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Center for Inquiry West Reenergized, Reopens

by Matt Cherry


The following article is from the Secular Humanist Bulletin, Volume 15, Number 2.


The first day of spring saw the launch of a new center for humanists. Over 100 supporters turned out for the Grand Opening of the Center for Inquiry West on March 21. 

The Center for Inquiry West serves many different functions, at local, regional, and national levels. At the national, and international, level it is the headquarters for Secular Organizations for Sobriety. At the regional level the Center is the West Coast headquarters of both the Council for Secular Humanism and Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal (publisher of Skeptical Inquirer magazine), and it works to promote humanist and skeptical ideas in film and television. At the local level it is a secular community center that promotes skepticism and humanism.

The Grand Opening featured a presentation on "Beyond Reason: Pseudoscience and the Media" by Jere Lipps, Professor of Integrative Biology and director of the Museum of Paleontology at the University of California, Berkeley. In addition to an impressive program of lectures, the new Center has a rich program of social activities. In its first month, the Center held over a dozen meetings, ranging from book discussions to singles nights. The summer program is likely to exceed 20 meetings a month, with educational courses mixing with more light-hearted events, including comedy nights. Keynote speakers slated for the summer program include 1995 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Joseph Rotblat and science fiction legend Harlan Ellison. Topics will range from vampires to alternative medicine. Meetings are being filmed, and the Center plans to make videos available nationally.

The new 3,150-square-foot Center includes meeting space for over 120 people, as well as offices, and a library. Located in West Los Angeles, the new Center is a rented space that will serve as an interim home for humanists and skeptics, while the campaign to purchase or build a lager Center continues. Matt Cherry, executive director of the Council for Secular Humanism and editor of Secular Humanist Bulletin, is in Los Angeles for six months as interim executive director of the new Center.

Commenting on the new Center, Cherry said, "The Center for Inquiry is a bold new development in organized humanism. For the first time in the history of the secular humanist movement, professionally run centers are being established to serve the needs of nonreligious people. The Center for Inquiry West is not only a wonderful new community center for Los Angeles, it is a vitally important pilot project that can provide a model for humanists in other cities across the United States." For more information about the Center for Inquiry West visit its Web site at: www.cfiwest.org  or write to Box 10517, Marina del Rey, CA 90295.


Matt Cherry is executive director of the Council for Secular Humanism and editor of Secular Humanist Bulletin.


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