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I experienced a cosmic circle of coincidence today. Working on a section about meaning in Atheism for Dummies, I suddenly remembered a Jehovah’s Witness at my door in Minnesota in 2006. “You’re an atheist?” she gasped. “So then…you think your children are just…a bunch ofprocesses?”

This brought to mind a great passage from an essay by Adam Lee, including this:

Theists…deride the atheist viewpoint as entailing that human beings are “just matter” or “just chemicals”. However, the fact is that we are not “just” any of those things, any more than a house is “just bricks” or a book is “just words”. Houses are made of bricks and books are made up of words, but not every arrangement of bricks constitutes a house, nor is every arrangement of words a book.

Just as this arrangement of words was leaping into my book, a knock at the door.


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Dale McGowan is the author of Parenting Beyond Belief, Raising Freethinkers, and Atheism for Dummies. He holds a BA in evolutionary anthropology and a PhD in music.