The Humanist world heard with sorrow the news of the demise of veteran skeptic, rationalist and humanist, Prof. Paul Winter Kurtz. Born in 1925 in a Jewish family in Newark, New Jersy, his life was a long, devoted activism debunking para-normal and pseudo-science claims, secularizing the humanist movement, redefining and enriching secular cultural movements, writing and publishing, founding institutes for inquiry, science and human values,……………. . A Doctor of Philosophy from Columbia University, his construction and use of the term “eupraxsophy” was widely discussed in the last decade of 20 th century. The word was meant to stand for philosophies of life, world views or life stances rejecting supernaturalism and emphasizing ethical and exuberant life based on reason, science and logic. His efforts to stress the affirmative values of naturalistic humanism attracted the attention of all serious minded ethical humanists to the activities of International Humanist and Ethical Union. He was Co-Chairman of IHEU during 1986 to 1994. He retired as Emeritus Professor (Philosophy, Buffalo University) in 1991. It is no exaggeration at all when Roy Brown ( chief representative at the United Nations Human Rights Council for I H E U) qualifies him as “ a giant of our movement.”
The first Humanist Manifesto (1933) was a critique of theism. Prof. Kurtz updated this so as to include nuclear arms, population control, racism and sexism. The Humanist Manifesto II was signed by 120 dignitaries – being Andrei D. Sakharov; Dr. Francis Crick, Isaac Asimov etc. among them. He was quick to forewarn the danger posed by Muslim clericalism in the Middle East and Asia and continually drew the attention of the discerning world.
He died at the age of 86 on Saturday, 20th October, 2012 at his home in Armherst, New York. His voice though gentle will resonate and secular America is sure to recognize the high pedestal he was worthy of. Our deeply felt condolences!