February 14 in freethought history…

tellerFebruary 14, 1948 – Atheist, skeptic and libertarian Teller (best known as the shorter, silent half of the world-famous magic duo Penn & Teller) is born Raymond Joseph Teller in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

February 14, 1975 - British rationalist and humanist Julian Huxley (grandson of Thomas “Darwin’s Bulldog” Huxley and brother of Aldous “Brave New World” Huxley) dies in London, aged 87. Huxley was knighted in 1958 and, among other things, was the first president of the British Humanist Association and the American Humanist Association’s 1962 Humanist of the Year.  He was an evolutionary biologist, and a prominent eugenicist, serving as president of the British Eugenics Society from 1959-1962.

February 14, 1989 – Iran’s Ayatollah Khomeini issues a fatwa calling for the death of novelist Salman Rushdie for insulting Islam and the Prophet Muhammad in the book The Satanic Verses. The fatwa led to several deaths (including the assassination of a Japanese translator), several related attacks, and threats and bombings of numerous bookstores.

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