Saturday, December 26, 2015

A Merry Christmas from Maximilien Robespierre (with a side-note on that Newton business)

From the vaults via last year's Tumblr post:

Understandably enough, we tend to think of December 25 primarily as Christmas, thereby ignoring or forgetting other events that occurred on that date. Among the latter is the birthday of Isaac Newton (1642).

Neil deGrasse Tyson caused a stink this year when he made what he thought was a witty tweet about this coincidence and aroused the ire of some who thought he was anti-Christian. In fact, he was doing nothing new or particularly clever: advocates of science have for some years promoted celebration of the 25th as Newton’s birthday as a light-hearted way of increasing awareness of scientific knowledge.

I always honor the birthday of the scientific revolutionary Newton, but also the occasion of a major address by the political revolutionary Robespierre.

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