Tom Hamilton is 29 and was born and brought up in Yorkshire. After completing a PhD in theology, which regularly prompts the question 'Are you religious?', to which the answer is 'No, but...', he decided that a career in academia was not for him at about the same time as academia made the same decision. He now lives in south London and works as parliamentary officer for a national charity. Tom blogs at Let's be sensible.
Why do you blog? > Initially, because after 20 years of full-time education I was disorientated by not having any homework, and also because my partner was working late shifts at the time and I had lots of spare evenings. Now, because it sucks you in, doesn't it?
What has been your best blogging experience? > Links, comments, anything which suggests that other people are reading what I've written and engaging with it.
What has been your worst blogging experience? > Lack of the above.
What would be your main blogging advice to a novice blogger? > Two things. First, if you've got nothing worthwhile to say today, don't post. Nobody's going to die. Second, be civil. Nothing's less persuasive than abuse.
Who are your intellectual heroes? > Simone Weil, Zygmunt Bauman, Andrea Dworkin.
What is the best novel you've ever read? > The Crossing, by Cormac McCarthy.
What is your favourite song? > It changes all the time. Right now it's 'Who Killed Davey Moore?' by Bob Dylan.
Can you name a major moral, political or intellectual issue on which you've ever changed your mind? > If I said 'Israel', you might want to understand that as shorthand for a lot of related major moral, political and intellectual issues. And you'd be right.
What philosophical thesis do you think it most important to disseminate? > That life on earth has evolved by natural selection.
What philosophical thesis do you think it most important to combat? > That atheism entails a belief that religious people are necessarily stupider and/or more dangerous than you.
Can you name a work of non-fiction which has had a major and lasting influence on how you think about the world? > Andrea Dworkin, Life and Death - not her most important book, but the first of hers that I read and therefore my introduction to a type of feminism which continues to influence my thinking about sex, power, consent, free speech, civil liberties and whether the grotesque abuse thrown at some feminists tends to prove their point rather nicely.
What is your favourite piece of political wisdom? > W.H. Mallock: 'No one is fit to encounter an adversary's case successfully unless he can make it for the moment his own, unless he can put it more forcibly than the adversary could put it for himself, and take account not only of what the adversary says, but also of the best he might say if only he had chanced to think of it.'
What would you do with the UN? > Stop using it as a scapegoat for the various failures of its member states to agree to and fund collective action.
What do you consider to be the main threat to the future peace and security of the world? > In general, failure to take seriously the principle of non-combatant immunity. Some people are more scrupulous about the principle than others, and that's a useful clue to what we should think about them, but whenever it's overlooked, whoever overlooks it, the human and political consequences are devastating.
Do you think the world (human civilization) has already passed its best point, or is that yet to come? > I have no idea what a 'best point' would look like, or if it makes sense to imagine one - it sounds like something you see illustrated badly on Jehovah's Witnesses pamphlets. But I can think of plenty of things which could be better, and which are worth trying to improve. Assuming that there was a 'best point', and that we've missed it, is unlikely to be an effective spur to action.
Do you think you could ever be married to, or in a long-term relationship with, someone with radically different political views from your own? > I'd find it difficult - largely because I don't like arguing very much, so I'd probably acquiesce and feel quietly miserable as our children got packed off to private school.
What do you consider the most important personal quality? > Taking other people and their views and beliefs seriously, and treating them with respect, even if you disagree with them.
What personal fault do you most dislike? > Lack of punctuality (including, on occasion, my own, but I try to keep it to a minimum because I know how much it annoys me in others).
In what circumstances would you be willing to lie? > I would never be willing to lie. There's one.
What is your favourite proverb? > I used to have an old book of Belgian proverbs, which included 'Een hen kan lang oop een poot stan', which apparently means 'A chicken can stand on one leg for a long time'. I'm not sure what important truth about life that's supposed to illustrate, but I love it.
What commonly enjoyed activities do you regard as a waste of time? > Blogging. But does that stop me?
What, if anything, do you worry about? > Until a couple of weeks ago, my wedding. Now, buying a house. It doesn't end, does it?
If you were to relive your life to this point, is there anything you'd do differently? > Things have worked out pretty well in the end, but I don't think I was really very good at being a teenager. There's a lovely line in What A Carve Up! by Jonathan Coe: 'I just look upon it as my misspent youth: genuinely misspent - not taking drugs and sleeping with lots of different people, which would probably have been good fun, but this... perverse drive towards conformity.' That was me, too.
What would you call your autobiography? > The title's the least of my worries. What on earth would it be about, for a start?
Who would play you in the movie about your life? > I don't expect to have any control over the casting, unfortunately.
Where would you most like to live (other than where you do)? > Probably within a few miles of where I do live, but in a slightly bigger house, and without the restrictions of being a tenant. That's a boring answer, isn't it?
What talent would you most like to have? > I'd love to be a world-class leg-spin bowler. If I were, or indeed if any Englishman were, that would be good news for the England team, too.
Which English Premiership football team do you support? > Premiership football team? Am I supposed to have stopped supporting Leeds when they got relegated?
How, if at all, would you change your life were you suddenly to win or inherit an enormously large sum of money? > I'd buy a house. I hope I'd be generous to other people too, but I'd buy a house.
[The normblog profile is a weekly Friday morning feature. A list of all the profiles to date, and the links to them, can be found here.]