Science is a Collective Human Endeavor – And That’s Beautiful

A philosopher of science once told me, “Science is like a big, ornate building. Unless you’re an Einstein or a Newton, all you can do is etch away at a little flourish on the building’s facade - and then you die.” Though bleak, his thought did speak to a curious truth about the lives of … Continue reading Science is a Collective Human Endeavor – And That’s Beautiful

The Fragile History of Secular Thought

Secular inquiry is fragile. The history of trying to understand the world without reference to the gods is remarkably tumultuous – so much so that it is baffling that secular inquiry, as a social phenomenon, should have survived at all. Many thinkers throughout history have devoted themselves to keeping nonreligious thought alive, but six thinkers … Continue reading The Fragile History of Secular Thought

On the Golden Age of Islamic Science

We tend to think about the history of science as something that started in Ancient Greece, did fairly well in Ancient Rome, was forgotten in the world during the Middle Ages, and was then revived during the European Renaissance. What’s often neglected in this story is the vital role that medieval Muslims played in preserving and … Continue reading On the Golden Age of Islamic Science

Ancient Greek Philosophy and the Birth of Neuroscience

We recognize today that of all ancient civilizations, the Greeks were the most advanced in mathematics, engineering, and astronomy, and that their achievements in these fields went unrivaled until the Renaissance. We know, for example, that Aristarchus proposed a heliocentric model of the solar system and offered a reasonably accurate estimation of the size of the … Continue reading Ancient Greek Philosophy and the Birth of Neuroscience