Aaron Freeman

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In existographies, Aaron Freeman (1- AE) (1956- ACM) (CR:6) (LH:#) (TL:#) is an American physicist, writer, journalist, and standup comedian, noted for his 2005 NPR radio talk “Eulogy from a Physicist”, an physicist-style atheist's eulogy.

Overview

In 2004 or early 2005, Freeman's father and sister both passed away. Freeman, being a physicist and having an agnostic-atheist inclining mindset, began to think about how he would want someone to speak at his funeral?

A snapshot of the Freeman's 2005 "Eulogy form a Physicist", given during an NPR talk.[1]

On 1 Jun 2005, Freeman, on National Public Radio (NPR), in the show “All Things Considered”, gave a talk entitled “Planning Ahead Can Make a Difference: Advice For Planning Your Funeral”, which has since come to be famously known as a “Eulogy from a Physicist”. The following is the so-called Freeman Eulogy:[2]

“You want a physicist to speak at your funeral. You want the physicist to talk to your grieving family about the conservation of energy, so they will understand that your energy has not died. You want the physicist to remind your sobbing mother about the first law of thermodynamics; that no energy gets created in the universe, and none is destroyed. You want your mother to know that all your energy, every vibration, every Btu of heat, every wave of every particle that was her beloved child remains with her in this world. You want the physicist to tell your weeping father that amid energies of the cosmos, you gave as good as you got.
And at one point you'd hope that the physicist would step down from the pulpit and walk to your brokenhearted spouse there in the pew and tell him that all the photons that ever bounced off your face, all the particles whose paths were interrupted by your smile, by the touch of your hair, hundreds of trillions of particles, have raced off like children, their ways forever changed by you. And as your widow rocks in the arms of a loving family, may the physicist let her know that all the photons that bounced from you were gathered in the particle detectors that are her eyes, that those photons created within her constellations of electromagnetically charged neurons whose energy will go on forever.
And the physicist will remind the congregation of how much of all our energy is given off as heat. There may be a few fanning themselves with their programs as he says it. And he will tell them that the warmth that flowed through you in life is still here, still part of all that we are, even as we who mourn continue the heat of our own lives.
And you'll want the physicist to explain to those who loved you that they need not have faith; indeed, they should not have faith. Let them know that they can measure, that scientists have measured precisely the conservation of energy and found it accurate, verifiable and consistent across space and time. You can hope your family will examine the evidence and satisfy themselves that the science is sound and that they'll be comforted to know your energy's still around. According to the law of the conservation of energy, not a bit of you is gone; you're just less orderly. Amen.”

In 2014, Deborah Mitchell, in her Growing Up Godless: a Parent’s Guide to Raising Kids Without Religion, showcased Freeman's eulogy as good way to speak at an atheist's funeral.[3]

In 66AE, Thims, in his Abioism, added the Freeman eulogy to his "Die-whatever" chapter, as an example of the difficulties with respect to "die terminology reform", as compared to "life terminology reform".[1]

End matter

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 Thims, Libb. (66AE). Abioism: No Thing is Alive, On the Non-Existence of Life (pdf) (§14.3: Eulogy of a Physicist). Publisher.
  2. Freeman, Aaron. (2005). “Planning Ahead Can Make a Difference in the End” (Ѻ), NPR, All Things Considered, Jun 1.
  3. Mitchell, Deborah. (2014). Growing Up Godless: a Parent’s Guide to Raising Kids Without Religion (foreword: Dale McGowan) (§: Eulogy from a Physicist, pgs. 146-48). Sterling Publishing.

External links

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