Philosopher Paul Kurtz was called many unflattering names during his long career, including “Satanic free-thinker" and “dangerous corrupter of young minds."
But the name some of his critics considered most damning was the one he most prized.
They called him a secular humanist.
“You can call me a skeptic, a non-theist, an atheist, an agnostic, a skeptical, agnostic atheist, but the best term," Kurtz, a champion of science and debunker of religions and the supernatural, told the Associated Press years ago, “is secular humanist. I have a philosophy, a point of view, and I express it."
Kurtz, a forceful leader of the secular humanism movement that holds human freedom and creativity supreme, died Oct. 20 at his home in Amherst, N.Y. He was 86.
His son Jonathan said Kurtz had heart problems but declined to give an exact cause of death.
Kurtz taught philosophy at State University of New York at Buffalo for 26 years but was not an ivory tower recluse. He created the magazines Skeptical Inquirer and Free Inquiry, the journal Human Prospect and the publishing company Prometheus Books.
He also founded several organizations, the most prominent being the 21-year-old Center for Inquiry, a New York-based group, dedicated to fostering a society based on science, reason, freedom of inquiry and humanist values.