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

Hey, take a breather and complete this puzzle! You work so hard. You really do d...

3 days ago

American Humanist Association

It is unfortunate and far from fair when humanist celebrants are considered unof...

3 days ago

American Humanist Association

Here is a break down of how religious beliefs affect political choices.

3 days ago

American Humanist Association

We are all familiar with this case. It may have been played out a bit in the med...

6 days ago

American Humanist Association

It is likely many of you will prefer this quote over the last. Enjoy!

6 days ago

American Humanist Association

What is your opinion on the United States' level of cooperation with the ICC? T...

6 days ago

American Humanist Association

The Ethical Dilemma: Advice for an Isolated Teenage Atheist Get TheHumanist.co...

6 days ago

American Humanist Association

The AHA is mentioned in this article about Humanist of the Year Barney Frank.

7 days ago

American Humanist Association

Check out the latest Humanist Hour Podcast with Muhammad Syed and Hiba Krisht on...

7 days ago

American Humanist Association

The NY Daily News reports on our recent congressional briefing

7 days ago

American Humanist Association

Carroll County: A Small Maryland Community Gets Big Attention for All the Wrong...

7 days ago

American Humanist Association

Matthew Bulger, the AHA's legislative associate, reports on our first congressio...

8 days ago

American Humanist Association

We're happy to welcome a new chapter, Washington DC, Atheists, Humanists and Agn...

8 days ago

American Humanist Association

Check out some photos from yesterday's congressional briefing on humanist celebr...

8 days ago

American Humanist Association

Our first congressional briefing was a success! The room was completely packed w...

9 days ago

American Humanist Association

Wonder Works Day Camp in Moscow, Idaho has begun! The first day was a huge succe...

9 days ago

American Humanist Association

The briefing on military chaplaincy has begun.

9 days ago

American Humanist Association

Today, the American Humanist Association will be hosting our first Congressional...

9 days ago

American Humanist Association

Thank You! Thank You! Thank You!

9 days ago

American Humanist Association

Here is a video from Harvard's Making Caring Common Project. 5 Ways to Raise M...

10 days ago

American Humanist Association

Why the Way We Live is More Important. Get TheHumanist.com by email once a week...

10 days ago

American Humanist Association

Hey, have a laugh! http://hmn.st/1sFRZ33 Get TheHumanist.com by email once a we...

10 days ago

American Humanist Association

No matter how right or how wrong, religion can not establish morality for the ma...

10 days ago

American Humanist Association

I have come across this many times. While this topic may not be important to all...

10 days ago

American Humanist Association

Jesus Cones! A new way to violate church-state separation, in Gwinnett County, G...

12 days ago

American Humanist Association

Well this is rad! AHA Board Member Herb Silverman is featured in this short (10...

13 days ago

American Humanist Association

It may seem silly, maybe even a blatant mockery, but if you really think about i...

13 days ago