Lucille is Always Right


Daniel Dennett: The main thing we want to talk about is “What should we do? What is the moral course of action to take?” And if that is to be a reasonable discussion, we have to take a few cards off the table.

Bill Moyers: Such as?

Dennett: – The faith card. We have to take the faith card off the table.

Moyers: What do you mean “take the faith card off the table?” I mean, if one is a man of faith one can’t take the gene out.

Dennett: Well, you know, Lucille says you’re wrong. … You don’t know who Lucille is? – She’s a friend of mine. She’s always right. – I can’t play that card in an argument! It’s just rude of me to say “Well, Lucille says you’re wrong.” and you say “Who’s Lucille?” and I say “Friend of mine. Always right.”

The Charlie Rose Show: A Conversation With Philosopher Daniel Dennett (April 4, 2006)

Trivialities of Gay Marriage


Why would people oppose something as trivial as gay marriage? The amount of time that is spent discussing this topic is staggering. The amount of energy that is spent opposing this civil right is equally astounding.

In the face of the actual problems that mankind faces at this moment: poverty, hunger, disease, pollution, ignorance, illiteracy, sexism, tyranny, warfare, et cetera, civilised society stands even more dumbstruck by the intolerance that is displayed in opposing this issue.

In order to get a better understanding of the objections that are made by the people who are opposed to two consenting adults expressing their love in front of their family, friends and society at large, let us consider the following questions:[1]

Why do people oppose gay marriage? –

Appeal To Tradition (“Sanctity of Marriage”)

Is it because of the assumption that only men and women can marry each other?
In 1967, less than fifty years ago, sixteen U.S. States still forbade interracial marriage on the grounds that the “sanctity of marriage” should not be violated. Nowadays, similar arguments are used to prevent gay people from getting married. This appeal to tradition has been recognised for the rhetorical fallacy it is for some time now.[2]

Is it because of the assumption that only one man and one woman can produce offspring by having sex?
Because of our advanced understanding of human procreation, it is possible for people to use a surrogate mother who carries an embryo created by in vitro fertilisation; it is also possible for people to use a sperm, egg or embryo donor. For some time now, procreation has not been necessarily about just one a man and one woman.

Is it because of the assumption that, regardless of sexual intercourse, only one man and one woman combined can produce offspring?
Thanks to our accomplishments in the field of genetics it is possible nowadays to create a human being out of the genetic material of one human as well as out of the combined genetic material of three humans.

Is it because of the assumption that only a marriage can produce offspring?
Currently, over 40% of the children born in the USA are born “out of wedlock”. And again, thanks to our extensive knowledge of biology, we know that a marriage certificate is not a prerequisite for the fertilisation of the ovum.

Is it because of the assumption that a marriage should produce offspring?
In that case, should the government not grant marriage licences to all people who are physically incapable of having children? And should this also apply to people who do not want children?

“I’m modern. I say ‘black’ instead of ‘coloured’. I think women are a good thing. I’ve got no problem with gays; most of them are very well turned out… especially the men.” – Peter Mannion The Thick Of It

Is it because of the assumption that gay marriage (and everything related to it) is unnatural?
At the time of writing, 642 species of animal have been observed having homosexual activity.[3] As for the narrower view that gay love would be “unnatural to human beings”, thanks to genetics, we know this is not true.

Is it because of the assumption that gay marriage is not a (civil) right?
In 1959, the philosopher Hannah Arendt wrote in her book Dissent “The right to marry whoever one wishes is an elementary human right compared to which ‘the right to attend an integrated school, the right to sit where one pleases on a bus, the right to go into any hotel or recreation area or place of amusement, regardless of one’s skin or color or race’ are minor indeed.”

Is it because of the assumption that if society allows this civil right, society should allow a lot of other rights later?
“The assumption that a relatively small first step will inevitably lead to a chain of related (negative) events” is called the slippery slope fallacy. In this case, apparently, it is the notion that legalising gay marriage will eventually lead to people having turtle sex.[4] Please note that the slippery slope argument is not to be confused with the warped causality of statements such as: gay marriage leads to floods, et cetera.[5]

Is it because of the assumption that marriage is meant for raising children and two parents of the same sex cannot adequately raise children?
According to a major 2014 study conducted by researchers from the University of Melbourne, children raised by same-sex couples actually do a bit better than the general population on measures of general health and family cohesion.

Is it because of the assumption that a man and a woman should be married?
Why should men and women be married?[6]

Is it the fact that some people are made uncomfortable by, for instance, two men making out?
If so, who cares?[7]

“Homosexuality is a form of love and it deserves our respect for that reason.” – Christopher Hitchens


[1] None of the objections mentioned in this article refer to metaphysical entities such as gods, angels, et cetera, nor does it refer to the Bible, Torah or similar mythological works mainly because of the Dennettian Lucille Argument. (With the Lucille Argument, the philosopher Daniel Dennett proved that any argument which is nonsensical, discredited, has a doubtful source, et cetera, can be countered by the equally weak argument “Well, my friend Lucille says otherwise.” Should the Lucille statement be questioned, Dennett was fond of replying “A friend of mine – Lucille. She’s always right.”)

[2] Words like “tradition”, “institution”, “sanctity” and “covenant” are the usual fuzzy nonsense indicators in such apologetic sentences.

[3] Even though homosexuality is common in nature, humanity is the only species that is capable of homophobia. Sure, we can spell “homophobia” but that does not tell the whole story.

[4] In 2003, Bill O’Reilly of Fox News’ O’Reilly Factor expressed his concern that legalising gay marriage would eventually lead to bestial unions “But here you go, this is the slippery slope. You legalize gay marriage, gay sex and all of that, then anybody who wants to marry five people can do it, and commune people can do it. You can marry a turtle, …”

[5] In 2014, UKIP councillor David Silvester was suspended from the party when he said the serious floods in the UK were the direct result of the legalisation of gay marriage.

[6] Tedious and probably nonsensical though it would be, it would also be amazingly original to read an answer to this question that does not have the subtext “because my religion says so”.

[7] Please note the common ‘I-think-lesbian-sex-is-hot-though’ double standard.

A Liberal Decalogue


British philosopher, mathematician, historian, and social critic Bertrand Russell endures as one of the most intellectually diverse and influential thinkers in modern history, his philosophy of religion in particular having shaped the work of such modern atheist champions as Christopher Hitchens, Daniel Dennett, and Richard Dawkins.

The following list is a vision for responsibilities of a teacher, in which Russell touches on a number of recurring themes from pickings past — the purpose of education, the value of uncertainty, the importance of critical thinking, the gift of intelligent criticism, and more.

It originally appeared in the December 16, 1951, issue of The New York Times Magazine, at the end of the article “The best answer to fanaticism: Liberalism.”

  1. Do not feel absolutely certain of anything.
  2. Do not think it worth while to proceed by concealing evidence, for the evidence is sure to come to light.
  3. Never try to discourage thinking for you are sure to succeed.
  4. When you meet with opposition, even if it should be from your husband or your children, endeavour to overcome it by argument and not by authority, for a victory dependent upon authority is unreal and illusory.
  5. Have no respect for the authority of others, for there are always contrary authorities to be found.
  6. Do not use power to suppress opinions you think pernicious, for if you do the opinions will suppress you.
  7. Do not fear to be eccentric in opinion, for every opinion now accepted was once eccentric.
  8. Find more pleasure in intelligent dissent than in passive agreement, for, if you value intelligence as you should, the former implies a deeper agreement than the latter.
  9. Be scrupulously truthful, even if the truth is inconvenient, for it is more inconvenient when you try to conceal it.
  10. Do not feel envious of the happiness of those who live in a fool’s paradise, for only a fool will think that it is happiness.