August 12 in freethought history…

August 12, 1887 – Physicist Erwin Schrodinger is born in Vienna, Austria. He shared the 1933 Nobel Prize for Physics with Paul Dirac for his formulation of the Schrodinger Equation, which describes how the quantum state of a physical system changes with time. He is best known in popular culture for the thought experiment known as “Schrodinger’s Cat.” Schrodinger rejected Western religions and dabbled in Eastern mysticism. He died in 1961, aged 73.

lasttemptationAugust 12, 1988 – Martin Scorsese’s film The Last Temptation of Christ is released. Based on the 1953 novel by Nikos Kazantzakis, and starring Willem Dafoe as Jesus and Harvey Keitel as Judas, the film offers an alternative view of Jesus as a doubting, sinful human chosen by God to be the Christ. The film was banned in several countries, and it sparked protests among conservative Christians who hadn’t even seen it. Christian protestors firebombed a theater in France, severely injuring four people. The film was not a financial success, barely recouping its production cost at the box office.

August 12, 2010 – The documentary program Penn & Teller: Bullshit! ends its run on cable TV channel Showtime. Over eight years and 89 episodes, professional magicians and skeptics Penn Jillette and his ever-mute partner Teller debunked (using lots of profanity) a wide range of topics, including alternative medicine, UFOs, religion, and popular misconceptions.

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