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The Beginning

The beginning was really a difficult choice to write about considering the banner above says this is a science and atheism blog. I thought some information from my childhood that pushed me to think critically and led me to skepticism, science and atheism would be a great topic to write about and it might even help those reading this if they have young children.To be brutally frank, I was a nightmare to be around when I was a child. Ok, I was really a great kid but I became a nightmare after I could talk. That isn’t totally true, it was after I came upon the dreaded word WHY. Seems I learned the word at pretty much the same time that my curiosity for the world around me started growing by leaps and bounds. I grew up with my mother and grandmother and by the time I was two I loved sitting in their laps while they read me stories. I really wanted to be able to read on my own so I asked my mother why couldn’t I. She told me I might read some picture books in a year or so if I learned to read. I asked her [told her in the mind of a 2 1/2 year old] to buy me an ABC book. Never asked her to teach me, just buy me the book. Before my first day of pre-kindergarten 6 months later, I called my mom into my bedroom to see the alphabet I wrote on my blackboard. Only mistake I made was writing Z backwards. I think I was the only kid in my pre-kindergarten class that knew how to read and the best part is I taught myself.

These were my start on the road to science

That afternoon my mother came to pick me up from the pre-kindergarten although it was maybe 200 yards from my home but I grew up in the NYC housing projects which wasn’t exactly a great area. She brought me a three books from an illustrated children’s science collection [think she was tired of hearing me ask why the sky was blue]. Little did she realize she was creating a monster even though I was only three. I can’t believe I actually found a picture of the three books she brought me and you can see them on the left. I doubt you can find these books on amazon but I know there are many great children’s science books that parents can buy for their kids. And if your kids are even 1/10th as curious as I was, they would love to get them as a present.  These books and the later ones my mother gave me just opened up many new horizons for me. My eager young mind read the first book about the weather before dinner was ready. My mother had to tell me not to read them all so fast since she wasn’t going to buy any more for at least a week. I told her it didn’t matter cause I will read them over and over till I could recite them by heart [yes, even at three I was a cocky little bastard]. These books were eventually followed by more about Earth science, extreme weather, physics and chemistry, astronomy and of all things human evolution. These books do explain my appetite for all things scientific. But they don’t really say anything about my love of skepticism and critical thinking.

First printing from 1963

This being the 1960s, early 1965 to be exact the timing for a curious kid couldn’t be better. I eagerly read and reread all the books my mother brought home to me. She was sort of at a loss as to how she would continue. I pretty much read all of the children’s science books around and I wasn’t even four years old [yes, I did sit in her lap and have her read me the science books also]. She asked one of her co-workers for advice and what happened pretty much changed my life forever. She told my mother of a series of children’s books that were written in 1963 with a second one due out in a few months. The author was Donald J. Sobol and the books were the Encyclopedia Brown series. Each book stood alone as you didn’t have to read any other books in the series to understand them. Each book was divided into 10 different mini mysteries that were solved by Encyclopedia or his partner Sally. These books taught me that thinking critically and never being satisfied with a simple answer is the way to truth. I doubt that is why the author wrote these books, he most likely just wrote them as children’s series for entertainment purposes. Much to my surprise, this series is still being written and it’s last installment was written in 2009. These books are ones I strongly urge parents to buy their children. Just as they did with me in 1965  I can imagine the joy they would bring to children as they figure out the mysteries along with Leroy but since I am neither his parent or his teacher, I have to call him Encyclopedia.

These books, some might say ruined my childhood which should have been a time of innocence not spent reading. To that I will say, not at all. I had a full childhood filled with many wonders. After I was done playing with my friends I would lay in my bed  nose in a book while Abbott and Costello, The Three Stooges, Gilligan’s Island or Lost In Space played on the TV. Then I remember one of my favorite times with my mother, it was a weekly occurrence. Starting in 1966 like most women her age she became a fan of Star Trek. There I was a boy of barely 5 sitting on her lap pointing out the science errors. A few years later I did the same with Land Of The Giants then again in the mid 70s with Planet Of The Apes [I was not sitting on her lap then]. Till this day when I watch some movies I can’t help but notice some really horrible physics but I have learned not to point them out.

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One Response

  1. nice post ,I really like it .books have got great importance in building up of a man whether its a novel or a scientific one.

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