Dear Professor Dawkins,
I am awed by the sheer work and dedication you put into educating our society about reasonable thinking and -of cause- evolution.
A topic that was quite thinly spread on the bland bread of education during my years at school. If more teachers were able to nail evolutionary education as brilliantly as you do, I would expect that a lot of religious students would be converted to rationalists since the seed of doubt would be planted properly – for evolution is an astonishingly simple and beautiful process if understood.
A proper education about rational (aka scientific) thought in general would surely have saved me from drifting into a very confusing and potentially dangerous worldview of esoteric nonsense during my early teens. I was never a fan of religion since my father held an atheistic worldview that influenced me during my early development – so in retrospective it is that much more astonishing that I was still left vulnerable to esoteric (custom) superstition.
In my early teens I first got access to the internet and quickly became interested in mysticism and nonsensical conspiracy theories.
At first I was skeptical but eventually placed too much trust into the writings of other people and kept reading more of it than was good for my still easily influenced mind. It even led to the point that I achieved a degree in Reiki, which is a form of “energy healing” and believed in little green men. And that's still the harmless stuff. Eventually my mind matured by itself and I gradually shook off more and more beliefs that I realized were unwise to hold… maybe due to the realization that written word doesn't have to be true or even smart just because a person managed to get it printed in a book. Looking back it's astonishing how smooth and gradual that process from an esoteric towards a sciencific worldview really was and reading about evolution surely played a major part in it.
After being a “Teapot Atheist” for a few years now a new development set in recently that made me change my course once again.
A few months ago a pair of Jehova's Witnesses knocked on my door – not the first time of cause. But this time it was a pair like none before – a mother and her probably 4 year old child. The kid had to stand still and start reciting the bible out of her memory, something she couldn't even comprehend in the slightest way.
A blow to the crotch couldn't have hit me harder. The picture of the small child standing there literally paralized me and left me in a state of disgust and enragement, after I politely turned down their offer to save my soul and closed the door. Before this incident I was tolereant towards religious beliefs and even esoteric ones, since I could somehow relate to why those people held their beliefs.
Using a 4 year old child as shield and bait, taking it from door to door for probably the whole day… this really blew off the lid.
From that day on everything has changed as I realized that there is no real difference between indoctrinating a 4 year old, a 12 year old or even a 15 year old child. Finally I saw that the only difference between all the various religious and superstitious beliefs is the degree to which they are ignorant towards scientific knowledge, facts, the proper evaluation of probabilities and sheer common sense.
Some go even so far as to surpress scientific education in order to ensure their very existance. Despicable.
Thank you Prof. Dawkins for being a leading figure in the crusade against harmful superstitious nonsense and inspiring me to be more radical (and better prepared) in defending and spreading Atheism.
The world is surely far better off without irrational decisions and the surpression of scientific advancements due to the religious meme.
It's about time for the antidote and I am glad that you provide your part for the mixture.