As a fellow academic, I have just started my PhD program in physical chemistry, you have become a role model for me. I have read all of your books (most twice) and what I have learned has become invaluable in my daily life. My main problem has not been facts; the bible has outrageous quotes from killing one’s slave to forcibly eating the flesh of one’s child and science has its proven facts, from Newtonian to quantum mechanics. The problem is logic. Many just simply do not seem to grasp the flow of logic as well as fail to see logical views.
What I have learned from you is how to deal with such problems. Staunch religious folk (i.e. my father) was blown away during our discussion when he finally decided to discuss it with me. He came at me with his usual theistic views, but was overwhelmed when he realized that I held not only the power of science, but that I have done my research on theology as well. He, along with other religious people I know, were at a loss for words when I explained a well rounded argument of both sides.
The whole point of this email, is that you have helped me immensely in my goal. My goal is not to convert people to atheism, my goal is to get people to think for themselves and make their own decisions based on the information we have.
I used to be one of those middle-of-the-line people who wasn’t sure but said I believed for the “just in case” scenarios or because it was socially acceptable. You have taught me that it’s alright to have my own views and be a proud atheist and I look back and see how much your openness has done for me and I will be forever grateful.
Thank you again for everything you have provided and someday I wish I could be as influential of a scientist that you are such that I could influence as you have done to me and countless others.
(P.S. I wish I could donate to the cause (and someday I will!), but I am sure you can be sympathetic with the budget of a grad student)