Hey everyone I'm a recent religious drop-out, and I have a basic question. For obvious to christians reasons I never paid much attention to evolution, or any other 'questionable' science in school. Now I find myself very curious, but also overwhelmed trying to figure out where to even start as an adult not in a school setting. That's my question, where do I even start to learn? What subject is a good starting off point?
Welcome to TA
Where to start is what interests you the most. That my friend is a decision only you can make but since you have mentioned evolution maybe you could start by reading books by Gould, Coyne and Dawkins on evolution.
Anywhere you want, there is no doctrine or anything you got to follow.
You could start out with any of Richard Dawkins' books, they're a nice read for anybody. Darwin's Origin of Species is probably a good read too if you're interested in evolution, although it's not exactly a page turner. Try Sam Harris, Stephen Hawking, Carl Sagan. All have a great body of work.
You can find literally hundreds of documentaries on Youtube that can get you a solid start. Search for 'abiogenesis', 'evolution 101', 'big bang' - or anything you fancy. Remember, you don't need to justify your lack of belief in fairy tales by proving scientific principals -> you can reject bullshit purely at face value.
Haha I know, I do want to learn though. I know longer have an excuse as to why I don't know much.
I think that the best book for people wanting to learn about evolution would be Richard Dawkins' "The Greatest Show On Earth", a very well written book that explains in detail how evolution works.
If you want to laugh your ass off, try reading Harun Yaha's "Atlas of Creation" afterwards.
Dawkins can't help including a few passages where he takes shots at religion, if that bugs you, but overall it's a really fascinating and illuminating read without being too dense.
I also recommend Dawkins' "The Greatest Show On Earth", as I own it myself and it was great. But I also read it already fully believing and understanding evolution, and as an atheist. Although Dawkins does cover the basics pretty well, and some great examples making evolution difficult to argue with, you might get the idea that evolution is something associated with atheists- when it shouldn't be. I recommend investing in a high school or AP biology textbook. They are designed with teaching specifically in mind, and so will usually give simple, progressing explanations, as well as tests etc. Most times they also have the sources listed, so you don't have to "take their word". I think you'll also find that you get a much denser source of information with a minimum of opinion. I have a few biologist friends - and one who is a teacher. I'll ask if they recommend any text in particular.
400 hundred (or so) years ago human beings started to examine the natural world around them using a new discipline called "the scientific method".
That's where I'd start, understand the method first.
I'd suggest getting familiar with Sir Issac Newton right away, humankind got a great boost toward Enlightenment in that fertile mind.
That's true, Greg, Newton gave us a quantum leap forward, but at the same time, he was one weird bird.
He was a life-long virgin, which says enough, right there.
He noticed that from time to time, according to his calculations concerning gravity, that the planets moved just enough out of alignment that, over time, their orbits would continue to change exponentially until a some-day collision was imminent, yet he noted that this had never happened - not realizing that natural gravitational processes provided automatic corrections for these aberrant orbits, Newton concluded that comets were actually angels, sent from heaven, to nudge the planets back into safe orbital paths.
He spent his last years dabbling in alchemy.
The alchemy was Newton building the basics of what today we would call chemistry, he was indeed a strange duck, BUT what a mind!!!
Nearly every great scientist since has stood on his shoulders, he did so much that has allowed the world we see around us today to develop, we all own Newton a great debt.
If I could go back in time there are many individuals I would like to meet but Newton tops the list. Shit, he created calculus because he needed it, he built the first reflective telescope after he took one look thru a refractive one because he understood light.
Can you imagine what the world would look like today if Newton was alive, it boggles me little mind. :D
I've always wanted to bring DaVinci into the future, and show him a multi-ton Jumbo Jet, flying!