Hnn | HNN Articles

The Convictions of a Humanist: Remembering Paul Kurtz

 

Humanists and atheists are mourning the death of humanist Dr. Paul Kurtz, former editor of the American Humanist Association’s Humanist magazine and founder of the Council for Secular Humanism, who died on Oct. 20, 2012 at the age of 86. His death means the loss of one of secular humanism’s most prominent advocates.

“Paul Kurtz worked tirelessly for decades to see secular humanism become accepted as an alternative philosophy to traditional religion,” said Roy Speckhardt, the executive director of the American Humanist Association. “The attention and guidance he gave to the humanist movement had an unmistakable global impact.”

Paul Kurtz served on the American Humanist Association Board of Directors from 1968-1981 and as editor of The Humanist magazine from 1967-1978 before establishing the Council for Secular Humanism.

In 1973 he worked with Edwin H. Wilson and the American Humanist Association to create the draft of what would become the Humanist Manifesto II (an updated Humanist Manifesto III was adopted in 2003).

“Humanism has been shaped by many people since the beginning of the 20th century, and Paul Kurtz was one of the greatest contributors to the development of our nontheistic philosophy,” Speckhardt said.

Kurtz published over 800 articles and authored more than 40 books, many of which have been translated into scores of languages.

In his most recent major statement, Kurtz declared, “Our planetary community is facing serious problems that can only be solved by cooperative global action.” In Neo-Humanism Statement of Secular Principles and Values: Personal, Progressive, and Planetary, published in 2010, Kurtz offered sixteen detailed recommendations for a humanistic world.

“These are the vital principles and values that a secular, personal, progressive, and planetary humanism proposes for humanity,” Kurtz wrote. “Today the campaign for equal rights and for a better life for everyone knows no boundaries. This is a common goal for the people of the world, worthy of our highest aspirations.”

In 2007 the American Humanist Association presented Kurtz with the Humanist Lifetime Achievement Award. During his acceptance speech, he stated, “I am a secular humanist because I am not religious. I draw my inspiration not from religion or spirituality, but from science, ethics, philosophy, and the arts.”

After leaving the Center for Inquiry and the Council for Secular Humanism, Kurtz established the Institute for Science and Human Values in 2010, a humanist think tank based in Tampa, Florida.

Kurtz was born on Dec. 21, 1925 in Newark, New Jersey. He received his BA from New York University in 1948. Columbia University was next, where in 1949 he earned his MA and his Ph.D. in philosophy was awarded in 1952.

Kurtz later became Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at the State University of New York at Buffalo. That post followed time teaching at Vassar, Trinity, and Union colleges, as well as the New School for Social Research.

Read Paul Kurtz’s speech, “The Convictions of a Humanist,” presented at the American Humanist Association 66th Annual Conference in Portland, Oregon in 2007 and published in the May/June 2008 issue of The Humanist.

blog comments powered by Disqus

American Humanist Association

We're happy to welcome a new chapter, Montgomery Humanists, to the American Huma...

18 hours ago

American Humanist Association

This week on the Humanist Hour Podcast, Bo Bennett and Kim Ellington speak with...

20 hours ago

American Humanist Association

As we have seen by the recent murders of three nonreligious bloggers—Ananta Bijo...

1 days ago

American Humanist Association

Jennifer Bardi, editor-in-chief of the Humanist magazine, recaps the AHA's 74th...

1 days ago

American Humanist Association

Prospective Student Webinar this Thursday! Considering the next class of The Hum...

1 days ago

American Humanist Association

Help the Louisville Atheists and Freethinkers represent humanists at this year's...

3 days ago

American Humanist Association

Humanist Pioneer Awardee Isaiah Smith, stands up for separation of church and st...

3 days ago

American Humanist Association

A South Carolina court has ruled that prayer in public school graduations doesn'...

3 days ago

American Humanist Association

Right-wing media loves terrorism stories, so how did they all manage to miss thi...

3 days ago

American Humanist Association

Omaha Metro Area Humanist Association, a chapter of AHA, is participating in Oma...

3 days ago

American Humanist Association

This week on the Humanist, Becky Garrison sits down with Quiet Company's Taylor...

4 days ago

American Humanist Association

Don't miss the Humanist "Ask Me Anything" session with Kristin Wintermute, Execu...

4 days ago

American Humanist Association

We love to see our fellow free-thinkers doing what they can to help out humanity...

4 days ago

American Humanist Association

With the number of Christians declining and the unaffiliated rising in the US, w...

4 days ago

American Humanist Association

Ethical Dilemma: How much would you change for your significant other's beliefs?

6 days ago

American Humanist Association

Happy Friday Everyone!

7 days ago

American Humanist Association

We're happy to welcome a new chapter, Palm Beach Humanists, to the American Huma...

7 days ago

American Humanist Association

Bob Diven, AHA celebrant in New Mexico, recently participated in a debate about...

7 days ago

American Humanist Association

Washington DC does something right, and we aren't talking about the feds!

8 days ago

American Humanist Association

On May 13, the AHA joined other members of the National Coalition for Public Edu...

8 days ago

American Humanist Association

Ethical Dilemma: What to do about a rude house guest. Tell us your experience w...

8 days ago

American Humanist Association

Don't miss the Humanist Institute's upcoming "Ask Me Anything" session with Kris...

9 days ago

American Humanist Association

On this week's episode of the Humanist Hour Podcast, Bo Bennett interviews singe...

9 days ago

American Humanist Association

A very happy 127th birthday to Inge Lehmann, the Danish seismologist and geophys...

9 days ago

American Humanist Association

Do community events like "Draw Mohammad" contests promote freedom of speech or j...

9 days ago