Paul Kurtz, founder and longtime chair of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry, the Council for Secular Humanism, and the Center for Inquiry, died on October 20, 2012, at the age of eighty-six. He was one of the most influential figures in the humanist and skeptical movements from the late 1960s through the first decade of the twenty-first century. Among his best-known creations are the skeptics’ magazine Skeptical Inquirer, the secular humanist magazine Free Inquiry, and the independent publisher Prometheus Books.
Paul Kurtz was born on December 21, 1925, to Martin and Sarah Kurtz of Newark, New Jersey. He enrolled briefly at Washington Square College of New York University before enlisting in the U.S. Army at the height of World War II. He fought in the Battle of the Bulge and served in a unit that liberated the Dachau concentration camp. He was demobilized eighteen months after the war’s end and resumed his studies at New York University (NYU).