Monday, October 22, 2012

Paul Kurtz (1925-2012), another good guy gone...

Paul Kurtz was one of the great skeptics of the late 20th Century. He was a founder of the Skeptical Inquirer magazine, which taught me a lot about scientific reasoning and analysis when I began reading it in the mid to late 1980s.

The magazine published the great ones, from the "Amazing" James Randi to Isaac Asimov to Howard Gardner and others who wrote with eloquence and elegance about the hoaxers and phonies who try to tell us they have mental telepathy or that crystals have healing powers, etc.

Kurtz was one of the good guys as I noted he was not as militant in his style as say, Richard Dawkins, and less interested in destroying general religious beliefs than in exposing particular superstitions, whether of a traditional type or "New Age."

Man, I feel this blog is turning into an obit column, but really, these folks need to be remembered if the ideas and analyses they developed in their time are to be further developed. If one knows these people, one may have a place to begin to read, think and discover. This is as true of Kurtz as of Barry Commoner, Eric Hobsbawm and George McGovern. And with regard to the latter two, it is important to separate the mythically based attacks on these men from what they actually did and stood for in their time.

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