Paul Kurtz – 1925 – 2012

Paul KurtzPaul Kurtz, often called the “father of secular humanism”, passed away on October 20, 2012. He was Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at the State University of New York at Buffalo.

Founder of both the Center for Inquiry and the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal, Kurtz actively promoted reason-based, as opposed to faith-based, approach to understanding and dealing with human problems. His not-for-profit publishing firm, Prometheus Books, publishes works critical of religion, pseudo-science and the reliance on theism as a basis for ethics and morality.

His influence in the humanist community can be gauged by the list of accomplishments:

Though seen as a forerunner of the “New Atheist” movement typified by Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris, he was as critical of the strident tone present in militant atheistic discourse as he was of supernaturalism and religious fundamentalism.

Of his better known books, “The Transcendental Temptation: A Critique of Religion and the Paranormal” and “In Defense of Secular Humanism” showcase Kurtz’s philosophy.

For more on Paul Kurtz, and links to some of his most influential writing, visit paulkurtz.net.