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PETITION SENT TO CENTER FOR INQUIRY
Posted: 23 June 2010 07:06 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 16 ]
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Remind me to steer very clear of any of these fights.  With my personality and sense of humor I’d probably end up with a copy of On the Origin of Species hurled at my head.

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Posted: 23 June 2010 07:14 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 17 ]
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Occam - 23 June 2010 05:18 PM

While I don’t know Kurtz personally, I’ve attended a few of his talks in the Southern California area.  I recognized that he was quite bright, but I was appalled at his ego and disdain for the people in the audience who asked reasonable questions.  I wasn’t one of them, but I felt sorry for their probable embarrassment at being intellectually sneered at.  I also believe he had a similar problem with the American Humanist Association in the 70s when he left to form the Secular Humanists.  My comments were based on that history and on the posts here, which I felt didn’t fit this forum.  We don’t need the politics and disputes or internecine problems to be aired here.

I may not know the internal workings and machinations of the organization, but I’m not quite clueless, having been an objective outside observer for forty years.

Well, then I’ll apologize if you’ve had a negative experience of him.  However, in my impression, I personally have witnessed only warmth, openness, and a single-minded desire to advance the cause of secular humanism in the man.  And, it has also seemed clear to me that his advocacy is rooted in a sincere optimism for the triumph of intelligence in ameliorating the human condition.  I am thus surprised that, in your encounters with him you were “appalled at his ego and disdain for the people in the audience who asked reasonable questions.”  Indeed, in my experience, the words “ego”, arrogance, and “disdain” would more appropriately apply to Mr. Lindsay, who in my opinion has usurped, rather than earned, his position in CFI.  Furthermore, I’d side with Kurtz’s view of the kind of tone the Center should take in its outreach and advocacy.  In contrast, Mr. Lindsay’s direction of CFI so far, has seemed to me at least, to be mired in an immature and unprofessional derisive and divisive tone of mockery.  Which approach is best for CFI?  I have my opinion on the matter.

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Posted: 23 June 2010 07:39 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 18 ]
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Pragmatic Naturalist - 23 June 2010 04:42 PM

....  The other respondents are clueless. ...

—- why we were just talking about studies of clueless people —-

http://www.centerforinquiry.net/forums/viewthread/7719/P150/#97255

I agree with Occam.  The initial post is spam unless he is going to participate on the forum and justify himself.

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Posted: 23 June 2010 08:51 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 19 ]
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Pragmatic Naturalist - 23 June 2010 04:42 PM

The other respondents are clueless.  They think this website is CFI!?!  Paul Kurtz has been an absolutely unparalleled advocate, in the United States and around the world, for the causes of secularism and humanism.    And, having seen and talked to him not so long ago, I can attest that he is in no way impaired by his age, as some have insinuated—with absolutely zero evidence to back it up.  Don’t confuse the stuff that goes on in these forums with the real work that CFI does in attempting to advance the position of the secular humanist community in an extremely hostile, theologically biased, political atmosphere.  You can thank Dr. Kurtz and his founding and managing of CFI for the amazing strides that our community has enjoyed in the face of tremendous opposition.

And you sir are making baseless assumptions. No one here thinks this website ‘is’ CFI. We recognize the incredible work of Paul Kurtz to forward the cause of humanism and secularism. I am objecting to the sniping on the forums by his supporters, to the point of doing everything they can to destroy what he has created. It is childish.

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Posted: 23 June 2010 10:48 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 20 ]
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P-N, I’ve never met or seen Mr. Lindsay, but now I’m looking forward to the next CFI conference I attend so that I can evaluate him for myself rather than accepting your negative opinion of him.

Occam

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Posted: 23 June 2010 11:06 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 21 ]
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Well, I do think this post should remain. It’s worthy of discussion, although (1) we have to assume the signatories are real, and (2) hugheen has a history of posting and running that is more akin to trolling than actual discussion and inquiry.

Re. a couple of points in his post:

hugheen - 23 June 2010 02:10 PM

We could continue this struggle by communicating our views to the chapter members, donors and the press but realize that this can lead to a kind of internecine warfare which can be seriously detrimental to CFI and will only serve to compound an already difficult financial and organizational problems.  We want to avoid that experience if at all possible.

Recent history of certain of the signatories make this claim somewhat surprising, IMO.

hugheen - 23 June 2010 02:10 PM

Historically, CFI has not had a process which would allow for elections of Board members. We feel this is an opportune time to change the organizational structure of CFI to a democratic one, one that would reflect the will and vote of its supporters.  We think that this change would greatly encourage present followers of CFI to become more involved and supportive of the organization.  It would also signal to the Humanist world and beyond that we are truly a democratic organization.

The present Board structure was instituted under Paul Kurtz’s leadership, and I believe under his direct influence. Indeed, my understanding is that each Board Member was handpicked by Paul himself. If my understanding on this matter is incorrect, I look forward to being corrected. If not, it’s rather odd that this request would pop up after his handpicked Board asked Kurtz to step down from his Chairman’s position, and that two of the signatories (Kurtz and his son) were on those early Boards. Do they not believe that the previous Board structure they themselves set up and participated in was in the best interests of their own organization? Hmmm ...

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Posted: 24 June 2010 06:41 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 22 ]
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Just as a point of note: if CFI wants to follow the advice of this petition, it would need either to re-incorporate as a membership organization, or at least fundamentally change its structure under the by-laws.  This would have to happen by the board’s own actions in convening to form a new set of by-laws.  If members are to elect the board, a whole new set of duties and reporting procedures would be necessary.  Most 501(c)(3) orgs choose not to be membership orgs because the decision-making activities become necessarily awkward, requiring formal members, or often differing levels of membership, to be involved in various decisions.  CFI “memberships” (which really are just acknowledgements of donor status) now neither carry the power nor liabilities of informing decisions of the organization, and there are a number of good reasons why the organization, and many like it, are not structured as membership orgs but rather “board only.” As an aside, I rank the chances of CFI deciding based upon this petition to change its entire organizational and operating structure at near 0%, but that’s just my opinion.  I’m curious as to which freethought or similar organizations, or specifically any educational not-for-profit orgs have memberships that select their boards or directors.  Does anyone here know of any?

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Posted: 24 June 2010 08:20 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 23 ]
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Given how little direct knowlege any of us (Doug, perhaps, excepted) have of the internicine politics at CFI, it seems to me we’re not really in a position to have well-informed opinions on the whole thing, so I’m not sure how much useful contribution the forum community can make on the topic. I agree with Doug the post should remain up for discussion, but I suspect the point of putting it up was not for initiating a discussion but for trying to publicize one side of the debate and for influencing members to take sides. FWIW< I’m not convinced I know enough to do so.

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Posted: 25 June 2010 01:09 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 24 ]
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Running is the wrong word Mr. Moderator, disdaining is the right one.  I would be more than happy to participate in an intelligent, civil discussion but your forum just proves to me again that it is not worth participating in.  There isn’t any productive dialogue (at least from those who have participated so far [with one exception and he knows who that is]).  I participate in vigorous and rigorous debate in any number of venues but your standards for discussion come in a little above the level of toilet stall graffiti.  A few nasty comments with no substance by the same few people who really should get a life…i.e., a Humanist one.

What I posted was an important document by yes, real people, real Humanists, I might add who are involved in a conflict which
has important implications on the future of CFI and Humanism.  Clearly you all aren’t up to the task of contributing anything
meaningful about the issues you obviously are as ignorant about as civility.

Hugh Giblin

bye, bye, don’t bother responding I won’t be listening.

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Posted: 25 June 2010 02:47 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 25 ]
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hugheen - 25 June 2010 01:09 PM

Running is the wrong word Mr. Moderator, disdaining is the right one.  I would be more than happy to participate in an intelligent, civil discussion but your forum just proves to me again that it is not worth participating in.  There isn’t any productive dialogue (at least from those who have participated so far [with one exception and he knows who that is]).  I participate in vigorous and rigorous debate in any number of venues but your standards for discussion come in a little above the level of toilet stall graffiti.  A few nasty comments with no substance by the same few people who really should get a life…i.e., a Humanist one.

What I posted was an important document by yes, real people, real Humanists, I might add who are involved in a conflict which
has important implications on the future of CFI and Humanism.  Clearly you all aren’t up to the task of contributing anything
meaningful about the issues you obviously are as ignorant about as civility.

Hugh Giblin

bye, bye, don’t bother responding I won’t be listening.

QED.

oh oh

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Posted: 25 June 2010 03:26 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 26 ]
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Thanks for convincing me to donate.

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Posted: 25 June 2010 05:35 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 27 ]
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The present Board structure was instituted under Paul Kurtz’s leadership, and I believe under his direct influence. Indeed, my understanding is that each Board Member was handpicked by Paul himself

I have been an active member of CFI here in Buffalo, and until recently been at CFI International functions a average of 3-4 times a month for the last 5-7 years, and I have the same impression as DOUG.  I have meet but won’t say that I know Lindsey, but I have know Richard Schroder, Chair of the board and trust his judgment.

Also I tend to agree with Doug Koepsel’s assessment of the drawbacks of a membership organization, at least until we Humanists have established a stronger network of locally based organizations, which the current leadership is encouraging.

I understand that strong egos are necessary to found and build an organization,  what I don’t think Kurtz understands is that at a certain point power must devolve for the good of the organization or we could end up looking like a non-state version of a N Korea or Zimbabwe.

Yep, I cleaned up the spelling.  red face

[ Edited: 27 June 2010 05:47 PM by garythehuman ]
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Posted: 25 June 2010 06:46 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 28 ]
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hugheen - 25 June 2010 01:09 PM

Running is the wrong word Mr. Moderator, disdaining is the right one.  I would be more than happy to participate in an intelligent, civil discussion but your forum just proves to me again that it is not worth participating in.  There isn’t any productive dialogue (at least from those who have participated so far [with one exception and he knows who that is]).

I have no issues with an honest discussion, but you and your compatriots have not been interested in any more than slinging excrement. THAT is what I object to. In your eyes, the only ‘productive’ dialog, is that which agrees with you, unquestioningly. This is the Center For INQUIRY blog, not Center For Sheeple.

[ Edited: 25 June 2010 06:53 PM by asanta ]
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Posted: 25 June 2010 06:55 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 29 ]
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mckenzievmd - 24 June 2010 08:20 AM

Given how little direct knowlege any of us (Doug, perhaps, excepted) have of the internicine politics at CFI, it seems to me we’re not really in a position to have well-informed opinions on the whole thing, so I’m not sure how much useful contribution the forum community can make on the topic. I agree with Doug the post should remain up for discussion, but I suspect the point of putting it up was not for initiating a discussion but for trying to publicize one side of the debate and for influencing members to take sides. FWIW< I’m not convinced I know enough to do so.

The only opinion I have, is to object to the nature of these sniping posts put up by Hugheen et al. It does little to advance their cause, or give enough information to know what is actually going on.

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Posted: 22 May 2011 09:51 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 30 ]
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Herding cats?  Interesting thread.  In addition to the other problems with a membership organization, perhaps the biggest potential problem of an elected board would be the potential for one of the extremely well-funded pro-theocracy organizations to stack any election with ringers with the agenda of destroying the organization.  I’m not aware of the issues involved in this schism, but perhaps the best solution would be for one camp to pursue their favorite approach to the issues involved in a separate organization.  Obviously, by definition, we don’t have the advantage of a (somewhat) centralized common dogma around which we can all rally—like each religious denomination has, so this kind of thing will probably continue to come up.

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