1. My friend asked how I got interested in Evolution. I said I didn't remember how I was first introduced to it, but around age 14 I started thinking a lot of Intelligent Design arguments made sense. I asked my then Science Olympiad coach (former 7th grade science teacher) if he could explain how evolution worked to me, and he promptly explained why ID was bunk.
2. I remembered I wrote a debate paper for AP Composition near the end of my senior year of high school why Intelligent Design shouldn't be taught in school. Said teacher was a source (paper required one interview.)
3. I wondered if I ever wrote down my thoughts about Intelligent Design/Evolution/Atheism since I had a journal at the time. Old journal was terrifyingly emo, mildly hilarious, occasionally insightful, and full of emoticons and quizzes. It was also full of quotes from said teacher since I pretty much had the biggest crush on him for a long long time (I feel no fear admitting this because pretty much everyone in the universe knew about it, including him. Yeah, young girls aren't too subtle.).
4. Remembering he had a blog, I go to check if it was updated. Hadn't been updated since shortly after I graduated high school.
5. Wondering if he maybe kept the same username but moved to a different blog, I search for his username in Google. I see one of the links goes to Pharyngula, so I click.
6. I find this comment by him in late April, 2006:
That was him talking about my previously mentioned ID paper. My initial reaction was "Wow, he thought it was superb?!" with a sort of basking glow and those same girly butterflies in my stomach (old crushes die hard, I guess). But then it dawned on me. That's how I found Pharyngula. People were always asking me how I stumbled upon it, but I never could remember. It was the first blog I ever read, but did I Google it or what? But now I remember - he linked me to it for that project. He was also the one who introduced me to the Index to Creationist Claims.
Thanks for making available your presentation. As a science teacher, I recently recommended some links (including Pharyngula) to a student preparing a debate paper against teaching ID in science classrooms. Her paper was finished prior to this (and it was superb), but I will be sure she sees this piece.
When I think about it, that man affected my life in pretty much every way I could imagine. His class was the first time I really got interested in science. He made me fall in love with genetics, and in a year I will be going somewhere to get my PhD studying it. He was always there to answer my questions about evolution, and made me passionate about the surrounding debate. His encouragement of logical thinking helped me get out of my weird supernatural deist funk and back to being an atheist. He even linked me to Pharyngula, which would eventually motivate me to become an atheist activist and start a blog, and be the thing that made my blog somewhat popular. And on the risk of sounding creepy, he likely started my trend of being attracted to sarcastic, somewhat cocky, skeptical, scientific men.
Friend: He reads Pharyngula? PZ has linked to you a ton. What if he reads your blog?
Me: ...I would be honored, and he might be creeped out that I just wrote this big post about him.