Tuesday, October 12, 2010

What’s Up?

I started posting on Skeptical Eye a while ago, and I thought I’d share my thoughts on it here. Basically, I have some criticisms and I don’t think it’s polite to air them on a blog that I was invited to be a contributor for. You aren’t supposed to look a gift horse in the mouth… but this horse ain’t got no teeth.

First of all, SE is run by a guy who is an “anarchist.” No, those quotes aren’t nice… let’s use Anarchist with a big “A,” whereby “anarchy” is what a country descends into when it becomes lawless and “Anarchy” is what a country ascends to when it no longer needs laws.

As a philosophical concept, Anarchy is all well and good, but it requires a sort of gradual evolution of governance. I believe a country that practices socialism can ascend to anarchy, but not a greedy capitalist oligarchy. You can’t skip a step. Anarchy’s success lies in the need for a population that will willingly and spontaneously help others, not one whose mantra is, “What’s mine is mine.”

But beyond the irreconcilable differences in political structure, I have several other problems with the basic ideals of Skeptical Eye. For one thing, the posters play the same tired old tunes popularized by right-wingers everywhere.

They all rail against the MSM (that’s “Main Stream Media,” for those of you who aren’t fluent in bat-shit-crazy). And yet, oddly enough, a good number of the posts are nothing but cut and paste stories from well established right-wing news sources, and there’s a healthy helping of Faux News clips from YouTube.

Look, if you’re going to pretend to be unbiased, you have to get your news from sources that are not overtly ideological. I don’t watch Keith Olberman, nor would I post a video of his. I don’t go posting every other clever thing Jon Stewart of Stephen Colbert says. I don’t read the Huffington Post. I don’t even read that… SomethingKos or whatever it is that the liberal kids are reading these days.

Cutting the strings from liberally biased media has allowed my ideology to grow and evolve beyond the stale, pre-packaged, mass-manufactured trash that Democrats sling. Right-wingers and anarchists would do well to wean themselves off of Fox News’ nipple. If they do, maybe they can finally take some baby steps in a new direction, instead of just being an unwitting mouthpiece for the pseudo-Libertarians, aka Republicans.

Which reminds me… SE is run by someone who hates intellectual property. This makes sense for someone who rarely writes his own stuff and usually just fills his blog with conservative talking points borrowed from others. I would call it lazy, but it’s actually more whorish, because SE has ads.

And boy are the ads hilarious. SE uses Google advertising, so keywords from the site trigger certain ads. A criticism of Christine O’Donnell yields her bright, smiling face asking for donations in the sidebar. Criticism of religion results in Bible Study College opportunities in the top bar. Criticism of banks… yep, you guessed it. Pretty much everything you try to criticize will get its respective ad displayed.

It has never occurred to me to stop posting on the site. I just appreciate the soap box and the ability to get my writing torn apart by packs of rabid right-wingers. Too often, I think liberals shy away from competition, from adversity, from criticism… really from anything difficult. I want an ideology tempered in fire, and that means taking some heat.

To top it all off, most days I honestly feel like I’m done talking about religion. “Anything But Theist” is more or less obsolete to me. What more can I say? “Religion is full of shit,” what else is there? More importantly, what does it matter? Religion only matters to the religious, and all of the “problems” I have with religion are ultimately political ones which are argued either for or against in non-religious terms.

It’s times like these I wish I hadn’t renamed my blog a year ago and completely retooled it to be centered on atheism. Oh regrets… do you ever stop piling up?

So, in the coming weeks, I may or may not start another blog. If I do, I’ll probably do what I did last time and transfer all of my posts to a new location while leaving the old site up as an archive (so old links keep working). Or maybe I’ll keep this one as-is and just start posting more here, even though it won’t usually be about atheism.

It’s a tough call… abandon a blog that no one reads but which I can convince myself is doing okay because I have 70+ followers (more than I ever expected), or start over and force myself to build my [non-]following all over again.

For all the shit I talk about SE, it’s just nice to have your ideas read, and we atheists are just not dedicated. It’s not in our nature to get passionate and fired up and to stay motivated and active in a community.

Atheist blogging goes like this: post some stuff, no one reads it, comment on other people’s blogs, they comment on yours, and if you both agree… you never talk to each other again. If you disagree, one person makes fun of the other person’s mom and their comment gets deleted… and you never talk to each other again. It’s really discouraging, and it’s not surprising that most atheists burn out quickly in the blogosphere.

I have a lot of steam left in me to write, and religion will probably always be a passion of mine, but how many times and in how many ways can I really say, “I know more than religious people?”


  1. Well, I enjoyed your mythical interviews, and I enjoy your Two Dudes comics. I like the general discussions, but I wouldn't mind if you put a heavier emphasis on fiction and humor. Make of that what you will.

  2. I should do more mythical interviews. I definitely am not putting Two Dudes to rest. Those guys are like family... they're like both halves of my brain.

  3. "It’s times like these I wish I hadn’t renamed my blog a year ago and completely retooled it to be centered on atheism. "

    "Or maybe I’ll keep this one as-is and just start posting more here, even though it won’t usually be about atheism."

    I don't understand. Which is it?

    Having a blog can be exciting and boring. You obviously have far more going on than I do, but I mainly write and post stuff that I am interested in. If someone is attracted to it, great, if not that is fine too. Getting focused on traffic spoils it for me.

    I do enjoy reading like minded blogs and when I am feeling dickish I trot out to the Christian Post and other such rags and rile up the fundies.

  4. I'm not focused on traffic, I'm just spread thin because I like posting to both blogs but this one is de facto abandoned because I post more about politics than religion. I don't want to alienate non-liberal atheists by posting all of my political views here, and I don't know if I have enough drive to post about religion to even justify this blog.

    I certainly didn't mean imply it's a problem, just something I am thinking about. I would keep posting on both blogs even if no one came, read or commented. Hell, I did it here for several months before I had readers.

    I guess what I really ought to do is start a politically themed blog so I have my own personal outlet for that... then I'll just have three blogs to be posting to. Oy... my wife will love that. She already never reads the other blog I post to.

  5. Oy... my wife will love that. She already never reads the other blog I post to.

    I'm shocked and saddened.

  6. Since she studies people for a living, I think her head would explode if she read some of the puerile ramblings over there. She thinks like me, only she's not an ideological masochist.

  7. What atheists are just not dedicated

    ...not in our nature to get passionate and fired up

    ...stay motivated and active in a community

    What happened to be so dejected?

  8. I've always had a near obsessive dedication to whatever I am interested in, I just don't notice the same fervor in others. Sure, there's a few, and I suppose that's all it takes, but I think atheism isn't really a cause, so much as it is an anti-cause. There's no glue keeping atheists together, no commonality, or at least no positive affirmation shared by all of us. I'd frankly rather identify as a "humanist" than an "atheist," if only because saying "I'm an atheist" tells someone nothing about me beyond my very singular and insignificant rejection of one particular idea.

    I'm not dejected, I'm just often bored with atheism (or rather, bored with criticizing religion).


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