Read Camels With Hammers At Patheos, Starting Today

This is my last post at Freethought Blogs–at least for the foreseeable future. All new Camels With Hammers for the foreseeable future will be featured exclusively at Patheos. After this weekend, all older posts will redirect automatically to the new site at Patheos. Once the archive of the blog is moved to Patheos, I will be shutting off the ability to comment here at the Freethought Blogs version of the blog because those comments would be lost to posterity anyway when the redirects kick in.

The url for the new Camels With Hammers is http://patheos.com/blogs/camelswithhammers

Please update your RSS feeds and/or make a point to come directly to the blog to read me. You will no longer be able to just discover my articles in the sidebars of other Freethought Blogs posts, so I hope you come looking for me. In the future you will have to be wandering the Patheos Atheist portal to just stumble on my writings.

Now, I know that some atheist readers are not happy with the idea of atheist bloggers joining up with Patheos. The majority of the ideas expressed on the total site are religious and theistic in nature. I am not going to like a lot of what the bloggers from the religious channels on the site say any more than many of you are.

But we adamant atheists have a seat at the table for discussion of religion at Patheos. Actually, better than that–we have our own table, and it’s growing in size and hopefully will grow in influence. I will continue to do my damnedest to counter faith, authoritarianism, irrationalism, superstition, dogmatism, fundamentalism, regressiveness, and all the other vices of the major existing religions and theistic philosophies. And the exciting part is that now all of this work will be somewhere where it’s a harder for religious people to ignore it.

When people interested in learning about religion go to Patheos, one of the internet’s central hubs for discussion and information about religion, and click on “blogs”, the first blogs they see listed are those of the Atheist channel and soon the first blog on the Atheist channel that they will see listed will be Camels With Hammers. And so, many of those people looking to learn about religion may just get exposed to my take on the subject first. I find that thought reinvigorating. I feel inspired to start ramping up my blogging rate to what it was during my most prolific periods.

I love the idea of being an ambassador for atheism on a comparative religions site. I want to do my constructive philosophical reasoning about ethics, religion, and atheism right where the religious and the doubters and the openminded can find me. I want to get into debates with the religious bloggers that are going to be surrounding me. I want you, my predominantly atheist readers, to be around and having my back as I tangle with the theists much more often than I have since being at Freethought Blogs. I still intend to write plenty of posts for my predominantly atheist readers. But it will be good for us to talk with others too. I want us to grapple with those who differ from us some more and have some really constructive debates that hopefully sharpen our own views and help to moderate or even obliterate the beliefs of our religious visitors.

I also intend to renew my commitment to blogging on philosophical topics with vigor. Too many people associate philosophical questions with religious answers or with religious sources of supposed information. They turn to religion to try to answer the most fundamental metaphysical, epistemological, metaethical, and ethical questions. While all of these questions can be (and have for centuries been) addressed in purely rational, and religiously neutral (or outright irreligious) ways, too many people do not know this. They will look for these discussions on a religion site. I want them to find rational sophisticated philosophy being done on that site and I want them to start to appreciate how much better the answers generated that way, as opposed to religious ways, are.

Let me say, as I leave, that I love Freethought Blogs a ton. It has barely even sunk in that soon I will not be able to think of myself as part of this network anymore.

I was stunned and elated when Ed and PZ agreed to take me on last year. I had e-mailed Ed the night before as a total shot in the dark and woke up in the morning bracing myself for rejection. Then, once I was accepted, I spent a month paranoid they’d either come to their senses or read some criticism I had written earlier about PZ and rescind the invitation on me. I couldn’t bring myself to fully believe they were giving me this tremendous opportunity and support until September 1 of last year when they linked to me on their blogs and Camels With Hammers became visible on the front page of the website. I have never stopped being incredibly grateful to Ed and PZ for the ways that they have shared the incredible platform that they built for themselves with me and with others so generously and with so much support.

And have I always felt so honored by the opportunity to help define what Freethought Blogs was by the way that I conducted my blogging, by the ways that I contributed to discussions about the nature and the future of the network, and by the unique ways in which I got to participate in the community. It was, and has remained, a serious rush to become colleagues and, in some cases I think, friends with a number of my blogging heroes. I was and remain a huge fan of PZ Myers’s knack for fisking terrible theological and pseudo-biological arguments with clarity, humor, and a gift for teaching, Zinnia Jones’s methodical logical rigor, thoroughness, and concision, Greta Christina’s way of making exercises in philosophical rigor feel so easy, breezy, personal, and conversational, Ophelia Benson’s immense passion and talent for chronicling and combating the suffering of women the world over, Ed Brayton’s moral clarity on civil liberties and his persistent principled resistance to double standards and partisan blindspots, Jen McCreight’s creativity, personability, and ability to tap into the zeitgeist and to change it, CristinaRad’s brash and hilarious defiance of dogmatists, and Matt Dillahunty’s master apologetic skills.

And in addition to all these incredible colleagues whose work I already admired, there were the people who I first really came to either discover or appreciate here. In particular I came to admire Stephanie Zvan’s beautiful way with words and her knack for knowing the most advantageous ways to frame arguments, Ian Cromwell’s consistently illuminating research insights and sense of humor, Hank Fox’s lyricism, exuberance, and infectious idealism, Natalie Reed’s dazzling analytical rigor, intense personal investment, and mind-opening clarity, Maryam Namazie’s amazing bravery, Taslima Nasreen’s righteous anger, Justin Griffith’s fearless honesty, compassion, tenacity, and sense of principle, and Al Stefanelli’s gift for telling impacting personal stories.

Were money not so perennially tight for me, I probably would not have even considered this move. But I am, at present, working at 4-5 schools a semester, teaching 7-9 classes and still in danger of defaulting on my student loans. And I am still unable to make it through the summer without accruing thousands of dollars in credit card debt. I have yet to be able to afford health insurance or had so much as a check up in my adult life. Because of a combination of unpragmatic decisions I made while I was in graduate school, exploitative labor practices in academia, my overbearing workload, and my penchant for using my sparse writing time to blog rather than to write academic papers, it is a realistic possibility that I will never publish enough in philosophy journals in time to land a tenure track job before my doctorate goes “stale” in the profession’s eyes. I will likely never have any job security as a full time professor.

This means that I need to make it on exploitative adjunct teaching wages, money from writing, and money that I make as a private philosophical counselor and tutor. Every dollar counts, especially if I want to build a self-sufficient practice as a philosophical counselor to either supplement my academic teaching or transition out of it. I want to be able to scale back my teaching hours to make that possible.

These financial reasons were what motivated me two weeks ago, after I wrote a post about my financial woes, to seriously think about moving to Patheos. I love Freethought Blogs and felt crummy immediately after committing to leaving the network. But I am also excited to have the chance to counter religious ideas at a place where they are so prevalent and to do open-ended thinking about the philosophy of religion in a place where that’s a natural fit.

There will also be a lot going on at Patheos’s Atheist channel. I will be joining a couple of my closest personal friends from the blogosphere, Richard Wade (of Friendly Atheist’s “Ask Richard” column) and Libby Anne (of Love Joy Feminism, and formerly of Freethought Blogs). I am very much looking forward to rejoining another good friend from FtB, JT Eberhard, so we can resume double teaming religious believers with our “good cop/bad cop” routine. And fellow former Freethought Blogs blogger Chris Hallquist and I will resume our parallel attacks on theism from our contrasting and yet compatible philosophical styles and perspectives.

I am also excited to be joining atheist blogging icon, Hemant Mehta and to blog side by side with the guys from Unreasonable Faith. I used to mooch so many subjects for blog posts off of UF in the early days. And they always patiently indulged me as I shamelessly flogged my blog posts in their comments section–even as I was directly flouting their explicit policy against doing so. It will be nice to share a blog network with them.

And, of course, I will still only be just a mouse click away from all my friends at Freethought Blogs and hope to stay in close touch. That’s the nice thing about “moving away” on the internet. You can still be as present as you always were. I intend to be a close friend to FtB going forward.

So that’s it. It’s been a blast, Freethought Blogs readers. I feel like I have both been challenged and grown a ton through having you here. Thank you to all of you who have contributed to my 1.2 million hits while here. I’m really grateful for all the efforts you have put into reading my writing and debating with me about it. I earnestly hope that I have earned your continued readership at my new Patheos home. I hope that this year at Freethought Blogs has only been the first of many we spend in dialogue with each other.

Your Thoughts?

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About Daniel Fincke

Dr. Daniel Fincke  has his PhD in philosophy from Fordham University and spent 11 years teaching in college classrooms. He wrote his dissertation on Ethics and the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche. On Camels With Hammers, the careful philosophy blog he writes for a popular audience, Dan argues for atheism and develops a humanistic ethical theory he calls “Empowerment Ethics”. Dan also teaches affordable, non-matriculated, video-conferencing philosophy classes on ethics, Nietzsche, historical philosophy, and philosophy for atheists that anyone around the world can sign up for. (You can learn more about Dan’s online classes here.) Dan is an APPA  (American Philosophical Practitioners Association) certified philosophical counselor who offers philosophical advice services to help people work through the philosophical aspects of their practical problems or to work out their views on philosophical issues. (You can read examples of Dan’s advice here.) Through his blogging, his online teaching, and his philosophical advice services each, Dan specializes in helping people who have recently left a religious tradition work out their constructive answers to questions of ethics, metaphysics, the meaning of life, etc. as part of their process of radical worldview change.


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