Latin American Conference Launches Federation of Centers
The Center for Inquiry hosted the second Ibero-American Conference on Critical Thinking, “The Social Effects of Dogmatism and Deception,” on August 3—5, 2006, at the Central Library Auditorium of San Marcos National University in Lima, Peru. The conference brought together scientists, paranormal investigators, journalists, philosophers, and other professionals from North and South America.
Emerging from the conference was an agreement between humanists and skeptics from Argentina, Peru, Colombia, Chile, and Venezuela to found an Ibero-American Federation of Centers for Inquiry. The federation will help to increase the influence of science and humanism in Latin America. This represents the first effort at organizing a rationalist-freethought alliance across the region. Meeting with Paul Kurtz, Joe Nickell, Benjamin Radford, and Norm Allen, all from CFI headquarters in Amherst, New York, were Hugo Estrella and Alejandro Borgo of Argentina, Hernán Toro of Colombia, Guido Nuñez of Venezuela, Manuel A. Paz y Miño of Peru, and Enrique Bernain of Chile, among others.
From left to right: Alejandro J. Borgo, Joe Nickell, Hugo Estrella, and Benjamin Radford answering questions from the audience. (Photo: Hernán Toro)
The objectives of this new federation include forming an international advisory board of distinguished people of Latino descent, such as Mario Bunge (of Argentina and Canada) and Ruben Ardila (of Colombia); issuing a declaration to the media and public at large, that spells out the federation’s aims and objectives; starting an e-mail discussion list (this has been done already); designating the Center for Inquiry/Peru as the headquarters for the publication of books on skepticism and humanism in Spanish, and the Center for Inquiry in Argentina, for magazines; and starting a Spanish-language newsletter for skeptics and humanists.
From left to right.: Enrique Bernain (Chile), Rubén Ardila (Colombia), Héctor Guillén (Perú), Guido Nuñez Mujica (Venezuela), and Joe Nickell (USA) during a coffee break. (Photo: Pensar magazine)
During the conference, CFI chair and founder Paul Kurtz delivered an address on “Humanism and Planetary Ethics.” In addition, while in Peru, Kurtz received an honorary award from San Marcos University, founded in 1512, the oldest university in the Western Hemisphere.