CFI London Grand Opening – Jan 18th 2008

Center for Inquiry London programme at
Conway Hall Humanist Centre, 25 Red Lion Square, London WC1

Opening Launch of Center for Inquiry London

Friday 18th January 2008, 11.00 am to 8.30pm

Time Event Speaker Title
11:00A – 11:10A Introduction Joe Hoffmann
11:10A – 11:20A Words of Welcome
Norman Bacrac
11:20A -11:40A
Paul Kurtz The Challenge of Multisecularism
11:50P – 12:10P
Simon Glendinning The Religious Roots of Secularism?

12:20P – 12:40P   Mark Vernon A Case for Agnosticism

12:50P – 1:20P
Daphne Hampson ‘Enlightenment 2008’

1:30P – 2:30P Lunch-break

Stephen Law Secularism: a simple test
2:50P – 3:00P

Azar Majedi TBA
3:20P – 3:30P    
3:30P – 4:00P Break for Tea  
4:00P – 4:20P
Julian Baggini The Challenge of the Spiritual

4:30P  – 4:50P 
Ibn Warraq TBA

5:00P – 5:20P
Nigel Warburton No Platform Arguments

5:30P – 5:50P
Peter Cave With and Without Absurdity – the Message from McTaggart’s Cat

6:00P – 8:00P Break  
8:00P – 8:15P Welcome and Intro DJ Grothe
8:30P – 9:30P Keynote Address Simon Blackburn Human Nature, Gods, Darwin, and Us

Sunday 20th January 2008

These Lectures are organised and hosted by South Place Ethical Society (SPES).

The Origins of the Koran

Lecture by Ibn Warraq at 11:00 AM.

Warraq is perhaps the leading critic of
Islam in the world. He is the author of several
important books published by Prometheus Books:
Why I am Not a Muslim, The Origins of the Koran,
The Quest for the Historical Muhammad, and Defence of
the West. Educated at the University of London,
he is a Distinguished Fellow of the Center for

Secular Alternatives to Religion

This will be followed by a lecture by Paul Kurtz at 3:00PM

Kurtz is known in the US as the “Father of
Secular Humanism.” He is the founder of the
Council for Secular Humanism, CSICOP and the
Center for Inquiry– there are now 40 Centers and
Communities world-wide. Kurtz will discuss the
critique of religion and the paranormal, as
detailed in his book, The Transcendental
Temptation,  After “The New Atheists,” he asks,
can we develop positive alternatives to religion?
He has published several books on humanist
ethics, including Forbidden  Fruit, The Courage
to Become (Greenwood) and Embracing the Power of
Humanism.(Rowman and Littlefield).  Kurtz is
Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at the State
University of New York at Buffalo and editor in
chief of Free Inquiry.


Paul Kurtz (PhD, Columbia University) is Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at the State University of New York at Buffalo, founder and chairman of the Center for Inquiry Transnational, and editor-in-chief of Free Inquiry magazine. 

R. Joseph Hoffmann (DPhil, Oxford University) is Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs and Educational Programs at the Center for Inquiry Transnational. He is best known for his studies of early Christian thought, and for his reconstruction of the writings of the pagan opponents of Christianity: Celsus (1987), Porphyry (1994), and Julian the Apostate (2004).   

Simon Glendinning (DPhil, Oxford University) is Reader in European Philosophy and Director of the Forum for European Philosophy at London School of Economics. He is the author of On Being With Others: Heidegger-Derrida-Wittgenstein (1998) and editor of The Edinburgh Encyclopedia of Continental Philosophy (1999).

Mark Vernon (PhD, Warwick University) began his professional life as a priest in the Church of England. He is now a writer, broadcaster and journalist. Vernon is the author of numerous books including The Philosophy of Friendship (2005), Science, Religion, and the Meaning of Life (2007) and What Not to Say (2007).

Daphne Hampson (ThD, Harvard University; DPhil, Oxford University) is Professor Emerita of Divinity at the University of St Andrews, where she held a chair in Post Christian Thought. She is the author, among other works, of After Christianity. Daphne lives in Oxford where she continues to write and teach.

Stephen Law, (DPhil, Oxford University) is currently senior lecturer in philosophy at Heythrop College. He is also the editor of THINK and author of The Philosophy Gym and The War for Children’s Minds.

Azar Majedi is chairperson of Organization for Women’s Liberation and one of the leaders of Worker-Communist Unity Party. She is the author of numerous publications including her recent book, Women’s Rights vs. Political Islam (2007). 

Julian Baggini (PhD, University College, London) is the author of The Pig that Wants to be Eaten and 99 other Thought Experiments (2005), The Philosopher’s Toolkit (2002), and is a co-founder and editor of The Philosophers’ Magazine. 

Ibn Warraq (MA, University of Edinburgh) is a Senior Research Fellow at the Center for Inquiry Transnational and a member of the CFI Collegium. He is the author of Why I Am Not a Muslim (1996) and Defending the West (2007); and the editor of The Quest for the Historical Muhammad (2000), The Origins of the Koran (2001), and What the Koran Really Says (2002).

Nigel Warburton, (PhD, Cambridge University) is the Senior Lecturer at the Open University and author of a number of Philosophy books including the bestselling Philosophy: The Basics (4th ed.), Philosophy: The Classics (3rd ed.) and Thinking from A to Z. He also runs a popular philosophy weblog Virtual Philosopher and, with David Edmonds, regularly podcasts interviews at Philosophy Bites.

Peter Cave (University College, London) is lecturer in philosophy at the Open University and City University. He writes for various philosophy journals and currently is Chairman of the Humanist Philosophers’ Group.  Cave is also the author of various novels including Can a Robot be Human? (2007)

DJ Grothe (MLA, Washington University) is Vice President and Director of Outreach Programs for the Center for Inquiry, an associate editor of Free Inquiry magazine and host of Point of Inquiry. He is the editor of the The Beauty of Science about the life’s work and worldview of Nobel Prize winner Herbert Hauptman.

Simon Blackburn, (PhD, Cambridge) is Professor of philosophy at the University of Cambridge. He is also a Vice-President of the British Humanist Association and a former editor of the journal Mind. Blackburn is the author of numerous books including Think (1999), Being Good (2001), and Lust (2004).