April 11, 1926 -Â Botanical pioneer Luther Burbank, who developed over 800 new strains of fruits, flowers, vegetables and other plants, dies in Santa Rosa, California, aged 77. Burbank was widely revered for his creations during his lifetime. His only negative experience with the public came as a result of an interview he gave shortly before his death in 1926, in which he declared “I am an infidel today. I do not believe what has been served to me to believe. I am a doubter, a questioner, a skeptic. When it can be proved to me that there is immortality, that there is resurrection beyond the gates of death, then will I believe. Until then, no.”
April 11, 1930 -Â Anton Szandor LaVey, founder of the Church of Satan and the modern Satanist movement, is born Howard Stanton Levey in Chicago, Illinois. LaVey’s brand of Satanism is an atheistic philosophy that sees Satan merely as a symbol of defiance to Abrahamic presumption, denies the existence of God and the devil, and embraces individualism, naturalism and libertarian principles. He died in 1997, aged 67.
April 11, 2007Â -Â Kurt Vonnegut, one of the greatest American writers of the 20th century, dies in Manhattan, New York, aged 84. A lifelong atheist and humanist from a family of freethinkers, Vonnegut was an honorary president of the American Humanist Association. His writing was often satirical or science fictional (or both) and included explorations of philosophy and religion. His books include Cat’s Cradle, Slaughterhouse-Five, Galapagos and God Bless You, Dr. Kevorkian.