Hi everyone!

 I'm 27 yo, IT specialist, live in Croatia, and I'm an atheist. On the Dawkins atheism scale I would probably rate 6.9999 ad infinitum.

 I was raised in a Catholic home but my parents very rarely attended Church and we never really discussed God. I probably became atheistic when I concluded that there is no Santa Claus and no Easter Bunny. The fact that I practiced reading from a general Encyclopedia (with great pictures and descriptions) and illustrated Greek mythology tales when I was about 5 probably helped me to develop the ability to discern fantasy from reality. That didn't help much in school because I didn't want to attend the Catholic religious education class (Catechism). After my first three years in primary school I managed to argue my way out of it by constantly challenging the nun that held the class to provide evidence of God's existence, asking about the other planets in our solar system and speaking about Greek gods and why shouldn't we believe in them. I was about 9 or 10 years old at that time and I didn't respond well to threats of eternal damnation if I continue to 'test God's will'. So I usually spent the time sitting in the hallway for the first 8 years of my education waiting for my classmates to finish their indoctrination sessions.

 In my teens and when I started attending high school (and was the only one that had Ethics class instead of Catechism - was alone with the teacher) I had a lot of time for serious reading because I had to wait for a train for several hours each day. I read Aristotle, Plato, Kant, Nietzsche, books about logic and then went on to religious texts. I've read the Bible two times,  skimmed through Torah and the Qur'an, read the Baghavad Gita, the Book of Dao, started reading about the mahayana and Ch'an and then I went through my Zen phase which lasted a few years by reading a lot of Daisetz Teitaro Suzuki and later some older texts.

 During my time at the University of Electrical Engineering and Computing I had math and physics classes so I fell in love with cosmology, astronomy, astrophysics and quantum physics. That will probably be my life-long obsession. 

 Apart from my interest in religion and the way it influences society and rational thought, I'm also an amateur astronomer, avid reader of Sci-Fi and Fantasy literature, TED.com Translator (current fancy) and a Richard Dawkins and Michael Shermer fan ('militant' atheist + skeptic). :)

 Since I probably overdid the introduction a bit (on vacation - typing from the beach) :) I'm going to conclude with saying that I'm looking forward to being a part of this great community and hopefully a contributing member. 

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Oh, a fellow atheist from the other side of the Adriatic pond, great to have you here ^^
Thanks for the welcome!
Well, I'm glad that we share a taste in books as well as our 'beliefs'. :)
I could call myself a 7 but it would make me a person of faith not of science. We wouldn't want that to happen here, would we? :P
ahh, you are very fortunate, the beaches of croatia are stunning! Wish I was there. Glad to have you with us Ivan, welcome.
If we hire you in CE, I'll take you out for a beer! Your CV was good, but this here is far better! :D
Haha, small world indeed. :D
Never mind the outcome of the hiring process, I'll take you up on that beer if I'm in the neighborhood. :)
Hello and welcome. Which sci-fi authors do you like? I really like alternate history: Harry Turtledove, Eric Flint, David Weber, John Ringo, S.M. Stirling are some of my favorites. My dad is really into quantum mechanics. He tries to explain it to me, but it just seems so weird that it almost seems to me be like believing in a god. Enjoy your vacation.
It's really hard to answer a question like that in the scope of this small comment box. I've been reading Sci-Fi for almost 15 years now and I'm very surprised when I find a good (or bad) SciFi book that somehow went under my radar. I've read all the authors you mentioned and I can see that you have a 'military/warfare' tendency and that's cool - I like good military scifi as much as the other guy but I must say that, for example, John Ringo is not that great, isn't actually 'good' by any measure as a writer. I've read his Alldenata and March series and some other books that I can't recall - a fun romp, but almost no literary value whatsoever. Don't get me wrong, I liked Weber's Honor Harrington series for the first 10 books or so, enjoyed his Dahak series - all of them were fun, exciting, .. - but not really great. I'll take Steakley's 'Armor' or Haldeman's 'Forever War' over them anytime (or Scalzi's 'Old Man's War' if mentioning something newer). So, to cut it short, I make a distinction between a fun, gripping, page-turner and a memorable book with great prose that hits you on many levels and stays with you for your entire life. A book that has something to say about our society, our future society, our morals, our beliefs, our deficiencies as a species, ... - that's why I read SciFi. Those kinds of books and authors are the ones that I can honestly say are my favorites - and there are many of those. Just to name a few: Heinlein, Asimov, Card, Clark, Bester, ..., the list is long but I believe you could extrapolate the rest from that sample. :)


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