Friday, May 23, 2008

Center for Inquiry

[Note: The following is not an endorsement.]

Their general statement:

A Global Federation Committed to Science, Reason, Free Inquiry, Secularism, and Planetary Ethics

The purpose of the Center for Inquiry is to promote and defend reason, science, and freedom of inquiry in all areas of human endeavor. The Center for Inquiry is a transnational nonpartisan, nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization that encourages evidence-based inquiry into science, pseudoscience, medicine and health, religion, ethics, secularism, and society. The Center for Inquiry is not affiliated with, nor does it promote, any political party or political ideology.

Through education, research, publishing, and social services, it seeks to present affirmative alternatives based on scientific naturalism. The Center is also interested in providing rational ethical alternatives to the reigning paranormal and religious systems of belief, and in developing communities where like-minded individuals can meet and share experiences.

This appears to be a grassroots organization that wishes to establish and promote an empirical perspective in politics via the sciences as a source of knowledge and advocates a government based on the same even though they are non-political in advocacy or support of any established ideology or venue.

Their publications [electronic and print] include The Skeptical Inquirer, Free Inquiry, African-American Humanist Examiner, Family Matters, The Ingersoll Report, Skeptical Briefs, Secular Humanist Bulletin, Campus Inquirer, SOS International Newsletter, The Skeptic [United Kingdom], Pensar, New Skepticism [Peru], The Journal of Applied Philosophy [Peru], Common Sense [Russia], and three peer-reviewed academic journals: The Scientific Review of Alternative Medicine, The Scientific Review of Mental Health Practice, and Philo. They also have an accessible library.

Listed affiliates:

1.) The Committee for Skeptical Inquiry (CSI) encourages the critical investigation of paranormal and fringe-science claims from a responsible, scientific point of view and disseminates factual information about the results of such inquiries to the scientific community, the media, and the public. It also promotes science and scientific inquiry, critical thinking, science education, and the use of reason in examining important issues.

2.) The Council for Secular Humanism cultivates rational inquiry, ethical values, and human development through the advancement of secular humanism. To carry out its mission the Council for Secular Humanism sponsors publications, programs, and organizes meetings and other group activities.

3.) The Commission for Scientific Medicine and Mental Health (CSMMH) is devoted to the scientific examination of unproven alternative medicine and mental health therapies and the dissemination of investigative findings to the media, the academic community, and to the general public.

4.) The Committee for the Scientific Examination of Religion (CSER) is a research division of the Center for Inquiry. Since its 1983 founding in Washington, DC, the Committee has worked to encourage humanistic, critical and non-parochial approaches to the study of religious traditions and institutions and to develop programs which promote the public understanding of religion in an international context.

They have a published list of participants that include Martin Gardner [author and editor], Lawrence Krauss, Ph.D. [Professor of Physics and Astronomy at Case Western Reserve University], and Steven Weinberg, Ph.D. [Nobel Laureate (Physics) and Professor of Physics at the University of Texas].

Here is a sample:

In this paper, Dr. Forrest provides an insightful analysis of the intelligent design (ID) movement. She demonstrates convincingly that the ID movement is simply a continuation of creationism. Proponents of ID have tried to obscure this connection by use of scientific fig leafs, but their "science" turns out to be nothing more than religious doctrine. Forrest describes in detail the ID movement's plans to obtain public and political support for its agenda. This paper is a must read for anyone interested in the evolution/intelligent design controversy

Dr. Barbara Forrest is a professor of philosophy at Southeastern Louisiana University. She is a recognized expert on the intelligent design creationist movement, having published numerous articles and a book on this topic. She testified as an expert witness in Kitzmiller v. Dover School Board, the landmark case in which a group of parents successfully challenged an attempt to introduce the teaching of intelligent design into the public schools.

"Understanding The Intelligent Design Creationist Movement"

Center for Inquiry

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