I am greatly saddened to learn that one of the founders of modern skeptical outreach, Paul Kurtz, has died.
Paul was the motivating force behind the creation of the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal (CSICOP, which recently changed its name to the much more palatable Committee for Skeptical Inquiry, or CSI), one of the leading centers of the skeptical movement. You can read more about Paul’s work on Wikipedia. Dr. Steve Novella, from the New England Skeptical society, wrote a nice piece about Paul as well.
I only met Paul a few times, and I don’t have any interesting stories of note, to be honest. I’m sure we’ll be hearing tales about the man over the next few days, and I hope you take the time to read them. Too many people in movements forget their own history, and knowledge of what happened in the past is always valuable in moving forward.
And move forward we must. There is no end to the weeds of nonsense that take root in the human brain, and we will never rid ourselves of them completely. As any gardener will tell you, it’s a full time task just to pull those weeds; it’s not something you can ever stop doing. But it’s the only way to let flowers grow.