Recently there was a great breakthrough into the origins of the Universe. Two Russian scientists who now work in US, published an article, capitalizing on LIGO experiment discoveries. A short description is here: http://blog.oup.com/2016/08/possible-cause-big-bang-einstein/
I must point out that atheism can’t provide a set of moral principles which would be universal. It’s the main problem of any society which lacks religion: moral relativism. Each person sets his or her own norms of what is good and what is bad, and society collapses.
Minerals perform a function of observer (in the terms of quantum mechanics). You know of a Schrödinger cat mind experiment, do you? Until someone observes the situation inside that black box with a cat inside, cat is a superposition of a dead cat and a cat being alive. It is generally understood by the modern physicists that a wave function is…