Open Thread: Reader Feedback

I haven’t had an open thread in a while, and I wanted to post one for this purpose. This is a thread for Daylight Atheism readers’ feedback: on the site and the way I’m managing it.

Do you have any complaints or grievances, general or specific, about the way the site is being run? Extravagant or effusive praise? Any recent posts you especially liked or disliked? Are there any regular features you’d like to see more of, or less of? Suggestions for something I haven’t done yet but should? No topics are off-limits; whatever you’ve got to say, I want to hear it!

I realize these kinds of forums tend to be dominated by people who have strong feelings one way or the other, so I’ll also take my cue from the number of responses. But if you think I’m doing just fine, feel free to say that as well.

The floor is now open, so let’s hear what’s on your mind. I’ll try to respond to as much of it as I can.

Weekend Coffee: March 28
Weekend Coffee: February 22
You Got Your Ideology in My Atheism!
The FLDS Cult Is Unraveling
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.

  • Nonreligious Nerd

    I enjoy your Case for a Creator debunking a lot! Could you do another series with another religious book after you have finished this?

  • Adele

    I realize this was said before but could there be a clickable banner that brings you back to the home page?

  • Dan

    Just extravagant praise: probably the smartest blogsite out there! You’re thoughtful, incisive, and you’re a wonderful writer. So keep it up, eh?!

  • Sarah Braasch

    Unequivocal praise. Nice job.

  • Steve Bowen

    You’ll get nothing but praise from me for the content. Great essays and great comment.

    I would really appreciate an edit facility on the comments though, some of the blunders I post make me cringe.

  • Seomah

    This is one of the best blogs I use to visit. Keep doing this.

    I just would like to see more about the dangers of moderate believers and the harm they do to our society. I realize that fundamentalists are a much bigger concern to everyone and so they deserve more blog space, but sometimes I get the feeling that this makes us forget about “lesser evils”. Just a suggestion.

  • CailinBan

    I love it – lots of praise here too.

  • Ritchie

    For site quality – brilliant! My favourite series that you do are the Case for Creator debunking, Do You Really Believe That and Little-Known Bible Verses, but that’s just a matter of personal taste, I guess.

    My only niggle is that I find it a little hard to go through your archives and find old posts. I like the ideas of the Library, Observatory, etc, but I don’t find them very instinctive to navigate, and they each contain quite a lot of posts now. Maybe sub-dividing them into more specific categories now that you have the number of posts to justify it would help, or just having a list of the post titles in each…?

    But in all, a truly excellent site.

  • TheMightyThor

    Love this site! It’s a part of my daily ritual. I would like to see more of “Do you Really Believe That?”. Also, keep of your efforts to ensure that discussions remain CIVIL. That is one of the best aspects of this site, so please don’t ever take it for granted.


  • Lux Aeterna

    You are blunt and don’t hesitate to write your mind. However, unlike many blogs on atheism out there, you always maintain a professional sense of politeness and seldom descend to ad hominem attacks. For that, hats off to you.

    One gripe though: explore both sides of the story. try to cover all angles, then show why ours is the right one. I realise this is a website on atheism, but then exploring the other side gives added credibility. After all, one does not truly understand his own arguments until he has seen that of his opponents’.

  • Herb

    I would like to see more discussion of issues on which atheists might disagree. For instance I am still grappling with issues such as the right attitude to have toward religious friends/family. The “On the Morality of” series is also stimulating. We don’t want this website to be an echo chamber. Debunking creationism is great fun (and necessary) but I find myself avoiding these threads because I don’t get much out of them anymore.

  • Alex, FCD

    Effusive praise. I’m an especial fan of ‘On the Morality Of…’ and the science posts. Let’s see you win Top…Muon or whatever is a higher honour than Top Quark.

  • Tyro

    The abridged RSS feed is a source of continual frustration. I like reading what you have to say and participating in the discussions on occasion but having to always leave Google Reader is a big pain. I’ve probably unsubscribed four times in the past couple years because of this only to stumble onto you again and reluctantly try again.

    It would make a big difference to me if you offered a full feed. If ad revenue is an issue, I’ve seen some people place ads in full feeds.

  • Entomologista

    I especially enjoy your series “How to Think Critically” and “On the Morality of”. This is one of the sites I visit daily. It’s a breath of fresh air in a religious world.

  • Polly

    Yes, an EDIT feature so that Steve Bowen can correct all his awful posts… j.k. :) So that *I* can stop posting “teh” typos.

    Subdividing your archive categories by topic would be helpful for looking back. I won’t even try right now.

    Clickable banner to bring you back to the home page – seconded.

    Bonus tech points: Buttons to automatically create the blockquotes, italics, bold, etc.

    I spent 2.3 seconds on a website of some repute run by a…let’s say enthusiastic…atheist biologist a few years ago and I haven’t been back. The adrenaline rush of drama and insult and flame wars are pleasurable to some, but not to me. I prefer and appreciate your approach. Keep up the great work, and thank you.

    I really wonder what I would’ve thought about this site/Ebonmusing as a devout believer? I KNOW I wouldn’t have dismissed it.

  • paul f.

    yes, more things that smart atheists might disagree about. debunking fundamentalism is all well and good but i’m not here because i want to find out why fundamentalism is foolish. that i already know. i’m here because i want to hear about morality without god.

  • Maynard

    This is one of my daily three atheist blogs (Pharyngula, being the other two). Out of the three, I enjoy the comments section here most. The way the commentors are generally self-policing (with some rare moderator nudges) on topic and validity of argument make the comments as interesting as the wonderful topics.
    From commenters here I have found other blogs that I routinely check on, like Greta Christina, OMGF and Tommykey.

    My request would also be for a comments edit button.

  • Tommykey

    Is CL allowed to comment? LOL!

  • Thumpalumpacus

    Your work here is outstanding, Adam. I agree with Steve’s suggestion above about an “edit” button. Additionally, I wonder if there aren’t some religious blogs you might link to on the blogroll as well?

  • John

    This blog was my first introduction to atheism when I googled the word. I have followed for a year now and just recently found the courage to announce to family and friends my wordlview.

    I still find the word “Atheist” to have some baggage that I do not wish to be associated with. I always call myself a non-believer. That does not get the fundamentalist family’s dander up in quite the same way. It actually allows us to discuss the issues because they think that they have some wiggle room to convince me. My questions and arguments to them (many gleaned from this site–thank you!), seem to enable them to really listen instead of just talking past me.

    I have taken ideas from your Ebonmusings site and reworded the arguments to present to friends. One took the message to their preacher and they read through it several times trying to argue against the proposition that there is no hell. They were unconvincing in their counter arguments and seemed to show doubts themselves while trying to convince me.

    Thank you for giving me the tools that I needed to pursue the path that I was already on. I can now feel confident swimming upstream. And I will never feel alone with this site operating.

    Thank you Ebon

  • Ric

    This is one of my favorite blogs. I have one criticism and one request.

    Criticism: Link your logo to the front page of your site. It’s… abnormal for a logo not to be clickable.

    Request: I’d love to see you systematically dismantle the following creationist tripe that I see posted all the time on the Internet, specifically at Uncommon Descent. It shouldn’t be too hard, but you would do a great job at it, I feel.

    1.Materialism predicted an eternal universe, Theism predicted a created universe. – Big Bang points to a creation event. -

    2. Materialism predicted time had an infinite past, Theism predicted time had a creation – Time was created in the Big Bang. -

    3. Materialism predicted space has always existed, Theism predicted space had a creation (Psalm 89:12) – Space was created in the Big Bang. -

    4. Materialism predicted at the base of physical reality would be a solid indestructible material particle which rigidly obeyed the rules of time and space, Theism predicted the basis of this reality was created by a infinitely powerful and transcendent Being who is not limited by time and space – Quantum mechanics reveals a wave/particle duality for the basis of our reality which blatantly defies our concepts of time and space. -

    5. Materialism predicted the rate at which time passed was constant everywhere in the universe, Theism predicted God is eternal and is outside of time – Special Relativity has shown that time, as we understand it, is relative and comes to a complete stop at the speed of light. (Psalm 90:4)-

    6. Materialism predicted the universe did not have life in mind and life was ultimately an accident of time and chance. Theism predicted this universe was purposely created by God with man in mind – Every transcendent universal constant scientists can measure is exquisitely fine-tuned for carbon-based life to exist in this universe. -

    7. Materialism predicted complex life in this universe should be fairly common. Theism predicted the earth is extremely unique in this universe – Statistical analysis of the hundreds of required parameters which enable complex life to be possible on earth gives strong indication the earth is extremely unique in this universe. -

    8. Materialism predicted much of the DNA code was junk. Theism predicted we are fearfully and wonderfully made – ENCODE research into the DNA has revealed a “biological jungle deeper, denser, and more difficult to penetrate than anyone imagined.”. -

    9. Materialism predicted a extremely beneficial and flexible mutation rate for DNA which was ultimately responsible for all the diversity and complexity of life we see on earth. Theism predicted only God created life on earth – The mutation rate to DNA is overwhelmingly detrimental. Detrimental to such a point that it is seriously questioned whether there are any truly beneficial mutations whatsoever. (M. Behe; JC Sanford) -

    10. Materialism predicted a very simple first life form which accidentally came from “a warm little pond”. Theism predicted God created life – The simplest life ever found on Earth is far more complex than any machine man has made through concerted effort. (Michael Denton PhD) -

    11. Materialism predicted it took a very long time for life to develop on earth. Theism predicted life to appear abruptly on earth after water appeared on earth (Genesis 1:10-11) – We find evidence for complex photo-synthetic life in the oldest sedimentary rocks ever found on earth -

    12. Materialism predicted the gradual unfolding of life to be self-evident in the fossil record. Theism predicted complex and diverse life to appear abruptly in the seas in God’s fifth day of creation. – The Cambrian Explosion shows a sudden appearance of many different and completely unique fossils within a very short “geologic resolution time” in the Cambrian seas. -

    13. Materialism predicted there should be numerous transitional fossils found in the fossil record, Theism predicted sudden appearance and rapid diversity within different kinds found in the fossil record – Fossils are consistently characterized by sudden appearance of a group/kind in the fossil record, then rapid diversity within the group/kind, and then long term stability and even deterioration of variety within the overall group/kind, and within the specific species of the kind, over long periods of time. Of the few dozen or so fossils claimed as transitional, not one is uncontested as a true example of transition between major animal forms out of millions of collected fossils. -

    14. Materialism predicted animal speciation should happen on a somewhat constant basis on earth. Theism predicted man was the last species created on earth – Man himself is the last generally accepted major fossil form to have suddenly appeared in the fossil record. -

  • Karen

    This is a fantastic site, and I appreciate what so many others have mentioned: Your thoughtful reasoning, excellent writing and the civil discussion that follows.

    I have a friend who’s a pastor and he’s recently asked me some questions about humanism. Not sure at this point if he’s actually curious or looking for an evangelism opening (though I’m giving him the benefit of the doubt, for now).

    This site is the only atheistic one that I’m going to refer him to. Other atheist sites I read and enjoy exist to be combative and are often outright rude toward religious believers. I know they would turn him off immediately.

    So what you are doing (consciously or not) is providing a place where religious people can read an opposing viewpoint without necessarily becoming offended or hurt and clicking out with their worst stereotypes reinforced. My friend may be shocked to see his cherished beliefs challenged and debunked so skillfully, but at least he will see that atheists can hold civil and reasonable discussions with believers and amongst themselves.

    My one request would be updated comments functions, as others have mentioned.

  • Roy

    Love the civil discourse.

    Ric: a lot of good stuff. I’ve recently been reviewing the “Foundation” documents on and most of that is covered.

    I’m still overcoming a lot of right-wing fundamentalist thinking so I still disagree with your stance on a “Right” to healthcare and Democracy vs. Republic as the best form of civil government.

  • Ric

    Roy, yeah, I’ve seen Adam answer a lot of that crap here and on Ebonmusings, but I’d like to see him directly address these comments. I think it’d make a good read.

  • Greta Christina

    Effusive praise.

    The only thing I might like to see more of is meta-atheism: not so much areas where atheists disagree (although that’s good, too), but discussions of strategy and tactics for the movement. The level of discourse in the comments here is very high, and I think it’s be a good place to hash out some of those ideas without the flaminess.

  • Staceyjw

    Lots of praise- I read every article and check the site every day.

    My fav is the “On Morality” series.

    I also love posts by Sarah and the writer of blackfemlens, they are a good addition to the site. I like to read atheist responses to the serious gender issues in religion (ie biblical Patriarchy, etc), and there isn’t much out there. These gender issues aren’t female only- as males are ALSO harmed by biblical beliefs.


  • Alex Weaver

    I wish the “search” function was a bit more robust and specialized. It seems to have gotten better but I know in the past I’ve frequently had issues where it wouldn’t find the “exact text” of phrases I knew were in certain articles, and I had to search by keywords which brought back 3 or 4 pages of results I’d have to sort through.

  • Steve B

    I concur with Alex W. Were the search function to function better, it would make navigating the site a far less time consuming function.

    Other than that though, your website (and ebon musings) is among my favorites of all types, and my premier in regards to Atheism. Before I randomly found it way back when, I wasn’t really aware of a network/archive for atheists and agnostics and such on the net. Through it I found Pharyngula, and lots of laughs from that site. PZ’s Wafer War was hilarious.

    I just finished last night an 11 page research paper on “New Atheism ” for my Soc. class, and mentioned your website in it. It’s always a pleasure to come here. Your wring is exquisite, the subjects broad and diverse, and generally kickass. Keep it up Adam, you’re doing an amazing job so far.

  • Gary

    Extravagantly effusive praise! I seldom read blogs, yet I’ve been reading this blog almost daily since I discovered it several months ago. The standard of writing is consistently superlative and your arguments are logical, eloquent and persuasive without being inflammatory. I’ve picked up a lot of useful ammunition for debating religious people!

    I’d be interested to see more articles about other religions, magical beliefs such as astrology, and maybe even conspiracy theories (which I tend to lump into the Irrational Faith category).

    I have one feature request: When you reference Bible verses, it would be nice if you provided a link. I usually copy and paste the reference into

  • D

    I think you’re doing a great job; keep up the good work! Your own judgment has gotten you this far, so I’d say you’re justified in sticking to it. My favorite part is the variety, that you cover lots of different ground and always have something new (or at least a new twist on an old favorite). The new About & Principles sections are helpful, too.

  • Al

    This is a fantastic blog. I haven’t know about it for a while, so i don’t know much of what you have or haven’t covered. but just out of curiosity i’d like to know what you think about Ted Kaczynski’s Industrial Society and it’s Future, which i found profoundly thought-provoking. (FYI I don’t condone his actions, which people just assume when i say that he makes a good argument in his manifesto.)
    keep up the good work.

  • javaman

    Is it time for Ebon to be interviewed on the Colbert Report? or the Daily Show ?

  • Steve Bowen

    Is it time for Ebon to be interviewed on the Colbert Report? or the Daily Show ? Verily! It is also way past time for a certain manuscript to be published.
    Seriously Adam, you have an atheist philosophy that is way more accessible to Joe Public than Dawkins, Dennett et al. I look forward to seeing a much higher profile for Ebonmuse in the near future.

    p.s I still want that darned edit button.

  • Steve Bowen

    dang!! see what I mean :(

  • lpetrich

    I’d like to see something about the royal-lie theory of religion, that it’s desirable to mske people believe in a false religion so that they will be happy or virtuous.

    That’s from Plato’s Republic; Plato recommended that his Republic have a religion that he considered false in order to make its citizens accept the legitimacy of its rulers.

    As to what Ric posted, I’d like to see sources for all these claims. Seems like they are making up straw positions to knock over with oh-so-convenient, after-the-fact “predictions”.

  • Adele

    I would like to echo everyone else in voicing much praise for this blog, and Ebon Musings. Many thanks for everything.

  • Ebonmuse

    For truth’s sake, you people make this job too easy for me! I genuinely was expecting at least some disgruntlement.

    Okay, let me speak to a few of the major suggestions:

    1. Making the site banner into a clickable link should be fairly simple. I’ll look into doing that. Please do note that there’s also a “Site Index” link at the top of every post that returns to the front page.

    2. As far as being able to edit your comments for typos, I’ll check into what plugins are available for doing that. This one may take a little longer, because after the recent attack on this site, I want to upgrade to a newer edition of WordPress. Until I’ve done that, there’s not much point in installing a new plugin, because plugins designed for older versions of WordPress may or may not survive the transition. I need to set aside a day or two for the upgrade, to iron out the incompatibilities that are sure to arise.

    3. Regarding RSS feeds: I understand that people may find the partial feeds frustrating. I did it that way for a reason – and granted, you may not think this is a strong reason – but I like to know how much traffic my posts get, which topics are popular and which ones aren’t. Collecting traffic statistics from RSS subscriptions is a difficult problem. I chose to go the simpler route of just setting things up so you have to click through to read the whole post, so I can log the hit. If anyone can suggest a better way of achieving this, I’m open to suggestions.

    4. The site search function has worked reasonably well in my experience. If you can come up with a specific case where it doesn’t find something that it should be finding, let me know what your test case is, and I’ll see if I can improve it.

  • LindaJoy

    Well, Adam… Just thank you. It was a comment thread on this site where posters were discussing the difficulty of accepting the concept of no afterlife that helped me so much, I can’t really describe it. Leaving christianity after some years of study- easy. Leaving the idea of a “God”- fairly easy. Letting go of the idea of some sort of afterlife- for me, really hard. It was the conversation on here with other posters that helped me feel OK with what my brain was telling me was so. It was this forum, that you set the tone for, that enabled the free discusssion which led to helping me through this issue. Thanks again.

  • Daryl

    Great job Ebon, I always refer people to this site also. One thing though, when I google my name, it comes up with a post from this site I made years ago. Right now, i’m retiring from the Navy and when I look for a job, aren’t they going to google me? Is it possible for you to take the comment off, just in case some person likes to discriminate. Of course, if you can’t remove the comment, this comment will probably be on the net also. Damned if I do, Damned if I don’t.
    Whatever happened to that book you were writing?

  • Tak

    Hey, I’m a long time reader and as far as I can remember this is my first time leaving a comment. I just wanted to say that Ebon Musings and D.A. have been invaluable as I came out of religion (I’m an ex pentecostal).Keep up the excellent work. Without websites like this I might have gone on thinking I was just too stupid to get religion. Thanks for being a huge part of my enlightenment.

  • Elfstone

    I am also a daily visitor, and can’t wait for your book to be published!
    It’s not really a complaint, but I find the poetry posts reaaaally boring :D

  • ashling

    More effusive praise. I have been reading your blog for around 2 years and plan to stick around for as long as you keep writing.

    This is one of the few blogs where I bother to read the comments in detail too.

  • Ric

    Wow, that was quick, Adam. Nice job on the banner.

    Now if only you are as quick deconstructing the crap I posted. Dance for me, monkey!

    Just kidding. All your posts are appreciated. : )

  • Jen R

    I was turned off of the “On Morality” series when I read the “morality of abortion” post and it essentially came to the conclusion that considering the fetus a non-person was the one true atheist moral position.

    Atheists do disagree on that subject, but you’d never have known from the post. It was less “On Atheist Morality” and more “On My Atheist Morality”.

  • Timothy Mills

    Excellent blog. My favorites are when you get really poetic. I too would like a full version of the RSS, but I understand your reasoning why you don’t do it. I think I can suffer through an extra mouse click, for your sake.

  • Jen R

    One other thing: I love the format of the Recent Comments block, which makes it very easy to see what conversations are going on. I wouldn’t mind seeing it above the Must-Read Posts block for convenience, but I can see why you’d want to highlight the latter.

  • XPK

    Wonderful site that I lurk on almost every day. And thank you for finally banning cl.

  • Ryan Sites

    Absolutely love this website. I love how you aren’t accomodating to religion but at the same time respectful to the religious person. I’m not an emotional person but I have, quite a few times, almost leapt out of my chair upon reading one of your more inspirational articles and felt ready to fight to make the world a better place.

    Now a suggestion or two…
    I agree with Greta Christina that we need a place to start hashing out the ideas of the movement. Perhaps a forum?
    Also why not merge this website and ebonmusings? A consolidated site would make it easier to find my favorite articles.

  • pendens proditor

    I second the request for more chapter-by-chapter critiques of apologetic works. Those are the posts I most look forward to. I’m always happy to see D’Souza taken down a peg, so something by him would be great.

    I also love when knowledgeable theists are given a platform (MS Quixote, for example). It’s hard to get all of our questions answered, but at least it gives us someone to ask. It’s always good to avoid an insular community.

    My least favorite posts are the photography posts. I could see how some photos might contribute to the mission of the blog, but to be honest none of the photos posted so far have felt to me like they really belonged here.

    And I was among the disappointed when the RSS feed was truncated since I primarily read the blog on my phone. I felt like I couldn’t read on my own terms anymore, but I guess that’s more of a privilege than a right.

  • Erigami

    I enjoy reading what’s on this site, but the constant references to religion are repetitive. I understand that they drive traffic, but it would be nice to think that atheists will have something to talk about if religions ever disappear.

    I enjoy your posts describing prominent historical atheists. I’d like to see more along the lines of the “How to think critically” and “On the morality of” series.

  • Paul

    I enjoy reading what’s on this site, but the constant references to religion are repetitive. I understand that they drive traffic, but it would be nice to think that atheists will have something to talk about if religions ever disappear.

    They’ll have just as much to talk about as non-stamp collectors. It seems odd to complain about religious mentions in a place making the case for morality without religion. Atheists will have no more or less to talk about than non-stamp collectors if religions ever disappear.

    I suppose if you’re hoping for more elaboration of Ethical Humanism and discussions thereof that would be fitting. I do enjoy when Ebonmuse makes posts on that subject. My viewpoint is somewhat different, but it is helpful to point to examples of positive moralities not grounded in magical thought or divine revelation.

  • Ric

    I agree with Paul. I find the criticisms of religion both entertaining and enlightening.

  • Ebonmuse

    Daryl, I’ve edited your earlier comment so it doesn’t include your full name. Hope that helps.

    The site banner should be clickable now. I spent some time last night fiddling with CSS, and it turned out to be not as tricky as I thought. I want to try to upgrade my version of WordPress some time in the next few weeks, and then I’ll see about adding a comment-editing plugin.

    Running a forum in addition to the blog would probably take more time than I have, I’m afraid. But if some especially dedicated reader wanted to start one up, I’d be happy to give my blessing to it.

    I grant that the photography posts aren’t always directly related to the main mission of this blog. But personally, I like the eye candy. Maybe I can make a stronger effort to tie them in to aspects of atheist philosophy, like in my recent post about the dragonfly.

    On the topic of discussing atheism vs. criticizing religion: I agree that posts exploring the ethical and cultural implications of atheism and humanism are more interesting than knocking down the latest fulminations of the faith-heads. That said, sometimes I come across something so spectacularly obtuse, I just have to write an essay bashing it to get it out of my system. :)

    Oh, yes: And my sincerest thanks to everyone who’s contributed to this thread! I greatly appreciate your suggestions, even more so your kind words and your praise. It’s a true honor and a source of much joy to me to hear from so many people who say that this site has helped them come to terms with their atheism or learn things they didn’t know before. That’s what I strive for, but I think a great deal of the credit must also go to the thoughtful, welcoming community of people who comment here. You folks rock!

  • Libby

    Love your blog and your website! The website was the first atheist literature I read after I started considering myself an atheist, and it definitely strengthened my convictions.

    I agree that the archives need better organization.

    Thanks for keeping this blog going! You generally have very intelligent and well-reasoned posts.

  • Randall “Doc” Fleck

    Superior work… Please keep after it.

  • OMGF

    I also enjoy this blog and try to read it daily (when time permits).

    I would suggest that the site categories go to smaller sub categories (as someone else mentioned I think) and also return lists instead of pages of full posts. That way one can peruse the topic titles and find one that sounds interesting and go from there.

    Have you been to “After the Bar Closes?”

  • Ric

    OMGF, I have visited occasionally but not often. Did they take that stupid creed apart at ATBC? If so, a linky would be great.

  • JulietEcho

    I was very much hoping for a follow-up post regarding your “On the Morality Of… Polyamory” post. I would have liked to see a response to many of the comments (mine included) on the main blog that address, primarily, the following two issues:

    1. Your post didn’t address the morality of polyamory – it addressed the practicality of legalizing polyamory. Given the general negative conclusion and the seeming equivocation of morality with practicality, it surely left some with an impression that you thought polyamory was immoral. It would be nice to read some thoughts that actually *did* address the morality of polyamory.

    2. Your one response in the comments section didn’t address any of the comments regarding the supposed topic (morality) and I was left with the impression that you – like a number of atheist bloggers I respect and read – avoided voicing your opinion on the matter completely, perhaps even intentionally.

    Those of us in polyamorous relationships already deal with a lot of crap – mostly from religious people – and have to hide our love and details of our life for fear of losing our jobs, having children taken out of our custody by interfering relatives, and subjecting ourselves to considerable amounts of hate. It would be nice if, once in awhile, we saw some support from atheists, as we have quite a bit of overlap and face similar difficulties in society.

    I’m not saying that anyone is obliged to support the legalization of poly marriage – I think most of the objections are quite understandable, and that’s a different discussion (which you’ve already had on your “morality” post). What I’m saying is that I’m frustrated with the silence I’ve encountered from atheists on the issue of ethics/morality of polyamory. If you think it’s ethically okay, and that polyamorous relationships deserve respect, then why not say it? If you don’t think they’re ethically okay, then I’d like to know *why* and get a straight answer. Whenever I encounter this kind of silence, I can’t help but think of all the moderate/liberal Christians who avoid the topic of the morality of homosexuality like the plague, because it’s uncomfortable and they don’t want to lose support from people on either side of the debate.

    I’d really appreciate it if you’d address this.

  • OMGF

    I think I recall that being on one of the threads there. Do you recall who the commenter is that posts that list?

  • Erigami

    Enabling email notifications on comments would be nice too. On the off chance anyone responds to my comments, I’d like to know, so I can carry on the conversation.

  • Ebonmuse

    Several people have mentioned finer-grained organization for the archives, and that’s definitely something that I could do. Perhaps the best way to do this would be implement post tagging in addition to the major categories, as a lot of other blogs do. Anyone have any suggestions for specific tags that should be included?

    JulietEcho: I think I made my position pretty clear:

    With all this in mind, my qualified conclusion is that society should not legally recognize polyamorous relationships. I certainly don’t think consenting adults should be prohibited from doing whatever they want in their private lives, but the full range of legal benefits that come with marriage should be limited to two-person partnerships, at least for now.

    I would hope it’s not a controversial idea that rational, consenting adults can do pretty much anything they want in their private lives. Even the U.S. Supreme Court, no bastion of liberalism, recognizes that these days. The only interesting question, to my mind, is what legal rights and protections these more complex partnerships should have in society at large.

  • JulietEcho

    There are (at least) three separate questions in play here:

    1. Should polyamorous families be given marriage rights or something similar?

    2. Is polyamory moral/ethical?

    3. Should polyamorous relationships be legal?

    The first question is the one you covered in the vast majority of your article.

    The third question, as you’ve pointed out, seems to get a resounding “sure, why not?” (from everyone but the people who support the criminalization of sodomy, adultery, etc).

    The second question is surprisingly controversial, and it’s what I was expecting to read about in your article, given the title. *That* is what I’d like to know your position on, if you don’t mind. I’ve been discouraged by the number of atheists who think that polyamory is somehow inherently unethical or that it should be strongly discouraged or can’t possibly work out. (And I’m really not trying to harp on this, but I think any future similar articles should be titled “On the legality of…” to avoid confusion).

  • Ric

    OMGF: I believe it is Bornagain77 who posts that… over and over. Yeah, he’s one of the dumber commenters over there, which is saying something. : )

  • OMGF

    The Uncommonly Dense threads would have the responses…if you want to wade through the thousands of pages of those threads. I’d be willing to write up responses to those on my blog as well, although I’d have to do it this evening.

  • Ric

    Sweet, OMGF, I’d love to read what you write. Honestly, I’d do it myself– wouldn’t be too hard– but I don’t have a blog and I am swamped writing a textbook right now. The last thing I want to do is take on another writing assignment.

  • OMGF

    I’ve started a short series to deal with these supposed predictions. I’ll probably break it into 3 or 4 posts in order to deal with the questions a little bit in depth.


    Several people have mentioned finer-grained organization for the archives, and that’s definitely something that I could do. Perhaps the best way to do this would be implement post tagging in addition to the major categories, as a lot of other blogs do. Anyone have any suggestions for specific tags that should be included?

    Descriptive tags that are longer than one word would probably work the best. Perhaps something like “Atheist morality,” “Political atheism,” or something like that? Just a suggestion.

  • KShep

    Well, it seems that Adam has addressed the only problem I had with this site—he finally banned cl.

    Honestly, I mostly stopped commenting because with everything else I have going on in my life, I just don’t have the time and energy to devote to debunking his serial nitpicking and quote-mining.

    I love having and reading thoughtful discussions–even arguments–about almost any subject, but it just grew tiresome having to weed through his thread derailments and get to the core of the subject. Good riddance.

    Thank you, Adam, for this awesome site and also to all the regular commenters.

  • Ric

    OMGF: Thanks. I’m reading your blog and have added it to my daily rounds. :)

  • dhagrow

    I’ve been here since the beginning, and it remains one of my favorite sites, so I have nothing but praise.

    One thing I’d like to see is a series, or maybe a FAQ, for advice for how an atheist might handle certain tricky situations.

    For example, I’m currently living in a highly Catholic country and was walking in the street with a friend, her daughter, and a puppy. The puppy was sadly hit by a car as the girl watched, leaving her devastated. I saw the girl later happily chirping that her puppy was now in heaven. So, what could an atheist tell her? Heaven actually makes some sense, in the same way we tell kids about Santa. Questions like this have been on this site before, and it was always interesting to get not just Ebon’s opinion, but that of all the commenters here.

  • Ebonmuse

    The second question is surprisingly controversial, and it’s what I was expecting to read about in your article, given the title. *That* is what I’d like to know your position on, if you don’t mind.

    Other than my general position that rational and consenting adults should have the right to do just about anything they please, I don’t know how much else I’d have to say on the topic. Having never been in such a relationship, I don’t know very much about the issues that are involved. Juliet, are you interested in writing a guest post on the topic, if it’s something you’d like to see pursued further?

  • JulietEcho

    I don’t know – I did write a guest piece for Friendly Atheist earlier this year, mostly to raise awareness that poly families *exist* and ideally shouldn’t have to fear persecution if they want to “out” themselves. I’m not sure if you’d be interested in that sort of thing, but I’m all about educating.

    My two partners and I have been together for over three years now, and while we’ve found that (secret, closeted) poly people are much more common than we’d thought, it’s something that non-poly people are largely unaware of, except in the context of religious polygamy. Many people seem to have initial reactions that include fear and disgust, and I want to combat that.

    If you are interested in a guest piece, feel free to e-mail me. And thanks for replying.

  • Steve Bowen


    just do it :)

  • Alex, FCD


    just do it :)

    Seconded. That sounds like it would be a very enlightening read.

  • JulietEcho

    It’s a plan :-)

  • Eric

    Nothing but praise for the content.

    My only request is a bit of an aesthetic & navigational polish to the site.
    You have quite a lot of content, but the site comes across disorderly. Maybe find a designer to work with and give the site a thorough UI reworking?