I'm not an expert in anything. I do, however, know a little about a lot of things.

What does that mean, and am I only trying to boost my ego? Or is there another reason why I'm sharing this information?

I love science, I always have. Since I was a child sitting in the bushes, peaking underneath rocks and observing the various insects scurrying about. Ants, worms, snails, rollypolly, spiders, bees. That was my first love. That is called Entomology.

Then, my dad bought me a telescope for christmas when I was 10 (at least I think I was 10). It was a Sears brand 3.5inch newtonian. It had a flimsy stand and terrible optics, HOWEVER, I could see the moon so vividly that it made me giggle. Then my dad showed me Saturn and I simply could not believe what I was seeing. I was so amazed and in awe that I think at that very moment, I decided that I wanted to know everything there was to know about the universe. My dad introduced me to the concept of infinity, when we looked up into the sky and told me that it went on forever, there was something so amazing about it that I still really can't find words to describe my love of it. That was Astronomy and Cosmology.

As I grew older I started to learn more about astronomy. I had Carl Sagan's book called COSMOS, which I kept at my side at all times. I would go to the library and check out books about the cosmos. I was really interested in the life of stars. I learned quite a bit about them in my early teen years. I was even more fascinated with black holes. The thing about stars that I learned about was about atoms and fusion. I eventually learned about fission as well but that was when I learned about nuclear power plants. I became fascinated with atoms and wanted to learn about all the various elements in the universe. I lived in Lansing, Michigan, not far from the MSU Cyclotron, which used to smash various atoms together and then detect what kind of new elements were created. This is Particle Physics and Chemistry.

Another thing that I loved to do when I was a kid was look at rocks. I'd collect fossils mostly. I was pretty good at finding them. I even found a whole petrified clam shell about the size of a dime. It was sitting among the many thousands of rocks that made up the gravel drive way at my neighbors house. I saved it for a long time but it was lost in the jumble of moving. I'm still looking on the ground and finding neat rocks to bring home and place on a shelf. This is Paleontology and Geology.

As I grew older I had to deal with a lot of emotional stresses that were externally generated. I got involved with the world when I started to read the paper, watch the news, and especially when the internet started really going in the mid 90's. I learned about people and how they interacted. I learned about suppressing memories and emotions, and using my own life as an example, how past events can dictate how a person thinks about the present. I gained a lot of insight while dealing with people in various ways and by just observing how people are. I also grew up in a multicultural environment where Latinos, Africans, and Indians all shared a classroom together, ate lunch together, and had recess together. This is Psychology and Sociology.

There are several more fields that I have taken some time to study, such as the human brain, human physiology, biology, ecology, botany (though I just don't have a green thumb), zoology of various creatures (especially primates). I'm not an expert in any of these but I know enough to at least be able to figure things out.

The point here is that god played no part in my desire to learn about new things. It was my love to learn that led me to where I am now. I have so much knowledge inside my head from various subjects that I couldn't begin to tell you where I got it from. When I see the world at this time in my life, I have a wealth of experiences and knowledge that I can turn to in order to attempt an interpretation of what is going on. I don't expect anyone to believe my various hypotheses but I'd not want anyone to reject them out-of-hand because I'm not an expert. I might be right.

Going back to my previous blog about preaching atheism, if there was anything that I would rather preach, it's knowledge. It's to encourage people, all people young and old, to look at all the various sciences that try to explain one facet of the world and pick one that looks interesting and at least learn something about it. I'm not asking them to give up their belief system, just look at any science with an open mind and let their natural human inquisitiveness take over. I believe that this inquisitiveness is inherent to all human beings. It's just a matter of finding the right topic to start with.

Views: 25

Comment by Misty: Baytheist Living! on May 29, 2009 at 7:01am
Hey Jim, thanks for sharing! Great glimpse into what makes you you!
Comment by Rev. Tom Hicks, D.D. on May 29, 2009 at 8:08am
Great read.
Comment by Doug Reardon on May 29, 2009 at 11:52am
Whenever a believer begins telling me about supernatural claptrap, my immediate thought is: you are either grossly ignorant or an idiot.
Comment by jen o on May 29, 2009 at 1:59pm
I love this post Jim. Oh and I hope you didn't think my question on your previous blog would you rather be right or free was directed at you, personally or your ego lol...that was just a general question for everyone. Which posts another good question too...What motivates us to learn all these things? So we can prove others wrong? Because that is typical of the ego. Or is our motivation just curiosity? For some people, it seems they have all of this knowledge stored up and they are waiting to explode it all on someone who poses the tiniest threat. What are they really threatening anyways? There is not one bit of knowledge that they can take away from you. And they cannot take this story of your childhood away either.

I don't feel the need to explain/preach why I believe what I believe now, that would take a long time considering I would have to delve back into the past couple decades of my life. And even if I did share my story with them, they would only see 'their story' of 'my story'. No one can see inside your view. Ultimately, we are alone 'in our heads'.

But I am glad you posted that blog yesterday, I think it may have jolted some people out their egoic state considering there was a Christian on here stirring things up for us.
Comment by Jim Valentine on May 29, 2009 at 3:13pm
@All - Thanks for the comments!

@MMAH - Actually, I think preaching knowledge is called Teaching. :)

@jen o - No, I didn't have anyone in particular in mind. I have run into several individuals in my life that would just dismiss what someone said because they didn't have a certain level of knowledge. For me, if I conclude something and I'm wrong, I'd like to know what is wrong so I can learn. Simply dismissing it without an explanation isn't very helpful.

What motivates me is definitely my curiosity. However, I do correct people a lot and I think it gets on people's nerves. I don't do it to 'be right' I do it because I don't want someone else to 'be wrong' does that make sense?
Comment by jen o on May 29, 2009 at 4:34pm
Yep, I follow you. And it's all in the delivery of the correction that matters = )


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