Daylight Atheism: Anniversary #5

As of today, I’ve officially been doing this blogging thing for five years. Hard to believe, isn’t it?

An anniversary seems like a good time to reflect on statistics, so here are some numbers. Since February 2006, Daylight Atheism has had 1,265 posts, 42,573 comments, and 7.8 million total views, representing about 1.2 million unique visitors. So far this year, I’m averaging over 11,000 total hits and over 3,000 unique visitors per day, which is well above the historical norm. As of today, the single most-viewed post of all time is September 2008′s Ten Questions to Ask Your Pastor, with over 70,000 individual page views.

I realize this is far from the most heavily trafficked weblog out there, but in my completely unbiased opinion, it’s one of the best, and I think most of the credit goes to the guest authors and the commenters. There are sites with much greater hit totals that don’t have nearly as vibrant a community of contributors, and I’m grateful to every person who’s taken the time to write a comment or a guest post. (Yes, I’m even grateful to the proselytizing trolls. After all, without them to practice on, how would the rest of us keep our rhetorical sabers sharp?) It’s all of you, not me, who make Daylight Atheism the lively place it is and keep it from being just me shouting into the wind. I tip my hat to all of you, and thanks!

If you all don’t mind indulging my curiosity, I’m interested to know some of the demographics of my readership. I’m giving this poll plugin a test drive, and I’d be much obliged if you’d cast your vote below [UPDATE — I've belatedly added a third option to the gender poll. Thanks to the commenters who pointed this out]:

[poll id="2"]
[poll id="3"]

Finally, consider this an open thread. What’s your opinion on the way Daylight Atheism is run? What do you want to see more of? Less of? Are there any issues that should be getting greater mention that I’ve overlooked?

You Got Your Ideology in My Atheism!
Atlas Shrugged: The Rapture of the Capitalists
Atlas Shrugged: The Craft of Not Acting
You Got Your Ideology in My Atheism!
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.

  • Joe Geiger

    Woo-hoo! Second person to vote!

    BTW: The website/blog is absolutely brilliant — keep up the great work!

  • Sarah Braasch

    I tip my hat to you, Ebonmuse. Job well done!

  • Andrew A.

    Congratulations on a 5th year, and I hope to be reading this blog for another 5!

    I’ve been reading this blog since its inception, and there’s been tons of great stuff. I personally prefer the tearing-down of apologetics books, and ‘Little-Known Bible Verses.’ The most well-informed Christians that I’ve talked to often cite these sorts of books, and being more familiar with their arguments, and the problems with those arguments, can really help.

  • cognitive dissident

    Congratulations on reaching this milestone!

    Five years is a long time to keep plugging away the blogosphere, and it’s been a pleasure both to read your posts and to quote them as examples of modern atheist thought.

    Will there be cake at this party?

  • EvanT

    Congratulations on your 5th anniversary, Ebonmuse! I like your material a lot! My only concern is that you’ve buried your “Ebon Musings” at the bottom of your sidebar, although you have heaps of interesting content in it.

  • Clytia

    Grats, Ebon! I have no idea how long I’ve been reading your blog for now, but it’s been a fair while, and I’ve very much enjoyed it. Thank you for all your wonderful writing.

  • Stephen P

    It is indeed hard to believe that it’s five years. I was one of your first readers – I’d sent you an e-mail about something on Ebonmusings, and so I was one of the people you notified that you were starting up here. Congratulations, and thanks for all your hard work.

  • Keith

    Congrats Ebon!

    Your website helped me form my views on atheism as I shed my religious beliefs, so I have lot to thank you for.

  • Ryan

    85% males… I knew it, it’s a sausage fest ;-)

  • Peter N

    Warmest congratulations on entering your sixth year, and thanks for running a wonderful blog — great ideas, great writing, and a great community of commenters.

    I would second what EvanT said above — Ebon Musings has a lot of great stuff, and I think a lot of people would enjoy it, if it were more visible.

    We’re all eagerly awaiting your book!

  • L.Long

    Two year reader but I really like the way it is done. Keep the good work going.

  • RipleyP

    A happy anniversary and my thanks for such an enjoyable blog I look forward to reading long into the future.

    I enjoy the current scope of content and format and think it works well.

    The book reviews are enjoyable and informative, I also like the deconstruction applied to both the books and other materials. Helps me keep my rhetoric saber sharp as well as providing brain fodder.

    I would not change anything but possible add in that I would like to see the occasional stand alone humor piece to lighten the mood on occasion. (of course technically an addition is a change but no one would be pedantic around here so I am safe ;)

  • archimedez

    As I write this comment, after having entered my responses to the two poll questions, I see that there are twelve other comments, 180 respondents for the age question and 174 for the gender question. Interesting that six people didn’t answer the gender question. Also interesting that there are about 13 comments per 180 respondents.

    A suggestion, Ebon: If setting up these polls is fairly easy, I’d recommend using them more often to learn more about the views, beliefs, attitudes, and backgrounds (area of study, area of employment, etc.) of your readers.

  • Zietlos

    Many congratulations on your dedication and related success.

    Hats off to you. I invite others to comment as well, even if you’ve never commented before. Just say Hi! Make your name Anonymous even, just come on in!

  • Andrew T.

    Weblogs come and go all the time…I maintained one of my own for four and a half years until it turned into an emotional drain and wasn’t fun anymore. Half a decade online with record visitors and no sign of slowing down is a feat to be proud of! I’ve been following the site for three of those five years, and often check through the comments several times a day. You (and your contributors) do a splendid job articulating concerns and opinions that many of us share in the pursuit of a more secular, more liberal, and more humane world free of suffering induced by superstition and uncritical thought.

    I’m a little sorry that the readership gender distribution is so skewed, but thanks for doing your best to reach out and not be complacent about that detail. In terms of improvements, I might suggest looking into ways to better integrate the blog and Ebon Musings together. Keep writing, and keep us abreast on current topics and new matters to explore. Have you ever thought of doing a piece on the morality of hunting?

  • Ebonmuse

    Thanks, everyone! I truly appreciate everyone who’s contributed their feedback and their suggestions. I intend to leave the poll open for at least a few days to see how the results fare.

    @cognitive dissident:

    Will there be cake at this party?

    Only if someone wants to contribute one of these. :)


    I would not change anything but possible add in that I would like to see the occasional stand alone humor piece to lighten the mood on occasion.

    I may have just the piece you’re looking for. Keep an eye out for it this weekend!

    @Andrew T:

    I’m a little sorry that the readership gender distribution is so skewed, but thanks for doing your best to reach out and not be complacent about that detail.

    That surprised me a little. I expected there to be a gender imbalance, but not one this large (83% male at the time of this comment). Of course, this isn’t a scientific sample by any means: Daylight Atheism has had about 8,000 hits so far today, and this poll has just over 200 votes. Still, I think this is a disparity that bears looking into – especially when compared to the age distribution, which forms a fairly neat bell curve. I’m open to hearing anyone’s suggestions as to the cause.

  • kurmujjin

    Hearty congratulations to Ebon on your anniversary!

    @Ryan (#9)

    I knew it, it’s a sausage fest ;-)

    …eeyouu, gross… Not gonna get more women in here with the likes of that

  • Ysor

    Just joining in the chorus of congratulations and praises, happy 5th anniversary! Please keep up the good work!

    I first came across about one and a half year ago, which paved the way to my de-conversion. Reading both of your websites has been immensely enjoyable and enlightening. In addition, it was through your blogroll that I discovered Pharyngula and Why Evolution Is True, and I am very grateful for that.

  • jim coufal

    It’s been said so many times before, the best I can say is I heartily agree, especially with #12 Ripley P. Content wise, I’d like to see more on “The Family,” a frightening group.

  • Bill

    Congrats Adam. As a suggestion, I would love it if you posted some of the amusing Emails you must surely receive from some of the more “intellectually-challenged” theists on a daily basis. That would be extremely entertaining :-)

  • Ally

    Congratulations! Wow, I had no idea it’d been around for so long! Well, in celebration of such an occasion I thought it was time for myself to come out from lurking and finally make that thankful post I’ve been meaning to write for a while…!
    I’ve been following Daylight Atheism for a few years, now. Back three or so years ago when I was in year eleven, I first read Dawkins’ The God Delsion. I’d always been interested in rationality and never considered myself a Christian (my parents raised me as far outside of religious influence they could find; I dablled in Wicca when I was 14 or so, but that never took) and I found the reason and logic involved in skepticism really appealing. So, I looked atheism up on the internet and came across Ebon Musings. There I found some of the most insightful, thoughtful, well-argued discussions I’d come across! Everything was just so delightfully logical, I immediately fell in love with the website and I think it was that that really got me into atheism as a whole! I didn’t start following Daylight Atheism immediately, but I did soon, and it’s the atheistic blog I’ve been following for the longest amount of time!
    So, I guess what I’m trying to say in my ramble is, I’ve been loving this blog for a while now, and I’m really grateful if only for turning me onto as great a movement as atheism in the first place! :)

  • jack

    I just want to chime in with my congratulations, too. DA is my main squeeze in the blogosphere, and I routinely recommend it and Ebonmusings to friends. The writing quality and depth of thought are consistently top-notch.

    I was a bit surprised at the gender ratio, too. It’s well known that women tend to be more religious than men, but the magnitude of that effect is probably not enough to account for the 80% or more male response to your poll. Maybe the females are less interested in reading or making comments? As you say, it would help to get a larger number of respondents.

  • Teleprompter

    Congrats on your fifth anniversary, Ebon! I didn’t bring anything wooden or any silverware, but I will definitely keep reading your entries. Ebonmusings was a tremendous influence on the development of my beliefs while I was deconverting, and your blog has continued to be a fantastic resource for me since then. You are also an exceedingly strong and clear writer, and I am almost always entertained by your posts.

  • Peter Hurford

    You’re my second favourite atheist, behind Richard Carrier.

  • Petrucio

    Congratulation, man!

    You are one of only two feeds that i simply HAVE to read EVERY post entirely, they are always top notch, there’s no filler and little sidestepping. Simply awesome stuff. (The other one is Neurologica Blog)

    But in contrast to what you’ve said, what makes this great is YOU and YOUR writings. I would like to see less posts from guest writers, since like I’ve said, I like my feeds to be top quality only and focused (no offense to the writers, you also write good stuff, but I’m annoying like that)

    I could also live without the poetry and picture posts. That focus thingy. It’s a bit hard for me to post these suggestions amongst a see of praise, but you asked for it. Feel free to ignore me.

  • Cyberguy

    5 years – well done!

    DA is one of my favorite sites – I check it nearly every day. One reason I enjoy this blog so much is that is never pulls its punches. Unlike that wimpy Richard Dawkins, and that pussy PZ Myers!

    We need more sites willing to stand up to irrationality and say “enough”!

    I have noticed a drop-off in the number of religious apologists that stick around long enough in atheist blogs and forums to have a decent go at. I would like to see guest religious apologists here who are prepared to argue their corner, and see if they can defend their position against all comers.

    Need fresh meat….

  • Emburii

    Seventeen percent? That’s it? Wow. And only two genders listed as options…would it be possible for you to put in a third ‘unidentified’ or ‘prefer not to say’ ‘fluid’ or something for genderqueer folks?

    Stuff I like: ‘Do You Really Believe That?’, and ‘Obscure Bible Verses’ (‘Behold, I am against your pillows!’ So much mileage out of that phrase).

    Stuff I don’t like, personally…oh, this is going to sound so harsh, but I’d prefer not to see gloating photos and descriptions of beautiful places you can afford to go to when I’m balancing my food for the month and coming out negative. You’re not as bad as some (*ahem* Jerry Coyne *ahem*), but using examples of the Grand Canyon or an exotic (expensive, touristy) coral reef as why we can all be atheists with the glory of nature around us is not always inspirational to those economically disadvantaged folks who won’t get the chance to see those marvels in person. Maybe a personal corner for those, not a front page post?

  • kennypo65

    Congratulations on five years. I don’t always comment but I do stop in everyday to read the latest posting. The gender disparity is unfortunate but don’t ask me what to do about it because I, like most men, have no idea what women want.

  • Hailey

    Happy 5th anniversary, DA!

    Hard to believe it’s been so long, and that I’ve been following this blog since the very beginning and checking every day for new freethinking insight into the world. Daylight Atheism has become such a part of my routine that I’ve scarcely noticed how long it’s been! It wouldn’t be a stretch to say that Ebon Musings was a major factor in changing my life some 7 or so years ago.

    Anyway, as a female university student it is somewhat unfortunate to see the disparity between the genders here but at least the age groups are coming out a little more even. I unfortunately have little input myself on what could potentially attract more female viewers but I do believe that important from an outreach perspective. My personal favorite parts of this blog are the comments from the humanist perspective on new and developing events. This is obviously something that one doesn’t get from many other places. But of course, quoting MY personal favorite aspects of this web blog isn’t exactly going to shed any light on the female populace as a whole (I don’t even understand us half of the time!).

    However, it is attractive for females to read things written by other females (makes us feel like we’re more part of the club?). More female guest posters would likely draw more attention. Or perhaps try to draw occasional attention to books written by female authors or the actions of freethinking women in society–though you’ve already done a fairly decent job on that front as it is. Unfortunately, there really isn’t so much of a front to cover on that aspect, I suppose, but little attention is better than none at all.

  • Valhar2000

    Still, I think this is a disparity that bears looking into – especially when compared to the age distribution, which forms a fairly neat bell curve.

    Perhaps the gender survey would also form a neat bell curve if you gave it a chance! With only two data points it’s rather hard.

    Next time, do a gender survey with extra options for transgender, cisgender and genderqueer people, and whatever else I may have forgotten, and then we’ll see how the curves come along.

  • Jessi

    I’ve been reading here for about three years, give or take, but I don’t think I’ve ever commented. Your blog was one of the first I found when it occurred to me that there might be other non-religious people on the internet, and I was immediately impressed by the thoughtfulness of your writing.

    Also, I can’t say how much I appreciate your being an ally to women in this movement by acknowledging that women are rational adult human beings and engaging with us accordingly, rather than tolerating or dismissing us as incomprehensible or childish. Keep it up. Allies are important, and gradually more women may begin to feel comfortable enough and welcome enough to speak up. I think that’s especially important on a blog like this which is centered on a pretty pure discussion of ideas, a context in which women traditionally and still too frequently take a back seat while the menfolk work it all out. I know I’m prone to do that, and I went to a women’s college. But you are helping, and I thank you for it.

  • TommyP

    I just read this because Adam is cute. Nah seriously, this IS my favorite Atheist website. I read it at work on my cell phone all the time!

    The thoughts presented by so many people are generally well constructed, and I take great pleasure from writing them down and studying them later. It’s helped me to solidify some of my thinking into something that resembles order, and also led me to question several long and deeply held beliefs, which is even more valuable to me.

  • Valhar2000

    Although I expected to see an uneven gender spread here, as in most of the other blogs and organizations of an atheistic bent that have had similar measurements made, this survey does strike me as being rather more biased toward the male side than the content of this blog would seem to warrant. I am somewhat puzzled by that.

  • Jerryd

    Yours is the top atheist blog for me without a doubt. Keep up the good work. I echo those who are anxious to read your book and hope it will be published soon. There are many people who need the wisdom it contains. Thanks for all your time and effort that go into producing this great blog.

  • kagerato

    Well done, Ebon. It’s no simple task to keep writing at such a high level for so long. Having lurked for most of those five years, it’s hard for me to believe the site is as old as it is.

    Cheers to five, and let’s make the next five even better.

  • jemand

    congrats! you have a great website.

    And as for the gender ratio… it looks like these comments are much more even than the responses indicate, I’m not sure why that is.

    As a female atheist, I really appreciate how you are an ally to women’s rights and it comes through in a lot of your posts. However, it *is* true that sometimes the comment threads on those subjects get hijacked, and sometimes I do stay away from the site for a bit to let it settle down and not get *too* drawn into the fight… because after all, these fights involve my *life* in a way that the men involved don’t have to face quite the same. And I do have to manage the amount of energy I can engage toward a conversation that, no matter how nicely or how dismissively, approaches women as an “other” that needs to be “understood.”

    So, given the (relatively) recent post about reddit and blaghag, and the slow apparent trending up in women responding to your poll (based on comments noting ratios lower than the current one) it’s possible there are a few women who are coming back like me expecting that thread’s comments to have died down a bit?

  • Elizabeth

    Congratulations on five years. I came to this site via Ebon Musings, about a year ago I would say. I had finally “come out” to myself that I was going to stand up and say I am an atheist.
    As for the gender disparity, I don’t think I can help you with that. I personally don’t connect well with other women, I’m not sure why. I’m in a slightly older demographic yet I’ve never been married nor have children, so I feel like I don’t have much in common with most women my age. I couldn’t tell you how to go about it!

    I think, unfortunately, I’m going to have to look to the younger generations to balance it out by gender. Gals like Skepchick are so uber cool, I wish the internet and all this had been around when I was in college/twenties. I might not feel so alone!

  • Rollingforest

    Yes, the gender imbalance is an issue. The problem, however, is that the cause of this imbalance and the appropriateness of any particular social activity is very subjective. There is no scientific study that can easily explain what is causing the gender imbalance and different things are considered rude to different people, so any debate on gender inevitably declines into the sides (usually men versus women, though there are always a few people who end up aligned with the other gender) each accusing the other side of being bias and hateful. Everyone thinks their particular view of the situation is objective truth, when in reality, good well meaning people can have different views of things. We all just need to be respectful toward each other. That doesn’t mean you have to agree with what other people say or let the offended person control the group. But we aren’t going to get anywhere if we keep thinking the worst about each other’s motives on this issue.

    The age distribution is also interesting. We are obviously a movement of the youth, which is good because, as they say, the youth are the future (of course, they also say that youth is wasted on the young, but I digress ;) ). I’m a little surprised that there aren’t more college students coming here, but I know the Secular Student Alliance is quickly growing, so I know we can pick that up.

    As Ebon noted, the number of people who voted versus the number of people who viewed this blog post also gives us info. First of all, it means that most people like to be behind the scenes, neither voting nor commenting. I know when I’m reading a blog and it gets 30 comments, I wonder how many people are actually reading it. But it turns out that there are a lot of people out there invisible to the other readers, who may be reading your comment, so make it good ;) . Also on blogs it is difficult to tell a person’s gender, but from those who have identified themselves, it does seem like women are much more likely to comment than men when you take their starting population into account.

    It should also be noted that, as far as I can tell, the major atheist blogs that I’ve visited have all been created since 2006. That means that we are really blossoming as a movement and that there are a lot of resources for people growing up today that didn’t exist even a short time ago.

  • kurmujjin

    I also think you should poll users as to their areligious or religious beliefs. How many persons who comment regularly here are actually atheists? How many are out? How many are thinking of coming out? How many are theist lurkers trolling for a fight? How many are theist, but like the open exchange here? How many agnostics? How many read, but do not comment? With an anonymous poll, it would be interesting to see the mix of the audience!

  • Sarah Braasch

    Great ideas, kurmujjin.

    I’m interested to know as well.

    I always make the human, all too human mistake of assuming, inadvertently, that everyone with whom I am conversing is a 35 year old gnu atheist, pissed off former fundie, intl human right lawyer type woman with an axe to grind.

    I’m always slightly surprised when someone reveals that they are a man, an agnostic, an accommodationist, etc., etc..

  • Petrucio

    as far as I can tell, the major atheist blogs that I’ve visited have all been created since 2006. That means that we are really blossoming as a movement

    I think the movement had already started to blossom after the events of 9/11/2001. But it was not so easy to set up a blog back then. Widespread use and availability of Web 2.0 and release of The God Delusion are probably the two biggest factors of the ‘post 2006′ blogging effect.

  • Ebonmuse

    BTW, point taken from the people who criticized the gender question for having only two options (which probably explains why that question got fewer votes than the age one). I’ve added a third option.

  • gamba

    Am adicted! Hardly a day without DA. Remember me? The Nigerian new atheist four months ago.

    Fortunately unfortunately, WE (+ alot of Nigerian atheists -that i know of recently) dont get to see any atheist books on the shop shelves.

    With DA and “Ebon Musings”? Am always printing stuff for my hommies and debaters. It helps to formulate my argurements.

    Thank God i found Ebon Musings. G(DA)D is Great!!!

  • Anonymous

    I was 16 or 17 when I first found this place, don’t even remember how. But I’m almost twenty now. To be honest the posts now seem kind of repetitive after so many years, as do most places on the internet, but I still keep checking back.

  • Katie M

    Congrats, Adam :)

  • vjack

    Congrats on a wonderful 5 years. I’m looking forward to the next 5.

  • John Cortesy

    I haven’t been along for the entire 5 year ride, but what I have seen so far is impressive. If I was forced to reduce my reading to only two atheist blogs yours would be one of the two.

    It is not the page hits or the size of the community that impresses me, it is the quality of the writing. Here is hoping for another five great years.

  • Peter

    I haven’t been around for the entire 5 years but it feels like I have been. Regular visits have become an important part of my life.

    The quality of the content is what keeps me coming back (dare I say religiously?). The superb writing and depth of thought behind it are on a par with the best of every other blog I have visited.

    The dismantling of apologetic books is a great resource for debates with religious believers. The one area of the blog I wish was more complete is the section on little-known bible verses. I have started keeping my own list of bible verses gleaned from a variety of sources but it was yours that got me started.

    Thanks for all the great stuff and I’m looking forward to more of the same for a long time to come.

  • RBH

    Congratulations, and may we have many more years of good writing from you!

  • Steve Bowen

    Congratulations Adam. Your blog has been an inspiration to me in so many ways. I have expanded my own reading and knowledge of philosophy, theology and logic precisely because the caliber of arguments from both you and your commenters is so high. I have also recommended Ebonmusings to a friend who teaches philosophy and religious education at a local high school and she occasionally uses your essays as discussion material for her older students (incidentally she is trying to arrange for me to guest speak to her senior class on atheism, which I hope her principle approves because it should be fun, if a little daunting).
    Let me take this opportunity to thank you for expanding my intellectual horizons, inspiring me to start my own blog and for providing a forum for so many eloquent contributors.
    By the way, any news on your book?

  • Ebonmuse

    Yeah, I suppose I do owe you all an update on my book, don’t I?

    Well, the long and the short of it is that I was represented by an agent for most of 2010. He loved the project and shopped my proposal around to several publishers, but he had persistent health problems that kept him from putting as much time and effort into the work as we both would have preferred. Finally, around the end of the year, he told me that the stress was taking a toll on him and that he needed to cut back on his client list and take some time off. We agreed to part ways – amicably, though I won’t deny it was frustrating for me to be back at square one after having come so close. This is an extraordinarily difficult industry to break into.

    And that’s where I’m at right now. I’m still looking for another agent who’s interested in my project and who’d be willing to represent me. If anyone has any contacts or suggestions, I’d certainly be glad to entertain them.

  • KShep

    Add me to the pile of those wishing their congratulations. I have been reading and commenting since at least 2006, I think. I wasn’t there at the beginning, but must have stumbled upon it shortly thereafter.

    I Don’t comment as much anymore—more readers means more opportunities for someone else to post what I was already thinking. I don’t see any point in posting up a “ditto.” But I still check in regularly.

  • Sam

    A bit late on the comment, but I’d just like to say thanks for all the great posts, both here and the articles on Ebon Musings. Although I came into the atheist blogosphere via Pharyngula, I prefer your (generally) calm dissection of topics to PZ’s snark. So, yours is my standard atheist blog destination. Cheers and here’s to another great five years!

    (Also, one more vote for making the Ebon Musings link more prominent. Great stuff on there, but tough to relocate each time.)

  • D

    Congratulations on your five year anniversary, Ebonmuse! Here’s to another five, better than the first!

  • Sarah Braasch


    I hope you are well and wonderful.

    I’ve missed your contributions around here.

  • Steve Bowen

    Seconded. Hope your plans are working out.

  • hourlily

    Happy anniversary, Adam! Keep up the great work. I hope you find a publisher for your book.

  • Karen

    Mucho congrats and keep up the good work!

    I began the difficult and emotionally wrenching deconversion process a decade ago. It was this blog and several others (notably Friendly Atheist) that helped encourage and enlighten me.

    Now that I have several years as an “out” atheist, I find I rely on those sites less and that my concerns/interests have again broadened to other topics.

    But DA is the one skeptic/atheist blog that I still check in on regularly and truly appreciate and enjoy.

    In terms of publishing, it is a terrible business to get into. I’m a writer and several of my colleagues have recently gone the Internet publishing route, which gets your work out into the universe and no longer carries the “vanity publishing” stigma of the past. Something to think about if your efforts this year are unsuccessful, perhaps.