MILETUS, Turkey — Is rationalism a form of belief? In a time when religious fundamentalism across all faiths has provoked an aggressive reaction from thinkers like Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett and the late Christopher Hitchens, and with atheist or non-religious "congregations" forming, it's a question worth exploring.
If reason is a kind of faith, then Miletus, on Turkey's Aegean coast, is its Bethlehem. This is where the very first Greek philosophers, including Thales, Anaximander, and Anaximenes — lived.
And just a few miles off the coast is the island of Samos, where Pythagoras lived around the same time.
"This was the center of the world," Dr. Philipp Niewoehner, an archeologist, said as we stood in the ruins of an Ottoman fort, atop the ruins of a Roman theatre, atop a cave sanctuary.