The Need to Reach Out

Paul Kurtz

If you’ve been a long-time subscriber to FREE INQUIRY, you already know that secular humanism offers more than just a rational critique of religious, transcendental, and paranormal myths. Secular humanism entails positive ethical values that humankind desperately needs; it promotes reason and science as ways of solving human problems. You already know that the unexamined life is not worth living and that the fully examined life of humanism can be meaningful and good. You have already seen the empty cup proffered by dogma, prayer, and gods—and understand the full- ness of human experience that comes with a life of reason, courage, and caring.

But what about others? What about new generations who—now more than ever—also need to understand the humanist alternative?

I submit that FREE INQUIRY should be their magazine too. It should help to both nurture the secular humanist perspective among veteran subscribers and introduce it to a new generation of readers. I believe that doing both gives the magazine its best chance to expand its readership and increase its influence.

To this end, beginning with this issue, FREE INQUIRY will be undergoing some important editorial and design improvements. You’ll notice incremental changes from now through the Winter 1997/98 issue and beyond. The magazine will continue to provide the best articles, commentary, news, and reviews on secular humanist issues and concerns—and will offer numerous editorial features to nourish new readers. You’ll see some new departments (like “Frontlines,” “Great Minds,” and “God on Trial” in this issue) and a new emphasis on writing that is accessible to a wider audience. You probably have already noticed that the look of the magazine has been enhanced. More design improvements will follow.

For a long time, I have been involved in the day-to-day publishing of FREE INQUIRY. Serving without any compensation, I have found it to be a labor of great satisfaction—which I have been glad to exert in order to build a strong secular humanist movement.

It is time, however, that I begin passing the torch to others. With this issue of FREE INQUIRY, I have become Editor-in-Chief. Timothy J. Madigan, who has served as Executive Editor for many years with distinction, will replace me as Editor. And I am pleased to say that we have appointed Lewis “Luke” Vaughn as Executive Editor of FREE INQUIRY. His task will be to improve the quality of the magazine and increase its circulation. I will still be involved with the overall direction of FREE INQUIRY. But in being “kicked upstairs,” I will leave the details of getting out the magazine to others.

We are also pleased to announce that distinguished authors Richard Dawkins and Martin Gardner and activist Taslima Nasrin have been appointed Senior Editors of FREE INQUIRY.

Lewis Vaughn is a veteran publishing professional, the author or editor of several how-to books, and the coauthor (with Theodore Schick) of two college textbooks on philosophy. He’s thoroughly committed to expanding the magazine’s influence throughout the world.

“For 17 years FREE INQUIRY has published some of the finest commentary and reporting by some of the best scientists, philosophers, and thinkers in the world,” he says. “But many Americans have probably never heard of the magazine. I’m eager to help change that. I want FREE INQUIRY to continue to feature the best minds and most distinguished voices in humanism and to strive to be among the best-written journals available.”

Hear! Hear! With hard work, and the continued support of friends and subscribers, FREE INQUIRY’s small voice of reason should soon be a great deal louder.

Paul Kurtz

Paul Kurtz is editor-in-chief of FREE INQUIRY and professor emeritus of philosophy at the State University of New York at Buffalo.


If you’ve been a long-time subscriber to FREE INQUIRY, you already know that secular humanism offers more than just a rational critique of religious, transcendental, and paranormal myths. Secular humanism entails positive ethical values that humankind desperately needs; it promotes reason and science as ways of solving human problems. You already know that the unexamined …

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