Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Skeptic Love Tag

Previously I've written a little about love before in a post called Lost. If you've read that post you may have noticed that I'm somewhat of a cynic and can't ignore the statistics when it comes to claiming how special someone is. Despite being a cynic and a relatively critical thinker I am not imune to emotion. Even though I was once described as the "closest thing to a vulcan in the atheist blogsphere" (thanks BEAJ – I liked that one) from time to time I suffer from the same irritating softy-fluffy-wuffiness as everyone else. Now is such a time. And so what better time to start a new tag on the subject.

Here's the deal.

Love that is not madness is not love – Pedro Calderon de la Barca


In my experience that is one of the most accurate statements ever made. So, in search of some advice, the task I'm passing on to other bloggers is to answer the questions below and then pass the tag on to as many skeptical bloggers as you like.


  1. Do you consider romantic love from an evolutionary pair bonding standpoint within your own relationships or do you avoid thinking about it that way?


  2. Has thinking about romantic love from a critical angle ever caused you to say something that has upset your partner and if so what?

  3. Does understanding a little of the chemistry going on inside your brain make you in anyway less susceptible to that chemistry and if so please elaborate?


  4. As people thought that explaining the rainbow removed its beauty do you think that understanding the evolutionary origins of our emotion of romantic love decreases its value or beauty for you?


  5. What advice would you give to a highly skeptical, critical atheist in knowing when to shut up and just enjoy being an ape?



My Answers:

  1. In every relationship I have ever had I have thought of it this way. I can't separate my life from what I continue to learn, in fact the thought of trying to do so horrifies me.

  2. Constantly. All of my ex-girlfriends found me to be both deep and romantic. There seems to be much more to depth than there is to romance and one invariably gets in the way of the other. Deep, since it must be based on intellectual honesty, always wins. Also, it irritates me when I am supposed to submit to stupid sayings I absolutely disagree with. One ex was mega-pissed off that I refused to agree with her on the vacuous statement that "Love is the highest thing". I told her it was a meaningless statement and that it ignored the causes of the emotion and had no context.


  3. I think so. I find it impossible to believe that someone I meet in a club for instance is anyone special which makes it impossible for me to pretend that she is. I need evidence. I have to have reason beyond a throbbing groin to make that fantastical leap. I literally think more along the lines of "Hmmm, everything I have so far learned about you is entirely average. I could pretend that you fascinate me physically, emotionally and intellectually but you do not". As I'm sure can be imagined, I absolutely suck when it comes to picking someone up. I'm just not sufficiently motivated to lie enough. This is so common that I have at times been mistaken for a prude.


  4. Not at all. It is an absolutely fantastic feeling and the cause of some of the greatest happiness I have experienced in my life. But I don't see why I have to deny understanding the importance of vasopressin receptors in pair bonding in voles and the likely similarity in our own brains. I don't understand how people think love is more valuable (it's certainly less honest) if you ignore the data and view it as something mystical.


  5. Having been absolutely terrible at this I really can't give anyone any advice other than try to find someone that also accepts critical thinking as a great methodology for living life. Never shut up.



Tagged

I'm going to tag two bloggers I know are married:

Sacred Slut over at A Whore in the Temple of Reason
Tommy over at An Exercise in Futility.

If you enjoyed this article please feel free to digg it down below.

6 comments:

sacred slut said...

You are a fucking vulcan! LOL

Of course I always thought Spock was hot. ;)

I'll have to give this some thought. Which of course is the opposite of the advice I would give you.

Rhology said...

I'm married.

chooseDoubt said...

Sacred: =)

Rhology, you're also not a skeptic. And you'll never believe that no offence is met here although absolutely none is, but you'd love a breeze block if Jesus told you to. I appreciate you're married, but on this one yours is not the input I be looking for. This is one you can't understand.

Tommy said...

Thanks CD, I think.

I've been reading question 1 over and over again and I still don't think it has quite sunk into my noggin' yet.

chooseDoubt said...

Hi Tommy.

Question one had gone a bit zoolander (blogging whilst under the influence). I've edited now.

Anotherplayaguy said...

First, it's been a long time since I've seen a Calderon quote. What next, Lope de Vega? Second, I think you're being unfair to yourself by attempting to synthesize the poetic (Calderon) and the scientific.

That said, I too have been accused of being a Vulcan. By my first wife and by my current wife.

And on to the questions:

"Do you consider romantic love from an evolutionary pair bonding standpoint within your own relationships or do you avoid thinking about it that way?"

Yes. When children were going to be the end product, I was very careful to select a mate (if, in fact, I did the selecting) who would yield quality offspring. (Yeah, quality offspring, for the Vulcans in the crowd.)


"Has thinking about romantic love from a critical angle ever caused you to say something that has upset your partner and if so what?"

Yes. Whenever I forget and tell the varnished truth. But, of course, the selection process in step one negated a bunch of that. Same thing happens when discussing euthenasia, abortion, etc.

"Does understanding a little of the chemistry going on inside your brain make you in anyway less susceptible to that chemistry and if so please elaborate?"

No, not really. Some times it can disconcert, but usually it's not a matter of consideration. Cf. music -- understanding how Beethoven put together a string quartet does not detract from it and often adds enjoyment.


"As people thought that explaining the rainbow removed its beauty do you think that understanding the evolutionary origins of our emotion of romantic love decreases its value or beauty for you?"

No. Merely a different TYPE of beauty. Understanding the rainbow is every bit as awesome as seeing it. (Well, almost -- there was a beauty of one here yesterday.)


"What advice would you give to a highly skeptical, critical atheist in knowing when to shut up and just enjoy being an ape?"

What? Do I look like Dear Abby?
Or...
Be the ape, enjoy the moment.