I have been very moody and thoughtful lately, My wife died recently, September 24th, and I miss her very much. Thoughts about her lead to thoughts about life and one thought leads to another. I think about religion although I am not a believer and I think about nature, including human nature, which has always been of great interest to me. Let me give you one random example of a thought that came to me in the middle of the night:
Humans have always excelled as tool makers. Prehistoric people made many tools -- not just the weapons, the clubs and spears, that regrettably tend to come so quickly to mind. Needle and thread are prehistoric inventions as are fish hooks. Containers were made so that water could be transported and stored against future needs. There are certainly many more examples. Tool making has been a central pillar in the construction of human civilization. Tool making is exquisitely characteristic of human endeavor and it has shaped our social values and our ethics.
I am an ethical humanist. My father was a tool and die maker. I am proud of him. There is nothing he could have been that would have been more civilized or more quintessentially human. As I look back on it now I cannot not be sure whether I am proud of my father because I am an ethical humanist or if I am an ethical humanist because I am proud of my father.