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CFII Web Catalog_1

CFII Web Catalog_1

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Published by Sir Templar

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Published by: Sir Templar on May 08, 2011
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11/15/2011

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1
 A W
ELCOME FROM THE
C
ENTER FOR 
I
NQUIRY
C
HAIRMAN
:
 Education is at the very heart of our work at the Center  for Inquiry. To effectively uphold and sustain the principles of humanism and scientific inquiry, we must be looking forward and ensuring that we are passing onthe tools of learning and the skills of critical thinking toa new generation of humanist leaders. Through itsdiverse course offerings, the Center for Inquiry Institutetrains its students to apply the best methods of critical thinking to explore humanistic alternatives to thereigning systems of belief, and guides them to developcommunities wherein others can meet, shareexperiences, and work together to promote common goals.
-Paul Kurtz, Chairman and Founder Center for Inquiry
 
2
F
ROM THE
CFI
 
I
NSTITUTE
D
IRECTOR 
:
The term “humanism” runs the risk of being defined either  so broadly or so narrowly that it leaves the inquirer  perplexed: How should she define a movement that canmean, and has meant, everything from the rediscovery of classical form during the renaissance to the first stirringsof anti-theism and rationalism during the eighteenthcentury?What almost all significant definitions of humanism havein common is an emphasis on what human beings can accomplish without theassistance of “higher powers.” If this is the basic definition, then all of man’saccomplishments—in science, mathematics, politics, architecture, literature,and art—have something to do with the humanist perspective. Many humanistsalso add to this list another important achievement: the creation of the secular  state and representative government. The monarchies of the ancient and medieval world were based on the belief that the sovereign ruled as God’sregent and issued laws supported by divine authority. Just as architecture inthe eighteenth century moved away from the building of great cathedrals and basilicas to the creation of great public and government buildings, so too the forms of government changed to embody the belief that people, not a deity, arethe source of the justice—and injustice--and value of laws. The challenges to supernaturalism and certain dogmatic forms of religious belief became closelyidentified with the meaning of the term humanism. In the modern era, humanism has become associated with championing themethods that the early practitioners of scientific method brought into being.The advances of the pure and applied sciences have immeasurably enlarged the sphere of human knowledge. By the same token, however, those methods areoften badly misunderstood, poorly communicated to the public, and suspected by some of being harmful to the formulation of sound ethical principles. Thelife-stance called “secular humanism” refers especially to the mission and vision of the Center for Inquiry, which is to champion freedom of inquiry, theuse of reason-based ethics, and critical, scientific intelligence in all fields of human endeavor. This is not a narrow “scientistic” worldview, but a frank acknowledgement that human beings are responsible for the world, their role init, and the creation of the values that define human relationships. The humanist  perspective is positive and affirmative; it is a celebration, and a critique, of thechoices that human beings have made throughout history. But, like the ancient  philosophers, the humanist is involved in a quest for new understandings of her world.The CFII is a unique place to begin this quest. We hope you will join us for thisexploration of “the best that has been thought and said in the world.”
-R. Joseph Hoffmann, Director Center for Inquiry Institute
 
3 
T
HE
C
ENTER FOR
I
NQUIRY 
 I
NSTITUTE
 
2007-09 C
ATALOGUE
 

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