The Skeptic History 500

Those of you who follow me on Twitter or are friends with me on Facebook have seen my Skeptic History posts over the last 18 months or so. I started doing these out of a realization that we have a large number of younger skeptics who are just getting started, who need to be aware of the history of the movement. There is a long history of interesting personalities, lawsuits, failed predictions and more in skepticism. As the old adage tells us, those who are not aware of their past are condemned to repeat it.

And so, every day I post a historic event relating to skepticism that occurred on that day, usually with a link that supplies further details. I’ve been doing so since February of 2009. In the early days I didn’t have events researched for every single calendar day, but I kept researching. Now I have at least one event on every day, sometimes I have as many as nine events to choose from. I post one or two each day.

I recently discovered that we are about to reach #500 in this series of posts in the month of September. Since Dragon*Con is this weekend, I thought it would be fun to have a little contest to guess the date of the fateful post. I’ll give the details after the jump.


All the evidence you need to figure out the answer is out there on Of course, because Twitter is oriented toward timely updates, the search functionality is not well suited to finding old content. So your Google-Fu must be strong to directly determine the answer. However, I will give you the following clues:

  • The first post was on February 16, 2009 and was called “Skeptic Trivia” not Skeptic History. Those still count.
  • The first one that said Skeptic History was on March 23, 2009.
  • Many days in 2009 had no posts at all. (I hadn’t found anything for those dates yet.)
  • Only two days in 2010 have had no Skeptic History post.
  • On a number of occasions I’ve posted two in one day, simply because I had an embarrassment of riches.

The Contest

Between now and Sunday at 12 Noon EDT (the last full day of Dragon*Con), I will be accept entries on Twitter, in which you predict the 500th Skeptic History post. You must include:

  1. The date it will post.
  2. The name of a notable skepticism-related personality it will mention.
  3. The twitter hashtag: #SkepticHistory

You must be following @krelnik on twitter to win. This is advisable in any case, because over the next couple of days I will post some additional hints. You can enter as many times as you like, if I get more than one correct answer I will pick one randomly.

There are a few of you out there who have access to the database I use to store this information, via a link I sent you. You folks are NOT eligible to win. Sorry.


Thanks to Derek & Swoopy of Skepticality, we have four awesome books to give away to winners of the contest. They are:

We will reveal the winner some time in the afternoon on Sunday, and of course on Twitter and Facebook as well. If we don’t get winners online, we’ll pick some from the folks in the room. Good luck!

Updated Sept. 3: Added list of prizes.