The Pages, They Are A-Changin’

It’s a busy day today, including a website redesign and two new (short) essays.

The website redesign is a result of me noticing that I by now have a lot of pages, and the page menu to the left was quite disorganized. I therefore have grouped the various essays I have written into themes, and only the top theme pages are listed in the main menu to the right. I would love some feedback on whether this approach works, or if there is a better way to handle it.

For the last two years I have participated in National Ask an Atheist Day, an opportunity for secular people to invite questions about any topic that people might be curious about. Both years I have received some exceptional questions. This year, I have adapted some of my responses into short essays that I think will be of general interest. They are:

As always, I welcome any and all comments, questions, and suggestions.

That said, I am somewhat disappointed that my last essay received nary a comment, particularly since it was deliberately provocative. I very much would like some feedback on the argument, so I am once again going to link to it here. It is I Don’t Believe in Heaven, and Neither do You.

New Post: The Angry Atheists

So it’s still Tuesday somewhere, right? So I guess I’m officially on time. Somewhere near the International Date Line. If you squint.

This week’s essay changed character dramatically as I wrote it. It started out as a relatively rational discussion of atheist anger. It was spawned by a variety of discussions I have seen over the years, but most recently by some quotes by Kevin Sorbo expressing his bafflement about atheist anger. As I was writing, however, trying to explain what I as an atheist am not angry about, and then what I actually am angry about, I, perhaps not surprisingly, started to get angry. And that anger started to bleed through into my composition, first in a more liberal usage of visual memes than I usually allow myself, and later in the actual writing. 

My first instinct was to delete the post. After all, such anger isn’t conducive to the type of even-handed, rational dialog that I am hoping to encourage with this blog. But I then decided that posting it was the right thing to do. Humans are only partially rational beings; our emotional side is key to our character as well. Like it or not, whether it is comfortable for me or not, my emotional responses to important issues are a real aspect of my positions. And, for anyone engaged in dialog with me about theism and atheism, those emotional responses are important to both acknowledge and address. So, with this post, I am laying myself a bit more bare than normal, and the result is likely to be jarring, particularly for theists. It may very well come across as an attack, though the essay is not meant to be one. It is meant to be an explanation, which I hope will provide you with some useful insights into my thinking.

As always, I welcome comments and criticism.

New document (Atheism vs. Agnosticism), and site status

Last week’s document offering, Reductionism and Emergent Phenomena, was rather dense and highly specific. This is probably not surprising given that I was deliberately trying to start the blog off with a topic where I felt I had something meaningful to add to ongoing discussions about atheism. I have updated that document in a couple of ways to try to make it more accessible:

  • At the prompting of the reader Tweedledum, I generated a 100-word summary of the argument, and then added that to the top of the document as a “short version.” You can think of it like an abstract or an executive summary.
  • I realized that the various arguments, reductionism, the argument from design, and emergent phenomena, would be clearer if I put together some cartoons illustrating them. I have done so and have added them to the document. I’m quite pleased with the cartoons!

 

This week’s offering, Atheism vs. Agnosticism, should be much more accessible. It is quite important to make sure that when discussing complex issues, everyone understands what the others mean by the words they are using, and since this blog is about atheism, it’s probably a good idea for me to make clear early what exactly I mean when I use the term. Continue reading