Good, Tue, Jan 29 2013 #(162)

Jan 29, 2013

Richard Dawkins,

I typically don’t send out emails to people in such a spontaneous way, especially to people as yourself who I consider very much educated beyond what I could hope for for myself. But I far as I know, I have plenty of time (never enough though), to keep bettering myself and to keep learning.

I wanted to let you know that you’ve been a great inspiration in my life, in both learning and in the search for knowledge to add to my own basically quiet yet strong beliefs in the non-existence of a deity (of any kind). I haven’t even read very much of your books, but I’m very glad to know that I have more reading to look forward to.

I still find it quite amusing to recall back to my youth, about how, at such a young age, I would be up early on a Sunday in order to hide or leave the house so as not to be dragged off to church (Catholic). I attended both Sunday school and Wednesday confirmation classes. Even more interesting and and now even more appreciative, is my recollection in that although my parents did ‘force’ me into those classes, that they did give me a choice of being confirmed. That day I pointedly began asking the teachers / nuns, if I was really supposed to believe what was in the bible; all – every one of those animals – two by two into an ark? What about the lack of room – what about the food – what did they eat while everything needed to grow back from the flood? Adam & Eve?, everything created in 6 days?, parting the Red Sea in such illustrated
fashion? I still recall her standing there in front of all the other ‘classmates’; her answering back to me pretty calmly (in my mind’s eye), ‘yes’ – that’s what it says in the bible, that’s why we’re here, to learn that’. To my parents quiet surprise, undiscussed to this very day, I didn’t stand up from the church pew to walk up front and to be confirmed. My parents were probably disappointed, but I feel very fortunate that they did give me the chance to choose for myself. I suppose that I’m mentioned this because I think I’ve always had an innate belief in how wonderful this world can be – yes, I do happen to be a healthy creature which makes the world feel even more wonderful, than living with health issues – but we are fortunate to be here. It’s better than the alternative.

Which brings me to something I suddenly thought of while listening to Christopher Hitchen debating Rabbi Shmuley Boteach. Shmuley was making statements regarding the missing links – the missing links which basically die through natural selection – the mutations which don’t survive.
We’re so fortunate to have the fossils which we do have and that caused me to wonder why the emphasis on finding these mutations. We’ll never be able to find them. It’s like finding all the ‘mutations’ of human development fossilized; from sperm to fetus to adult through maturity.

We know this development happens, we don’t have the fossil proof – yet we don’t say it doesn’t happen. It’s on a much much shorter time scale, but it’s basicly asking for the same proof, isn’t it? Millions of people born and dying and no fossils of that step by step development through it’s life… I mean, there might be fossil for a child at a fetus stage of ‘X’ days …. but we dont’ have one at X+1 day, and so on … which they’d want as proof of it having occured … Is this a good point? I’d like to know your thoughts on that.

It just drives me crazy to hear and think these people like Shmuley, their need for complete fossil evidence. At least what we strive for, to understand, has facts to back it up; through ongoing discovery, having the potential to be built on with excitement and truth – real life. Yet they base and judge and waste so much time and energy on something completely faith based… picking out the parts that make sense when they think – other parts looked over because thinking about it causes doubt.

Evolution – just in the gut, feels right – simple. Why wouldn’t the strongest survive – unless at the hands of a creature that itself isn’t strong enough? Why wouldn’t life take those steps given the chance to survive. There’s so many example of life doing what it needs to do to be here.

I thank you so much for your work.

I noticed it was your Birthday not too long ago, Happy late Birthday and I wish you many more.

Take care

Brian
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