolled briefly at Washington Square College of New York University before enlisting in the U. S. Army at age 19, at the height of World War II. He fought in the Battle of the Bulge and served in a unit that liberated the Dachau concentration camp. He was demobilized eighteen months after the war’s end and resumed his studies at New York University (NYU).

At NYU Kurtz studied philosophy under Sidney Hook, who had himself been a protégé of the pragmatist philosopher John Dewey. The philosophy of Dewey and Hook, arguably the greatest American thinkers in the humanist tradition, would deeply influence Kurtz’s thought and activism. Kurtz graduated from NYU in 1948 and earned his Ph. D. in philosophy at Columbia University in 1952.

Academic Career. 

Kurtz taught philosophy at Trinity College from 1952 to 1959. He joined the faculty at Union College from 1961 to 1965; during this period he was also a visiting lecturer at the New School for Social Research. In 1965 he was recruited by the new State University of New York at Buffalo. The former University of Buffalo had recently been absorbed into the state university system; under Governor Nelson Rockefeller, the institution launched an aggressive program to recruit top young academics to its faculty. Kurtz became professor of philosophy at SUNY-Buffalo, a post he held until his retirement from teaching in 1991. At this stage of his career, Kurtz focused principally on methods of objective inquiry and the history of American philosophy. He contributed the significant entry “American Philosophy” to the influential first edition of the Encyclopedia of Philosophy (1967), edited by Paul Edwards. He edited two large anthologies of American philosophy and published his best-known scholarly work, Decision and the Condition of Man (1968).

The Humanist Movement. 

It was in the late 1960s that Kurtz embarked on the pursuit whose prominence would exceed even that of his career as a philosopher, when he began his involvement with the humanist movement. In 1967 he was named editor of The Humanist, published by the American Humanist Association (AHA), then the nation’s only significant humanist organization. He took the magazine in new directions, both by making its content more sharply critical of religion and by using aggressive techniques to expand its circulation. Arguably, The Humanist never enjoyed greater cultural prominence or higher circulation than during Kurtz’s editorship, but his forceful style led to friction with others within AHA, including some members of its board of directors. Kurtz gave up editorship of The Humanist and parted ways with AHA in 1978. Ironically, that was the very year in which, owing to Kurtz’s influence, AHA moved its headquarters from San Francisco to Amherst, New York, the location of SUNY-Buffalo’s suburban campus. (AHA would remain headquartered off Harlem Road in Amherst until it moved to Washington, D. C., in 2000.)

Kurtz was for more than a quarter-century an influential figure in the International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU), a worldwide network of national humanist organizations founded in Amsterdam in 1952. He joined IHEU’s board of directors in 1969 and served as the organization’s co-chairman from 1986 to 1994. During this period, Kurtz hosted IHEU’s Tenth World Congress, held at SUNY-Buffalo during the summer of 1988.

The Kurtz-founded Organizations. Kurtz would be better known for his work through organizations he founded and shaped from their inception.

In 1969 he founded Prometheus Books, a for-profit publishing company that quickly emerged as the dominant imprint in skepticism, humanism, and atheism. It would become the most prolific publisher of atheist and humanist titles in history. Since its founding it has published more than 2500 titles in what has become a broad range of genres. Significant milestones included the 1998 acquisition of most of the assets of the scholarly publisher Humanities Press International, giving rise to Prometheus’s imprint Humanity Books, and the formation in 2005 of its Pyr division, which has emerged as a prestige imprint for science fiction and fantasy fiction. Now led by Paul Kurtz’s son Jonathan, the most impressive achievement of Prometheus Books may be that it has retained its independence during five decades in which an enormous number of independent publishers closed down or were absorbed. Paul Kurtz was perhaps best known for the three mutually supportive not-for-profit organizations he founded in Buffalo and later Amherst, New York, now known as the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry, the Council for Secular Humanism, and the Center for Inquiry.

Kurtz and others founded the world’s first organization devoted solely to scientific criticism of paranormal claims at an April 1976 conference at SUNY-Buffalo whose participants included author Isaac Asimov, author-mathematician Martin Gardner, and magician James Randi. The organization was originally known as the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal, and became widely known by its acronym, CSICOP. Several months after its formation CSICOP launched a journal, The Zetetic, which later achieved great prominence as the Skeptical Inquirer, which continues to be published bimonthly. During its early years CSICOP encouraged the formation of local skeptics groups across the United States, and of independent national skeptics organizations across the world. These groups would form the kernel of today’s international skeptical movement. In 2006, the organization shortened its name to the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry, partly to show that its concerns now extended beyond its original focus on paranormal claims to include the public understanding of science and issues in medicine and mental health.

In 1980, two years after his departure from the American Humanist Association, Kurtz launched a new, more explicitly nonreligious humanist organization, the Council for Democratic and Secular Humanism (CODESH). The word “Democratic” was added to demonstrate the group’s opposition to Communist totalitarianism, an important consideration since non-theism was then strongly associated with Communism in the public mind. The new organization’s first act was to release A Secular Humanist Declaration, a position document originally signed by 57 distinguished activists and academics. Its release was covered in a front-page story in the New York Times. The Council simultaneously launched a journal, Free Inquiry, with Kurtz as its publisher and founding editor. Free Inquiry quickly became the best-respected and highest-circulation humanist magazine in the U. S. It continues to be published bimonthly.

In 1996, in response to the collapse of European Communism, the organization shortened its name to the Council for Secular Humanism. It maintains a network of independent local groups, operates North America’s only freethought museum, and engages in a variety of educational and advocacy activities. Since 2007 the Council has been lead plaintiff in a lawsuit that challenges contracts between the state of Florida and explicitly religious social service providers.

In 1991, Kurtz’s skeptical and secular-humanist organizations relocated from Buffalo to Amherst, New York. In the same year Kurtz founded a third major non-profit organization, the Center for Inquiry. Originally conceived as a platform for consolidating activities that CSICOP and CODESH conducted in parallel, from magazine production to payroll, the Center grew into an advocacy organization in its own right. Its agenda encompassed both CSICOP’s skepticism and CODESH’s secular humanism, placing both in a broader cultural and intellectual context. In addition to the Center for Inquiry headquarters campus in Amherst, which Kurtz expanded to some 35,000 square feet, there at various times more than fifty branch Centers for Inquiry operated in other American cities and across the world, employing a variety of operating models. From its transnational headquarters at Amherst, the Center conducted a wide range of educational programs, including an online master’s degree program in conjunction with the University at Buffalo. Its research libraries hold the world’s largest collections of humanist, skeptical, and related literature.

Awards and Recognitions. 

Paul Kurtz received numerous awards and other encomia. In 1992 he was named a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. In 1996 the main-belt asteroid Kurtz 6629 was named in his honor. In 2000 he received the International Rationalist Award at the Second International Rationalist Conference at Trivandrum, India. In 2001 he received the Charles P. Norton Medal, the highest award bestowed by the State University of New York at Buffalo. In 2009 he received the Eupraxsopher Award, a special lifetime achievement award, from the Center for Inquiry, as well as the Philip J. Klass Award from the National Capital Area Skeptics. In 2010 he received a lifetime achievement award at The Amazing Meeting (TAM) sponsored by the James Randi Educational Foundation.


Paul Kurtz wrote or edited more than fifty books for scholarly or general audiences. Among the better-known are Exuberance: A Philosophy of Happiness (1977); Forbidden Fruit: The Ethics of Humanism (1988); Eupraxophy: Living without Religion (1989); The Transcendental Temptation: A Critique of Religion and the Paranormal (1991); The New Skepticism: Inquiry and Reliable Knowledge (1992); and What Is Secular Humanism? (2006). His works have been translated into multiple languages. He composed a great number of essays, including editorials that appeared in every issue of Free Inquiry magazine from its founding in 1980 until 2009.

Kurtz was also organized humanism’s most prolific composer of position documents. When the joined the humanist movement, it was still strongly influenced by the Humanist Manifesto of 1933. Drafted and signed by Unitarian ministers (with the conspicuous exception of signer John Dewey), the original Manifesto explicitly envisioned humanism as a new religion. On Kurtz’s view, a more secular formulation was needed. As editor of The Humanist he led a campaign for a new and more relevant Manifesto. Humanist Manifesto II was published in 1973, having been co-drafted by Kurtz and fellow humanist leader Edwin H. Wilson. Where its predecessor was religious, Manifesto II explicitly abjured religiosity. In a passage reflecting Kurtz’s writing style, it declared: “Some humanists believe we should reinterpret traditional religions and reinvest them with meanings appropriate to the current situation. Such redefinitions … perpetuate old dependencies and escapisms; they easily become obscurantist, impeding the free use of the intellect. We need, instead, radically new human purposes and goals.”

Manifesto II was signed by 114 activists and thought leaders at first publication, and would eventually attract 261 distinguished signers. Its release garnered worldwide media attention including a front-page story in The New York Times.

The previously mentioned A Secular Humanist Declaration (1980) was drafted solely by Kurtz. It offered a secular humanist interpretation of many of the ideas developed in Manifesto II, but steeped in the recognition that an unquestionably nonreligious humanist institution needed to be created, close to but slightly outside of a larger humanist movement that included both religious and nonreligious humanists.

In the late 1990s Kurtz began to compose a new successor document. Originally he planned to title it Humanist Manifesto III, asserting the right to do so as the sole living co-author of Manifesto II. After the American Humanist Association asserted ownership of the Manifesto title and threatened legal action, Kurtz retitled his document
Humanist Manifesto 2000.

Humanist Manifesto 2000: A Call for a New Planetary Humanism was issued in 1999 with about 200 signatures. It was book-length, far lengthier than the previous Manifestos, and represented the fullest statement of Kurtz’s vision for humanism as a planetary commitment transcending national and ethnic identities. Besides challenging religion and championing the scientific outlook and freedom of thought, Kurtz called for a popularly elected global parliament, a World Court, a global environmental monitoring institution, and a new international tax to aid the developing world. These internationalist contentions engendered substantial controversy within the humanist movement.

Principal Contentions. 

Kurtz consistently asserted that morality should be rooted in human flourishing and happiness, not on supernatural revelation. He attached high priority to individual liberty in a robustly democratic culture. His ethics were primarily utilitarian, but he tempered his utilitarianism with a strong commitment to basic liberties. As early as 1969 he had written that “there are two basic and minimal principles which especially seem to characterize humanism. First, there is a rejection of any supernatural conception of the universe and a denial that man has any privileged place within nature. Second, there is an affirmation that ethical values are human and have no meaning independent of human experience.” Repeatedly he characterized secular humanism less as a set of moral or philosophical prescriptions than as a process, a template for the conduct of ethical inquiry.

Two further contentions strongly influenced Kurtz’s thought and writing beginning in the mid-1980s. The first was his growing sense of humanism as necessarily planetary. He argued that since the principal problems confronting humankind were global in scope, they required transnational solutions. This view was accompanied by an assertive cosmopolitanism that viewed traditional religious, ethnic, and national identities as archaisms to be jettisoned whenever possible.

In addition, he sought an authoritative answer to the question “If secular humanism is not a religion, what is it?” His solution was to coin a new word, eupraxophy (in later years spelled eupraxsophy). Formed from Greek roots meaning roughly “good wisdom and practice in conduct,” the word was meant to label a novel category of intellectual and moral systems that met some of the social needs served by religions without the supernaturalism or authoritarianism of traditional faiths. Kurtz made his most extended argument for the coinage in his 1989 book Eupraxophy: Living without Religion. A subsequent edition was titled Living without Religion: Eupraxsophy. The neologism’s move from title to subtitle reflected the coinage’s fate. Kurtz’s arguments for eupraxsophy were received respectfully, and some activists eagerly restyled themselves “eupraxsophers.” Ultimately, however, the term failed to maintain traction and it is infrequently used in the movement today.

Later Life. 

While Kurtz’s son Jonathan had succeeded him as president of Prometheus Books, Kurtz continued to exercise day-to-day control of the non-profit organizations he had founded well past his eightieth birthday. After 2005 there was heightened concern on the part of the organizations’ directors to implement a specific succession process. In June 2008, attorney and philosopher Ronald A. Lindsay succeeded Kurtz as president and CEO of the Center for Inquiry, the Council for Secular Humanism, and the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry. Lindsay was Kurtz’s personal selection for the position. Kurtz continued to serve as board chair until June 2009, when Buffalo investment advisor Richard Schroeder was elected Chair and Kurtz assumed the new position of Chair Emeritus. Kurtz faced this process with increasing reluctance, and on May 18, 2010, he announced his resignation from all of his remaining positions at the three nonprofit organizations. His office continued to be reserved for his use whenever the Center for Inquiry – Transnational in Amherst was open.

Late in 2010, Kurtz announced the founding of a new organization, the Institute for Science and Human Values. It released a manifesto-style document titled Neo-Humanist Statement of Secular Principles and Values with more than 150 signers and announced a new quarterly journal, The Human Prospect.


Ultimately, Paul Kurtz did much to shape the American and world humanist movements during the final third of the twentieth century. He was a prodigious organizer, responsible for much of the social landscape through which nonreligious Americans moved before the emergence of the so-called New Atheist movement in the middle 2000s. At the same time, a vibrant and varied skeptics’ community now served by dozens of local and national organizations might not exist at all – and surely would not have its current form – if not for Kurtz’s founding of the first modern skeptical organization, CSICOP. His most enduring legacy may be the Center for Inquiry, which continues to stand as the larger movement’s largest, most active, and highest-budgeted organization. 

Paul Kurtz [Wikipedia]

Skeptical Inquirer Magazine

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