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: Thomas Scott , Jessica Alba and Sir Terence (Terry) Pratchett
Thomas Scott

Thomas Scott

On this date in 1808, Thomas Scott was born. Educated in France as a Catholic and independently wealthy, he served as a page at the court of Charles X. Scott became a rationalist as he approached the age of 40. From 1862 to 1877, he funded and distributed more than 200 pamphlets critical of religion, which were later compiled into 16 volumes. He wrote a few himself, but mainly published well-known freethinkers, such as Moncure Daniel Conway. Scott disseminated his pamphlets to the clergy as well as the public. From his own printing house in Ramsgate, Scott published Jeremy Bentham's Church of England Catechism Examined and Hume's Dialogues on Natural Religion. According to Joseph McCabeThe English Life of Jesus (1872), which Scott published and which bears Scott's name, was actually written, at least in part, by the Rev. Sir G.W. Cox (see A Biographical Dictionary of Modern Rationalists). McCabe wrote that Scott "rendered a most valuable service to the cause in England." D. 1878.

Compiled by Annie Laurie Gaylor

© Freedom From Religion Foundation. All rights reserved.

Jessica Alba

Jessica Alba

On this date in 1981, Jessica Alba was born in Pomona, California, to parents Catherine and Mark David Alba. Her father was in the military, so the family moved frequently during Alba’s younger years before settling in California when she was nine. At 11, Alba took an interest in acting. Her first role was in the 1994 film, “Camp Nowhere.” She began modeling and appeared in several national commercials. She also took a recurring role on the TV show, “The Secret World of Alex Mack,” and in the adventure series, “Flipper.” Her breakthrough role came in 2000, when she was cast as Max Guevera, the lead in “Dark Angel.” Since then, she has appeared in numerous films, including “Sin City” (2005), “The Fantastic Four” (2005), “Into the Blue” (2005), and “Good Luck Chuck” (2007). She married Cash Warren in 2008. They have two daughters together. She owns her own business, The Honest Company, which specializes in toxin-free bath, body, and baby products and she published her first book, “The Honest Life,” in 2013.

Alba’s father was Mexican American and she was raised Catholic. However, she rebelled by instead attending an evangelical Christian church. Ultimately, she left the church, citing its sexism and homophobia.

“I fell in love when I was 16 and had this major crush on . . . I guess he was a drag queen? He was bisexual and a ballerina, and this was while I was at the Atlantic Theater Company in Vermont. We used to go to this gay club and I’d dance with him all night, four nights a week. I was so in love with him and thought, ’There’s no way this guy’s going to hell,’ because in my church, it was, ‘Anybody who’s gay is going to hell’ and ‘Premarital sex is evil,’ and I thought, ’There’s no chance! This guy is amazing!’ So that went right out the window.”

—–Jessica Alba, Interview with the Daily Beast, August 8, 2014.

Compiled by Dayna Long; Photo by Tinseltown /

© Freedom From Religion Foundation. All rights reserved.

Sir Terence (Terry) Pratchett

Sir Terence (Terry) Pratchett

On this date in 1948, Terence (Terry) David John Pratchett was born in Buckinghamshire, England. He enjoyed reading, especially science fiction, fantasy, myth and ancient history. He has said that from a young age he was skeptical about Christianity and came to the conclusion that there was no god. He has won many awards, including the Carnegie Medal for The Amazing Maurice and Educated Rodents (2001), and was knighted in 2009 for his services to literature. Several of his books have been adapted as movies for television. Pratchett's first novel, Carpet People, a children's fantasy, was published in 1971. Pratchett is best known for his "Discworld" novels, a fantasy series tied together not by characters or plot but by the setting of the Discworld, a flat world sitting on the backs of four elephants standing on the back of a giant turtle swimming through space. The first book in this series, The Color of Magic, a fantasy adventure starring a hapless wizard parodying many conventions of the genre, was published in 1983, and the thirty-eighth, I Shall Wear Midnight, a coming-of-age story featuring a strong young witch battling prejudice, was published in 2010. The Discworld, like many fantasy worlds, features gods who occasionally interfere directly in events or feature as characters in some way. In 2007, Pratchett was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer's, but has continued to write and publish new books, albeit at a slower pace. He has made many public statements in support of the right to die, and talks openly about his Alzheimer's experience, including his wish to take his own life before his disease is critical. He was knighted in 2009.

Throughout his work, Pratchett questions religion in many different ways, pointing out religious hypocrisy while at the same time illustrating how different the world would be if God, or any gods, were real. The 1992 Discworld novel Small Gods shows the god Om visiting his worshipers, and being deeply dissatisfied with the direction in which his church has gone. Good Omens (1990), co-written with fellow British fantasy author Neil Gaiman, deals with Christian mythology and the book of Revelations. It begins with an angel and a demon conversing outside the Garden of Eden and questioning God's motives regarding the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. It ends with the ten-year-old antichrist, Adam, contemplating the raid of a neighbor's orchard and thinking, “There never was an apple . . . that wasn't worth the trouble you got into for eating it.” Pratchett said, "I read the Old Testament all the way through when I was about 13 and was horrified" (The Daily Mail, U.K., June 21, 2008). He died of Alzheimer's complications in 2015 at age 66.

Photo by © Luigi Novi / Wikimedia Commons under CC 3.0

“There is a rumor going around that I have found God. I think this is unlikely because I have enough difficulty finding my keys, and there is empirical evidence that they exist.”

—Sir Terry Pratchett, The Daily Mail (U.K.), June 21, 2008 

Compiled by Eleanor Wroblewski

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