Freethought Almanac

Lighting a candle in toxic air.
2013-10-05
October 5: Robin Lane Fox (1946)

It was on this date, October 5, 1946, that English historian of antiquity, educator and gardening writer Robin Lane Fox was born. He was educated at Eton and Magdalen College, Oxford, where he was a Fellow from 1970-1973. Lane Fox has written acclaimed studies of Alexander the Great and Ancient Macedon, Christianity and Paganism and […]

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2013-09-08
September 8: Michael Shermer (1954)

It was on this date, September 8, 1954, that American science writer and science historian Michael Shermer was born Michael Brant Shermer in Glendale, California. Shermer earned a B.A. in psychology from Pepperdine University, an M.A. in experimental psychology from California State University, Fullerton, and a Ph.D. in the history of science from Claremont Graduate […]

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2013-06-28
June 28: The “Lemon Test” (1971) and Church-State Separation

It was on this date, June 28, 1971, that the U.S. Supreme Court handed down the most significant ruling to date on the issue of church-state separation, limiting with the “Lemon Test” just how far the states and the United States can go in forcing religious support on citizens. In Lemon v. Kurtzman, 403 U.S. […]

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2013-06-18
June 18: American Library Association Adopts “Library Bill of Rights” (1948)

It was on this date, June 18, 1948, that the American Library Association adopted its “Library Bill of Rights,”* an affirmation that libraries are charged with providing the information and ideas necessary for an informed populace and a vibrant democracy. It has been amended twice since 1948 and its current version is still less than […]

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2013-06-11
June 11: Alexander Bain (1818)

It was on this date, June 11, 1818, that Scottish psychologist, philosopher and educator Alexander Bain was born in Aberdeen. Bain was one of the foremost psychologists and educationists of the 19th century, although he distinguished himself in logic and linguistics in grammar and rhetoric, as well. In spite of religious hostility to his naturalist […]

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2013-04-02
April 2: Camille Paglia (1947)

It was on this date, April 2, 1947, that American author, teacher, and social critic Camille Paglia was born. She was brought up in New York by Italian immigrant parents and spent her earliest days on a farm before her educator-father moved the family to more urban surroundings. Paglia graduated Harpur College at Binghamton University […]

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2011-11-09
November 9: Carl Sagan

Carl Sagan (1934) It was on this date, November 9, 1934, that American astronomer and science author Carl Edward Sagan was born in New York City. Carl Sagan earned degrees in physics, astronomy and astrophysics. He taught at Cornell from 1968 and was a consultant on NASA's Mariner, Viking, Voyager and Galileo expeditions to other […]

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2011-11-08
November 8: Émile Combes

Émile Combes and Church-State Separation (1904) It was on this date, November 8, 1904, that leftist French statesman Émile Combes introduced a bill for the separation of Church and State into the legislature of France. Born Justin Louis Émile Combes in Roquecourbe in the Tarn Départment on 6 September 1835, Combes at first studied for […]

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2011-10-20
October 20: John Dewey

John Dewey (1859) It was on this date, October 20, 1859, that American philosopher and educator John Dewey was born in Burlington, Vermont. Educated first in Vermont and taking his degree in philosophy from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Dewey gradually shed the strictures of his strict religious upbringing. Initially from the idealist school of […]

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2011-10-07
October 7: Religion and Cornell University

Cornell University Founded (1865) It was on this date, October 7, 1865, that US businessman Ezra Cornell, and respected scholar Andrew Dickson White, chartered and founded the Ivy League University in Ithaca, New York, known as Cornell. "Uncle Ezra," as he is affectionately known on campus, had a vision: "I would found an institution where […]

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Ronald Bruce Meyer

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This Week in Freethought History (May 12-18)

Read about George Carlin, Pope Gregory and calendar reform, creating Israel, churches vs. workers, Lady Mary’s skeptical letters from Turkey, journalist Studs Terkel, getting scared sacred with “Godspell,” Bertrand Russell, and more …



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