October 28 in freethought history…

jonassalkOctober 28, 1914 – Medical researcher Jonas Salk is born in New York City. He developed the polio vaccine, which saved countless lives. Within a decade of the vaccine’s introduction, worldwide cases dropped from hundreds of thousands annually to a few hundred (as of 2015, polio has yet to be eradicated due to political and religious obstacles).  Salk became one of the most lauded men of the 20th century (although he never received the Nobel prize, he was awared the Presidential Medal of Freedom and was named Humanist of the Year in 1976 by the American Humanist Association). Salk also advocated biophilosophy, which “draws upon the scriptures of nature, recognizing that we are the product of the process of evolution, and understands that we have become the process itself, through the emergence and evolution of our consciousness, our awareness, our capacity to imagine and anticipate the future, and to choose from among alternatives.”

October 28, 1991 – Founder of situational ethics and euthanasia activist Joseph Fletcher dies in Charlottesville, Virginia, aged 86. He founded the Euthanasia Society of America, signed Humanist Manifesto II, and was named Humanist of the Year in 1974 by the American Humanist Association.

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