Freethought Almanac

Lighting a candle in toxic air.

March 7: Luther Burbank (1849)

It was on this date, March 7, 1849, that American botanist and horticulturist Luther Burbank was born (1849). Although benefiting from only an elementary school education, at age 21 he used his inheritance to buy a plot of land and developed the first of more than 800 strains and varieties of plants throughout his 55-year career: the Russet Burbank potato, claiming inspiration from the writings of Charles Darwin. Burbank caused consternation in the churches by declaring that humanity itself could be improved without priests, churches, or belief in immortality. Luther Burbank himself “believed neither in heaven nor hell.”

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Originally published March 2003 by Ronald Bruce Meyer.

Ronald Bruce Meyer

Our Fearless Leader.


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March 27: John Ballance (1839)

It was on this date, March 27, 1839, that the future 14th Premier of New Zealand, John Balance, was born in Mallusk, County Antrim, in Northern Ireland. Interested in books as a youth, he eventually became interested in politics. But, having witnessed the damage caused by religious rioting when in Belfast, Ballance also became committed […]



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