Center for Inquiry
Report for the Year 2007
The Rise of the New Secularism and the New Atheism
By Paul Kurtz, Chairman
The year 2007 is noteworthy for the sudden emergence of “the new secularism” and “the new atheism.” These two powerful intellectual forces have brought to public awareness the existence of widespread dissenting views on religion.
The new atheism, so-called, provoked widespread discussion because of the publication of several new books denying the existence of God—by Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, Christopher Hitchens, and Victor Stenger—all contributors to Free Inquiry. Their views were not new to readers of Center for Inquiry or Prometheus Books publications; but for the first time they were presented to a broader public. They were praised by supporters and were criticized by conservative commentators who believe that the world is going to hell in a hand-basket, blaming secular liberals, notwithstanding the fact that the number of pro-God books published far exceeds those by unbelievers.
The new secularism, launched by Free Inquiry, is likewise skeptical of the claims of theistic religion, though it has a more comprehensive agenda for people who do not practice religion. It focuses primarily on: (1) the separation of church and state; (2) the secularization of ethical values; and (3) inspiration drawn from science, reason, philosophy, literature, and the arts—rather than from the books of Abrahamic religion. It appeals to large numbers of the unchurched worldwide who prefer secular, rather than otherworldly, values and who are indifferent to religion.
Although the new secularism emphasizes the methods of science, including skepticism, it offers affirmative humanist ethical values as an alternative to ancient creeds.
In the Muslim world, secularism is subjected to unremitting attack. Likewise in the United States, conservative theists seek to exorcize the souls of secular liberals. Critics from Bill O’Reilly, Newt Gingrich, and Dinesh D'Souza to Pope Benedict XVI are scathing about secularism and relativism. They insist that the twenty-first century will become “desecularized”—this seems to us to be an expression of pious hope. These views are reinforced by many Republican candidates in the primaries, especially Huckabee and Romney—singing hosannas to God. Regretfully, religiosity has also affected Democratic candidates, who chime in about the importance of “faith” in their personal lives. Happily, secularism still thrives in the contemporary world. Europe today is recognized as post-religious and secular. Similarly, so are many countries in Asia.
The Center for Inquiry (CFI) is a leading voice on behalf of the new secularism. This was demonstrated by its activities in 2007. Of special significance were the many national and international conferences that CFI sponsored. Six especially stand out, which I list in chronological order:
- We began the year with a conference at the University of California/Davis in January, on “Skepticism and Scripture.” This brought together several leading Biblical and Koranic scholarly critics, who were awarded citations for their contributions to scholarship and science. This conference was organized by the Committee for the Scientific Examination of Religion (CSER), headed by Dr. R. Joseph Hoffmann. A significant announcement was made about “The Jesus Project,” which will launch a new inquiry into the role of Jesus in myth and history, and the origins of Christianity.
- A “Secular Islam Summit” was convened in March in St. Petersburg, Florida, organized by Dr. Austin Dacey, head of CFI’s representatives at the United Nations. At this summit, the St. Petersburg Declaration was issued by many leading dissident Muslims, including Ibn Warraq, Wafa Sultan, and Tawfik Hamid, calling on Islamic countries to respect freedom of conscience and the right to dissent. The conference received worldwide media attention, including extensive TV coverage by CNN and Al Jazeera television in the Middle East.
- In May, the CFI Explorers’ Club chartered its fourth fascinating cruise to the Galapagos Islands to retrace the voyage of the Beagle of Charles Darwin. Richard Dawkins co-hosted this trip. I was unable to make it due to open-heart surgery, though Toni Van Pelt, Patricia Beauchamp, and Edward Tabash officiated on this memorable cruise.
- Another significant conference, “The Future of Naturalism,” was held at CFI/Transnational headquarters (in Amherst, New York) in September. Organized by Dr. John Shook, it assembled two-dozen prominent naturalistic philosophers, including Arthur Caplan, Brian Leiter, Nicholas Lescher, Joseph Margolis, Ernesto Sosa, John Anton, James Gouinlock, and others, to discuss the prospects for the naturalistic outlook in the world.
- The Eleventh Centers for Inquiry World Congress was an extraordinary historic meeting. Convened in Beijing, China, in October, 2007, it was cosponsored by CFI/Beijing and CFI/Transnational. Its theme was “Scientific Inquiry and a Harmonious World.” It focused on how to raise the level of public appreciation and understanding of science worldwide. This Congress was the culmination of twenty years of cooperation. There are plans to establish new Centers in other Chinese cities, such as Shanghai and Wunan. Paul Kurtz, Kendrick Frazier (editor of Skeptical Inquirer), Barry Karr, and Dr. David Koepsell joined some fifteen noted scientists, including Nobel Prize winners Murray Gell-Mann and Sir Harold Kroto, Dr. Ren Fujun (head of CFI/Beijing), Dr. Lin Zixin, and Daniel Dennett, who took part. There will be a joint Chinese/American publication of the proceedings.
- “The Secular Society and Its Enemies” was a sold-out blockbuster conference sponsored by CFI/New York City. It was held at the New York Academy of Science, overlooking the 9/11 World Trade Center Towers site. Organized by Derek Araujo, it featured Ann Druyan, Susan Jacoby, Peter Singer, Richard Dawkins, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Rebecca Goldstein, Wendy Kaminer, and Alan Dershowitz, among others. The conference sought to defend the secular society against its detractors.
There were several smaller conferences held in 2007, including:
- the first conference of European Centers of Inquiry held in Amsterdam in June;
- the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry (CSI) Executive Council at CFI/WashingtonDC on the topic, “Restoring Scientific Integrity,” in May;
- Camp Inquiry—held for children and parents in July;
- a CFI Convocation of CFI/OnCampus and Center for Inquiry Centers and Communities, an assembly of Center, community, and campus leaders held in Amherst in June;
- the Skeptic’s Toolbox at the University of Oregon in August;
- and the European Skeptics Conference in Dublin, Ireland, in September.
In 2007, the Center for Inquiry continued to publish its broad roster of magazines, journals, and newsletters. All told we publish seventeen titles in three languages. Foremost among them are of course our bimonthly flagship magazines, Skeptical Inquirer and Free Inquiry, which continued to cover significant and controversial concerns while attracting national media attention.
At Skeptical Inquirer, longtime editor Kendrick Frazier opened the pages to a significantly broader range of topics, in keeping with the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry’s expanded mission to explore every aspect of science, reason, and the application to issues of public concern. Perhaps most noteworthy were SI’s May/June and July/August issues, which carried a lengthy and hard-hitting article on global warming in two parts. The article, adapted from a Center for Inquiry position paper by Dr. Stuart Jordan, reviewed the scientific evidence for global warming and portrayed it as one of the principal challenges now facing humankind. It generated unprecedented reader response.
At Free Inquiry, editor Tom Flynn worked closely with a panel of associate editors to broaden the scope of FI’s coverage as well. Highlights included the August/September issue, whose cover feature, “Civil Rights and Liberal Democracy,” highlighted the relevance of philosophical naturalism for the democratic ideal; and the October/November issue, which published short essays from secular humanists representing every imaginable point of view on the ways nonreligious people confront issues of death and dying.
In 2007, CFI's Outreach Department kept very busy: CFI founded three new professionally staffed Centers for Inquiry (for Ontario, Michigan, and Indiana) with more in various stages of development (San Francisco, Chicago, and Austin). Throughout the year, forty-five new freethought and skeptical campus groups affiliated with the Center for Inquiry. Combined with sixty-nine prospective groups and 105 new student leaders, a total of 219 separate campuses connected with CFI in 2007. Seventy-one college students attended CFI's summer leadership conference; about thirty-five Center for Inquiry and CFI Community leaders attended the training as well. Over forty college students attended CFI's New York conference, “The Secular Society and Its Enemies,” many of them funded by CFI and its supporters. CFI's expanding outreach staff assisted in promoting, funding or organizing forty-two separate campus events and forty-nine Center for Inquiry and CFI Community events throughout the calendar year. DJ Grothe, Lauren Becker, and Debbie Goddard coordinated these activities.
CFI's popular Podcast, Point of Inquiry, hosted by Grothe, continued attracting worldwide attention. In 2007, it featured interviews with Paul Kurtz, Richard Dawkins, Jennifer Michael Hecht, Peter Singer, Lawrence Krauss, Barbara Forrest, Philip Kitcher, Christopher Hitchens, Susan Haack, Neil deGrasse Tyson, and Ann Druyan, among many others. Many of these appearances generated considerable reaction in the “blogosphere.”
The Office of Public Policy (OPP), under the direction of Toni Van Pelt, continued lobbying efforts in the nation’s capital on behalf of science and secularism. Especially notable was the testimony given by the OPP to the House of Representatives Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, examining new legislation defending the integrity of science.
The OPP also published eight position papers on key issues (Research Director, Dr. Ronald Lindsay): Global Warming (Dr. Stuart Jordan), The Establishment Clause (Edward Tabash), Intelligent Design (Professor Barbara Forrest), Public Health and Contraception (Dr. Margaret Brown), Sexuality Education (Dr. Brown, Dr. Gwen Brewer, Michael Migdal), Ethics of Genetic Engineering (Dr. David Koepsell), Stem-Cell Research (Dr. Ronald Lindsay), Same-Sex Marriage (Dr. Ruth Mitchell), plus two papers on Scientific Integrity (Dr. Ronald Lindsay, Derek Araujo, and Daniel Horowitz).
The Legal Department of CFI and the First Amendment Task Force provided amicus briefs in federal courts in two cases: Hein v. Freedom from Religion Foundation; and Americans United for Separation of Church and State v. Prison Fellowship Ministries. They also filed an amicus brief in In Re Marriage Cases (the California Supreme Court on the same-sex marriage issue).
Educational Expansion of The Institute
- The Center for Inquiry Institute, under the leadership of senior vice president, R. Joseph Hoffmann, developed bold plans for expanding the offerings of CFI. 2007’s Summer Institute was attended by over fifty students, including six top scholarship students from Moscow State University as well as three from China. Lecturers from England (Julian Baggini, Ophelia Benson, and Jeremy Stangroom), as well as Mitchell Stevens, played a prominent role in the offerings.
- In the autumn the Institute began offering courses in Amherst which are available throughout the year.
- The Graduate School online program, “Science and the Public,” offered in cooperation with SUNY at Buffalo, was well under way, with students from around the world enrolling.
- CFI co-sponsored a Summer School in Russia in cooperation with Moscow State University and CFI/Transnational. Professor R. Joseph Hoffmann and Hugo Estrella served as instructors. Over forty-five students and faculty from all over Russia enrolled.
- Professor R. Joseph Hoffmann lectured widely during the year in Miami, Amsterdam, Suzdal (Russia), Los Angeles, Colorado Springs, Philadelphia, San Antonio, New York City, Plainfield, Vermont, and other venues in support of the general efforts of The Institute and the Committee for the Scientific Examination of Religion (CSER).
- The Naturalism Research Project (under Professor John Shook) convened eight workshops during the year, dealing with the philosophical implications of naturalism.
- Research on Koranic studies was directed by Ibn Warraq, Senior Research Fellow. Mr. Warraq published the book Defending the West (Prometheus Books, 2007), which has been widely reviewed. He participated in a televised debate in London and was invited to address members of the House of Commons and the Dutch Parliament.
- Research Fellows: Professor Valerií Kuvakin of Moscow State University and Professor Ronald Giere of the University of Minnesota were appointed Distinguished Research Fellows. Liz Stillwaggon was appointed the Boydston Research Fellow for the fall term.
Dr. Joe Nickell, Senior Research Fellow and the leading paranormal researcher in the world, continued his extensive research in this area by on-site investigations of alleged ghosts, miracles, and paranormal phenomena.
The Center for Inquiry Libraries, under the direction of Tim Binga, continued to expand with over 160,000 books, monographs, and journals now in the collection.
The American Philosophical Naturalism Collection was able to grow thanks to a special grant from Jo Ann Boydston, which enabled the Library to acquire books. This is in addition to the $1 million endowment fund established by Mrs. Boydston. Many gifts of books were donated to the Library in 2007.
International programs are headed up by co-directors Norm Allen and Hugo Estrella. CFI now has some twenty-two Centers worldwide in various stages of development. Several of these Centers have branches or societies of their own: fourteen in Russia, four in India, sixty in Africa, etc.
New Centers were established in 2007: CFI/Low Countries (The Netherlands, Belgium, and Luxembourg), CFI/Italy, CFI/Spain, and CFI/Rumania. Applications for new Centers keep pouring in. Unfortunately, CFI does not have the financial resources to fulfill them all. CFI/Transnational has spent an estimated $291,000 in 2007 on grants to Centers, foreign travel, and support of publications.
CFI enjoys consultative status to the United Nations as a nongovernmental organization. Its mission is headed by Dr. Austin Dacey. Dacey and Kurtz attended a briefing session of the UN’s “Alliance of Civilizations” in 2007, urging the need for secular participation to supplement that by religious participants.
Prometheus Books Abroad
Prometheus Books, a sister company of CFI, provided books free-of-charge to new Centers throughout the world. Prometheus has established substantial libraries in Russia (Moscow State University), India (Hyderabad), China (The Institute for the Popularization of Science), Uganda, Senegal, Nigeria, Kenya, Cameroon, and it has sent thousands of books and magazines to countries in the developing world.
Prometheus Books titles have been translated into thirty-eight languages. Support for translation of books into Arabic has been a high priority.
Development at CFI in 2007
By Sherry Rook
Vice President for Development
The development office plays a major role in improving the financial resources of CFI through contributions. This is essential for continuing and expanding the programs of the Center for Inquiry, the Council for Secular Humanism, the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry, and the many affiliated Centers, Communities, and programs. Approximately 50–60 percent of the revenue for CFI comes from donations. These donations are made by individuals, by family or other foundations, through corporate matching gifts, and by donors designating our organizations through their United Way or similar campaigns. As you may expect, we do not receive any government grants. Therefore, our donors are the key to our success! We could not do our work without them.
Many of our largest donations come from bequests or other planned gifts, such as gift annuities. These are important for the long-term success of the organization. We understand the important balance between immediate support and planned giving to meet our goals. Immediate gifts allow us to pay for our operating expenses, supporting our current programming. Planned gifts ensure that CFI will be still here working hard twenty or fifty years from now.
We had the most successful direct mail and Internet campaign in our history. The development department has several projects for 2008, including strengthening the human resources in our department so that we can be more responsive to our donors and friends. We are working on several exciting campaigns in 2008, and we will be working with volunteer leadership to help us identify new individuals and foundations who may be interested in supporting our cause. For a small department, we work tirelessly to bring in any financial resources that are available to us.
The Center for Inquiry had a fabulous year in 2007. Challenged on all sides, our staff exerted heroic efforts to present the case for scientific rationalism and secular humanism to the public. No doubt new challenges will appear in 2008 and the years beyond.
We are especially grateful to our readers for your support. At times we feel like the lone voice in the wilderness. But we know we are not alone when we receive your encouragement and support.
CFI in the Media
By Nathan Bupp
Vice President of Communications
The year 2007 will most likely be remembered as the year the catchphrase “the new atheism” exploded in the national media. Many authors identified with the Center for Inquiry played a major role in placing the topic of religious skepticism and unbelief—once considered off-limits—front and center in the popular media. Issues central to CFI’s wide agenda played a prominent role in literally hundreds of newspaper articles and TV and radio appearances around the country, and indeed around the world. CFI is proud that its experts and spokespersons were represented in many of them as we continue to defend and promote secular humanism, unbelief, and skepticism. We share some highlights from 2007 in this report.
CSI (Committee for Skeptical Inquiry)
In 2007, the media continued to flock to CSI for a scientific/skeptical commentary and analysis of paranormal and pseudoscientific issues.
Joe Nickell’s investigative work continued to be cited in print media such as The Toronto Star, Chicago Tribune, Baltimore Sun, Newsday, and many other newspapers, as well as Publisher’s Weekly, Fortean Times, and other magazines. He was profiled as an “Autograph Detective” in Autograph Collector. He appeared on radio shows (including one in Jamaica) and podcasts (including “ASAP—The Associated Press,” “Skeptics’ Guide to the Universe,” and our own popular “Point of Inquiry”). His many television appearances included two each for CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360 and Fox’s Hannity’s America, in addition to Paula Zahn Now, CNN International, and others, notably a program on the Shroud of Turin for National Geographic Channel’s Is It Real? and on “The Roswell Incident” for the Discovery Channel’s Best Evidence. He did a few interviews for Warner Bros. to promote their movie The Reaping. Hilary Swank’s role in the movie as a miracle investigator was based in part on Nickell’s career; he was invited to meet her on the Louisiana set, and he appears briefly on the movie’s DVD. The worldwide DVD release of The Reaping also featured a fifteen-minute mini-documentary extra on the “Science of the Biblical Plagues” with analysis by CFI’s resident experts R. Joseph Hoffmann and Joe Nickell. [Tom, I’m pretty sure that Joe said this documentary wasn’t released on the DVD since the movie didn’t do very well—JL]
Nickell published two new books: Relics of the Christ and Adventures in Paranormal Investigation (both from University Press of Kentucky). He wrote the introduction to John Calvin’s Treatise on Relics (forthcoming from Prometheus Books) and entries for Tom Flynn’s The New Encyclopedia of Unbelief. He continues to appear in Who’s Who in America and Who’s Who in the World (as a “paranormal expert”), and a commissioned autobiographical essay is forthcoming in Contemporary Authors. Other writing projects are underway, and he continues to maintain his Web site at www.joenickell.com.
Other 2007 media highlights for CSI include:
- Wilson Quarterly, January 2007: feature of Skeptical Inquirer’s Nov.-Dec. 2006 article “View Masters.”
- Chicago Tribune 6/20/07: “Hunting Midwest Haunts” (Joe Nickell)
- Ladies’ Home Journal July 2007: “Revealing the Truth about The Secret” (Ben Radford, Skeptical Inquirer)
- Wall Street Journal 8/23/07: “Are We Teaching Our Kids to be Fearful of Men?” (Ben Radford, Skeptical Inquirer)
- The Economist 9/01/07: “Capital Punishment in America” (Skeptical Inquirer)
- The Salt Lake Tribune 10/25/07: Searching for Spirits” (Joe Nickell, Skeptical Inquirer)
- Scientific American, December 2007: “Bigfoot Anatomy” (Skeptical Inquirer)
- Associated Press: “Santa Fe Courthouse Ghost revealed to be a bug” 11/01/07 (Ben Radford, Skeptical Inquirer) National story appeared in at least 525 media outlets including newspapers, TV Web sites, and blogs.
Center for Inquiry (CFI)/Council for Secular Humanism (CSH)
Paul Kurtz, chairman of CSH and CFI, received a good deal of attention in 2007 in spite of open-heart surgery, which knocked him out of commission for three-and-a-half months. He has since fully recovered.
Kurtz published two new paperback books in 2007, Science and Ethics (co-edited with David Koepsell) and What is Secular Humanism, both issued by Prometheus Books.
He commissioned The New Encyclopedia of Unbelief for Prometheus Books and contributed several articles to that volume. His entries continued in all the leading Who’s Who publications: Who’s Who in the World, Who’s Who in America, Who’s Who in the East, Who’s Who in Education, and Who’s Who in Business and Finance; and a new entry on him was in Kiplinger’s Who’s Who of Leading Business Professionals. Paul Kurtz was featured on January 5 (2007) in the nationwide PBS program, Religion and Ethics Newsweekly. Kurtz was interviewed in-depth on national television in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, in June 2007. Kurtz was quoted in The Washington Post (9/15/2007), “In America, Non-Believers Find Strength in Numbers.”
Kurtz appeared on WGN Radio (Chicago) on The Milt Rosenberg Show (November 7). Kurtz was quoted in The Washington Times (12/24/2007), “Atheists Put Their Faith in Politics.”
Kurtz was also quoted in the press throughout India for offering asylum in the USA to Taslima Nasrin (December 2007).
Kurtz delivered talks at CFI/West on the religious sources of anti-Semitism (January 7, 2007); at the University of California–Davis at the CSER conference in January 2007; and at the European conference of the Centers for Inquiry in Amsterdam (June 1–2, 2007). He read papers at “The Future of Naturalism” conference in Amherst, New York (September). He delivered talks at CFI/Indiana, CFI/Michigan, and keynoted the CFI World Congress in Beijing, China (October), as well as “The Secular Society and Its Enemies” at the New York Academy of Science (November) in New York City. Kurtz appeared on WGUV public radio (NPR) in Grand Rapids, Michigan on November 28.
Kurtz was awarded the “Lifetime Achievement Award” by the American Humanist Association in Portland, Oregon (June 9) where he read a paper.
Kurtz was heavily quoted in The New York Times Magazine story on the controversy surrounding Antony Flew, “The Turning of an Atheist.”
* * *
On January 5, 2007 the PBS program Religion and Ethics Newsweekly featured a lead story on the rise of unbelief in America. Featured was the Washington, D.C. news conference announcing the opening of our CFI Office of Public Policy on Pennsylvania Avenue. On January 20, National Journal, a major publication read by Washington policy maker elites, featured a story about CFI’s new Office of Public Policy called “Political Darwinism.” CFI’s Secular Islam Summit held in St. Petersburg, Florida, on March 4–5 attracted major media attention worldwide. The Glenn Beck Show on CNN Headline News broadcast their entire one-hour program from the conference on March 5, 2007, featuring interviews with conference presenters. Additional TV coverage came from Fox 13 News and the Al Jazeera Network, which broadcast a fifteen-minute story throughout the Middle East on March 4, 2007. Feature articles about the conference ran in The Wall Street Journal (3/6/07), Investors Business Daily (3/6/07), The Times of London (3/07/07), US News & World Report (4/8/07), and the Toronto Globe and Mail (3/10/07). CFI’s R. Joseph Hoffmann and CSH’s executive director David Koepsell were both featured in a full-page Ottawa Citizen article, “Reasonable Doubt” (3/4/07). The opening of CFI/Ontario received full-page coverage in The Toronto Globe and Mail, “When the Ain’ts Go Marching In” (3/10/07). The famed “Jesus Tomb” controversy lead to a feature in the US News & World Report “Revision for the Greatest Story Ever Told?” by Jay Tolson (3/12/07), extensively quoting CFI’s in-house biblical scholar, R. Joseph Hoffmann.
In May 2007, CFI provided the major funding for the nationwide presentation of the British-made miniseries A Brief History of Disbelief, featuring Jonathan Miller. CFI received on-air promotion and consideration during the program for bringing the first-ever television documentary on skepticism about God to hundreds of PBS affiliates around the country. As of this writing, the program is scheduled for a second run on PBS stations in select cities nationwide. The announcement of “The Jesus Project,” a special project of CFI’s Committee for the Scientific Examination of Religion (CSER) generated feature stories in The Buffalo News (1/29/07), the Toledo Blade (1/27/07), and an especially long and thoughtful piece by religion writer Jennifer Green titled “Where Angels Fear to Tread” in the Ottawa Citizen (4/7/07). The Council for Secular Humanism received notable mention in a lengthy special feature in The Nation’s May 28 issue titled “Among the Disbelievers.”
CSH and David Koepsell were featured prominently in a June 9 Atlanta Journal-Constitution piece, “Atheists’ Books Intensify Culture Wars.” The piece was distributed widely around the country by Cox News Service. CFI proudly played a significant role in securing Buffalo’s NPR affiliate WBFO with a first-place New York Statewide Associated Press Award on June 9. WBFO won more awards than any other radio station in New York State, including New York City, with two special first-place awards. The first was for Best News Special/Documentary, “Intelligent Design vs. Evolution,” by reporter Joyce Kryszak. Kryszak packaged some of the interviews she had conducted during CFI’s “Toward a New Enlightenment” conference and produced a fifty-minute special that explored the issue of intelligent design vs. evolution. First-place winner for Best Feature was “Camp Inquiry,” also by Kryszak. Kryszak “camped out” with the children and counselors attending CFI’s first-ever skeptics camp as they pondered the origins of life, separation of church and state, and other controversial topics. CFI senior research fellow expert John Shook appeared on the NPR program Day to Day (9/4/07) to discuss the field of positive psychology and its implications for humanism. CFI’s R. Joseph Hoffman opined on the perennially controversial topic of removing religion from the holiday season on the December 23 episode of NPR’s Weekend Edition.
We are happy to report that the highly successful “Steve Allen Theater” (operated by and located at CFI/Los Angeles) has generated an impressive portfolio of national media attention, including The New York Times (1/7/07), International Herald Tribune (1/8/07), LA Weekly (5/3/07), and the Los Angeles Times. The theater attracted thousands of patrons during the year. The theater has been heralded as one of the best on the West Coast.
The editor of Canada’s leading newspaper, The Globe and Mail, has invited Justin Trottier—director of CFI/Ontario—to participate in a permanent online panel to run once every two months. The panel will explore pressing issues of the day from a variety of perspectives. The editor considers this a great opportunity “for debate and public education.” We are thrilled to have one of CFI’s own representing the voice of humanism and unbelief regularly in the media.
Finally, experts at CFI have provided commentary and consultation to a handful of independent documentary filmmakers working on projects exploring a variety of heated topics surrounding religion and society—all in various stages of development. A few such crews were on hand at our New York City conference “The Secular Society and Its Enemies” this past November to capture footage and conduct interviews. We will keep our supporters informed as these projects get released or scheduled to air on television.
Other 2007 media highlights for CFI include:
- Time-Out Chicago 2/8/07: “Faith No More” (feature on CFI’s Community of Chicago)
- Commentary Magazine April 2007: “Science, Religion, and the Human Future” (International Academy of Humanism)
- Associated Press 5/18/07: “Faith-based Corrections Contracts Unconstitutional” (Council for Secular Humanism)
- National Post 7/23/07: “Ditching God in the Atheist Church Basement” (feature on CFI/Ontario)
- The Tampa Tribune 7/8/07: “Galapagos Islands, Darwin’s Inspiration” (feature story on CFI Cruise to the Galapagos)
- Boston Globe 9/16/07: “The Nonbelievers” (R. Joseph Hoffmann, Center for Inquiry)
- CBC Newsworld Ontario 10/5/07: Documentary on atheism and humanism in Canada. (Justin Trottier, CFI-Ontario)
- Atlanta Journal-Constitution 11/13/07: “Putting Faith in Call for Rain” (Council for Secular Humanism)
- Ottawa Citizen 11/15/07: “For the Glory of God” (feature story about CFI’s “Secular Society and Its Enemies” November 2007 conference)
- The Buffalo News 12/11/07: “Golden Compass is Viewed by Some as an Attack on Christianity” (David Koepsell, Council for Secular Humanism)