Middlebrooks, Dennis (15 February 1951 - )
Middlebrooks, who works in a New York City bank, has wide interests that include business, Civil War history, current events, and philosophy.
Formerly president of the Secular Humanist Society of New York, he joined in 1998 with Warren Allen Smith, another former president, to found FANNY (Freethinking Activist Nonbelieving New Yorkers). Middlebrooks is an activist in whatever causes he supports.
In excess of a hundred of his letters to the editor have been published. They have appeared in New York City's Daily News, Post, and The New York Times as well as in humanist and freethought publications, including Free Inquiry, Freethought Today, and Secular Nation.
In Civil War News, he stresses the contributions of freethinkers like Robert Ingersoll to the Union cause as contrasted with the stringent support by Christian clergy in the South for slavery, based on biblical grounds. Reportedly, some subscribers have cancelled their subscriptions because of some of his published letters.
Middlebrooks is a well-spoken humanist, skeptic, and freethought activist.
His letters to the editor are frequently published. In a 6 May 2008 letter about the accusation that the government infected black men with syphilis in the 1930s, he wrote (under the pseudonym Angela Reiss):
- The Tuskegee experiment did not involve the government infecting anyone. To learn the long-term effects of the disease, the feds withheld treatment from a group of black men who had previously contracted syphilis. There was no assurance that these men would have had access to treatment had there been no Tuskegee experiment. Using these men as guinea pigs was disgraceful. Yet it is a far cry from deliberately infecting them, as is commonly believe now.
The following was in The New York Times (20 February 2007):
- The Cosmos and Religion
- Re "A Familiar and Prescient Voice, Brought to Life" (Feb. 13): I resent Dennis Overbye's description of Carl Sagan as "one of the world's most famous and eloquent unbelievers." Why should religion be the basis for defining unbelief?
- Carl Sagan believed in reason and the use of the scientific method as the best way to open new vistas into the wonders of the universe. He believed that humanity is part of nature, and not the product of some divine whim.
- The true unbelievers are the majority of the American people, who, according to opinion polls, reject the discoveries of science as to the origins of humankind and the age of the solar system and cosmos, embracing instead a discredited biblical view.
Other letters, these in the Daily News:
Another, in The New York Times: