Hello Professor Dawkins!
I don’t know if you’ll ever lay eyes on this message, but I hope you do. My name is Kylie and I’m 17 years old. I wanted to say that I am absolutely amazed by your writings! You can really capture readers of all sorts. The way you go into the details, the way you present the information, the examples, and your passion with science just seems to seep through the pages. I sometimes swear I can feel it. All of this made the read all the more enjoyable. You are an amazing writer as well as an amazing scientist and person.
I was never actually raised into a religion, as my parents didn’t believe it to be right. I started really delving into the subject when I reached middle school, and it was only later on when I reached high school that I discovered people like you, Michio Kaku, Lawrence Krauss, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Brian Green, etc.and my love for science grew even more. My only regret is of not discovering you sooner. You are probably the person I look up to the most, along with Lawrence Krauss. You are the reason I got so interested in evolution, and actually considered pursuing the same career as you. I am now aspiring to become a physicist instead, though. I just have a bit of trouble with the math. (I’ve a bit of a self-esteem issue). You did help me quite a bit though. I questioned things before, and I have been agnostic since middle school, but you made me sort of fearless in expressing what I think. In a way, you helped me overcome my shyness concerning that, as weird as it might sound. You also made me look at things I’ve never looked at before. Lawrence Krauss made me look at things differently too. I don’t see the world in quite the same way. You two are amazing people. The universe is beautiful, it’s complex, it’s wonderful, and there are still so many things we don’t yet know or understand about it, but we’re fueled by not knowing. It heightens our curiosity and hunger. It’s so amazing that we are able to ask questions about where we came from, why we’re here, how we got here, etc. And we can actually answer such questions, or at least attempt to answer such questions. We are able to figure out the science behind the universe and everything in it. We can understand the universe we live in. We can understand that we are all linked together in some way through one giant family tree. We can understand that we are made of star stuff. I find that alone to be awesome.
As to whether there’s a god behind it all, I don’t know to be honest. If there is, I doubt it would be the one of religion. The god of religion combats itself in its own illogicality and contradictions. I did veer towards belief in some kind of imperfect god before (I placed myself as about a 3 on your agnostic scale), but I’ve constantly been hovering towards just confusion. I think that there are times when throwing in a god really does only start confusion, like trying to have him intervene and personally change things in evolution, but I also think that there are times when throwing one in doesn’t, like for things concerning death or consciousness. I think it is death that makes people cling to a god. We know that our time is limited, and I think that it instills a fear in many of us that we may never see our loved ones again. It scares me too. I’d love to see my loved ones again, especially since I never got the chance to say goodbye to them, but I think that it’s wishful thinking. But could I be wrong on that part? I think so. We haven’t fully explained what consciousness is just yet. I wonder if that could hold an answer to things like this?
If it were possible in the future, and if I ever become a physicist, I would love to have discussions about things like this with people like you, Lawrence Krauss, Neil deGrasse Tyson, etc. I love raising these things, I love discussing them. I love debating. I might be terrible at it and I might sound stupid, but I love doing it all the same. It raises things that may not have occurred to me before. It gets me thinking, and I love that.
I don’t know if you’ll ever read this message, but if you do, I want you to know that you are amazing. Thank you for everything, and I hope that in the future I can manage to meet you and Lawrence Krauss. I love you both. Best of luck!