Daylight Atheism: Anniversary #3

Oh yes – it’s that time again. As difficult as it is for me to believe, today officially makes it three years I’ve been writing for Daylight Atheism.

This past year has been the most eventful one yet. I finished writing my first book; met a fellow freethinker in an unlikely setting; was attacked by a sitting member of the U.S. Senate (still a proud moment); and more. As well, I continue to be encouraged by the thriving, friendly community here. It’s the commenters that make a site what it is, more so than the author. There are blogs much bigger than mine, much more heavily trafficked; but in terms of the number and especially the quality of the comments, I couldn’t be happier. To be honest, I prefer getting a number of comments where I can read every one!

What lies ahead in the coming year for Daylight Atheism? I have a few ideas:

• First off, I’d like to do more pure-science posts. Many of the essays in the Observatory have been aimed at debunking popular superstitions or laying out principles of critical thinking, but I’d like to devote more time to the glories of real science. These new posts will be similar to past essays like “Hello, Beautiful” or “Other Shores“. Expect the first of these to start appearing soon.

• I want to stir the pot and get some good debates going. Let’s face it, as encouraging as it is to sing the praises of atheism, it would be boring if that was all I did. (In much the same way, a site of nothing but debate and argument would get tedious; I like to have a balance.) I don’t just mean debating religious apologetics – I’m confident most of us know those claims and counterclaims in our sleep – but genuinely interesting issues where atheists don’t all find common ground.

• In line with the last point, I also want to move in the direction of more guest essays, including some from authors whose positions I don’t necessarily agree with – possibly even some from theists. For three years, save for a few exceptions, I’ve been the sole author – and DA is and always will be my platform first and foremost – but I think any conversation is enriched by a diversity of voices, and I plan to seek out some good ones.

Lastly, there’s one more point I want to touch on. These past few months have been a time of consolidation, and now I’m aiming for growth. I remain convinced that there’s a huge potential audience of atheists and freethinkers who could stand to hear a friendly voice in the wilderness of superstition, and I want to be the one to reach them.

In terms of traffic, October 2008 was my best month ever, and I want that to be the new baseline. My intent, by the end of this year, is to be routinely surpassing 200,000 hits per month. That’s about one-fifth of PZ’s traffic, which doesn’t sound unreasonable to me.

But if I’m going to reach that milestone, I’m going to need some help from the wisdom of the crowd. I put it to you, readers: What can be done to get Daylight Atheism’s name out there? Weekly dissections of the Left Behind books? Live chats? Podcasts and video? More cephalopods? (The first person to suggest Twitter will be taken out and shot.) What say ye?

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About Adam Lee

Adam Lee is an atheist writer and speaker living in New York City. His new novel, City of Light, is available in paperback and e-book. Read his full bio, or follow him on Twitter.

  • Cannonball Jones

    Happy birthday! Not to over-inflate your ego but I have to say this is probably the most interesting and intellectually fulfilling of all the atheist blogs and websites out there. It’s also the one I always direct my friends to when the subject is broached so hopefully I’ll help you meet the new visitor target.

    In terms of new content I’m not so much up for chat or videos, I’m just here for the reading. I like the idea of having some kind of regular feature though, kinda like Orac’s Friday Dose Of Woo. I’m sure someone else is already taking Left Behind apart but maybe other books, websites or people could get the treatment – much-deserved character assassinations of leading exponents of creationism for example? Or any other prominent religious figures who spew intolerance and hatred wherever they go for that matter.

    Anyway, best of luck for the coming year!

  • p4limpsest

    Although I rarely comment, I do read DA every day. I’m guessing that the slacktivist reference when you suggest weekly dissections of the Left Behind books is a joke, but as a general idea it might not be bad at all. A series of posts that happen weekly is an easier thing to point to when recommending a blog to someone and it can lend a pleasing structure to subscriptions. I think a large number of my RSS subscriptions came about because I became interested in a recurring segment, NS it’s definitely how I came to get interested in slacktivist. Come to think of it, there’s a smart theist who might be perfect for guest posts.

  • Paul C

    Given the success of this blog in generating interesting comments, I’d definitely like to see guest posts from people with whom you specifically disagree. For example, it would be interesting to get a post from somebody with a close nihilist perspective who argues against atheist interpretations of a “meaningful life”, or an agnostic who is strongly anti-abortion – that sort of thing. Hard but not impossible to find. As long as we don’t get any objectivist posts here, I’ll be happy.

  • Lux Aeterna

    First off – Congratulations on a great website Ebonmuse!
    I would like to thank you and give a personal account on how your website has impacted me these past two years. I’m a 15 year-old atheist from Singapore, a country with over 80% of its population being theists (Buddhism is the largest religion here). The Government is secular, but pretty paranoid of angering the religious majority.
    Your writing greatly influenced me, at a time when I was a weak atheist. It has inspired me with the wonders of science (cosmology in particular), taken me on journeys to distant galaxies and explored the meaning of our lives, among may others. Your writings in Ebon Musings provided the basis of my beliefs and personal philosophy – and solid science and reason to back them up with. After each hectic day in school, I would come home looking forward to another thought-provoking and entertaining post (along with its informed and high-quality) comments in my comfortable chair.
    As for how to increase readership, here is a simple suggestion: word of mouth. If every constant reader recomments Daylight Atheism to a few friends and family members, some of them would surely come back for more and become followers themselves. Like this, readership can multiply many folds.
    Rock on, fellow atheist!
    Lux Aeterna

  • mikespeir

    I don’t think I’d look to PZ to set the standard unless quantity is what you’re looking for. He certainly has some good things to say; but, in my opinion, the average quality of his visitors’ commentary is nowhere nearly so high as here at Daylight Atheism.

  • Maynard

    I would look forward to guest essayists as well as more debatable topics from you concerning cultural views. I expect the guest essayists will be held to your standard in regards to conciseness, clarity and links to their sources.
    And I welcome all science related topics. One of the things I like most about the atheist blogosphere is how so many sites provide new ideas and breakthroughs in science.

    Congratulations on your three year anniversary!

  • Ceetar


    Come and get me! :-P

    Guest essays would probably help. Draw in the essayers fanbase, provided it doesn’t too much overlap already.

  • Crotch

    Three years? Man. Congraturation!

    Now c’mon – if you post it this Thursday, you can beat Slacktivist to Tribulation Forces!


  • Danny

    Your blog, sadly, asks too much from the internet user. Your posts demand more attention and reflection than the average freethought blog. We’re all guilty of skimming through posts, or even just post titles, on our RSS readers.

    It’s also too moderate and level-headed to spur extremists from both sides to read it intently.

    I’m not saying your blog won’t get even more popular than it is, but I think you’re getting close to the glass ceiling. I hope you don’t sacrifice your voice and your ideals to reach out to the unwashed. That means no Paris Hilton search engine bait! :p

    BTW, congrats on your blog milestone. Kudos!

  • Hailey

    Now, I have never been a commenter, but I’ve been a dedicated reader of Daylight Atheism since the day it was born. A long time ago (seems like a million years now), when I was a mere child in high school, I happened to stumble across your collection of essays and was inspired beyond what I thought possible. It was relieving to me to find that ‘friendly voice’ out there. Just so you know, your essays reached me just when I was feeling the most isolated (I had not one secular friend), and inspired me to be more open. Over the years my friends began to question me on my atheism, and through peaceful discussion and explanation, many have seen the appeal and truth of atheism and have thus converted from their respective religious views (including one particularly devote Catholic, I’m proud to say). And I wasn’t even trying! It’s nice see that there are plenty of intelligent individuals out there unsatisfied by their religion of choice and will willing to look towards atheism to explain the world in the best way possible.

    Anyway, I’ve been directing people to your blogs and essays for a while now, and will continue to do so.

    Keep up the fantastic work, Ebonmuse! You are an inspiration. :)

  • Polly

    Congratulations! You’ve been blogging almost as long as I’ve been an atheist. And this was the fist atheist blog I ever read.

    As for how to increase readership, here is a simple suggestion: word of mouth. If every constant reader recomments Daylight Atheism to a few friends…

    I’ve done this! When a non-theist (but superstitious) friend mentioned Fatima within days of your post, I sent her the link to your post and she read about it. I have another friend that I sometimes send links to specific posts of yours.

    I have to agree with Danny above. Your posts are like essays, sometimes. Not for the casual read during coffee break. Another co-worker of mine said something along those lines. But, DON’T DUMB IT DOWN, whatever else you do.

    I’ll do my part: Paris hilton breasts Paris hilton breasts Paris hilton breasts Paris hilton breasts Paris hilton breasts Paris hilton breasts Paris hilton breasts Paris hilton breasts

    Take THAT Google search! I probably don’t understand the internetz…

  • prase

    Congratulations on your blog’s jubilee.

    As for suggestions, I strongly support more guest posts. It can bring new ideas and really interesting discussions. Well, for me an interesting discussion always starts with strong disagreement, which is hardly possible when we all agree with you (this is also the reason why I don’t comment too often). Unfortunately, most debates here conform to pattern 1 kook against everybody else (thank g*d for the few posts where this was not the case, like you recent post on immortality). The only regular exception to the rule are posts about Objectivism: there it is usually many crackpots against everybody else*, so please don’t raise this topic too frequently :)

    Maybe it would be also nice to see you in reversed role, opposing the view of a guest author in comments.

    *) I wonder whether Objectivists use some special search engines to find all recent debates on the net. I have been always surprised how many new names appear in the comments to any related posts.

  • Alex, FCD

    A weekly feature about evolution might make interesting reading. Maybe something like an ‘Adaptation of the Week’ where you could discuss a particularly well-designed feature of an organism and how it evolved. I imagine most people who have run up against a creationist know how the eye evolved, but you could talk about the various hypotheses about the evolution of eusociality in insects or the intricate pollination mechanism in orchids, for instance. I’d read it.

  • DemonHype

    Congratulations from another daily reader!

    I picked up on the slacktivist thing too. Seriously, fred clark has been pretty thorough and he’s a really cool and intelligent religous guy (very refreshing, since the intelligent xians aren’t usually very outspoken, not in my experience), but I think it would be kind of nice to see something like that from an atheistic point of view too. Slacktivist is cool, but he also feels the need to defend himself and differentiate his beliefs from those of LaHaye and Jenkins, and he does have a distinctly Christian perspective, however different it might be from Left Behind. It’s a good thing because it reminds us (or at least, it reminds me) that not all Christians are dangerous nuts, and a lot of really sane and really nice believers are just not so outspoken. It really helps, since it’s very hard not to create stereotypes in the midst of all the outspoken Jesus-based hate that so often goes on, but I think it would rule to see some of that sort of thing without any religous perpective at all.

    I’m not suggesting of the kind of super in-depth page by page thing on slacktivist, though, but maybe in much larger chunks or just overall book reviews of xian fiction (1 post for the whole book, obviously not weekly, but just an idea for an occasional post).

    Or you could start with the second book, since slacktivist is just about ready to start on that, and work in conjunction–Tribulation Force thoughtfully dissected simultaneously by a Christian and an athiest would be really awesome.

    Perhaps that mention was just a joke, but I think the idea could still be fun, even if it wasn’t Left Behind but some other ideological nightmare of a religous book. Then again, it might just be the MST3K fan in me talking. I love dissections and reviews of lousy writing and bad movies even when it’s not as disrespectful as MST3K, and Slacktivist Left Behind is one of the high points of my week. And if that makes my life sound pathetic, I don’t even care! :) There really isn’t enough bad xian fiction-dissecting online.

    Congratulations again!

  • Adele

    Congrats on your anniversary, Ebon – and once again, many thanks for your beautiful essays and posts. They are entertaining, educational, and brilliant. After reading fundie blogs, or watching O’Reilly, I very nearly lose my faith in humanity. You and your readers restore it.

    Lux Aeterna – I count myself very lucky that there are people like you to follow us – you have the unenviable job of repairing the damage my generation has done to the world. I believe an atheist will do a better job than a believer. Good luck!

    By way of suggestions: I’m going to have to parrot the others in saying – guest posts! Many of the commentors – commentators? – here are fantastic writers. Perhaps a liberal, or even moderate, Christian, or someone with whom you disagree. Listening to other viewpoints is, for me, a huge part of being an atheist.

    Also, again echoing others, please don’t change anything about your posts to bring in more traffic. Perhaps less traffic is even a good thing – being able to read every comment, as you said, and getting to know many of the commentors has been a huge part of reading Daylight Atheism for me. Please don’t change that.

    Once again, congratulations on your anniversary!

  • Jennifer A. Burdoo

    Congratulations! I have come to check this blog daily, because your writing is always thought-provoking. But the best part (in my opinion) is the non-blog essays on atheism and evolution, which I can direct friends to. Keep up the great work.

  • Ergo Ratio

    My past experience is that blogs I really enjoy that start taking on more authors lose my interest quickly. Either there is suddenly too much content to keep up with, or I don’t care for the topics or style of the new authors. That’s just my experience and opinion; go for it, if that is the kind of growth you want.

  • Juan Felipe

    Happy anniversary ebon, I’m definitely looking forward for those online debates with apologist; I really enjoyed the one you had with JP Holding on biblical contradictions, so I hope to see more of the sort. Plus, having a debate with a well-known apologist can get you a lot of publicity (unless it happens to be like Holding and avoids linking to your material whatsoever)

    As for increasing your traffic, maybe something in this page could help you:

  • Juan Felipe

    I forgot something… the idea of more guest essays doesn’t really appeal to me. I don’t intend to over-inflate your ego, but I read this site because I like your style and I want to read your opinion on these kind of things.

  • Ebonmuse

    Reading over this thread, I want to say again that I’m truly honored by the participation of so many thoughtful and intelligent people here at Daylight Atheism. You people ought to give yourselves a hand; you really are the ones who make this site what it is. Thanks to everyone who’s commented in this thread! – with the possible exception of one person:


    Come and get me! :-P

    Guards! I think we’ve got some riff-raff in here. ;)

    More seriously, it seems there’s general acclaim in favor of more guest posts, so I’ll definitely do that. Not only will this hopefully get some good debates going (much more interesting ones than one kook against everyone else, as prase says), it will help build up a larger corpus of writing here, which improves your standing in the search engines and is the most reliable source of long-term growth.

    I do sympathize with concerns like Ergo Ratio’s, and rest assured that I don’t intend to make Daylight Atheism a group blog. As I said in the post, it will always be my platform first and foremost, but I think the occasional outside voice will keep the writing here fresh and original. Be assured that I’ll hold outside authors to the same editorial standards I’ve always held myself to. I write the kind of posts I like to read, and I’ve always preferred longer, more thoughtful essays to brief snippets. I want my site to keep the same feel it’s always had, even if other writers are making an appearance.

    This thread must have gotten me inspired, because I have ideas for not one but two regular post series. Not to talk myself up too much, but I think they’re both dynamite. :) Stay tuned – you’ll be seeing them soon.

    He certainly has some good things to say; but, in my opinion, the average quality of his visitors’ commentary is nowhere nearly so high as here at Daylight Atheism.

    In defense of PZ, mikespeir, I think that’s a matter of quantity rather than quality. He has plenty of great commenters, but in a crowd as large as his, it becomes more difficult for the best ones to stand out. )That’s another reason I’m quite happy with the comment volume I get; I think it strikes a very nice balance between being large enough to be diverse and interesting and small enough to be personal and welcoming.)

    Then again, it might just be the MST3K fan in me talking. I love dissections and reviews of lousy writing and bad movies even when it’s not as disrespectful as MST3K, and Slacktivist Left Behind is one of the high points of my week.

    Heh. As a fellow MST3K fan, I know just how you feel, DemonHype. I trust you’ve heard of Cinematic Titanic?

  • Entomologista

    Your debunking posts are awesome. Please keep them coming!

  • Justin

    Your debunking posts are awesome. Please keep them coming!

    How about a debunking post on the Moon landing “hoax?”

    Also, congratulations!

  • 2-D Man

    Congratulations, Ebon. I guess I’ve been reading it for about half the life of Daylight Atheism. You’ve done a good job and I, for one, look forward to more science-based posts.

  • MS Quixote

    (The first person to suggest Twitter will be taken out and shot.)

    Does that mean the second person won’t? Why don’t y’all pool your resources and get a DA bus ad in NYC?

    Congratulations on your achievement, Ebon. Incidentally, I recommend your website to atheists I meet from time to time. Like I always say, if atheists really are the ascending force, I’d prefer them to be like y’all.

  • DemonHype

    I had heard of RiffTrax (though I haven’t used it yet), but not Cinematic Titanic. Just looked it up on Youtube and had to come and say thanks and I LOVE YOU! Do they produce that on DVD?

    I wanted to start an atheist blog at one point and in part of it I wanted to dissect these creepy 1970′s children’s religous books I had bought at a yard sale as a kid (purely by accident, I assure you–the covers didn’t exactly advertise their fundigelical content). “A young xian girl marvels over Jesus’s inherent wonderfulness as her minster father converts the various strawmen they meet to Christianity with the use of bad analogies and half-baked apologetics.” (At least, that’s what the cover should have said!) Seriously, they are like the Brady Bunch, if the Brady Bunch had managed to infuse Jesus into nearly everything they said or did. The last line of one book is–Oh, boy! Isn’t God wonderful!–as the whole family and a couple of recent converts sit around the table eating sandwiches in celebration of the recent conversion. (exactly like that, with the exclamation point instead of a question mark–she’s not asking, she’s expecting you to agree)

    Unfortunately, the books are obscure and out-of-print (to the best of my knowledge) and so I don’t believe that would work, since not enough people could possibly be familiar enough with them. And it’s not likely they are ever going to be in-print again, so….

    The author is Ruth I. Johnson, the main character is Joy Sparton, the publisher is Moody Press, and the one book I have on hand here is entitled “The Money Mix-Up” (though there are at least two more I am aware of, amazingly enough), just in case anyone else can find it. I wouldn’t buy them new (even if it were possible), but if you find any at a yard sale then I’d say it’s well worth the 25 cents! Enjoy!

    Hope that’s not too much of a derail, but who knows when my lazy @$$ is going to get to starting any kind of blog! So if you (or anyone else reading this) can think of a way to highlight these books despite their obscurity, supposing you can get your hands on any of them, then have fun! They really are too good/bad to keep to myself! :D

  • Leum

    In defense of PZ, mikespeir, I think that’s a matter of quantity rather than quality. He has plenty of great commenters, but in a crowd as large as his, it becomes more difficult for the best ones to stand out. )That’s another reason I’m quite happy with the comment volume I get; I think it strikes a very nice balance between being large enough to be diverse and interesting and small enough to be personal and welcoming.)

    I disagree, it’s also the tone. PZ’s tone, and the tone of his commenters, is very different from the tone here by design. Pharyngula is (or sees itself as) a front line blog, doing direct battle with the forces of creationism and fundamentalism. Daylight Atheism is (or sees itself as) a house or lecture hall (maybe even a sanctuary) where people come for knowledge, revitalization, and understanding of where to go from atheism. Both are important parts of the atheist discourse, but they encourage tones and attitudes that are very different. Numbers matter, but so does the mind behind the numbers.

    How about a debunking post on the Moon landing “hoax?”

    Not sure I follow you. Why is hoax in quotation marks? Surely you don’t belief we actually landed on the Moon? I mean, the thing’s about the size of a half dollar!

  • Valhar2000

    Pharyngula is (or sees itself as) a front line blog, doing direct battle with the forces of creationism and fundamentalism.

    You think so? It always struck me as being a platform for PZ to write down what he thinks of various groups of people, and the comments that subsequently appear the reaction of those people, or their defenders. PZ’s posts (with the exception of the science posts) sound almost like stream of conciousness, or like the comments one might make to a friend in the midst of a very bad movie, rather than something carefully considered with a specific political goal in mind.

    This subjective assesment is supported by PZ’s own admission that the science posts he writes take up a lion’s share of the time he devotes to the blog, inspite of their relative paucity.

  • velkyn

    Happy site birthday, Adam! Very glad I stumbled on Ebon Musings “all” those years ago. :) I wouldn’t condemn anyone to read those awful Left Behind books but that could be hilarious!

  • Ric

    Adam, please keep us posted as to when and where your book will be published. i have been looking forward to it since you announced it, and I plan on being one of the first to purchase it. By the way, do you have a Facebook page?

  • Ric

    Oh, and I also give a thumbs down to the guestpost. I come to read posts by the owner of the blog, who is invariably thoughtful.

  • Valhar2000

    Surely you don’t belief we actually landed on the Moon? I mean, the thing’s about the size of a half dollar!

    Of course we landed on the moon, you silly man! In fact, trips to the moon were carried out regularly, and there are now 15 cities there, with a total population of 2.4 million people, doing research of ancient aliean artifacts. Where do you think our electronics come from, you dummy?

    The whole “Moon Hoax” thing was just an invention by NASA to cover up these operations. What better way of deflecting suspicion than by casting themselves as conspirators against their own conspiracy? Don’t you know that Bill Kaysing was actually a CIA agent when he was younger, and later on asigned to NASA?

  • Felicia Gilljam

    I started seriously following this blog fairly recently. Must say I agree with commenters above that says trying to emulate Pharyngula in any way wouldn’t be a good idea. But mostly, this is because of me being very selfish: I like Pharyngula AND I like Daylight Atheism, and what I like the most is variety in my blogroll.

    I also like variety within individual blogs, and I think this is a good way to draw a wider audience. So if there’s one thing I’d suggest it would be: Make sure not every post looks like the previous one. If you only post longish essays, you’ll only get readers who have the patience to read longish essays. I must admit this is why it’s taken me so long to actually start reading DA on a regular basis – I’m a very lazy reader and must be thoroughly convinced it’s worth it before embarking on reading a long post! But, either way – long heavy essays are easier to swallow if interspersed with shorter, lighter posts.

    Also, and this might seem cheap, but … more pictures. Especially in the longer posts. I really liked the recent post on the bus ads because of the pics. Pictures liven up the page with colour and breaks up the posts, making them seem slightly less … tedious. Out of the 20 posts on the front page of DA right now, only one has pics, and only one takes up less than 50% of my 19″ monitor.

    Hope that helps. :)

  • Ric

    Okay, well, if we are making structural suggestions, I would like the banner to be clickable and have it take me back to the main page of the blog, please.

  • LindaJoy

    Ebon- first, congrats on the anniversay. I love this site. It’s like my cozy intellectual cabin in the woods- a get away place when the crazy world gets to me… Anyway, a suggestion? Perhaps you could provide a spot on the site where people can post information/news on violations of religion/government that are going on where they live, so others can perhaps get involved to change things or alert others to be active. Just a thought- thanks again! :)

  • EB

    Happy birthday!

    I’m a first-time visitor, and I found the site after some polls were done on Pharyngula and Friendly Atheist.

    I’m interested in your suggestion of having guest essays. I had recently written, for example, a alternate response to creationists who say “evolution is only a theory”. The response is too long to post as a comment on forums, so I thought it might fit better here.

    What do you have in mind in terms of logistics for receiving and reviewing guest essays?


  • Alex, FCD

    I had heard of RiffTrax (though I haven’t used it yet), but not Cinematic Titanic. Just looked it up on Youtube and had to come and say thanks and I LOVE YOU! Do they produce that on DVD?

    All the episodes so far produced are available for purchase on the CT website. You can either download them (if you have a bit of disk space available) or have it delivered.

  • TommyP

    Congratulations on 3 years! This is one of my favourite sites online actually, so thanks for all the work and the good comments from so many people. It might be interesting indeed to have guest essays from people you disagree with, and see what discussions might pop up from that. One guidline, they would need to specifically answer questions and criticism to their essay, much as you do. I don’t want to see a bunch of apologist fancy stepping and evasion. I look forward to your year 4 and wish the best.

  • KShep

    My congrats as well, Adam.

    I’ll chime in on the PZ comparison—I like his site, but it gets too tedious going through the comments to find the best of the bunch. Here on DA, the community seems to do a GREAT job of not repeating each others statements and arguments. You don’t see many “dittos” here. People mostly stay out unless they have something productive to add to the conversation.

    The other thing is that PZ likes to be more confrontational than you do, Adam—he encourages his readers crash theistic polls and such. I have no problem with that, mind you, but the atmosphere here is less bombast, more deep thought. This suits me better—I can’t stay riled up over anything for a long time, reading and commenting here gives my brain some fuel for thought.

    As for generating more traffic… need only place a banner on the bottom of the home page that contains the words “evolution,” “abortion,” “Darwin,” “atheist conspiracy,” and “Muslim.” The religious right will crash the server in a flash.

    Remember—there’s no such thing as BAD publicity!

  • Emrys

    What can be done to get Daylight Atheism’s name out there?

    If you really wanted, you could make an online banner and/or something people could print off and disseminate. Another idea would be to reach out more directly to the religious sphere. Host some kind of online events, cooperate with some religious org, I dunno.

    Guest essays sound pretty nice, just make sure they’re quality. I didn’t much like Who Says You Can’t Disprove God?, for example.

  • Jim Speiser

    I’d like to place myself in opposition to the idea of setting up debates with guest commentators. I think most of us here are beyond the point where we feel the need for debate in order to shore up our egos. Atheists always win, people! Now its time to get over ourselves. What I’d like to see is more information and discussion on the topic of “growing the movement.” Adam has been a terrific cheerleader for spreading the word – discreetly and non-prosetylizationally (don’t read out loud, you’ll sprain your tongue) of course – and has posted often on the recent successes of the new atheism. I’d enjoy seeing more posts on how we can create even more success in getting the word out.

    For example: I’ve often wondered just what “works” in deconverting people. What are the most successful arguments? Why do those arguments work on some but not on others? I’d love to hear from blog members who came as theists or were vacillating, and read something here, perhaps in the essays, that pushed them over the edge. I think it would be instructive for those of us who want to see the movement achieve more progress.

    And of course, congratulations from a long-time reader. I have nothing but the greatest admiration for you and your incredibly concise writing.

  • Archimedez


  • John Nernoff

    May I suggest attacking and refuting specific points made by leading evangelistic apologists,
    in particular William Lane Craig. After listening to several debates in which WLC participated
    I found his style was smooth and forceful, and could see why he is generally persuasive. I even
    went out and bought his book “Reasonable Faith” 3rd edition (latest). He harps on the
    “empty tomb as if that were proof positive of anything Jesus ever did, the honesty and
    trustworthiness of the Gospels, and Paul’s witness and certitude. He even employs Bayes’
    Theorem and constructs a complex mathematical equation which proves the existence of
    both God and Jesus. This sophistry needs to be aired out, dissected and demolished.

  • Jim Speiser

    I had the pleasure of meeting Dr. Craig when I set up a debate at Arizona State University. He is indeed a pleasant and engaging man in person as well as in debate. And I too am incredulous that one of the most highly respected apologists in America leans on, among other things, the Empty Tomb. As far as I’m concerned, that is the most ridiculous argument I’ve ever heard. I’ve often fantasized about going head to head with Craig myself, and if I ever did, I would bring an empty hamster cage as a prop, and introduce the audience to Irving, my invisible hamster. The proof that he is invisible? Well, ya can’t see him!

    As to the rest of his arguments, I agree that they are so sophistry-laden that they are hardly worth bothering with. His Kalam Cosmological argument is the only one that approaches compelling, and that is easily destroyed by my Malak Anti-Cosmological Argument (the existence of the universe DISPROVES the existence of the Christian deity). Bottom line, if Craig is the best there is, then we’ve already won the debate hands down – ON PAPER. In actual practice, I set up two debates for Craig at ASU, using champions recommended to me by the Internet Infidels, and both times we actually lost, mainly on style points. Our guys need to learn how to speak clearly and smile. THAT would be a good project for us – to find the quintessential debate champion.