The following is an excerpt from the forthcoming book Till the Skeptical Hypothesis Do Us Part: Philosophical Advice for a Veridical Marriage, by Martha Slattery.
In 2012 Mary Mills learned that Robert, her husband of six years, was a cleverly disguised mule. The surprising discovery was made when Mary and Robert visited a doctor for infertility testing. The doctor checked to see if there was a genetic cause of infertility and sure enough there was. Mary had 46 chromosomes, Robert had 63. They soon divorced.
This tragic outcome could have been prevented. Remember, the key to a successful marriage is being the same natural kind as your partner. Don’t rush things — have that special someone checked out by a good veterinarian before you tie the knot.
While it’s a good start, unfortunately a veterinarian is not enough. For how do you know that your beloved even exists? If you are a brain in a vat, then there is no spouse. You are essentially marrying yourself, which degrades the concept of marriage and erodes the value of the family. God smiles on marriage, but He does not smile on marriage*. (Whether or not God* smiles on marriage*, and of what significance that is, is another matter.)
The evil demon has no place in the bedrooms of the nation. Not even if the bedrooms of the nation are getting kind of boring. Fifty shades of skepticism will not save your marriage.
A truly successful marriage requires more: it requires a Moorean shift. I’ll never forget the day my husband proposed. “Here is a hand,” he said. “And here is another hand — may I take it in marriage?” I took a moment to compose myself. “I’m certain,” I responded, and we’ve lived happily ever since.
[This post was coauthored by Eli Shupe.]