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.


There are 2 entries for this date: Paul D. Boyer and John Searle
Paul D. Boyer

Paul D. Boyer

On this date in 1918, Nobel Laureate Paul D. Boyer was born in Provo, Utah, the middle child in a family of six in a loving home. Although Paul became a "Deacon" in the Mormon church at age 12 and graduated from Brigham Young University, where he met his wife Lyda, his pursuit of science during graduate studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison altered his perspective. He earned his doctorate in 1943. Moving to Stanford to do postdoctoral research in a war project, he and his wife ceased going to Mormon meetings. In 1955, he went to Sweden on a Guggenheim Fellowship. Dr. Boyer spent 17 years as a faculty member of the University of Minnesota, where, in 1956, he was appointed to the Hill Foundation Professorship. In 1963, he and his family, including two daughters, moved to Los Angeles, where Dr. Boyer continued research into biochemistry at UCLA. In 1965, he became director of the newly created Molecular Biology Institute.

Boyer has pointed out that, as might be expected, "belief in God and in a Hereafter dropped considerably as the level of scientific achievement increased." A recent survey shows that only ten percent of members of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, representing "a pinnacle of achievement for American scientists," believe in a god. Dr. Boyer shared the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1997 with John E. Waller and Jens C. Skow "for their elucidation of the enzymatic mechanism underlying the synthesis of adenosine triphosphate (ATP)." In his Nobel autobiography, Dr. Boyer referred to himself as a "devout atheist," and added: "I wonder if in the United States we will ever reach the day when the man-made concept of a God will not appear on our money, and for political survival must be invoked by those who seek to represent us in our democracy." He and his wife, Lyda, continue to travel widely in retirement. Paul D. Boyer is a Life Member of the Freedom From Religion Foundation.

“My views have changed from a belief that my prayers were heard to clear atheism . . . Over and over, expanding scientific knowledge has shown religious claims to be false.

None of the beliefs in gods has any merit.”

—pan class=Apple-style-span

Compiled by Annie Laurie Gaylor

© Freedom From Religion Foundation. All rights reserved.

John Searle

John Searle

On this date in 1932, John Searle was born in Denver, Colo. He graduated from Oxford University in 1955 with a B.A., and returned to complete an M.A. and Ph.D. in philosophy in 1959. He has received honorary degrees from six other universities, including the University of Wisconsin, which he attended for three years before receiving his degree at Oxford. He is an accomplished philosopher and professor who currently teaches philosophy at the University of California at Berkeley. He has published 22 books about various topics in philosophy, including Speech Acts: An Essay in the Philosophy of Language (1969) and Mind, Language, and Society (1999). Searle has received numerous awards, including the National Humanities Medal in 2005 and the Mind and Brain Prize in 2006. His major areas of interest include the philosophy of language and the mind.

Searle is most famous for inventing the Chinese Room Argument, a rebuttal to the idea of artificial intelligence. In the Chinese Room Argument, Searle argues that computers do not have real intelligence, similarly to how a person who follows English instructions for writing in Chinese does not really understand Chinese. Searle’s Chinese Room Argument is still widely debated today, and Pat Hayes even defined the field of cognitive science as “the ongoing research program of showing Searle’s Chinese Room Argument to be false” (via Stevan Harnad’s 2001 essay, “Minds, Machines and Searle II: What’s Wrong and Right About Searle’s Chinese Room Argument?”). When Free Inquiry, a secular humanist magazine, asked Searle in 1998 if he believed in god, Searle replied, “I don’t.” In that interview, he calls himself “a kind of agnostic.”

“On the available evidence we have about how the world works, we have to say that we’re alone, there is no God.” 

—John Searle, interviewed in Free Inquiry, 1998

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.


FFRF is a non-profit, educational organization. All dues and donations are deductible for income-tax purposes.

FFRF has received a 4 star rating from Charity Navigator

 

FFRF privacy statement

AAI-LOGO

FFRF is a member of Atheist Alliance International.