I live a double life as a science fiction writer and software engineering academic. When I’m not thinking and writing about robots (and also sometimes when I am), I teach coding and software design at Curtin University in Perth, Western Australia.
I do also sometimes have Opinions. They are most definitely my own. Here’s what I reckon:
- I’m an atheist and a disbeliever in the supernatural. For me, this is an entirely intellectual position, and I don’t stand in moral/ethical judgment over anyone else for their religious/spiritual beliefs, except of course where people advocate violence or persecution.
- I’m a secularist (a word some people confuse with atheist). Secularism, by my understanding, advocates that the state should be agnostic towards religion, and tolerant of the presence or absence any religious symbols and systems of beliefs, providing they (where present) do not violate the human rights of others.
- I’m a humanist, in the sense that I believe that humanity, flawed species as it is, must devise and maintain its own moral compass, and is in charge of its own destiny. I believe the concept of “morality” to be a rejection of actual harm to others, not a rejection of things we merely find offensive or unnerving or non-traditional.
- I’m a feminist (or at least aspire to be one), and a supporter of equal rights and opportunities for all people. Just as importantly, I also recognise that this has not yet been achieved, and cannot be achieved merely by removing explicit, legally-sanctioned discrimination (though that’s certainly a good start).
- I’m not particularly a socialist or capitalist, except in the sense that I perceive socialism and capitalism to both be necessary parts of any healthy economic system. I believe that different mixes are certainly possible, but neither of the basic ingredients can actually be removed.
- I’m an environmentalist to the extent that preservation of the environment is in the long term interests of humanity (and, more broadly, of sentient life), and I believe this is mostly the case. I suspect that the environmental greater good — the fate of the whole biosphere — may, in some cases, trump individual environmental concerns.
- I prefer the judgment of disinterested experts and real scientific organisations to magical thinking, conspiracy theories and narratives constructed by laypeople and lobby groups. This principle underlies my opinions and understanding on many issues, including climate change, evolutionary theory, nuclear technology, vaccines, “complementary” and “alternative” medicines, genetic engineering, water fluoridation, etc.
All that said, I always reserve the right to change my mind!