In case you hadn’t heard, prominent secular humanist philosopher Paul Kurtz died this past weekend. He was 86. I take it most of the general public does not know Kurtz by name, but they should — he has a long list of impressive and meaningful accomplishments. Just take a look at the first paragraph of this detailed obituary:

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.

The New York Times has also published an obit worth reading:

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.

… 

“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?”

Indeed. It was good to have you around, Paul. 

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