Q1. How would you define 'atheism'?
Thinking that there's no God.
Q2. Was your upbringing religious? If so, what tradition?
Completely not - though I was barmitzvahed. A week or two later I went to synagogue for the barmitzvah of a friend, and I haven't been in a synagogue from that day (in 1956) until earlier this year for another barmitzvah, of a family friend. I have never felt a religious impulse of any kind.
Q3. How would you describe 'Intelligent Design', using only one word?
Q4. What scientific endeavour really excites you?
Archaeological projects on the nature of ancient civilizations.
Q5. If you could change one thing about the 'atheist community', what would it be and why?
Is there an atheist community? Anyway, I'd like to see more open-mindedness towards the fact, which is in any case plain as daylight, that religious people can be both intelligent and good.
Q6. If your child came up to you and said 'I'm joining the clergy', what would be your first response?
Taking this as applying to one of my actual children: 'You're not serious, are you?' Assuming she was, my second response would include 'Why?' and 'Have you thought about it carefully?' And if she had, my next response (probably after much discussion) would be, 'Fine'.
Q7. What's your favourite theistic argument, and how do you usually refute it?
I can't really say that I have one, but I like an idea I came across in Hans Jonas to the effect that 'the image of God passes into humanity's trust, "to be completed... or spoiled" by what humanity does in the world'. I wouldn't know how to refute it; but I would rebut it by saying that human morality doesn't need any theological grounding. (My favourite anti-theistic argument is the question, 'Can God create a weight so heavy that he can't lift it?')
Q8. What's your most 'controversial' (as far as general attitudes amongst other atheists goes) viewpoint?
I don't know. Some atheists seem to be bothered by the notion - which I subscribe to - that religion isn't uniformly harmful, but there are plenty of atheists who accept this, and it's obviously true. Perhaps the idea that an atheist may learn something from reading theology.
Q9. Of the 'Four Horsemen' (Dawkins, Dennett, Hitchens and Harris) who is your favourite, and why?
Christopher Hitchens. He's a phenomenon. Immensely knowledgeable, independent-minded, always interesting, often entertaining, sometimes very funny, and not afraid of a fight.
Q10. If you could convince just one theistic person to abandon their beliefs, who would it be?
I can't name anyone in particular. But I'd try to find a person who thought it was OK to kill heretics just for being that.