The Center for Inquiry/Transnational (CFI), an Amherst, New York based international think tank promoting reason, science, freedom of inquiry, and secular humanism, has established the ‘Center for Inquiry London’ in the United Kingdom.
The Opening Launch of Center for Inquiry London held at Conway Hall, London on 18th January 2008 proved very successful with leading lights from the British and American academic, skeptical, secular and humanist communities speaking and participating in discussions. Nearly 150 people attended the day and evening event, and included delegates from the British Isles, Scandanavia, Eastern and Western Europe and the US.
The theme of the Inaugural Conference was “Secularism in the Multicultural Society: The Civil Limits of Tolerance”. The audience widely appreciated the contributions of speakers Joseph Hoffmann, Norman Bacrac, Paul Kurtz, Simon Glendinning, Norman Solomon, Daphne Hampson, Mark Vernon, Stephen Law, Azar Majedi, Julian Baggini, Ibn Warraq, Nigel Warburton, Peter Cave, and D.J. Grothe. The event which started at 11.00 am ended eleven hours later after a lively question and answer section undertaken by Professor Richard Dawkins who is the Honorary Chairman of CFI London’s Advisory Board.
Also very well received was the South Place Ethical Society (SPES) event on 20th January at Conway Hall at which CFI representatives spoke. Ibn Warraq spoke on ‘The Origins of the Koran’ and Professor Paul Kurtz spoke on ‘Secular Alternatives to Religion’. Over 100 delegates attended and participated in lively discussions throughout the day.
Center for Inquiry London marks the beginning of CFI’s contributions to education, enrichment, and research in the United Kingdom, mirroring similar efforts throughout North America, Europe, and other parts of the world.
“We are committed to the furtherance of science and reason in the world, increasingly under attack by irrational forces, but necessary for the planetary civilization that is emerging,” said Paul Kurtz, chairman and founder of CFI. Through its founder Paul Kurtz, CFI has a historical association with the United Kingdom going back four decades.
“It makes good sense,” said R. Joseph Hoffman, vice president of educational affairs at CFI, “to express the solidarity between the two great Anglophone freethought traditions through this concrete expression of international good will and for CFI to develop a permanent base in the United Kingdom.” Hoffmann says that CFI intends to be of “public intellectual benefit” through research and education and to work cooperatively to ensure that a humanist tradition extending back to the English Renaissance remains vital and influential.
Several of the delegates to the Opening event have expressed their interest in further CFI London events and have indicated they wish to be involved with CFI London, and a number have expressed interested in volunteering.
Center for Inquiry London