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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There are 3 entries for this date: Adam Carolla , Isadora Duncan and Harlan Ellison
Adam Carolla

Adam Carolla

On this day in 1964, Adam Carolla was born in Los Angeles, Calif. He briefly attended community college before deciding to pursue various professions, including working as a contractor, carpenter and boxing trainer. After working with the improv group The Groundings, Carolla decided to become a full-time comedian. Carolla co-hosted “The Man Show” (1999–2004) and “Crank Yankers” (2002–2007) with Jimmy Kimmel, whom Carolla met when teaching Kimmel to box. He also co-hosted the radio show “Loveline” (1999–2005). In 2009, Carolla began hosting “The Adam Carolla Show,” a free daily podcast on the ACE Broadcasting Network. “The Adam Carolla Show,” a talk show, became the most downloaded podcast in 2011 and holds the Guinness World Record for most downloaded podcast as of 2012. Carolla is also a published author. His comedic works include In Fifty Years We’ll All Be Chicks (2011) and Rich Man, Poor Man (2012). He married Lynette Paradise in 2003 and has two children.

“I’m an atheist,” Carolla told Penn Jillette on Penn Radio on March 9, 2006. He told Jillette that he had never been religious and that the very idea of religion seemed bizarre to him. “If you were not born into that culture, it seems like the most outlandish thing in the world,” Carolla said. “Obviously, you could take any Christian and just have them born into fundamentalist Hasidism, and they would be walking around with the beard and the whole getup. If you weren’t indoctrinated into that early on, then it makes no sense.”

“If you weren’t indoctrinated into [religion], it sounds like a far-fetched fairy tale.”

—Adam Carolla, March 9, 2006, Penn Radio. 

Compiled by Sabrina Gaylor; Photo by Everett Collection / Shutterstock.com

© Freedom From Religion Foundation. All rights reserved.

Isadora Duncan

Isadora Duncan

On this date in 1878, Isadora Duncan was born in San Francisco, the youngest of four children. Her mother, Dora Gray Duncan, a pianist and music teacher, was devout, having been raised in an Irish Catholic family. Dora lost her faith when her marriage disintegrated. Faced with four children to raise alone, "her faith in the Catholic religion revolted violently to definite atheism, and she became a follower of Bob Ingersoll, whose works she used to read to us," Isadora recalled in her autobiography. When Isadora was five, her teacher told the class Santa Claus had provided candies and cakes as a special treat. When Isadora solemnly challenged the assertion, she was physically evicted from the class. She made a little speech (see quote below), which she called "the first of my famous speeches." Isadora's mother comforted her by saying: "There is no Santa Claus and there is no God, only your own spirit to help you." As Isadora sat at her feet, her mother then "read us the lectures of Bob Ingersoll."

Isadora was dancing in public by age six, encouraged by her mother to pursue her unorthodox talent. Considered the "mother of modern dance," Isadora pioneered interpretative dancing, shedding shoes to dance barefoot, draping herself in loose Greek robes. Her dances were inspired by the writings of such freethinkers as Walt Whitman and Nietzsche. Isadora found fame and success in Europe, and was the most famous dancer of her era. Never conventional, Isadora gave birth to two "love children," by two different fathers, neither of whom she married. Her children tragically drowned in 1913 in an accident in France. She died in Nice in another tragic accident, when her free-flowing scarf got caught in the wheels of a sports car. D. 1927.

“I don't believe lies!”

—Isadora Duncan, age five, defying a teacher who insisted there is a Santa Claus. Isadora Duncan: My Life, 1927

Compiled by Annie Laurie Gaylor

© Freedom From Religion Foundation. All rights reserved.

Harlan Ellison

Harlan Ellison

On this date in 1934, Harlan Ellison was born in Cleveland, Ohio. A prolific writer, Ellison penned 75 books and over 1,700 short stories, articles, columns and screenplays. His books and collections of short stories include “I Have No Mouth & I Must Scream” (1967), “Approaching Oblivion” (1974) “Deathbird Stories” (1975) and “Strange Wine” (1978). He worked as creative consultant for “The Twilight Zone” (1985–1986) and as a conceptual consultant for “Babylon 5” (1994–1999). Ellison wrote scripts for such well-known shows as “Star Trek” – including the famous episode, “The City on the Edge of Forever” (1966) – and “The Twilight Zone.” He won numerous awards for his work, including 8 Hugo Awards in 1966, 1968, 1969, 1974, 1975, 1978 and 1986; the P.E.N. International Silver Pen in 1982, for “An Edge in My Voice” (1985), which was published as a column in L.A. Weekly; and the Georges Melies Fantasy Film Award for Outstanding Cinematic Achievement in Science Fiction Television in 1972 and 1973.

Ellison was raised Jewish, but became critical of religion. “The people who bomb churches and synagogues, they quote the bible. The people who shoot doctors use the bible,” Harlan said during a 1997 episode of “Politically Incorrect” with Bill Maher. In the 2008 documentary, “Harlan Ellison: Dreams With Sharp Teeth,” Ellison said: “I find nothing more ridiculous and annoying than some guy who runs a kickoff back 105 yards from the end zone and drops to his knees and thanks God. Well, that’s foolish. God didn’t do it. He did it. Because if God did that for him, you mean God was against the other team? God is that mean-spirited that he has nothing better to do on Sunday afternoon than beat the crap out of a bunch of poor football players? I don’t believe in the universe being run by that kind of a God. I go with Mark Twain.” The New York Times notes that Ellison was "ranked with eminent science fiction writers like Ray Bradbury and Isaac Asimov," however Ellison prefered to call his genre of writing "speculative fiction, or simply fiction" (NYT, 2018). Ellison wrote what could be considered his own epitaph: “For a brief time I was here; and for a brief time I mattered.” (The Essential Ellison, 1987.). Ellison is survived by his wife, Susan. D. 2018

Photo at Harlan Ellison at the L.A. Press Club by Pip R. Lagenta under CC 2.0

“I think [religion] is presumptuous and I think it is silly, because it makes you believe that you are less than what you can be. As long as you can blame everything on some unseen deity, you don’t ever have to be responsible for your own behavior.” 

—Harlan Ellison, “Harlan Ellison: Dreams With Sharp Teeth,” 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.

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