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 […]Read more "The Fragile History of Secular Thought"
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 […]Read more "On the Golden Age of Islamic Science"
The death of neuroscientist Rita Levi-Montalcini is now somewhat old news, but I want to write about her because she was an inspirational badass. Here’s a summary of why she was a badass: 1) She was still doing neuroscience research at age 100. 2) She started doing neuroscience research before WWII, when there were very […]Read more "The Life of Rita Levi-Montalcini"
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 […]Read more "Ancient Greek Philosophy and the Birth of Neuroscience"