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via Slate Magazine by Christopher Hitchens on 1/17/10On Nov. 1, 1755—the feast of All Saint's Day—a terrifying combination of earthquake and tsunami shattered the Portuguese capital city of Lisbon. Numerous major churches were destroyed and many devout worshippers along with them. This cataclysmic event was a spur to two great enterprises: the European Enlightenment and the development of seismology. Voltaire and Jean-Jacques Rousseau were only some of those who reasoned that no thinkable deity could have desired or ordained the obliteration of Catholic Lisbon, while other thinkers—Immanuel Kant among them—began to inquire into the possible natural causes of such events.
Lisbon - Portuguese language - Immanuel Kant - Jean-Jacques Rousseau - Age of Enlightenment