Freethought Almanac

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March 8: Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. (1841)

It was on this date, March 8, 1841, that The Great Dissenter on the US Supreme Court, Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr was born. His distinction as The Great Dissenter arose from many legal dissents issued on the Supreme Court that nevertheless were incorporated into common law. Holmes once wrote (in dissent): “the best test of truth is the power of the thought to get itself accepted in the competition of the market, and that truth is the only ground upon which their wishes safely can be carried out.” Throughout most of his legal life, his religious opinion can be said to have been Unitarian. It was Holmes who said to a reporter on his 90th birthday, “Young man, the secret of my success is that at an early age I discovered that I was not God.”

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Originally published March 2003 by Ronald Bruce Meyer.

Ronald Bruce Meyer

Our Fearless Leader.


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June 21: Jean-Paul Sartre (1905)

It was on this date, June 21, 1905, that French existentialist philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre was born in Paris. Through his mother, Anne-Marie Schweitzer, Sartre was a great nephew of medical missionary Albert Schweitzer. He grew up fatherless and was reared by his grandfather, who called him Poulou. Working as a teacher from 1931 to 1945 […]



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