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.