Lighting a candle in toxic air.
We Believe in Free Speech
No, Really: All Evidence to the Contrary Years ago, when I was teaching public speaking to community college students, I started an impromptu debate on the topic of free speech. It was easy to get a student to take the “pro” side; nobody was willing to argue the “con,” so I did. What I said […]
November 30: Mark Twain
"These two gentlemen [Jesus and Satan] have had more influence than all others put together, and 99 percent of it was Satan’s. [And Satan is] worth very nearly a hundred times as much to the business as was the influence of all the rest of the Holy Family put together."
November 23: Ronald Bruce Meyer (1954)
It was on this date, November 23, 1954, that American voice actor, educator and atheist blogger Ronald Bruce Meyer was born in Baltimore, Maryland, the first of three children, to a homemaker mother (d. 2002) and a utility company executive (now retired). As he likes to point out, he was born 310 years to the […]
November 2: Annie Laurie Gaylor (1955)
It was on this date, November 2, 1955, that the co-president of the Freedom From Religion Foundation, Annie Laurie Gaylor was born in Madison, Wisconsin. She was educated in journalism at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. With her mother, Anne Nicol Gaylor, and John Sontarck, the three founded the Freedom From Religion Foundation in 1976, expanding […]
October 27: Desiderius Erasmus
Desiderius Erasmus (1466) It was on this date, October 27, 1466, that the Dutch author, and the greatest humanist scholar of the northern Renaissance, Desiderius Erasmus was born Gerrit Gerritszoon in Rotterdam, in what is now the Netherlands. He was the product of a liaison between a housekeeper-niece and a Dutch priest. Ordained a priest […]
October 15: Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr.
Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr. (1917) It was on this date, October 15, 1917, that American historian Arthur Meier Schlesinger Jr. was born Arthur Bancroft Schlesinger in Columbus, Ohio. The son of a prominent American historian of the same name (and taking his father’s middle name during his writing career), Arthur Jr. attended Phillips Exeter Academy […]
October 5: John Addington Symonds
John Addington Symonds (1840) It was on this date, October 5, 1840, that British writer John Addington Symonds was born in Bristol. He was educated at Oxford and married Janet Catherine North (sister of botanical artist Marianne North), on 10 November 1864, producing four daughters. Having health problems throughout his life, Symonds gave up the […]
August 3: Étienne Dolet
Étienne Dolet (1509) It was on this date, August 3, 1546, that the French scholar and printer of books critical of religion, Étienne Dolet, was burned alive for his opinions. Dolet was born in Orléans in 1509, possibly also on 3 August, and possibly into a family of wealth and rank. Dolet studied in Paris […]
July 6: Peter Singer (1946)
It was on this date, July 6, 1946, that Australian moral philosopher Peter Singer was born Peter Albert David Singer in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. The product of Viennese Jewish parents who emigrated after Austria’s annexation by Nazi Germany, three of his four grandparents were killed or disappeared by the Nazis. Singer is currently the Ira […]
July 5: Samuel Bailey (1791)
It was on this date, July 5, 1791, that English philosopher and philanthropist Samuel Bailey was born in Dunstable, England. He acquired a fortune as an industrialist and prominent citizen of Sheffield, where he was widely known as “Bailey of Sheffield,” and acquired some repute in the philosophical world through his publications, many of which […]
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