Our Mission: Center for Inquiry (CFI) strives to foster a secular society based on reason, science, freedom of inquiry, and humanist values.
Our Vision: A world where people value evidence and critical thinking, where superstition and prejudice subside, and where science and compassion guide public policy.
Our Values: Integrity, Courage, Innovation, Empathy, Learning, Wonder.
CFI Michigan is a local branch of Center for Inquiry, an international, nonpartisan, nonprofit 501©(3) organization that encourages evidence-based inquiry into science, pseudoscience, medicine and health, religion, ethics, secularism, and society. The Center for Inquiry is not affiliated with, nor does it promote, any political party or political ideology.
CFI Michigan is working to develop a secular community across the state where like-minded individuals can meet and share experiences. We host nearly 200 educational and social events each year. Event topics include: science, religion, philosophy, social issues, politics, evolution, morality and ethics, psychology, secularism, atheism, humanism, agnosticism, skepticism, and others.
We also have an active Secular Service Program to provide CFI members with opportunities to put CFI’s mission into action for the common good through community service and outreach.
Nearly all of our events are open to the public. You do not have to be a member to attend.
If you value our mission, we encourage you to become a CFI Member, as we rely on the generous support of our members to sustain our programs.
Visit the Event Calendar to learn about upcoming events.
CFI Michigan was originally formed as the Freethought Association of West Michigan in 1997 by Jeff Seaver, Don Hansen, and Charles Leedy. Originally an informal group of fewer than a dozen members, our membership has since grown to over 400 freethinkers with attendance ranging from 40-550 at our featured lecture events.
Originally, meetings were held at the home of Don Hansen. As we continued to grow, and outgrow locations, we met at Schuler Books, Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts, Wyoming Public Library, Grand Rapids Community College, Yankee-Clipper Library, and our present location at the Women’s City Club.
In September of 2007 the Freethought Association merged with the Center for Inquiry to become Center for Inquiry Michigan.
CFI Michigan now has events in West Michigan, Southeast Michigan, Mid Michigan, Southwest Michigan and on campus at Michigan State University, University of Michigan, Grand Valley State University, Grand Rapids Community College, and Ferris State University.
Our funding comes solely from tax-deductible donations from supporters like you.
Michigan Advisory Board
- Jason Pittman, Chair
- Cindy Krieg, Vice Chair, Secular Service Committee Chair, Volunteer Coordinator
- Chris Beckstrom, Secretary
- Mike Slomka, Southeast Michigan (Detroit) Event Host
- Ed Brayton, Advocacy Committee Chair
- Susan Johnson, Membership Committee Chair
- Casimir Tokarski, Campus Committee Chair
- Dennis Gaymer, West Michigan Event Host
- Dean Tersigni, Southeast Michigan (Flint) Event Host
- Roger Brewin
- Sam C., Southeast Michigan (Dearborn) Event Host
- Robert Goodrich (Emeritus)
- Robert Collins (Emeritus)
- Charles LaRue (Emeritus)
- Gregory Forbes (Emeritus)
The Freethinker of the Year Award was created in 2003 in honor of the contributions of Don Hansen, founding member of the Freethought Association, to recognize an individual or organization that has made a significant contribution to advocating/promoting reason/rational inquiry, critical thinking, freethought, science, and/or protecting secular rights and values, within Michigan in the past year. A Student Freethinker of the year can also be awarded. Nominations can be made by CFI Members, staff and Advisory Board members, and the awardee is selected by vote of the CFI MI Advisory Board. Submit a Freethinker Award Nomination.
- 2017 Lifetime Service Award — Jeff Seaver, Founding Executive Director, CFI MI
- 2017 Recipient — Carl Bajema
- 2016 Recipient — Cathy Seaver
- 2015 Recipient — Robert Goodrich
- 2014 Recipients — Shirley Draft & Mike Rainwater
- 2013 Recipient — Jacob Slomka
- 2013 Student Recipient — Maria Beelen
- 2012 Recipient — Luke Galen
- 2012 Student Recipient/Volunteer of the Year — AJ Bunker
- 2011 Recipient — Ed Brayton
- 2011 Student Recipient — Ellen Lundgren
- 2010 Recipient — Jeremy Beahan
- 2010 Student Recipient — Erin Ribbink
- 2010 Lifetime Achievement Award — Arlene-Marie, President, Michigan Atheists
- 2009 Recipient — Adrienne Asselmeier
- 2008 Recipient — Josh Dunigan
- 2007 Recipient — Charles LaRue
- 2006 Recipient — Gregory Forbes
- 2005 Recipient — Jason Pittman
- 2003 Recipient — Don Hansen
The Volunteer of the Year Award is presented to an outstanding volunteer who has gone above and beyond to support the CFI Michigan community in the past year. The Volunteer of the Year is selected by nominations from CFI MI Staff, the CFI MI Advisory Board, and fellow volunteers.
- 2017 Volunteer of the Year — Shel Lynn Hawthorne & Dave Jensen
- 2016 Volunteer of the Year — Cindy Krieg
- 2015 Volunteer of the Year — Lukas Schroeder
- 2014 Volunteer of the Year — Tim Hamlin
- 2012 Student Recipient/Volunteer of the Year — AJ Bunker
- 2011 Volunteer of the Year — Renee Ruedisueli
- 2010 Volunteer of the Year Award — Dr. Robert and Sherron Collins
Atheism can be defined as the lack of belief in a god or gods. Despite common stereotypes, atheists aren’t necessarily anti-religion, nor do they “worship” themselves instead of a god. Atheism indicates what someone does not believe. It says nothing about what someone does believe.
Chances are you’re a secular humanist without even knowing it. Secular humanism is a nonreligious worldview rooted in science, philosophical naturalism (rather than supernaturalism), and humanist ethics.
Secular can mean something that doesn’t have any affiliation with religion. Secularism does not refer to opposition to religion. The secular community applies to people who live without religion, particularly those who define themselves as atheists, humanist, or similar groups.
Skepticism is a healthy habit of mind that both prepares us to welcome new ideas and yet cautions us to analyze them critically, to see if they hold up to scrutiny. It's an attitude that allow us to navigate, to the best of our abilities, the murky divide between sense and nonsense, science and pseudoscience, in the quest for a more reasonable world.