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Michael Stuart Kelly

Nathan Hawking R.I.P.

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(Note: this is a reposting of an announcement that was originally posted between July 17-27 2006 and lost to the site.)

Nathan Hawking R.I.P.

I have the very sad task of announcing to the OL community that Nathan Hawking passed away at the age of 59 on July 5, 2006 due to pancreatic cancer.

I just now received notice from his best friend, Veronica Moritz. I do not know her, but I am very grateful she took the time to notify me.

Nathan and I interacted a lot online at one time. As those who followed our exchanges know, we used to clash frequently. However, we buried the hatchet right before I found out about his illness. Since then we exchanged a number of warm and cordial e-mails. I posted the notice of his illness on a thread here in the Objectivist Living Room called Nathan Hawking - an amazing mortal man.

Nathan's wish online was to write a series of "brief and lighthearted narratives and commentaries based upon my [his] experiences and the science/philosophy/history/future of death in general" with the time he had remaining. He set up a site called We the Dead, which is still up. His other site, We The Thinking, is no longer available. I hesitate to speculate right now. Anyway, I am way too sorrowful with his passing to do so.

Nathan Hawking had a first-hand mind. He thought for himself. He refused to allow himself to be intimidated with anybody in his online discussions and he always wrote as he thought. He could be absolutely brilliant at times and very stubborn even when he wasn't.

I didn't know Nathan all that well. I only knew him online. But I became very impressed with him and a friendship did start developing. I dearly miss what we could have discussed together and the strong friendship that now will never be. He was one of the good guys. Yes, I will miss him.

Rest in peace, Nathan. Kat and I offer our deepest condolences to your family and loved ones.

Michael

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My online interaction with Nathan Hawking was brief -- all too brief given the quality of his mind and the civil way he treated myself and others. While I didn't always agree with him on philosophical matters, I always respected him enormously. He will be missed.

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(Originally posted on July 23 2006)

That is sad though not unexpected news. I liked his website "We the thinking", at last there was a place where you could have lively and interesting discussions and have hearty disagreements without all the sniping and bitching that is so characteristic for most Objectivist forums. Thanks to my discussions with Nathan I was able to come to a better understanding of the issue of determinism. He was an intelligent opponent (although we also agreed on many points), who understood what I was trying to say and really considered the arguments, without having to resort to dogmatism or condescension. I was eagerly anticipating discussions with him about Dennett's ideas, based on a series of articles that he would write. Alas, it was not to be.

I was surprised to read that he was 59. From his photo I had the impression that he was much younger. Well, in spirit he was certainly young. Just like Michael I knew him only online, but I'll certainly miss him.

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