Gimpy started blogging in 2007 and prefers to hide behind a pseudonym. However, he will admit to a scientific education, a specific learning difficulty and too many opinions. These inform his blogging - at gimpy's blog and posterous - on pseudoscience, charlatans and their occasional intrusion into politics.
Why do you blog? > To put some of my excess energy and time to good use by annoying people who act on their belief in silly things.
What has been your best blogging experience? > Going from reporting the financial collapse of Dore, a dodgy organization claiming to cure dyslexia, to helping out their stricken customers.
What has been your worst blogging experience? > Seeing Dore re-establish themselves under purportedly new owners, but with the same business model and flaws as before. As far as I know their previous customers did not recover their money.
What would be your main blogging advice to a novice blogger? > Don't choose a stupid pseudonym.
Who are your intellectual heroes? > Charles Darwin and George Orwell.
What are you reading at the moment? > Leviathan or, The Whale by Phillip Hoare.
What is your favourite song? > 'Pale Blue Eyes' by Velvet Underground.
Can you name a major moral, political or intellectual issue on which you've ever changed your mind? > The existence of God. I had a Catholic education and was an altar boy before rejecting the teachings of the Church and acquiring atheism in my teens. This was far harder than it should have been.
What philosophical thesis do you think it most important to disseminate? > Liberal democracy.
What philosophical thesis do you think it most important to combat? > Totalitarianism.
Can you name a work of non-fiction which has had a major and lasting influence on how you think about the world? > The Selfish Gene. It helped consolidate my youthful fascination about the natural world into an adult obsession, by making evolutionary explanations of life seem so simple and so right.
What is your favourite piece of political wisdom? > 'It has been said that democracy is the worst form of government except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time' – Winston Churchill.
If you could effect one major policy change in the governing of your country, what would it be? > An elected head of state.
What would you do with the UN? > Keep it.
What do you consider to be the main threat to the future peace and security of the world? > The lack of political will to overcome human cognitive biases.
Do you think the world (human civilization) has already passed its best point, or is that yet to come? > It is yet to come. Our progress is the product of applied knowledge, and we do not yet know all there is to know.
What do you consider the most important personal quality? > A willingness to admit error and to learn from it.
What personal fault do you most dislike? > Assumptions of superiority.
Do you have any prejudices you're willing to acknowledge? > An instinctive distrust of those educated in public schools.
What commonly enjoyed activities do you regard as a waste of time? > Cricket.
What, if anything, do you worry about? > The future.
If you were to relive your life to this point, is there anything you'd do differently? > Take the teachings of the Catholic Church less seriously.
Where would you most like to live (other than where you do)? > Paris.
What do you like doing in your spare time? > Video gaming and cycling.
What is your most treasured possession? > A Devil's Toenail, a primitive fossil oyster found as a child on holiday.
What talent would you most like to have? > The ability to be organized.
What would be your ideal choice of alternative profession or job? > Engineer.
What animal would you most like to be? > A Planarian flatworm. They have eye-spots, a brain and remarkable regenerative capabilities; you can cut them in half and both halves will grow to form individual creatures. There are fascinating philosophical questions about the nature of the self that arise from this, although the lack of consciousness in the flatworm tends to mean these questions are theoretical.
[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.]