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Douglas Adams and Me May 11, 2011

Posted by thegodless in atheism.
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A man didn’t understand how televisions work, and was convinced that there must be lots of little men inside the box, manipulating images at high speed. An engineer explained to him about high frequency modulations of the electromagnetic spectrum, about transmitters and receivers, about amplifiers and cathode ray tubes, about scan lines moving across and down a phosphorescent screen. The man listened to the engineer with careful attention, nodding his head at every step of the argument. At the end he pronounced himself satisfied. He really did now understand how televisions work. “But I expect there are just a few little men in there, aren’t there?”
— Douglas Adams, paraphrase of a parable spoofing modern creationism that Adams often told, as retold by Richard Dawkins in “Lament for Douglas” (14 May 2001)

As a child, I spent a lot of time unknowingly reading books by a man that held a completely different and opposing worldview than nearly all of my friends and family. If it wasn’t for the humorous accessibility of Douglas Adams, I may have never managed to get a glimpse of true reality. I’m certain that if the Hitchhiker’s Guide had been titled the Radical Atheist’s Guide to Freethinking, I would have likely never been interested or allowed to read it. I was too young at the time to even realize it, but Adams planted the seeds for my escape from superstition and religion. In Adams’ ultimate wit and skepticism, I found a previously unknown ability and strength to look at things in a different light; A light that turned out to be perfectly clear and rationally illuminating. With nothing more than comedy and more than any scholarly “new” atheist, Adams cracked my near impenetrable and absurdly illogical religious indoctrination. I may mourn that Adams died far too young, but I find plenty of comfort in knowing that he got to live the only kind of life worth living; The enlightened life of a freethinker.

I know that he is gone, but for anyone listening; Thank you Mr. Adams. You did your part to make the world a much better place.

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