What Is the Center for Inquiry/Transnational?

Paul Kurtz

The Center for Inquiry (CFI) is a transnational organization committed to scientific rationalism and secular humanism. More specifically, the principles to which CFI is devoted are:

  1. the use of the scientific method wherever possible in testing truth claims, including the cultivation of critical thinking and reason
  2. a cosmic perspective derived primarily from the sciences—a nonreductive, naturalistic, cosmic outlook in which the theory of evolution plays a key role
  3. a nontheistic worldview (agnostic, atheistic, skeptical, and critical of religious claims), though it should be stressed that CFI is not an atheist organization as such
  4. values and norms rooted in humanistic ethics
  5. socio-political principles based on democracy and secularism, the latter including the separation of church and state and the secularization of values
  6. planetary humanism, reflecting the degree to which science, humanism, and secularism are global

The Center for Inquiry is concerned with the well-being of humanity as a whole and with the preservation of the environment.

CFI is:

  1. a think tank engaged in research and education. The subjects it explores include, but are not limited to, the critical examination of the paranormal and religion. The Center’s research focuses on naturalism (as exemplified by the Naturalism Research Project). CFI has attracted and will continue to attract leading scientists, scholars, and intellectuals.
  2. CFI also engages in outreach to people far and wide, in part by establishing CFI Centers and Communities in North America and affiliates worldwide and by influencing the media. Of special importance is the fact that CFI has transnational programs and affiliates. CFI publishes many magazines and journals. Its flagship magazines are Skeptical Inquirer and Free Inquiry.

The long-range goal of the Center for Inquiry movement is to contribute to a New Enlightenment, whose twofold purpose is:

  1. to develop an appreciation for reason and critical thinking, and
  2. to create a new secular and humanist morality independent of supernatural religion, in which the highest ethical values prevail. This goal applies not only to society at large but within the Centers for Inquiry that CFI has helped to create.

The humanist and skeptical movement as promoted and supported by CFI aims to be positive and constructive, not negative or destructive. It seeks to fulfill the best of which human beings are capable: the good life here and now and a concern for individual human freedom and creativity, and also the expression of empathy, altruism, and social justice.

–Paul Kurtz
(Adopted by the Board of Directors.)

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.


The Center for Inquiry (CFI) is a transnational organization committed to scientific rationalism and secular humanism. More specifically, the principles to which CFI is devoted are: the use of the scientific method wherever possible in testing truth claims, including the cultivation of critical thinking and reason a cosmic perspective derived primarily from the sciences—a nonreductive, …

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