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Mon Oct 22, 2012, 12:27 PM

Philosopher, secular humanist and religion skeptic Paul Kurtz dies at 86 in New York

Source: AP (via Washington Post)

AMHERST, N.Y. — 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.


Read more: http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/obituaries/philosopher-secular-humanist-and-religion-skeptic-paul-kurtz-dies-at-86-in-new-york/2012/10/22/e3d1a378-1c60-11e2-8817-41b9a7aaabc7_story.html

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Response to Warren Stupidity (Original post)

Mon Oct 22, 2012, 12:37 PM

1. He was one of the good guys and his magazine was well edited. I read it and its companion

 

for years.
Thanks for the post; I hadn't heard of his passing before.

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Response to Warren Stupidity (Original post)

Mon Oct 22, 2012, 12:41 PM

2. ... Paul Kurtz founded the Center for Inquiry three decades ago to offer a positive alternative

to religion. He has built alliances with religious groups over issues such as climate change and opposing creationism in the public schools. Kurtz says he was ousted in a "palace coup" last year — and he worries the new atheists will set the movement back.

"I consider them atheist fundamentalists," he says. "They're anti-religious, and they're mean-spirited, unfortunately. Now, they're very good atheists and very dedicated people who do not believe in God. But you have this aggressive and militant phase of atheism, and that does more damage than good."

He hopes this new approach will fizzle.

"Merely to critically attack religious beliefs is not sufficient. It leaves a vacuum. What are you for? We know what you're against, but what do you want to defend?" ...

A Bitter Rift Divides Atheists
by Barbara Bradley Hagerty
October 19, 2009
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=113889251

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Response to struggle4progress (Reply #2)

Tue Oct 23, 2012, 12:14 PM

13. Its the nature of the beast

 

Atheism isn't a comprehensive belief set or even a "natural" conclusion, but a reaction in a radical world to the insanity of religion and its incongruence with reality (by residents of that very radical world). And perhaps Einstein is correct that to take the leap and adopt the label requires a fair bit of arrogance--and we should know what a room full of arrogant zealots (those abscribing to science for truth) may come to.

Though some may disagree, I do not "believe" a society of atheists has any better shot at running the asylum than the lunatics gathering for mass each sunday.

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Response to Warren Stupidity (Original post)

Mon Oct 22, 2012, 12:46 PM

3. ... In June 2009, at odds with Mr. Lindsay, Mr. Kurtz was voted out as the center’s chairman. In May

he resigned from the board altogether ...

... Mr. Kurtz’s second complaint goes beyond internecine power struggles. He said that Mr. Lindsay was turning the center away from Mr. Kurtz’s humanist philosophy and toward negative, angry atheism ...

Angry atheism does not work,” Mr. Kurtz said. “It has to be friendly, cooperative relations with people of other points of view.” To that end, he and several former employees of the center are starting a new organization, the Institute for Science and Human Values.

Does Mr. Lindsay really have a different vision for the Center for Inquiry? Is it hard-line atheism versus a more positive humanism? Mr. Lindsay and the employees who remain dispute Mr. Kurtz’s portrayal of them as angry atheists. In a blog post, Mr. Lindsay defended the day of blasphemy as a reminder that the right to blaspheme is curtailed in much of the world and so “remains a live issue for anyone concerned about human rights.” And he countered that magazines run by Mr. Kurtz had long published cartoons critical of religio. ...

Closer Look at Rift Between Humanists Reveals Deeper Divisions
By MARK OPPENHEIMER
Published: October 1, 2010
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/02/us/02beliefs.html?_r=0

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Response to struggle4progress (Reply #3)

Mon Oct 22, 2012, 01:40 PM

4. I stopped subscibing about this time but I had no idea Kurtz was forced

 

out.
I was an original subscriber, I guess, 30 years ago and quit when they gave too much space to Popper and his wacko idea that evolutionary science is not a science because it's not - in his view - falsifiable.
I went back several years later and learned that Popper recanted.
Free Inquiry was a valuable magazine.

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Response to Warren Stupidity (Original post)

Mon Oct 22, 2012, 02:14 PM

5. I subscribe to the Free Inquiry magazine until Paul Kurtz

wrote that he supported the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians at Israel's creation. He seems to have gotten his racist views from Alan Dershowitz, whom he supported in the Free Inquiry magazine.

He also pushed some Islamophobic stereotypes in the Free Inquiry magazine.

I, and I'm sure many others, wrote a letter complaining about his support for the ethnic cleansing campaign by the Zionists. He wrote a very defensive letter after that explaining his position.

I find that people with similar racist viewpoints as Paul Kurtz dominate the so-called "Humanist" movement. "Humanists," and any other movement, can't represent non-believers since non-believers are very diverse.

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Response to cpwm17 (Reply #5)

Mon Oct 22, 2012, 02:23 PM

7. I guess I was on hiatus when this atrcious thing happened.

 

Kurtz never lost his love for Nat Hentoff either whose pull date was in the 1980s.
But still, I felt I learned a lot from the times I did subscribe.
Thanks for posting about the genocide of the Zionists.

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Response to byeya (Reply #7)

Mon Oct 22, 2012, 05:31 PM

10. Nat Hentoff, in typical "Humanist" fashion, supported the Iraq War.

The same with Hitchens, who also wrote for the Free Inquiry. Though I have no knowledge of Paul Kurtz supporting that war.

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Response to cpwm17 (Reply #10)

Mon Oct 22, 2012, 06:34 PM

11. Hitchens was often good at polemics but, unlike Gore Vidal, he seemed not

 

to care about the excesses of our monied "betters" during the last years of his life.
Still, I continue to like Hitchens book about Mother Teresa.

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Response to Warren Stupidity (Original post)

Mon Oct 22, 2012, 02:19 PM

6. Crap. Why couldn't it have been Pat Robertson.

Rest in peace in the nonexistent afterlife, Mr. Kurtz.

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Response to Warren Stupidity (Original post)

Mon Oct 22, 2012, 02:39 PM

8. I guess he is no longer a skeptic.....

one way or the other!

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Response to whistler162 (Reply #8)

Mon Oct 22, 2012, 04:29 PM

9. skeptcism admits the possibilty of being convinced by evidence

so I see no reason why, should there be an afterlife, he would cease to be a skeptic.

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Response to whistler162 (Reply #8)

Tue Oct 23, 2012, 12:05 PM

12. He is no longer

 

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