Friday, January 29, 2010

Happy Birthday to Thomas Paine…And Me!

So today is my birthday and I’m spending it in a neck brace.  For anyone who was on the 405 South yesterday I apologize, even though it was not my fault.

Today is also Thomas Paine’s birthday and the LA Atheism Examiner, Hugh Kramer, has posted some great articles on one of my favorite free thinkers.

Thomas Paine Part I, Part II, and Part III

Some of my favorite quotes from TP

“The christian religion is a parody on the worship of the Sun, in which they put a man whom they call Christ, in the place of the Sun, and pay him the same adoration which was originally paid to the Sun.”

“Mingling religion with politics may be disavowed and reprobated by every inhabitant of America.”

“Character is much easier kept than recovered.”

“Lead, follow, or get out of the way.”

“The most formidable weapon against errors of every kind is reason.”

Christopher Hitchens on Thomas Paine (this is the first video, the others are at YouTube)


  1. I'm a fifth-grade teacher in Colorado, and a crucial part of teaching civics is providing students with our primary sources: the founding documents. This is critical in understanding what “We the People” means. Today, like 230 years ago, those documents instill in students the belief that all voices are important. Every one of our citizens is needed to pursue liberty. Futures do not have to be inevitable and "Little voices" can make dramatic impacts on events. That is Paine's greatest contribution to our country. His pamphlet, Common Sense, spoke to all the voices in the 13 colonies during a time of great indecision. He gave a vast number of citizens a vision of what each could do, 176 days before the Declaration. A belief that power should radiate from the citizens. That message is still foundational for all our students today.

    Mark Wilensky,
    author of "The Elementary Common Sense of Thomas Paine: An Interactive Adaptation for All Ages"

  2. Thanks to your efforts, we've had nearly 3,000 people sign our petition to President Obama asking him to issue a presidential proclamation declaring February 12 to be Darwin Day. That's an amazing response in only a few days, and it's wonderful to see so many of our supporters stand up for science. I can't thank you enough!

    But our work is far from done. In order to make a Darwin Day proclamation a reality, we need to have as many signatories as possible and demonstrate to all who are watching that we're tired of politicians undermining science for cynical political gain. Please help us spread the word!

    Here's what you can do to help:

    1. Sign our petition, if you haven't yet done so. Make sure to use the option to forward the petition to your friends, and urge them to sign.

    2. Spread the word via Facebook and Twitter. Use your status message or twitter account to spread the word about the petition and to declare that you're on the side of science. (Make sure to include the tag @WhiteHouse, enabling the White House to receive and read your comments, and #Darwin Day so that we can track the number of tweets.)

    Suggested status/tweet:
    @WhiteHouse, I signed a petition asking President Obama to declare February 12 Darwin Day. Join me: #DarwinDay
    Also, consider changing your profile picture to our Darwin Day icon.

    3. Blog about it. And then send us the link. We'll be updating our Facebook page with all the blogs about Darwin Day, so you can read what others have to say.

    4. Send a message directly to President Obama. You can call the White House comment line at 202-456-1111 before 5 pm Eastern. The line is manned by operators, to whom you can relay a message about Darwin Day.

    Suggested script:
    Mr. President, I have just signed a petition asking you to issue a presidential proclamation declaring February 12 to be Darwin Day. If the United States is to successfully compete in the 21st Century, we need to provide our students with the best science education possible--and that begins by supporting sound science in our classrooms free from ideological or religious censorship. It's important to me that you send a strong message that you support science and Darwin's theory of evolution by natural selection. Thank you.
    You can also send this message to the White House by leaving a comment at Comments can also be left on the White House Facebook page: (Note: you will need to become a fan first before you can leave a message.)


    Roy Speckhardt
    Executive Director
    International Darwin Day Foundation