I am writing to express to you my sincere gratitude for bringing scientific ideas to popular audiences in such a way that ordinary people like me can understand them. I must confess that I have struggled at times with some of the concepts that you introduce in your books and have had to make further enquiries so as to properly understand them, but I thank you anyway for the flattery. I would rather be exposed to ideas that are a little beyond, rather than within, my comprehension so that I may actually learn something new!
I am a little ashamed to admit that I didn’t know who you were until someone gave me a copy of The God Delusion. Having long identified as an atheist I wasn’t sure that I would benefit from reading this book. How wrong I was! It articulated so many of the things that I felt intuitively – for want of a better word – and gave me the tools that I needed to not only express my arguments against religious belief but also to think and reason in a scientific way – something that I believed, erroneously, I had been doing successfully until that point.
But back to the science itself: one of my favourite past-times, particularly during bouts of melancholia, has been to listen to my partner – who has an education in the natural sciences – tell me about the wonderful, bizarre and breath-taking realities of my world. Nothing comforts me more and your work has provided a necessary supplement to this source of scientific knowledge and emotional comfort (for whatever the latter is worth). Having now read some of your books I feel incredibly ripped off. Had I been taught secondary school science in the way that you present it in your popular books I would almost certainly have pursued a career in science. I’m not a particularly romantically inclined person, and poetry and literature are none of my business, but even I am inspired by your poetically expressed awe at the natural world.
Thank you also for setting me straight on a few things. Like so many others I would occasionally read my horoscope; I had some sympathy for the supporters of ‘alternative’ medicine; and flirted with the ideas of the cultural relativists (even though I always strongly resented having those ideas that fall under the general umbrella of ‘postmodernism’ rammed down my throat at university). Not anymore!
Please pardon the highly personal, anecdote-laden email but I felt it necessary in order to properly express the impact that your work has had on me.
Thank you, again…