It was on this date, February 28, 1533, that French essayist Michel de Montaigne was born. As his famous Essays were published, the 1572 St. Bartholomew’s Massacre was a fresh memory in France, so Montaigne professed to be a Catholic. Yet he made some risky statements in his most famous work:
• Man is certainly stark mad; he cannot make a flea, yet he makes gods by the dozen.
• Men of simple understanding, little inquisitive and little instructed, make good Christians.
• Nothing is so firmly believed as what we least know.
Montaigne was a Deist, but he may have been a secret Atheist…
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Originally published February 2003 by Ronald Bruce Meyer.
Hermann von Helmholtz (1821) It was on this date, August 31, 1821, that German physician and physicist Hermann Ludwig Ferdinand von Helmholtz was born in Potsdam, Prussia, in what is now Germany. The son of a classics teacher of small means, Hermann was persuaded to set aside his love of natural science in favor of […]