The September issue of The Humanist contains an interview with a woman who is witty, intelligent, a humanist, lover of science, former nurse, a feminist, and just happens to be a porn star.
Marie Hartman graduated with honors from San Francisco State University and is the author or coauthor of several books published by major publishing houses under her stage name, Nina Hartley. She is also the star of more than 600 adult films spanning three decades. In addition, Hartley is a humanist, a proud atheist, and a vocal feminist. . .
The Humanist: I’m curious about your hobbies and education growing up. You mentioned that your grandfather had a PhD in Physics. Were science and medicine an important part of your life?NH: Both of my parents are science folks. My mother was a chemist and statistician for the State Department of Public Health and my dad has a good layman’s understanding of science and biology. I loved all natural science as a child and wanted to be Jane Goodall when I grew up. I especially liked human biology and anatomy. I’m an RN with a BS in nursing and I love science to this day. I keep up with the latest advances in science and enjoy physics, biology, psychology, brain science, and more.
The Humanist: You weren’t raised in a religious home, but one full of values. For the religious, values and religion are synonymous. Could you explain the difference?
NH: We were taught social justice at home. My maternal grandparents were early supporters of civil rights in Alabama, where my mother is from. As secular Jews (my grandfather refused Bar Mitzvah) they were already a minority, but when my grandfather turned to socialism for its sense of social justice it put the family in jeopardy and they were subject to harassment by the Ku Klux Klan. My grandfather almost lost his life to goons.
This sense of social justice carried over into my parents’ marriage, and I grew up participating in civil rights marches and anti-war demonstrations. There was never any mention of God as a reason to do right. It was just the right thing to do. I feel strongly to this day that right and religion don’t necessarily go hand in hand.
As a believer in evolution, we can “take the best” from religion and “leave the rest.” We no longer need the story of “God” to explain why the rain falls, or the wind blows, or spring comes again each year. I’m comfortable with there being things about people or the world that I can’t know, or that we don’t know yet. I’m fine with life as we know it being random or an “accidental” result of chemical and physical processes.
For the full text of this truly delightful article, go to The Humanist website.