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Larry Wall and his wife are some of the nicest people I ever had the pleasure of meeting. I posted this story on HN before several years ago (https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=9890504), but I think it's worth reposting here:

I have a very charming Larry Wall story. He came to give a seminar to the research center where I was working, and gave a fantastic talk on Perl 6. Late in the evening, I ran into him and his wife on the bus when getting home from work - and started talking to them. Apparently, nobody from the department had arranged to take them out for dinner, so we ended up going out for dinner together, where we had a fantastic discussion covering religion, tolerance, and lots of other topics. I am a staunch materialist and atheist, while both the Walls are serious committed Christians, but we had a really pleasant discussion on religion and the nature of evidence.

I ended up giving his wife a copy of Hume's Dialogue on Natural Religion, and they were kind enough to sign a copy of the Camel book for a friend who is a huge Perl fan.

A lot of people know Larry by reputation - but his wife Gloria is just as smart and kind. It was a bit of a strange evening, but it was a rare privilege to meet two such interesting people.

I cannot emphasize enough how unassuming, kind and decent the Walls are. If you are also interested in very intelligent writing about religion, their son, Aaron, has a very neat blog: http://www.wall.org/~aron/blog/.

This sort of interaction, where multiple grownups just talk about a topic they have fundamentally different beliefs on, and being curious and mature enough to have a civilized discussion about it, seems just so distant and alien in these times.

I've had conversations like these, about VERY sensitive topics, with friends who disagreed, and none of us held a grudge (that I know of). I miss that.

I know this happened years ago, but still, thanks for sharing. It gives me hope.

Larry wall is also the highest profile person I know who spends lots of time on IRC to the point anuone can talk to him basically any time they want.

Could you highlight his reasoning for being committed Christian? In my experience, it is very hard for intellectuals to cling to their religious beliefs in face of ocean of severe logical contradictions. So many of my discussions have usually ended in “ok, I know what you saying but I am not going to stop believing in [mohamed, Buddha, christ]. How did your discussion ended?

PS: I am not talking about spiritual people, I am talking about religious people who participate in religious processes without question and often financially help their religious institution to further the spread of it.

David Hume's arguments are not valid anymore. Hume argues that we cannot reason from a part of the universe to the universe as a whole but that is clearly disproven by modern science: spectroscopy does exactly that, using the knowledge we obtained from local observation of chemistry to determine the composition of distant stars many lightyears away.


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