Excuse me for assuming a first name basis with you – a man I have never met, however, I feel as though I have met you through your most excellent books and though your wonderful documentary films which I have read and watched religiously (pardon the pun).
This is convert’s corner so I suppose I will provide my ‘testimony’ below…
At my current age (35), I recently felt the need to go back to university study, so a change in ‘life-direction’ lead me to a Graduate Diploma of Psychology. Human behaviour has always fascinated me, although I was never strong in science (having a visual arts background). To be honest, when I started the psychology degree I didn’t even fully understand that it was a science, or what science really meant. Once engaged in PSYC101 however, I came across a psychological perspective known as Evolutionary Psychology – and the rest is history, well, not just history but vast expanses of geological time, as I would later learn from reading your excellent book The Greatest Show on Earth (it really is the only game in town)!
I had been a Christian for over 20 years, previous to this university study and coming upon your magnificent work, and even now as I write this it is difficult to use the past-tense. However, I know now that I really never properly looked at all sides of the argument before, and certainly never questioned seriously a decision, that I made at the age of about 14, that completely shaped the way I have thought ever since – until now. Now I believe that life boils down to basically 2 ways of looking at the world around us:
1. Through faith (being content to not understand what largely can now be understood (through science) and to stop asking questions when one doesn’t understand)
2. Through objective, rational, reasoned and critical thinking (looking at evidence and being skeptical until reason must win out)
Last night I finished reading The Greatest Show on Earth. What an amazingly complex reality we are in and the most amazing part is that it comes from such simple beginnings. As you have said many times, it truly is “elegant”. Darwin’s Theory of Evolution is so well supported through your work and the phenomenal pile of evidence that science has gathered since the age of enlightenment that I would no longer wish to call it a theory (in the colloquial sense), it is the Darwinian LAW of Evolution through Natural Selection! On par with Newton’s Laws or Einstein’s Laws etc.
As this email is getting rather epic – I’ll end it here with a very sincere note of thanks and appreciation for helping me to ‘come out of the closet’ and embrace my inner atheist! Please continue to press on with the brilliant work that you are doing. You have a wonderful way of bringing the understanding of science to the non-scientific masses (like me) and slowly helping us to see the importance of science in society and to become ever more science-literate.
Many Kind Regards,