Free Inquiry

This magazine provides essays, editorials, poems, features and reviews on secularism and a life guided by reason, science, compassion for human beings and ideals of human freedom.

Articles from Vol. 17, No. 1, Winter

Assisted Suicide: Will the Supreme Court Respect the Autonomy Rights of Dying Patients?
In October 1996, the Supreme Court announced that it will review decisions by the U.S. Courts of Appeals for the Second and Ninth Circuits that have held that a state's blanket prohibition of assisted suicide for terminally ill patients is inconsistent...
Breaking the Last Taboo
Few Americans know that Thomas Jefferson wrote, in a letter to John Adams: The day will come when the mystical generation of Jesus, by the supreme being as his father in the womb of a virgin, will be classed with the fable of the generation of Minerva...
By Any Means Necessary: The Campaign to Overturn Felton V. Aguilar
After last year's Newsday reports on the assorted inequities of the New York City Board of Education's deluxe remedial education program for religious schools, New York's education authorities adopted a new media strategy: After years of stonewalling,...
Camp Quest '96
The Creation and Inauguration of the First Summer Camp for Children of Secular Humanist Families The idea for a camp for children of secular humanist families was taken on in late 1995 and taken on as a project by the Free Inquiry Group, Inc., of the...
Catholic Primate Clings to Evolution
Surprisingly, on October 24, 1996, Pope John Paul II endorsed evolution as "more than just a theory" and thereby biblical fundamentalism as so-called scientific creationism was dealt yet another blow to its vacuous claims about the origin of this universe...
Dr. Persinger's God Machine
One day in January 1993, while researching a book on religious conversions and the evangelical revival, I was leafing through a back number of Numinus, the journal put out by the Alister Hardy Centre in Oxford (which collects and analyzes case histories...
Euthanasia in the Netherlands
In an opinion poll, carried out in 1993 in The Netherlands, one of the questions asked was: "Do you think that Someone always has the right to have his life terminated when he is in an unacceptable position without any prospect?" The outcome was clear:...
Humanists Meet in Poland and Russia
Last fall I had the pleasure of attending two conferences dealing with the need for humanism in Eastern Europe. The first, entitled "Humanist Visions of European Integration," was held September 26 to 29, 1996, in Warsaw, Poland, and was hosted by the...
Humanist World Meets in Mexico City
The Thirteenth World Humanist Congress, held in Mexico City from November 14 to 19, 1996, brought together 250 humanists from six continents to discuss the theme "Global Humanism for the Cyber Age." The International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU)...
Lucy Stone: Woman of Firsts
Lucy Stone made history. Elizabeth Cady Stanton considered her "the first person by whom the heart of the American public was deeply stirred on the woman question," and her biographer, Elinor Rice Hays, called her "Morning Star." Independent in mind...
Student Freethought Group Embarks on Productive Path
During the first weekend of November 1996 the Center for Inquiry hosted the first official meeting of the recently formed Campus Freethought Alliance. Students from several colleges across the United States and Canada convened to discuss plans for the...
The End of Science
Over the millennia countless hours of human time have been spent wondering what stars are. Then something weird happened. Science found out. Now we know what stars are made of, how big they are, how old they are, how far away they are, how they shine,...
The Immortal David Hume (1711-1776)
The eighteenth century in Scotland was a period that witnessed the blooming of new ideas in medicine, chemistry, geology, economics, engineering, and other fields of knowledge. It came to be known as the "Scottish Enlightenment." Scotland then has been...
The Infomedia Revolution: Opportunities for Global Humanism
This article is adapted from Paul Kurtz's keynote address to the Thirteenth Congress of the International Humanist and Ethical Union in Mexico City in November 1996. The theme of the Congress was "Global Humanism and the Cyber Age." It was the first...
The Need for a Universal Declaration of Human Values
All traditional ideological/religious systems are, at present, in acute conflict, if not in collapse. We need a system of agreed values that rises above all these wrangles and can be agreed as a moral blueprint for mankind. ... An International Declaration...
The Polish Church as an Enemy of the Open Society
In The Open Society and Its Enemies, first published half a century ago, Karl Popper distinguished between two kinds of economic-political systems: closed societies and open societies. The former have a semi-organic nature and place submission to authority...
The Pope, Evolution, and the Soul
John Paul II has recently admitted that biological evolution is for real. This is no news: Pius XII had admitted it in 1953. But he had warned that evolution, far from happening spontaneously (naturally), is guided from above. (How did he find out?)...
The Re-Discovery of Ludwig Feuerbach
In the nineteenth century, he was recognized as Europe's most famous and powerful atheist, the herald of a new anti-Christian and anti-idealist era. In the twentieth, he is mentioned only in passing as one of the influences on the young Karl Marx and...
Three Ways to Beat Religious Political Extremists
Many mistakenly think that if we could just catch Pat Robertson in bed with a cohost of the "700 Club" - either Ben or Terri - the religious right would self-destruct. Some think the Christian Coalition would sink if the Internal Revenue Service could...