1 of 2
1
Problems at CFI.
Posted: 22 April 2010 04:11 PM   [ Ignore ]
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1765
Joined  2007-10-22

Since there have been postings here on this problem in the past, I thought that you may be interested in the E-Mail that I have just posted to some of my friends who are part of the community group at CFI International.

“I attended the lecture given by Paul Kurtz at the Center last evening.  Unfortunately instead of the discussion of human ethics that it was supposed to be in conjunction with the online course on Humanism that John Schook is conducting, it turned into something disgusting.  After Paul gave his lecture (and many facts about his life) presented in a manner to challenge the current leadership arrangements at CFI, and the floor was opened up for discussion. After a very good question by a Doctor from Roswell about assisted suicide, Dr Lindsey, who was in attendance, demanded the microphone to answer some of the challenges Dr Kurtz.

At this point I erupted, as most of you know I find a microphone unnecessary.  I attempted to state that this was the wrong venue to continue the pissing match that has been going on, I walked out,  It is a shame that this garbage is continuing, with certain egos becoming more important than the organization itself.  (Over the years, I have found this lack of political skills to be a continuing problem in dealing with intellectuals.)


At this point I am strongly inclined to leave the organization and become what the Buffalo News in its article on Dr Kurtz this week, one of those who are participating in a “suspension of giving from a handful of smaller donors.” 

I will miss talking to all of you, but I do not want to be bothered with this nonsense and lack of vision.”

 Signature 

Gary the Human

All the Gods and all religions are created by humans, to meet human needs and accomplish human ends.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 22 April 2010 04:17 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  7684
Joined  2008-04-11

Awww Gary, I would miss you. I have never been to a CFI meeting, and only occasionally go to a CFI sponsored event. We are not involved here in any way in any thing that went on in that meeting. Just a (mostly) friendly bunch of people who get together to chat at each other, learn from each other, and refute the occasional woomeister that shows up….why don’t you just stay here on the boards with us.. oh oh

 Signature 

Church; where sheep congregate to worship a zombie on a stick that turns into a cracker on Sundays…

Profile
 
 
Posted: 22 April 2010 04:36 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
Moderator
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  7593
Joined  2007-03-02

Yes, we will miss you. I hope you change your mind.

 Signature 

Mriana
“Sometimes in order to see the light, you have to risk the dark.” ~ Iris Hineman (Lois Smith) The Minority Report

Profile
 
 
Posted: 22 April 2010 04:48 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
Moderator
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  5508
Joined  2006-10-22

We have very little to do with the CFI organization, and probably at least half of our members aren’t members of CFI, so you can certainly stay here, Gary. 

I certainly agree that these authority-addicts in any organization can drive the membership crazy.  That’s why I left the ACLU and only work at the very local level with the area Democratic Club. 

When I saw that Kurtz was speaking, I made sure that I wouldn’t be driving to Hollywood that evening, Gary.  I can’t take the, as you called it, pissing contests on both sides.  If Kurtz had avoided making HIS case that evening, I’d have been upset at the floor member, but Kurtz doesn’t know when to keep his mouth shut either. 

Occam

Profile
 
 
Posted: 22 April 2010 06:36 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  4576
Joined  2008-08-14

Yeah Gary. I like your topic here. We need to hear this insight. I hope you stick around. Good for you for standing up like that.

 Signature 

Row row row your boat gently down the stream.  Merrily Merrily merrily merrily life is but a dream!

Profile
 
 
Posted: 22 April 2010 07:09 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
Administrator
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  15401
Joined  2006-02-14

Gary, I wasn’t there so I can’t comment on the specifics of the incident you mention. But I do hope you’ll stick around the Forum, at any rate.

 Signature 

Doug

-:- -:—:- -:—:- -:—:- -:—:- -:—:-

El sueño de la razón produce monstruos

Profile
 
 
Posted: 22 April 2010 09:00 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  2423
Joined  2007-09-03

Thanks for posting this comment.  Hope you will continue to interact with the forum and help maintain a “reality-based” community.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 23 April 2010 08:57 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
Jr. Member
Rank
Total Posts:  11
Joined  2008-07-28

I was troubled by the spectacle as well, but I believe I made the right decision by not remaining silent. What I was responding to was not a point about ethics that Kurtz was making, but a diatribe that he launched into, not once, but twice. For reasons known only to him, Kurtz decided to point to someone in the audience who happened to be a former employee, assert that the person had been unjustifiably fired, and then inveigh against the “authoritarianism” of the current management of CFI.  (Ironically, he intruded into this person’s private life after emphasizing the importance of the humanist value of respecting privacy.) The first time I let it pass, but the second time was too much, especially as he fell back on his now habitual insinuation that CFI is run by Nazis, stating that now at CFI, “it’s obey or else, achtung!”
As I stated that evening, we believe wholeheartedly in free expression at CFI, so if Kurtz wants to denigrate the organization he can do so, even at a CFI-sponsored event. But our defense of free expression does not demand that we adhere to a vow of silence when someone states despicable falsehoods about the organization. Respect for free speech does not require an organization to become a defenseless punching bag.
By the way, the former employee had the character and integrity to state publicly that he held nothing against CFI and continued to support CFI.

 Signature 

Ronald A. Lindsay

Profile
 
 
Posted: 23 April 2010 03:22 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  472
Joined  2007-06-08
Ronald A. Lindsay - 23 April 2010 08:57 AM

when someone states despicable falsehoods about the organization.

That “someone” happens to be the founder of CFI.  He made “the organization” what it is today.  He is a great and wise philosopher, and, he has clearly been the biggest champion of humanism and secular values in the latter half of the 20th and the early part of the 21st centuries.

You need to have a little more respect.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 23 April 2010 04:24 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
Jr. Member
Rank
Total Posts:  11
Joined  2008-07-28

As humanists, we respect the truth and we do not grant immunity to anyone to state falsehoods. At least that’s what Paul Kurtz—who I agree has done more to further humanism than anyone—always told me. We dishonor Paul Kurtz’s legacy, in addition to turning our backs on one of the fundamental principles of humanism, if we refuse to point out when he is materially wrong. If we are going to treat Paul Kurtz as a god, and regard everything he utters as infallible pronouncements, let’s just call ourselves a religion and be done with it.

Moreover, Paul Kurtz did not create CFI and its affiliates on his own. He has been assisted by thousands of supporters, donors, volunteers, and employees. They have much at stake in the future of CFI. To denigrate CFI in public without cause demonstrates a regrettable contempt for their contributions.

 Signature 

Ronald A. Lindsay

Profile
 
 
Posted: 23 April 2010 04:29 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  472
Joined  2007-06-08
Ronald A. Lindsay - 23 April 2010 04:24 PM

As humanists, we respect the truth and we do not grant immunity to anyone to state falsehoods. At least that’s what Paul Kurtz—who I agree has done more to further humanism than anyone—always told me. We dishonor Paul Kurtz’s legacy, in addition to turning our backs on one of the fundamental principles of humanism, if we refuse to point out when he is materially wrong. If we are going to treat Paul Kurtz as a god, and regard everything he utters as infallible pronouncements, let’s just call ourselves a religion and be done with it.

Moreover, Paul Kurtz did not create CFI and its affiliates on his own. He has been assisted by thousands of supporters, donors, volunteers, and employees. They have much at stake in the future of CFI. To denigrate CFI in public without cause demonstrates a regrettable contempt for their contributions.

Don’t take this the wrong way, but you sound bitter.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 23 April 2010 07:49 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  258
Joined  2010-02-28

Hmmm, I’m from Oz. So I don’t know enough about the issue. But, I’ve been a listener of CFI and admirer of the organisation for years.

Like any of these situations I hope everyone can be brought to the table, hash out the issues and focus on the resolution of an issues. Having had several years experience in senior management, I know how disruptive this kind of disputes can be. Hash out a solution guys, don’t compromise either the legacy of Kurtz or the reputation of CFI today.

We don’t have enough organisations like CFI in the world.

 Signature 

http://watchingthedeniers.wordpress.com/

Profile
 
 
Posted: 23 April 2010 11:23 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
Moderator
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  5508
Joined  2006-10-22

In response to Pragmatic Naturalist - I’ve never been at all involved in the administration or politics of any of the Humanist organizations, but I’ve been around for many years and gone to quite a few conferences, heard Kurtz speak and read quite a few of his articles.  Yes, he may have helped the organizations, however, I’m sorry but he has always appeared to me to be a pompous, egotistical jerk, albeit a very bright jerk.  I wasn’t at that meeting referenced, but from his posts Dr. Lindsay didn’t come across to me as bitter.

Occam

Profile
 
 
Posted: 24 April 2010 05:44 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
Jr. Member
Rank
Total Posts:  11
Joined  2008-07-28

@Pragmatic naturalist: there’s not much point in disputing your perceptions. How I seem to you is how I seem to you.
But “bitter” is not a characterization I would endorse. I will concede that at times I am disheartened and frustrated. The sporadic attacks against CFI by Paul Kurtz and some of his (false) allies show no sign of ending— nearly two years after the initial set of events that precipitated this conflict (the board’s decision that Kurtz needed to give up day-to-day management of CFI). If the attacks were moving Kurtz toward some desired goal of his, they might be understandable, but they are essentially pointless outbursts—which does not imply they don’t have consequences. They do damage the organization.
@Mike from Oz: No one wishes more than I do that we could get along and the internal disputes at CFI would stop. I knew Paul Kurtz as a friend for a quarter-century before the board appointed me CEO. Little did I realize at the time that would be the day our friendship ended. Without getting into detail, I don’t think reconciliation is in the cards at this point. That is not to say, however, that we could not work together. Just as I am at times disheartened, I am occasionally encouraged. A little over a month ago, Paul Kurtz and I appeared on the same panel at a conference being held by CFI-Canada. (The panel topic was the relationship between science and ethics.) Paul gave a great talk; and I don’t think my talk was too shabby either. There was a good discussion, both between us and the audience. No one witnessing the event who was unaware of the history would have suspected there was any tension between us. Moreover, our joint appearance also underscored the fact that Paul Kurtz and I are in substantial agreement on most issues relevant to humanism and humanist ethics. I mention this because there have been repeated suggestions that there is some deep philosophical chasm between Paul Kurtz and me and others at CFI, and that this somehow explains Paul Kurtz’s protests. Do we disagree on some issues? Sure. We would not be humanists otherwise. But the core mission of CFI remains the same—and that’s another reason why this whole situation is so unfortunate.

 Signature 

Ronald A. Lindsay

Profile
 
 
Posted: 24 April 2010 08:20 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
Jr. Member
Rank
Total Posts:  5
Joined  2010-04-15

Mr. Lindsay,

You should understand that many of us do not accept these justifications that you continue to put forth.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 24 April 2010 10:21 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  472
Joined  2007-06-08
Occam - 23 April 2010 11:23 PM

In response to Pragmatic Naturalist - I’ve never been at all involved in the administration or politics of any of the Humanist organizations, but I’ve been around for many years and gone to quite a few conferences, heard Kurtz speak and read quite a few of his articles.  Yes, he may have helped the organizations, however, I’m sorry but he has always appeared to me to be a pompous, egotistical jerk, albeit a very bright jerk.  I wasn’t at that meeting referenced, but from his posts Dr. Lindsay didn’t come across to me as bitter.

I have met Paul Kurtz and I’ve also heard numerous interviews, podcasts, and lectures, and I couldn’t disagree with your assessment of him more (except that he’s brilliant).  He is passionate, energetic, continuously forward-looking, and always focusing on what is best for the future of humanism and secular values.  Perhaps he has (respectfully) disagreed with those who think that CFI ought to transform into a militant atheist organization, but if so it is because he genuinely believes that that would be the wrong move for the best hope of advancing secular humanism.  Perhaps he has also been treated unjustly?

[ Edited: 24 April 2010 10:31 AM by Pragmatic Naturalist ]
Profile
 
 
   
1 of 2
1