I don’t know how to begin to thank you. I know you must receive millions of hateful messages from people so much like me, except that they never managed to break free.
I am a 20 year old American woman, born into a fundamentalist Christian family, who is just learning for the first time about all the incredible discoveries science has made. I was taught all the evidence for evolution was falsified, that scientists were this collection of angry, hateful people rebelling against god so they could live in sin. Imagine my surprise when I discovered you, so mild and polite compared to the “children of god” I encountered in church.
I devoured your book, The Greatest Show on Earth, with more fervor than I had ever read the bible. I had never looked at nature with so much awe before, with such amazement at how lucky we are to be alive. You brought wonder to the world. I only regret that my scientific education had been better; I might have been a scientist, had I been raised somewhere else. By the time I finished the book, that nagging doubt that I was wrong, that I might still go to hell, had finally died after 6 years of uncertainty as to what I actually believed. Finally, “atheist” is no longer a dirty word to me.
Thank you, and please, never stop what you are doing, no matter how many people scream at you to be silent. They scream, because they know the power of evidence, and there is nothing they can do but watch.