September 15 in freethought history…

September 15, 1525 – Dutch Roman Catholic priest Jan de Bakker (aka Johannes Pistorius) is burned at the stake in The Hague by order of the Inquisition. He rejected the doctrine of transubstantiation, condemned indulgences as idolatry, and protested clerical celibacy by getting married.

September 15, 1905 – Historian Fawn Brodie is born Fawn McKay in Ogden, Utah. She is best known for a biography of Thomas Jefferson and for No Man Knows My History, the first critical biography of Joseph Smith, founder of Mormonism. She fell away from her LDS upbringing while attending the Univesity of Chicago, saying, “It was like taking a hot coat off in the summertime. The sense of liberation I had…was exhilarating. I felt very quickly that I could not go back to the old life, and I never did.” She died of cancer in 1981, aged 65.

September 15, 1925 – Physicist Murray Gell-Mann is born in New York City. Gell-Mann won the 1969 Nobel Prize in Physics; indeed, he famously used the word “quark” (after a nonsense word in James Joyce’s novel Finnegan’s Wake) to describe certain elementary particles. Gell-Mann is a Humanist Laureate in the International Academy of Humanism.

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