July 7, 1907 – Robert A. Heinlein is born in Butler, Missouri. One of the most influential science fiction writers of the 20th century, his books explored philosophy, religion, sexuality and taboos. He is best known for his novels Stranger in a Strange Land, Starship Troopers and The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress. Heinlein on religion: “The most ridiculous concept ever perpetrated by H.Sapiens is that the Lord God of Creation, Shaper and Ruler of the Universes, wants the sacharrine adoration of his creations, that he can be persuaded by their prayers, and becomes petulant if he does not recieve this flattery. Yet this ridiculous notion, without one real shred of evidence to bolster it, has gone on to found one of the oldest, largest and least productive industries in history.” Heinlein died May 8, 1988.
July 7, 1930 – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle dies in Crowborough, Sussex, England, aged 71. Despite having created Sherlock Holmes, the personification of logical reasoning and forensic science, Doyle was a firm believer in spiritualism; indeed, his friendship with magician Harry Houdini was destroyed during a botched seance in which the presiding medium made factually incorrect claims about Houdini’s deceased mother.
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