Friday 6 November 2009

How Did I Get Here?

We can all trace our lives back through arbitrary chance events where a seemingly unimportant simple choice may had lead to an entirely different life. If I hadn't have taken the day off work on Monday 10th December 1984, I wouldn't have met my wife, and subsequently I wouldn't have my children or any of the things most precious to me now.

I thought I'd ponder for a few moments on how I came to be writing a blog on Science, Reason and Critical Thinking and retrace the chance events that lead me here. As with the above example on how I met my wife, there were a number of chance occurrences that begat other chances. I traced things back to the first modern "science" book that I read as a result of the disillusionment experienced on the Alpha course.

This lead to various other science books and eventually a Michael Shermer book, which lead me to the Skeptic magazine. It was this magazine that introduced me to the "Skepticality" podcast which is at the root of much of my current reading, listening, meetings and nights out.

Here's a clumsy diagram outlining some of the key books, podcasts, websites, events and organisations that got me to where I am now. NB If there's any unfamiliar names or logos on the diagram then I highly recommend checking it out.
NB By drawing things out it seems to identify a number of podcasts, namely "Skepticality", "The Skeptic Guide To The Universe" and "Little Atoms", and the monthly Skeptics in the Pub meetings that really need to be held responsible for this blog.


Daniel Pope said...

This is surprisingly similar to how I got here!

Tracy King said...

I started with Demon-Haunted World which I found in a second-hand bookshop when searching for more books like the pyramid-alien-theory crap I was reading at the time. Very similar too though, although JREF forum and chat room plays a major and central part in my diagram.

Stephen Curry said...

Great post.

Delighted also to discover that you're also a fan of the superlative Talking Heads! Or do I presume too much?

Crispian Jago said...


You may ask yourself
What is that beautiful house?
You may ask yourself
Where does that highway lead to?
You may ask yourself
Am I right?... Am I wrong?
You may say to yourself
My God!... what have I done?

Andy said...

And when you consider the almost infinitesimal chance of each of those events occurring in such a way as to deliver you exactly to your current position in the universe, you realise there must be an intelligent designer behind it.

Well, something like that, I think - or not.

Neuroskeptic said...


One question though, what's that icon just to the right of Jack of Kent? It looks like a building with a huge clump of barbed wire on top of it.

Neil Davies said...

I've made it through most of the books on your trail, some of the blogs and podcasts and organisations, but none of the socialising :)

This tells me I need to get out of the house a bit more :D

Anonymous said...

Should I be apologising then do you think? ;-)

Like Tracy I also "accidentally" bought The Demon Haunted World, thinking it was about UFO's and Bigfoot etc. My copy does have quite a lurid cover! I used to read loads of books on that stuff, found them entertaining. It never occurred to me that there were people out there who made a point out of disproving rubbish. It was a life changing experience.

Neuroskeptic - The building with the sculpture that looks like a bunch of barbed wire is Goldsmiths in London's leafy New Cross. Presumably here as its the lair of the inestimable Chris French.

Anonymous said...

Bah, sorry for not identifying myself, the last comment was me.

Neil Denny
Little Atoms

TK said...

Do you actually spend any time with this alleged wife of yours? Do your so-called children look at you plaintively as you work on yet another post with complex visuals?

Anony Mouse said...

Great post!