Community Profile: Jet Black

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

Essentially by accident. Most of my friends throughout life have been atheists, agnostics or apatheists (there could be a God but they don’t care) and so I have been pretty much surrounded by freethought. My real love in life though is science and this is the main path which led to these online communities: finding people who were ludicrously anti science and arguing with them. Initially I’d spend my time on Christian forums, but after a while the atmosphere became stifling, and so IIDB was mentioned to me. The community, particularly in E/C was great, with lots of very intelligent people around and so I stayed.

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

Well these days you’ll find me in TalkRational, usually in the Evolution forum talking about science and stuff. I do have a few other places I haunt though to get away from things.

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?

Well RBH would be handy to have around. as well as being a scientist, he seems to have done everything imaginable, and I’d expect that he has some pretty mean survival skills to boot. Oolon Colluphid; brew some alcohol, give it to him and tell him that a boar over there was saying that the Earth was made in 6 days. He’s be after it like a flash and it would be dead within seconds. Hmm… someone else…. am I allowed to take someone thick to burn on cold nights?

Which freethought or humanist thinkers have most inspired you?

Ooh tricky one. I like people like Sagan, Attenborough and Asimov. While they’re freethinkers, they don’t really rub it in.

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

I don’t actually know any really. I follow the philosophy of Sherlock Holmes on this one; the knowledge is essentially useless to me and so I endeavour to forget it as quickly as possible.

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?

The idea that without some external moral agent we would essentially be savages. Humans are essentially a pack animal, and so work on those principles of having to function within groups, and so individual action that comes at too high a cost will commonly be punished by the group as a whole. Its irritating, and comes from a real misunderstanding of the idea of “survival of the fittest”.

Invisible Pink Unicorn or Flying Spaghetti Monster?

FSM all the way.

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

A lot. I’m a physicist by profession, but I also do Kung Fu and go out a lot.

What’s your favourite book, and why?

It would be a kick up between Player of Games and Use of Weapons, both by Iain M Banks. For now I will settle with Player of Games. I really like the perspective of the book and the subtlety that the games are being played on so many different levels.

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

Even when nobody is around I won’t sing, I’m that bad….. Dancing though, I do a mean air guitar when I’ve had enough to drink, only to appropriate Queen tunes though.

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

Live it to the fullest. If there’s just one thing then why not just do it?… I want to do a lot of things.

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

Oh I do like a good ale. Spitfire or Black Sheep maybe. I like to try different beers, particularly from smaller breweries, rather than the big commercial ones. I don’t drink a lot though, two or three at the most.

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

Nialler.

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