Good, Tue, Jan 29 2013 #(179)

Jan 29, 2013

Hello Richard,

I just want to thank you for helping to change my perspective on life, the world, and my place in the universe. Thank you for your aggressive and beautiful attempts at making Darwin’s theory of evolution so aggressively crystal clear, that no one can possibly ignore you. I now think a little more deeply about things, value my life so much more, and am continuously in awe of what a rare thing it is to have lived and experienced at all. To realize this at 28 years of age is the greatest gift I can think of.

One of the most important things I’ve become highly aware and sensitive of is the ludicrous myth that religion is responsible for informing an established society’s religion, when so many widely held beliefs like “don’t kill others” would exist if there were no religion. Also, an important point to make is that science can and does inform morality on a daily basis. That we can actually acknowledge the moral usefulness of science, at that this point in time, should and will become the next big zeitgeist, and maybe we and the earth will survive or we’ll become advanced enough to sustain life. The more we can explain the existence of everything with evidence and reason, the more contextually clear our lives will become and the more apt we will be when making those moral decisions.

The concept of a “humanist” is probably the greatest idea that comes with comprehending science (it’s not dismissively hard like I had thought!) and the uselessness and dangerousness of religion. I realize I might be preaching to the choir with this letter, but my recently deeper comprehension of descent with modification and evolution has given my life meaning and direction. It would certainly be very sad if the one conscious and self-aware species of life on earth (the ones that were smart enough to survive and evolve into consciousness) failed at survival by letting religious fanatics and politicians stand in progress’ way with ignorance and war.

I will always regard you with heroic esteem for allowing me to wake up in the universe. I suppose Darwin was pretty cool, too.

Jim, Seattle
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