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The Amherst-based Center for Inquiry, a nonprofit organization that debunks paranormal and fringe science claims, has opened a New York City office.

The center, founded by retired University at Buffalo philosophy professor Paul Kurtz, opened an office last month at 30 Rockefeller Center. The organization relocated its 2-year-old Montclair, N.J., office and five employees to Manhattan.

The new office, in the same building as NBC's headquarters, puts the center closer to the large broadcasting networks.

Kurtz and other Center for Inquiry employees and fellows have often appeared on NBC, CNBC and other networks to provide scientific analysis of religious and paranormal claims.

"New York is the financial and the media publishing capital of the world and we thought we could have a bigger impact by having an office there," Kurtz said.

The center also has offices in Los Angeles and Tampa. The organization employs 54 people, including 33 at its Sweet Home Road headquarters.

The Center for Inquiry has two major divisions, the Center for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal and the Council for Secular Humanism.

Numerous publications are produced by the organization each year, including "Skeptical Inquirer" and "Free Inquiry."

Most of the publishing work is done in Amherst.

Kurtz is also the founder of Prometheus Books, a local book publisher.

The nonprofit organization runs on donations, grants and subscription income from more than 100,000 magazine subscribers. The center's magazines do not sell advertisements.

The Amherst organization has enjoyed support from many worldwide scientists through the years. Scientists affiliated with the organization have included the late Isaac Asimov, DNA discoverer Francis Crick and Bill Nye, the "Science Guy" of children's television.


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