Freethought Almanac

Lighting a candle in toxic air.
September 3, 2011
September 3: How Great Was Gregory?

Gregory the Great (Gregory I) Becomes Pope (590) How Great Was He? It was on this date, September 3, 590, that the son of a wealthy patrician named Gordianus, whose name history does not recall, was made Pope in the Roman Catholic Church. He took the name Gregory and is remembered as Pope St. Gregory […]

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September 2, 2011
September 2: Religion and the Great Fire of London

“A woman might piss it out.”

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September 1, 2011
September 1: Auguste Forel

Auguste Forel (1848) It was on this date, September 1, 1848, that Swiss physiologist Auguste-Henri Forel was born in La Gracieuse, near Morges, Switzerland. He was fascinated as a boy with insects of all kinds, but was persuaded to study medicine at the University of Zürich, 1866-1871. In spite of that, he published papers on […]

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September 1, 2011
September 1: Alan M. Dershowitz

Alan M. Dershowitz (1938) It was on this date, September 1, 1938, that Harvard law professor and civil liberties lawyer Alan Morton Dershowitz was born in Brooklyn, New York. First in his class at Yale Law, he was appointed to the Harvard Law faculty at age 25 and became the youngest full professor in the […]

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August 31, 2011
August 31: Théophile Gautier

Théophile Gautier (1811) On this date, August 31, 1811, French poet and journalist Pierre Jules Théophile Gautier was born in Tarbes, in the southwestern region of France. Although he was inclined to paint, he was influenced by Victor Hugo to write poetry and got a job at the Chronique de Paris with help from Honoré […]

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August 31, 2011
August 31: Hermann von Helmholtz

Hermann von Helmholtz (1821) It was on this date, August 31, 1821, that German physician and physicist Hermann Ludwig Ferdinand von Helmholtz was born in Potsdam, Prussia, in what is now Germany. The son of a classics teacher of small means, Hermann was persuaded to set aside his love of natural science in favor of […]

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August 30, 2011
August 30: Jacques-Louis David

Jacques-Louis David (1748) On this date, August 30, 1748, that the most important European painter of the French Revolutionary period, from 1785-1815, Jacques-Louis David, was born into the Parisian merchant class. David's father must have been both prideful and foolish, because he died in a duel when his son was 10. Educated at the Académie […]

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August 30, 2011
August 30: Warren Buffet

Warren Buffett (1930) It was on this date, August 30, 1930, that Warren Buffett, known as "the Oracle of Omaha," was born in Omaha, Nebraska. As Chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, Buffett became perhaps the greatest investor of all time – reportedly worth almost $43 billion – second in wealth only to Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates. […]

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August 29, 2011
August 29: The Reasonableness of John Locke

"How any man who should inquire and know for himself can content himself with a faith or belief taken upon trust, is to be astonishing."

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August 28, 2011
August 28: Sturm und Drang und Goethe

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749) It was on this date, August 28, 1749, that Germany's greatest poet, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, was born in Frankfurt am Main. Initially trained in the law, from age 16, he took to letters under the influence of his mother. He joined the rebels of the Sturm und Drang (storm […]

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Ronald Bruce Meyer

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February 15: Jeremy Bentham

"The spirit of dogmatic theology poisons everything it touches," said Bentham. "There is no pestilence in a state like a zeal for religion, independent of morality."



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