I like to highlight items from the history of skepticism, so newer skeptics can learn how we've arrived where we are today. To this end, I post a daily fact from skeptic history on social media.
When they occur, I always try to highlight anniversaries of interesting events in my daily postings. People sometimes find these things more compelling (though die-hard numerology skeptics may scoff).
Here are a few skeptical anniversaries for the month of September 2013:
5th Anniversary: On September 10, 2008 the Large Hadron Collider at CERN was first powered on for testing. Several pseudoscientific and conspiracy theories have claimed that it might destroy the Earth, but despite having been operated (off and on) for five years that has not yet happened.
20th Anniversary: On September 10, 1993 the TV program "Bill Nye, The Science Guy" premiered on PBS. It ran for 100 episodes over 5 seasons and won 19 Emmy awards. Bill Nye is a noted skeptic who has spoken at The Amazing Meeting, CSICON and Skeptics Society events.
35th Anniversary: On September 28, 1978 Pope John Paul I died just 33 days after his election. This highly unusual event spawned many conspiracy theories.
165th Anniversary: On September 13, 1848 a railroad worker by the name of Phineas Gage survived an accident in which a steel rod was driven through his skull. His post-injury personality changes were key to studying how the brain works, and negating mind/brain dualism.
You can get a daily dose of the history of skepticism with JREF’s free Today in Skeptic History app for iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad. Or subscribe for a daily fact onTwitter orFacebook.
(This list of September anniversaries first appeared in a different form on page 66 of the September/October 2013 issue of Skeptical Inquirer).
Tim Farley is a JREF Research Fellow. He is the creator of the websiteWhat's the Harm , blogs atSkeptical Software Tools and contributes to the Skepticality podcast and the Virtual Skeptics webcast. You can follow him on Twitter here.