One of the most ridiculous repeat-questions I hear from supernaturalists and spirtualists is if I, as a secular humanist, believe in love. The questons arrises because the tenets of secular humanism mandate that I am a rationalist and empiricist. Such methods of thought preclude spirits as a reasonable possibility. Being humanocentric, humans have a tendency to place excessive (nigh divine) importance on 'human' emotions. I use scare quotes around human because we're rapidly learning that humans are not alone on this planet in the experiencing various emotions. Some have argued that dolphins should be considered non-human people. But I digress, love, anger, happines, the whole pantheon of human emotion are products of chemical reactions in the brain. "Ah-ha," I can hear the spiritualists say. "So you are a cold, rational being who doesn't believe in love." I will unequivicably say that is not true. Does knowing the mechanism of a biological function reduce its meaning? Perhaps to the spirutualists who rely on mysticisim to inject meaning into every facet of life, but I do not. Understanding something makes it more meaningful and more beautiful; certainly when what is being examined is so utterly complex yet so simply experienced.
Asking me if I believe in love is like asking me do I believe in the color red. I'm red-green colorblind (a mix of protanopia and deuteranopia). I know what red is. Red is the name we give to the perception of certain wavelengths of light. My ability to perceive this color is impaired due the genes that create the reactive proteins in the cones of my eyes. Thus my perception of red is different than 99% of the human populace. Given that understanding of color, I hope it is clear how ridiculous it is to ask if I "believe in it." I find it equally absurd to ask if I "believe" in love. I have experienced love. Puppy love, lustful love, enfatuated love, romantic love, and life-building love. I love my wife. Knowing that my experience is due to a chemical reaction due to evolved mechanisms that enhance the survival rate of my (as of yet potential) offspring does not devalue my experience or perception. I don't believe love is a "cosmic force." Let's not make a farce of something that I choose to find beautiful by saying it is the driving force behind all things or that it has the power to heal or any other sappy or ludacris assertion meant to evoke pangs of sentimentality which in the end only cheapen something very real.