Our "Rupert"conversation starts here:
In the autobiographical narrative I linked, Rupert shows himself early on to be a much more solid atheist than you were in your early years. As a boy, he refused to accept confirmation and join the church,and certainly didn't rock the Darwinian boat as he rose to prominence in biology.
His transformation happened away from Britain--in India--and he described some of his experiences along the way in a very humorous way. I think that he needed to get away to get perspective on his life. If he had grown up as a scientist here, I think things would have been very different--in good ways and bad ways.
I never had to take atheism very seriously, while taking a certain amount of agnosticism for granted. For him, declaring himself a Christian was like a gay person coming out of the closet. I think both Sheldrake and Dawkins have developed personal epistemologies quite similar to each other and most scientists in the United States.
It's taken me a long time to realize that.
It also helps me understand better how you could get so lost.
Eddie: It seems to me that Susan is saying that after years of living she realized that god and/or god’s do not exist and that religious traditions and dogmas were just as absurd, even though she kind of liked the choir. Following this realization, she decided that the objective scientific views of Nature were, in general, the way to secure a better understanding and life for, well, for everyone.
Ray: As Susan has described it in GHMB Inner Space (if I remember it right) she just slowly saw less and less relevance to her day to day life in Christianity and just sort of drifted away. The analysis you describe sounds more like "Eddie" than "Susan."
Eddie: What would your graduate student have to say about that, when he or she is not officially doing science I wonder?
Ray: none of the three people I talked with were my students--and none of them had ever worked with me. Two had their doctorates and one was a doctoral student. We keep our personal beliefs (I call them epistemologies) separate from our scientific oriented discussions with each other--and private. In my case, it's been almost entirely with family until very recently.