On the surface, Dick Teresi’s Lost Discoveries: The Ancient Roots of Modern Science—from the Babylonians to the Maya is an eye-opening and thought-provoking book on the history of non-Western science. It is a book I would recommend to anyone who believes in the “Greek miracle,” who takes Carl Sagan’s words about the Ionian birth of science at face value, and generally anyone who wants to take a less white, less Western perspective on both science and history as wholes. However, anyone who reads this must also be able to question what they are reading, ask for the author’s sources and motivation, and be ready to think for themselves despite the author’s biases.
“Whatever is inconsistent with the facts, no matter how fond of it we are, must be discarded or revised.” – Carl Sagan, Cosmos Episode 13: “Who Speaks for Earth?”
Since first reading Cosmos by Carl Sagan one year ago, I have revered him. I admire his worldview and his way of expressing it. I’ve dedicated many blog posts to him and to the curiosity that he has inspired in me. I’ve shared dozens of his quotes, many of which carry the same sentiment as the one above. This dedication to the truth, this unwillingness to accept facts only because they were propagated by an authority figure, is what brings me to write that Carl Sagan was wrong.Read more
I’ll be honest with you: Stamped from the Beginning is a very intimidating book in more ways than one. It’s a 511-page tome, which makes sense considering that it is, as the subtitle tells us, The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America. It’s won several awards, and for good reason.Read more
Three weeks ago, I reviewed my first ever Ian Tattersall book, Masters of the Planet. As I said then, Ian Tattersall is the curator of the American Museum of Natural History’s Spitzer Hall of Human Origins. He’s been involved in paleoanthropology since the 60’s, and his books combine his undeniable expertise with just enough of his own evidence-based opinions and a dash of wit.Read more
I have been excited to write this post since last May. My husband and I were on a weekend trip in State College, PA celebrating our six-year dating anniversary by visiting all the local bookstores as we are wont to do. In a cute cafe and bookstore called Webster’s, I came across a uniquely rustic book called The A B C of Evolution by Joseph McCabe. It was $20 which is above the average price for a used book, but something told me I would never find a book like this again, so I bought it. Part of what sold me was the copyright date of 1920; at the time I thought to myself that that would soon be 100 years ago! Since then I’d been waiting for the perfect time in 2020 to look back at where the study of evolution was 100 years ago.Read more
The gifts I want most are typically books. As you may know, all the books I enjoy stem from a common theme, but the range of books I end up owning and reading can be pretty varied. I started my nonfiction obsession with books like The God Delusion and The Language of God, but I found that my favorite topic within atheism and apologetics was evolution, or narrower yet, human evolution. Branching from human evolution, I’ve also taken a greater interest in and appreciation for human history.Read more
Last month marks the three-year anniversary of my blog, but this week marks the end of not only a year, but a decade. I want to end this year with a little bit of introspection on who I am as an atheist.
I’ve made a few posts before on what type of atheist I am, my own personal evolution, and how my blog is changing. But I want to go into more detail about why I’m not your stereotypical atheist, even though perhaps I used to be.Read more
My atheism, like everything else, was a slow process. There was never a day when I woke up and realized that I was an atheist, or even that I didn’t believe in God. I have a story, however, that I tell people when they ask for my “deconversion story,” which I could tell in my sleep. It goes like this:Read more
I’ve had an interest in religion and atheism for a long time, especially since I started writing on this blog three years ago. I’ve covered topics like evolution and creationism, the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (the religion I was raised in), and a whole lot of thoughts and opinions on religion in general and the existence of God. While I’ve done plenty of research, it still shouldn’t come as a surprise to you that I tend to have my own personal biases when looking at evidence for things like God or evolution.Read more