I Turn Karl Marx’s Daughters’ Questions For Him in 1865 into a Modern Internet 20 Questions Quiz

karl marx meme

This morning, I saw that a friend of mine had shared some interesting information on his Facebook wall. The post was about a list of questions that Karl Marx’s daughters, Jenny and Laura,  gave him in 1865 and his answers to them. He would have been 47 at the time he took the quiz, so he would have had enough experience in life to produce sincere and well thought out responses. It is an interesting idea that if Marx were alive today, he may enjoy a Buzzfeed quiz as much as the rest of us. For the original source, please see this link: http://www.marxists.org/archive/marx/works/1865/04/01.htm

This is the original list of questions and Marx’s answers:

Your favourite virtue … Simplicity
Your favourite virtue in man … Strength
Your favourite virtue in woman … Weakness
Your chief characteristic … Singleness of purpose
Your idea of happiness … To fight
Your idea of misery … Submission
The vice you excuse most … Gullibility
The vice you detest most … Servility
Your aversion … Martin Tupper
Favourite occupation … Book-worming
Favourite poet … Shakespeare, Aeschylus, Goethe
Favourite prose-writer … Diderot
Favourite hero … Spartacus, Kepler
Favourite heroine … Gretchen [Heroine of Goethe’s Faust]
Favourite flower … Daphne
Favourite colour … Red
Favourite name … Laura, Jenny
Favourite dish … Fish
Favourite maxim … Nihil humani a me alienum puto [Nothing human is alien to me]
Favourite motto … De omnibus dubitandum [Everything must be doubted].

Though I am presently ten years Marx’s junior at the time he took his daughters’ personal quiz, I decided to take it myself. I spent about an hour this morning contemplating and then answering the 20 questions. I did take the liberty of updating some of the older, less ‘Murican spelling of two words in my version. 

My own 2014 version:

Your favorite virtue … a habit of enjoying present company and the present moment
Your favorite virtue in man … the ability to revise one’s position if needed
Your favorite virtue in woman … not regarding one’s self as less than a man
Your chief characteristic … Autodidactic
Your idea of happiness … Laughing with family and/or good friends
Your idea of misery … When those who love wielding authority actually have it
The vice you excuse most … non-willful ignorance
The vice you detest most … willful ignorance
Your aversion … religious tyrants
Favorite occupation … Writing
Favorite poet … Since “Bluebird” is my favorite poem, I suppose that makes Bukowski my favorite poet. Because of that poem, I live to let the bluebird out.
Favorite prose-writer … Me (Whitman taught me to sing of myself)
Favorite hero … toss up between Frederick Douglass & Robert G. Ingersoll
Favorite heroine … Harriet Tubman
Favorite flower … Red rose
Favorite color … Don’t have one
Favorite name … Angela, the name of my true love and companion in life
Favorite dish … A really good spaghetti and salad with a nicely paired wine or brandy
Favorite maxim … “Love is wise. Hatred is foolish.” -Bertrand Russell
Favorite motto … “In this short and singular life, love with all you have, learn all you can, savor the present moment, and leave it all on the table.” -Me (why live by another man’s motto?)

For those who would like to take the quiz or share it, questions only, here is that version for you to copy and paste at your leisure. Enjoy!

The Laura and Jenny Marx 20 Questions Quiz:

Your favorite virtue … 
Your favorite virtue in man …
Your favorite virtue in woman … 
Your chief characteristic …  
Your idea of happiness … 
Your idea of misery … 
The vice you excuse most … 
The vice you detest most … 
Your aversion … 
Favorite occupation … 
Favorite poet … 
Favorite prose-writer …  
Favorite hero … 
Favorite heroine … 
Favorite flower … 
Favorite color … 
Favorite name … 
Favorite dish … 
Favorite maxim … 
Favorite motto … 

On the Now Infamous Buzzfeed, “22 Messages From Creationists To People Who Believe In Evolution”


It has been amazing to see the speed at which the Buzzfeed article, “22 Messages From Creationists To People Who Believe In Evolution,” has blown up on social media. Not only that, but the passionate response from people on both sides of the theological and scientific argument has been huge.

Click the link to see the article:


Buzzfeed journalist, Matt Stopera, was live at the Nye vs. Ham debate last Tuesday. As I was making my way around the Creation Museum, taking pictures and writing notes before the debate, I saw Mr. Stopera actively working the crowd to get a balanced take and opinions from “both sides.” I did an on-camera interview for Jonathan Ryan from the, “Geek Goes Rogue,” blog on Patheos, but did not get to speak with Matt Stopera from Buzzfeed. I was impressed by his demeanor with the museum patrons and his efforts to get balanced coverage. Though the secular and non-young earth creationist contingent was in the minority at the event, it appeared easier for Matt to get “messages” from their side. As the appointed debate time drew nigh, he was still working hard to get enough message pictures from the creationist side to make the pictures even. 

Due to some things I’ve seen on social media stating that Buzzfeed was just trying to make people look stupid on the creationist side or that Matt Stopera was “leading” people in some way, I can say as a very close bystander, that is not correct. Matt would give the people who wanted to participate a marker and paper, then allow them ample time to reflect on something to write. He didn’t prompt them to write any particular thing. He told them to write anything they wanted. Also, he must have posted nearly, if not all the pictures he took, not just ones that made one side look better and the other worse. It appeared that he was able to actively interface with people from about 4:00 pm to 6:30 pm. That isn’t a lot of time to get 44 people to participate in such a two-sided coverage piece, but he was able to make it happen. I was impressed.

Click the link to see the contrasting, “22 Messages For Creationists From People Who Believe In Evolution”:


I have also seen no shortage of satirical photoshops of the pictures and serious responses posted by others this week, primarily to the creationist’s messages. See two of my favorites below.

“Answers for Creationists,” article by By Phil Plait:


“The Amazing Atheist Answers 22 Creationists”

Here are a few things I would like to mention based on the varied responses I’ve seen to the first “22 Messages” article online:

1. To my secular, scientific, and atheist counterparts: These are real people and most are probably nice, hard working folks. Just because you disagree with them, that is no cause to go “ad hominem” on them via social media. I’d almost guarantee you NOT ONE of the people in the pictures had any idea how HUGE the response to their messages would be. To the people who have kept their comments on-point, kudos. But, I’ve read quite a few comments on facebook and elsewhere criticizing the looks or build of some of the people in the pictures. I have also read some comments that are just very derogatory with nothing constructive or instructive said to refute the “message.” That is out of line in my opinion. If you despise the young-earth creationist ideology, attack the ideology. None of the people in these pictures have done anything to you or I personally I presume. Don’t attack them personally in a way not directly related to the issue, from a presumably safe vantage point on the Internet. It is a cheap shot and does nothing to further your own argument.

2. To Young Earth Creationists: Don’t assume all the people in the pictures are “angels” just because they believe like you theologically. One individual in the pictures sat next to me during the debate. He or she made an interesting remark about some people who should, “Go back to Africa.” The small group he or she was a part of had quite a few interesting things to say as the debate countdown was rolling. That being said, I don’t put that on creationists in general. Far from it. But, on both sides, this issue needs to be about the issue. Regardless of whether you or I think a person we disagree with is “a jerk” or “arrogant,” that means nothing relative to if they are correct. This is an issue about modern, evidence-based science and the supposed scientific authority of the ancient Bible text. To paraphrase Bill Nye, “Show me the evidence and you’ll change my mind.” If you are shown contradictory evidence, but yet your mind remains resolute in your beliefs, please don’t fool yourself into a self-evaluated position of intellectual honesty.

3. I was staggered by the simplicity and lack of insight in most of the “messages” and questions. I wonder if many of the people have bothered to give google a work out on these subjects to find relevant scientific data from valid sources. Also, many messages show a distinct confirmation bias from people who probably have never searched out the argument of the opposition. Most of the questions raised can be answered very quickly and comprehensively with just a bit of research. I am surprised that some or all of the people in the pictures saw their messages and questions as a knock-out punch to modern science and/or secularism.

4. My last bit of encouragement is as follows: Seek out honest dialogue over debate. Debate can be a wonderful thing and I was very encouraged by the turnout and response to the one this week. But, it only goes so far. Reach out to people if you want to change their minds in a constructive way. If you wonder what people of the opposing view think, ask them directly when you have opportunity. Engage in effective, personal communication whenever possible. Aggressive posturing rarely ever leads to minds being changed or relationships being built. We have the privilege to live in a Nation with true freedom of speech. Use it fully; just mix in a pinch of kindness and empathy as well.

If you have not yet seen the epic debate, click the link below:

-Copyright 2014, Luke Austin Daugherty