Dear all at RDF,
My conversion from young earth creationist to scientific atheist seems a particularly unlikely event. Especially when you consider I was brought up by a deeply christian family, I was indoctrinated at a faith school for 2 years and I had a real desire for the christian version of events to be true.
The interesting bit was the gradual change in my thought process, which came with education. The shift in my trust moved, from personal experience (confabulation) and the regular authoritive assurances by those closest to me, towards a strong confidence in physical law.
My lightbulb moment came during a fluid mechanics seminar during my engineering degree. I suddenly realised (don't laugh), that the volume of water required for Noah's deluge to immerse planet Earth was never to be found in the atmosphere.
In a sudden frenzy of activity, I rushed to the library to investigate all the other young earth claims (which through many years had gone unchallenged.) Those claims collapsed like a pack of cards. It was then straightforward to realise the bible could not be the literal inerrant word of God.
That was part 1 (christian to agnostic). I assumed the attitude that if that romans didn't know why the sky was blue, modern man might still not have the facility to understand among other things where we came from.
Unsatisfied with this explanation, I reluctantly decided to read one book on evolution (just to prove I had balanced views), with no intention of believing it. You see, the creationist mindset in me was so heavily ingrained, that surely evolution couldn't possibly actually work?
The book I read was the selfish gene. I finished that book thinking, “there is nothing in here which is impossible.” It also gave a completely new perspective to human nature that I'd never heard. At 33 years old, over a decade and piles of books later, I feel confident the natural world and universe is not the work of any forethought or design.
Whilst I still lament the differences in opinion with my still loving christian family, I am hugely indebted to Richard for setting my mind free and opening my eyes to observe the wonderful natural world without wearing the creationist blinkers.