Paul Kurtz

As you probably know already, Paul Kurtz is gone.

The Center for Inquiry marks with great sadness the passing of Paul Kurtz, founder and longtime chair of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry, the Council for Secular Humanism, and the Center for Inquiry, who died at the age of 86. A philosopher, activist, and author, Kurtz was for a half-century among the most significant and impactful figures in the humanist and skeptic movements.

“Impactful”…ah well, I won’t do a fogeyism about it. Anyway yes, he was.

Kurtz’s legacy includes the above organizations, the creation of the skeptics’ magazine Skeptical Inquirer, the secular humanist magazine Free Inquiry, independent publisher Prometheus Books, and a library of books and scholarly articles that will continue to inform discussions of morality, ethics, reason, and religion for generations to come.

I knew him a little. I was at CFI Amherst for almost three weeks in 2007; I did a talk and hung out. PK was a fan of B&W at the time, and he was pleasant to me. He took a bunch of us to lunch one day and invited me to go in his car. We talked about B&W and he said (very flatteringly, so perhaps not truthfully) that he’d had thoughts of setting up a skeptical inquiry website but then decided it would just duplicate B&W so why bother.

Free Inquiry has been one of my favorite magazines for years and years, with Skeptical Inquirer close behind it. I have a lot of Prometheus books on my shelves. I’m not the only one.

I’m grateful for all of it. I’m not the only one.


  1. UnknownEric says

    I can’t believe I lived in Buffalo for 25 years (including two years at SUNY Buffalo getting my MLS) and had no idea I had such a giant in the vicinity.

  2. says

    CFI Amherst is right across the street (Sweet Home Road) from the north campus of SUNY Buffalo. :- )

    Mind you, since that campus is about the size of Delaware, it’s probably very easy to miss some of the surroundings.

  3. ShowMetheData says

    Prometheus Books – that’s the only publishing house I’ve ever heard of. They are the books I want when I don’t know yet what I want.

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