Atheists shuffle off to Buffalo

Paula Voell in the Buffalo News:

1025lifecLooking for the Center for Inquiry’s international congress? Just follow the cars with the “I Doubt It” decals.

That’s the mantra for the 600 to 800 attendees expected to converge in Buffalo from around the world this week. These are the people who scrutinize and critique what others believe without questioning.

They’ll be here for a congress called “Toward a New Enlightenment,” meant to respond to assaults on science, reason, free inquiry, secularism and humanist values.

“We are committed to science and reason to resolve human problems,” said Paul Kurtz, Center founder. “We are naturalists and recognize that the human species is part of nature. We also recognize the need for raising the level of values and criticizing the banalities of modern culture…

It’s no wonder that Kurtz might feel that he needs all the help available between the building expansion and the congress that includes keynote addresses by Richard Dawkins, zoologist and author of “The Ancestor’s Tale: A Pilgrimage to the Dawn of Evolution” and Ann Druyan, co-writer with her husband, the late Carl Sagan, of the award-winning series “Cosmos”…

In the last few decades, Kurtz has gone from being a University at Buffalo professor to being one of the world’s best known skeptics, embracing the role and encouraging everyone to look closely when a Bigfoot claim surfaces or someone says they see an image of the Virgin Mary in some peeling paint. In the last two years, Kurtz and company have taken on alternative medicine and claims for mental health therapies.

More here.