James Croft: Ingersoll’s Voice, Adler’s Vision – Humanism Beyond the Reason Rally


James Croft is a philosopher at Harvard who works with the Humanist Chaplaincy there to build the Humanist movement. In April, he spoke at the Freethought Festival, a conference given by the Atheists, Humanists, & Agnostics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, on the topic of “Ingersoll’s Voice, Adler’s Vision – Humanism Beyond the Reason Rally”.

In the video, Croft discusses contributions from the 19th century “secular saints” Robert Green Ingersoll and Felix Adler, the founder of the Ethical Culture movement. Croft looks at the accomplishments of these great men and surmises how we might build on their examples today.

I learned a lot about the early work of the New York Society for Ethical Culture and its relevance as the largest capital resource of the Humanist movement in the world.

The conference had a bunch of other interesting talks and speakers that you might like to check out.

Note: the Adler section of Croft’s talk starts at the 21:20 point, and the first couple minutes of the video have some ribald, student-oriented humor.


  1. says

    Many thanks for sharing this talk – it was significantly more polished when I presented it at the annual conference of the American Humanist Association in New Orleans a few weeks later, but the main ideas are the same.

    Apologies to anyone offended by the “ribald, student-oriented humor”. ;)

  2. Lance Finney says


    I’ve glad you found this, and I’m also glad you spread the news about Felix Adler.

    BTW, I think your jokes at the beginning were completely appropriate for that audience (or any audience with JT in attendance). :)