Now that you are atheist or have been atheist your whole life. What is the most interesting thing you know about in our natural world?

I will chime in when this post gets rolling. 

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The smartest people in this world are only smart because they realise how much they DON'T know.

If we rewound the tape of evolution, over the millions of years, and let it play a different way.... the chances are we probably wouldn't be here. This makes me feel lucky to be alive.

My grandmother used to say (quote?), "The more I learn, the less I know." This explains why teenagers know everything.

 

I'm going with Dynamo theory.  Without prior knowledge I explained it to my father because he said he didnt know how the earth had a magnetic field.. I then typed my theory into Google as best i could and got the dynamo theory page for wikipedia lol.. I almost wanted to say.. "Stand back science at work" (while pointing to my head)

Ahhh, beautiful Sophie... you never ask the simple questions, do you? ;)

I'm getting older now (47, married 27 years, 5 kids, 1 grandkid :) ), and so the things I consider interesting are also the things I consider important. I say this because when you get older, you try to "pare down" all the crap in your life to the things most interesting to you - and they tend to be the most important as well.

For me, the absolute most interesting/important thing I know is that true joy and true happiness comes from the people closest to you. For parents, it's their kids; for most others, it's their significant others, or family, or friends (and usually a combination of the above). There is no greater happiness than spending time with these people. Every single important moment in my life was in direct relation to, or in the company of, my kids and wife.

For me, the top 6 most interesting/important moments for me are the births of my kids and my grandson; I was fortunate enough to not only be in the room, but to be a "helper" and a part of the birth process in every case. It appealed to me on so many levels - sure, not only because these are my most precious loved ones, but also it fascinated the "geek" part of me.

See, I am a geek by nature, which means that everything in which I am interested I am also compelled to learn all I can. Some examples: I am a computer consultant (turned a hobby into my profession); I learned to not only program, but to also build my own custom computers - I've done both since I was a kid and built my very first computer, a Heathkit. I ride motorcycles and have ridden since I was 5, and by 15 I could rebuild my bike engines on my own. I love books, and I've written two (about programming ;) ) to learn the publishing process. You get the idea.

Back to the births. The OB/Gyn my wife had was our doctor for all five of my kids' births, as well as for my daughter and her birth. We became good friends (as you can imagine), and he taught me a lot about it - how to read ultrasounds, by the fourth kid I actually "caught" her as she came out, and our fifth was an emergency C-section - and I watched it down with the doctor as he did it, not up from my wife's head like most dads. My daughter also had me there for her birth - I didn't catch my grandson, but I helped her during the birth. So, not only did it move me on an emotional level (I cried at all six when each child was born), but it greatly appealed to my "geek nature and curiosity" as well.

And of course the fact that we are so fortunate to be alive, and the fact that this is the only life we get, makes this all the more precious.

So, sometimes the things right in front of us are the most interesting to "know"; and the more we learn, the more we are fascinated - and want to learn more.

Just how immense the universe is and how small we really are. The fact that there HAS to be life out there somewhere. And that some of the stars I look up at are nearly as large as our entire solar system... just incredible!

That presented with all the same evidence and information different people from different cultures and backgrounds and can come to the same conclusion. And that, presented with all the same evidence and information different people from different cultures and backgrounds and can come to totally different conclusions........i find this totally fasinating, and, at times, a little upsetting and also terrifying.

I know what it's like to fly 70000+ feet above the earth and see its curvature and beauty from that height (I've flown in a U-2)

 

Now, I am jealous.  :(

I'm jealous, too. The only thing by comparison I've done is flown in an F-4E Phantom II - twice. I flew once as an "incentive flight" for winning Tactical Air Command - Maintenance Profesional of the Year, and once to actually troubleshoot a problem we were having with the aircraft, and it couldn't be duplicated on the ground - at all.

(I was an Avionics Communications/Navigation Systems Specialist, as well as a Crew Chief, in the US Air Force from 1983-1987. My incentive flight was in my own bird that I crewed, 69-291.)

Incentive flights are great - I was very happy to see how excited people were when they got these.  I flew in the T-38 about once a week for several years and a few other birds (the F-16 was my second favorite after the U-2).

Something I read in "Sky and Telescope" magazine several years ago...

The writer described how a telescope had been focused on what had been determined to be the most distant visible object in the universe.  He relayed how a photon, erupting from the object, had traveled some thirteen billion light years for the sole purpose of impacting on his retina, thus letting him know what a great, wide, amazing universe we live in.

For some reason, that has always impressed me.

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