Freethought of the Day

Would you like to start your day on a freethought note? "Freethought of the Day" is a daily freethought calendar brought to you courtesy of the Freedom From Religion Foundation, highlighting birthdates, quotes, and other historic tidbits.

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Pat Duffy Hutcheon

Pat Duffy Hutcheon

On this date in 1926, Canadian sociologist Pat Duffy was born in Saskatchewan, a central province in Canada. She earned her undergraduate degree in education and history, and her PhD in sociology from the University of Queensland, Australia. In early adult life, because of several adverse personal experiences, she became active in promoting women's rights and equality of the sexes. Duffy Hutcheon taught sociology at the University of Regina and the University of British Columbia. She was in great demand as a public speaker and became a prominent humanist in the academic world. Her 1975 textbook, "A Sociology of Canadian Education," was the first ever published on that subject and became a classic. She wrote many books, including "Leaving the Cave: Evolutionary Naturalism in Social Scientific Thought" (1996), "Building Character and Culture" (1999), and "The Road to Reason: Landmarks in the Evolution of Humanist Thought" (2001). She wrote more than 80 articles throughout her lifetime. In later life her studies focused on the trend of tribalism and the dangers in presented for society.

Duffy Hutcheon was named Humanist of the Year 2000 by the Canadian Humanist Association and received the Distinguished Humanist Service Award 2001 from the American Humanist Association. She also assisted in drafting the Humanist Manifesto III issued by AHA in 2003. She was a member of the BC Humanist Association. She was married to her husband, Alexander "Sandy," Hutcheon until his death, and had two children with him and one from a previous marriage. D. 2010.

 

”Only humanism has a planetary perspective already in place. It is up to us to try to persuade the more open-minded members of the world community to join us in rejecting tribalism before it is too late.”

—Duffy Hutcheon in her essay, “Can Humanism Stem the Rising Tide of Tribalism?”

Compiled by Glenn Hardie and Sarah Eucalano

© Freedom From Religion Foundation. All rights reserved.

Freethought Today

On this date in 1983, Freethought Today, the newspaper of the Freedom From Religion Foundation, debuted in Madison, Wis.

Compiled by Annie Laurie Gaylor

© Freedom From Religion Foundation. All rights reserved.

Chapman Cohen

On this date in 1868, British freethought advocate Chapman Cohen was born. At the age of 21, he began a 50-year career as a popular and concise freethought writer and lecturer. When G.W. Foote died in 1915, Cohen succeeded him as president of the National Secular Society, and editor of its publication, The Freethinker. Cohen was an efficient manager who brought security to the National Secular Society. Cohen married happily and had a daughter, who died at age 29, and a son, who became a physician. He gave up the NSS presidency in 1949, and handed The Freethinker over to F.A. Ridley in 1951. Cohen is considered the "last great Victorian freethinker" (Victor E. Neuburg, The Encyclopedia of Unbelief). Cohen wrote many articles and pamphlets, as well as Almost an Autobiography (1940). D. 1954.

“Human society is born in the shadow of religious fear, and in that stage the suppression of heresy is a sacred social duty. Then comes the rise of a priesthood, and the independent thinker is met with punishment in this world and the threat of eternal damnation hereafter. Even today it is from the religious side that the greatest danger to freedom of thought comes. Religion is the last thing man will civilise. ”

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—Chapman Cohen, The Meaning and Value of Freethought, 1932

Compiled by Annie Laurie Gaylor

© Freedom From Religion Foundation. All rights reserved.

Edgar Rice Burroughs

Edgar Rice Burroughs

On this date in 1875, Edgar Rice Burroughs was born in Chicago, Ill. He graduated from the Michigan Military Academy in 1895 and enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1896, but was discharged after only a year due to a heart condition. He became a full-time writer of pulp fiction in 1912, the year he published his story Tarzan of the Apes in The All-Story Magazine. Tarzan of the Apes was an overwhelming success, and Burroughs went on to publish 26 Tarzan novels, which became famous worldwide. The novels detail the life of Tarzan, an Englishman who was raised by apes in the African jungle. The books have been made into over 50 different movies, beginning with the silent film “Tarzan of the Apes” in 1918, which was one of the first films to make over a million dollars. Tarzan novels have also been adapted into a 1932 radio drama, the Broadway play “Tarzan of the Apes” (1921) and Broadway musical “Tarzan” (2006), the Disney animated movie “Tarzan” (1999) and five television series.

Burroughs wrote 50 other books, many which were science fiction, including A Princess of Mars (1912), At the Earth’s Core (1914) and The Cave Girl (1925). He married Emma Hulbert in 1900 and had three children: Joan, John and Hulbert. They lived in Tarzana, Calif., which Burroughs founded in 1928.

On July 6, 1925, Burroughs published an article supporting evolution in the New York America. He wrote, “If we are not religious, then we must accept evolution as an obvious fact. If we are religious, then we must either accept the theory of evolution or admit that there is a power greater than that of God” (via www.hillmanweb.com). Burroughs’ novel The Gods of Mars (1918) contained freethought themes, describing a deeply religious society where the religion was a myth perpetuated as a way to cover up murder. D. 1950

“Men who had not progressed as far as we have tried to interpret [evolution] some two thousand years ago. It is not strange that they made mistakes. They were ignorant and superstitious.”

—Edgar Rice Burroughs, New York America, July 6, 1925 (quoted in Tarzan Forever by John Taliaferro, 1999).

Compiled by Sabrina Gaylor

© Freedom From Religion Foundation. All rights reserved.

Alan Dershowitz

Alan Dershowitz

On this date in 1938, Alan M. Dershowitz was born in Brooklyn, N.Y. He graduated with a B.A. from Brooklyn College in 1959 and an LL.B. from Yale Law School in 1962, and soon became a criminal lawyer. Dershowitz has been the defense lawyer for notable criminals such as O.J. Simpson and Michael Milken, as well as representing Claus von Bülow in the highly publicized trial where he was found innocent of attempted murder. Dershowitz has taught at Harvard Law School for over 40 years, beginning in 1967 when he was only 28, making him the youngest Harvard law professor to date. He has also written 25 books, including The Case for Peace: How the Arab-Israeli Conflict Can Be Resolved (2006) and America on Trial: Inside the Legal Battles That Transformed Our Nation (2005), and has published over 100 articles for newspapers including The New York Times. Dershowitz was awarded the 1983 William O. Douglas First Amendment award for his work with human rights.

Dershowitz was raised Jewish. As an activist who supports Israel, he has been called “America’s most public Jewish defender,” according to his personal website. However, he described himself as “agnostic leaning toward atheist” when he received FFRF’s 2003 "Emperor Has No Clothes Award." Dershowitz is critical of religion. In his speech, he said: “The atheist who throws himself in front of a bus to save a child, with the full knowledge that that's the end of everything for him, deserves greater praise than the religious person who throws himself in front of a car to save a child knowing, believing strongly, that he will get a reward for it in the afterlife.” Dershowitz authored Blasphemy: How the Religious Right is Hijacking the Declaration of Independence (2008), which attacks the idea that America is a Christian nation, and Rights From Wrongs: A Secular Theory of the Origins of Rights (2005), in which Dershowitz argues that rights do not come from religion.

“The court’s right wing seems determined to chip away at the wall of separation by limiting the right of citizens to challenge governmental actions that favor Christianity over other religions and over the views of citizens who do not subscribe to any religion.”

—Alan Dershowitz, “The Supreme Issue,” Forward, Oct. 16, 2008.

Compiled by Sabrina Gaylor

© Freedom From Religion Foundation. All rights reserved.

Freethought of the Day

Would you like to start your day on a freethought note? "Freethought of the Day" is a daily freethought calendar brought to you courtesy of the Freedom From Religion Foundation, highlighting birthdates, quotes, and other historic tidbits.

If you would like to be placed on the "Daily Freethought" e-mail list to automatically receive the calendar notice, log in and edit your email settings (My Membership). Or, email  and include your first and last name with your request for verification purposes. This email service is limited to members of the Freedom From Religion Foundation or subscribers to Freethought Today. To become an FFRF member, click here.


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