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Jul 20 2012

Why I am an atheist – Dave H

When I was nine or ten I asked my Dad what caused the universe and he bought me Carl Sagan’s book Cosmos. It was a wonderful book that answered some questions and got me wondering about a whole lot more. Sagan conveyed the majesty of the real world(s), the world(s) we can observe, with such dazzling eloquence that I could not help but embark immediately on a lifelong journey of discovering the ¬†secrets of the cosmos through the books, TV programmes, and (eventually) blogs of astronomers and cosmologists. ¬†It was only natural that my interest should then extend to all of science (and so eventually lead me to Pharyngula).

Sagan mentions several old myths about the cosmos, then shows that the reality, billions of suns, each one a vast nuclear furnace, orbited by worlds as various as strange gas giants like Jupiter and red rocky worlds such as Mars, is far richer than any myth. So I was very fortunate that at that early age I was introduced to the sumptuousness of reality. What-is-seen is so wonder-inducing, and so exhaustive, that I need nothing made-up to answer my questions about what-is. This is the foundation of my atheism. I owe both my Dad and Mr Sagan a huge debt of thanks.

Dave H
United Kingdom

4 comments

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  1. 1
    Dhorvath, OM

    Billions and billions. Sagan was a treat and it’s a great feature of humanity that we can still read his words or even hear him speak them.

  2. 2
    lesherb

    Good on your dad, Dave!

    Your post reminded me of something. Isn’t it strange that the study of horoscopes and such nonsense is called Astrology? And the study of stars and other heavenly bodies is called Astronomy?

    The “ology” is usually used for science disciplines.

    Biology, Neurology, Psychology, Neonatology, etc.

    I’ve often wondered why these two terms weren’t switched around. English has so many exceptions to rules. Maybe it was planned that way to weed out the non-native speaking English speakers?

    Now I am just going off on a ridiculous tangent…..

  3. 3
    DaveH

    Clenched tentacle salute from a fellow Commonwealth (Canadian) DaveH.

    My parents gave me a giant book called “How Things Work” almost as soon as I started reading (it had been my brother’s before me). They later upgraded me to things like Douglas Adams and National Geographic, and basically any other sciencey or sci-fi book they could get me. Strangley, I never read Sagan until I was in university.

    I know Hitchhiker’s Guide is not a science book, it is no more ridiclious than the Bible, and having read Adams first, a bunch of Broze Age myths is just stupid silliness.

  4. 4
    Quodlibet

    “the sumptuousness of reality”

    An elegant turn of phrase, and profoundly true. Thank you.

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