aye-aye_handThe Aye-Aye is an animal on Madagascar nearing extinction due to the obvious human factor of deforestation. Another factor leading to its demise is the suspicion that surrounds this animal. When it was discovered in 1780, people believed it to be some sort of amalgamation of the devil’s spare parts because it had teeth of a rabbit, hair of a boar, the tail of a fox, and ears of a bat. This nocturnal creature also has an abnormally long, slender, bony middle finger that it uses to probe into insect holes looking for food. Locals consider it bad luck if one of these critters points its bony middle finger at you — the only way to get rid of the bad luck is to kill the creature and pass the ill will to someone you don’t care for.

The Aye-Aye is not a conglomeration of the Devil’s spare parts. It is a lemur, and therefore shares many aspects with all primates. (And where it outperforms all primates is in its ability to use echolocation).

Tom McTavishI, like everyone, am an amalgamation of my biology, culture, and experiences. My biology, at least genetically, is the same as my identical twin brother, but after both of us grew up in a fundamentalist Christian religion, he became more conservative and I turned apostate.

Ignorance makes atheism a frustrating road. It was frustrating for me at first because I knew I didn’t believe in God, but I did not want to be an atheist either. It was only after a while that I became comfortable in my skin as an atheist. Nevertheless, it is still frustrating because others have horrible ideas about what atheism is. We’re therefore viewed with suspicion.

This blog is to explain this scientist’s and apostate’s history and perspectives on issues concerning the intersection (collision?) of religion and science, and to do so in the spirit of worthwhile discussion and dialog. While we might not be able to use our ears for echolocation like the Aye-Aye, I think we human primates can learn to listen.


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