How did you find out about online freethought communities, and what’s your favourite thing about them?
I deliberately sought them out. I’d been hearing about the stuff that was being discussed by creationists and sundry evangelists over them and I thought that in exactly the same manner as the porn industry they would be to the frorefront of exploiting the newest technologies. I therefore felt moved to address that and through it found IIDB and its formerly excellent Evolution forum.
What board or fora are we most likely to find you in and what will you be talking about?
You’ll find me splitting my time between RantsnRaves and TalkRational, while I also browse at rationalresponders. I’m still searching and arguing down fundamentalists and atheism has its own share of that breed.
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?
Mrs Nialler has to have a say in this along with my child; so I’ll answer that I’d share the island with them both, with the possibility that there would be a third at some stage. I’ll create sockpuppet accounts to make sure that they qualify as members of online communities if needed!
Which freethought or humanist thinkers have most inspired you?
Godel. Any man who can prove that there are gaps even in the most rigorously constructed logical systems has my vote.
What’s your least favourite religious verse, and why?
“And He saw that it was good”. As Gervais said, being your own critic is hardly a good idea.
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?
Obviously, the “atheists have no moral framework” thing, but for novelty’s sake I’ll add the “But how could the whole universe have been created unless there was someone to create it?” canard.
Invisible Pink Unicorn or Flying Spaghetti Monster?
I need neither. I’m disinterested in spaghetti and unsure that Unicorn meat is any more savoury. I’m quite happy to eat wild boar with a good sauce and with a better wine than went into the sauce.
So what is it you do with your life when you’re not hanging around here, anyway?
Well, I work on and off as a contracting sysprog working on mainframe systems for banks. It’s incredibly interesting and vital stuff for all.
What’s your favourite book, and why?
I’ve really no idea. I’m teased by my wife that the best book I’ve read is always the last book I’ve ever read. In that case, the best is a biography of Gladstone and Disraeli that I’m reading right now. If it came to the crunch, though, it would be either of Wolfe’s “The Right Stuff” or Rex Warner’s “Man and the Gods” – a beautiful translation of Ovid.
What’s the most embarrassing song you sing and dance to when you’re absolutely sure no-one else is around?
I seriously do not sing or dance on my own. Being a father of a baby, though, I’m forced to sing and dance sometimes and I’ll swing her around to the themes of her favourite programmes. That’s as far as it goes, though. I’m quite self-conscious that way.
What’s the one thing you want to do with your life before shuffling off this mortal coil?
It sounds bad to say this, but I’ve achieved a lot of what I wanted to achieve. I don’t have any major ambitions for the future, although I guess that flying an F-15 would be nice.
What’s your poison? How much of it is needed to drive you under the table?
Guinness. Good Guinness. Lots of it. In Ireland. Sitting at a bar with a newspaper. It would be difficult to drink me under the table. That’s not possible with me and Guinness. I do love wine as well, and I have a good supplier in my father-in-law.
Lucky #13: Who do you nominate to be interviewed for next month’s issue?
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