Community Profile: Matt

mattHow did you find out about online freethought communities, and what’s your favourite thing about them?

I found the online secular community some time around my freshman year of college, when I was in the midst of my deconversion. I believe I first discovered infidels.org and their subsequent forum through a link I found while reading various arguments on the skepticsannotatedbible.com forums.

As for “favorite thing”, I’m just glad that there exists small as they may be, bastions of sanity and reason. Living in Texas, I appreciate such communities as we are a rare breed in the general public.

What board or fora are we most likely to find you in and what will you be talking about?

I have accounts at several fora (forums?) such as Heathen Hangout and Richard Dawkins net, but I spend 99% of my online time at RantsnRaves. A bunch of us started RnR back in May 2007, and I’ve been its sysadmin since the beginning. This means I spend way too much time dealing with behind-the-scenes issues and not enough time participating in actual interesting subjects, but it keeps me busy and I couldn’t ask for a more interesting hobby (I’m most definitely not an IT guy).

Additionally, I am addicted to roller coasters and spend time at themeparkreview.com. I’m also a gadget freak, so I keep an eye on engadget on a daily basis. I also am a Total FARKer, however I mainly lurk.

If you had to spend your life marooned on a tropical island with three people that you’ve met online from this community, who would they be, and why?

Wow, this is a tough one. There’s a bunch of people I admire and appreciate, but all of us have eccentricities that would likely be magnified to the point were I can’t stand them. There’s just so many ways to go here: I could take three of the best and brightest scientists and engineers so that we could build some sort of vessel to escape, or I could go with one man and two women to build *cough* a new society on the very island. The latter certainly hits the spot from an evolutionary perspective.

However, if we’re all doomed to die anyway and neither of the above ideas are feasible, I’d likely go with those full of wit and rhyme so at least I’d go out happy: I’m thinking of Boro Nut and Queen of Swords. Perhaps the third will be rlogan, as he has master survival skills.

Which freethought or humanist thinkers have most inspired you?

Thomas Jefferson is the first one that comes to mind. Numerous others of the enlightenment era as well.

What’s your least favourite religious verse, and why?

If I had to pick simply one least favorite verse, it would likely be Genesis 6:17: “And, behold, I, even I, do bring a flood of waters upon the earth, to destroy all flesh, wherein is the breath of life, from under heaven; and every thing that is in the earth shall die.” That’s all it takes to invalidate the Bible on moral, historical, and scientific bases, but it shows the cruel and primitive nature of such creations, and it is sad to know that modern peoples accept this verse as good.

If you could get rid of one stupid anti-freethought argument, what would it be? Why do you hate this one above all the rest?

I hate to sound redundant, but I must echo RBH from last month: I find the “religion is necessary to be moral” argument completely annoying. I often retort with “If the only thing preventing you from turning into a mass-murdering child rapist is fear of your god, please don’t ever become an atheist”, which I think addresses the point sufficiently enough. The best argument against this, however, is how we live our lives.

Invisible Pink Unicorn or Flying Spaghetti Monster?

I’m a Pastafarian, however, I don’t reject the concept of a holy binary between the IPU and the FSM. They are separate, yet the same. 🙂

So what is it you do with your life when you’re not hanging around here, anyway?

I work full time at a local community hospital in critical care. I am also taking classes part-time working towards my Masters in nursing, in order to become a Nurse Practitioner. I have a 8 month old son who I absolutely adore, and watching his growth and development is amazing. When I find time outside all of this, I am planning our next vacation, due to my aforementioned rollercoaster addiction.

What’s your favourite book, and why?

House of God by Samuel Shem, M.D.

It’s an interesting look into the psyche of medicine from a fictional standpoint. It’s aging a bit, but still very relevant.

What’s the most embarrassing song you sing and dance to when you’re absolutely sure no-one else is around?

For starters, I don’t dance. My wife put a stop to that years ago. However, I tend to crank up and sing along to anything from The Who, Third Eye Blind, Metallica, Eve 6, or Counting Crows. I take a guilty pleasure to 80’s music and early 90’s rap.

What’s the one thing you want to do with your life before shuffling off this mortal coil?

Ride every roller coaster on Earth, but in doing so, see the world. I’m not particularly fond that with the exception of a vacation here and there, I’ve barely been outside of Texas let alone the U.S.

What’s your poison? How much of it is needed to drive you under the table?

Are roller coasters poison? If so, I was certainly “driven under the table” and beat up by riding The Boardwalk Bullet at Kemah 12 times in a row before they retracked it. I guess video games would be a poison, too, as it doesn’t take much to get me addicted to one, with the detrimental real life social deficits that accompany playing mmorpgs until 3 am, so I try to avoid them as I get too easily sucked in.

Lucky #13: Who do you nominate to be interviewed for next month’s issue?

Hmm… I’d like to read about “obscured by clouds” from RDnet.

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