Listening to Last Word I felt sad to hear Lyall Watson's name mentioned. He died on 25th June this year, aged 69. When I was a teenager in the 80s, LW meant a great deal to me. I read a few of his books at that time: Dreams of Dragons, Gifts of Unknown Things, Neophilia, The Romeo Error and The Nature Of Things. I was also heavily influenced by an interview with him in The Sunday Times. Then more recently I read Supernature and Dark Nature.
For me at that time, LW in his life and work gave me an alternative, a chink of light in the gloom. I had been brought up a Christian, but was learning science at school. Prayer, souls, miracles, heaven and hell didn't feature in physics.
The problem was that my entire world view depended on Christianity, and was being undermined by science. I was psychologically incapacitated for about a year and a half while I wrestled with this relentless doubt.
In the end I realized that science and Christianity were incompatible, and that current science offered the best explanation for how the world worked. I started to describe myself as an atheist.
LW was important to me because he was a scientist who seemed to offer some hope. I'm a bit embarassed to admit to having had a hero, but Lyall Watson was a hero to me.