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Highlights of CFI’s Twelfth World Congress: Science, Public Policy, and the Planetary Community

Special Report

Kendrick Frazier

Volume 33.4, July / August 2009

The Center for Inquiry’s 12th World Congress in Washington (Bethesda, Maryland, actually) was grandly yet appropriately titled “Science, Public Policy, and the Planetary Community.” In one way or another it covered just about every topic CFI and its affiliated organizations the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry (publisher of the Skeptical Inquirer) and the Council for Secular Humanism (publisher of Free Inquiry) deal with.

Everyone seemed to enjoy it. The day afterward, CFI founder and chairman Paul Kurtz called the congress “exhilarating.” As he said, “The responses of our readers and supporters were overwhelmingly positive. What a stunning response that we received from them!” Ron Lindsay, CFI’s CEO and president, likewise called the conference very successful and said many attendees commented favorably to him “that they noticed the skeptical/scientific side of our organization was on display more than usual, which they appreciated.”

That’s true, I think. Many people in the audience told me at various times how much they appreciate and value the Skeptical Inquirer. SI and its articles and the work of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry got a lot of public mention, too, in the talks, intros, and sessions.

Here are a few highlights for me:

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Kendrick Frazier is editor of the Skeptical Inquirer and a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He is editor of several anthologies, including Science Under Siege: Defending Science, Exposing Pseudoscience.