July 31, 2015

Blog Tips: Get a Custom Domain

This is icon for social networking website. Th...
This is icon for social networking website. This is part of Open Icon Library's webpage icon package. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
If you'd like to see more traffic coming to your blog, you need to get a custom domain, especially if you are using Blogger to host your blog. Custom domains can be bought from a variety of domain registrars for somewhere in the neighborhood of $15-$20/year (they are often much cheaper for the first year). I bought atheistrev.com several years ago to replace the standard blogspot.com that one gets free with Blogger. It is a small investment but an important one if you want more people to see your content and are interested in building your blog presence over time.

Custom domains have always been a good idea in that they lend more credibility to your blog. People like to see the custom .com name, and it can help set you apart and show that you are planning to stick around for awhile. There is now an even more important reason to make the jump to a custom domain. And again, this is especially true if you are using Blogger.

Blogger blogs using the free blogspot.com domain have become notorious for spam and other illicit activities. As a result, many of the sites we use to promote content have started blocking the blogspot.com domains. Voat and StumbleUpon are a couple that are doing this. More may follow suit, and that means that bloggers without custom domains are going to miss out on the traffic generated by these and other aggregators.

July 30, 2015

Christian Wants to See You Fry Like Sausage

Coppo di Marcovaldo, Hell
Coppo di Marcovaldo, via Wikimedia Commons

There are many intelligent, thoughtful, kind, and compassionate Christians out there. It is good to remember that. They are our friends and family, our neighbors, our co-workers, and so on. Our lives are richer in some ways for having the opportunity to know them. It is also helpful to remember that there are many hateful Christians out there among us, people who have been blinded to reality by years of indoctrination. So afflicted are some of these Christians that they see nothing wrong with emailing random atheist bloggers (like me) things like this:
I would love to be close enough to all you so called atheist two seconds after you drop off into the lake of fire right after the Great White Throne Judgement. When you start frying like sausage. You will believe in GOD then. I have talked with folks that say there is no GOD. But then I tell them; well what if I am wrong, I haven't lost anything by believing in JESUS CHRIST, trusting HIM as Savior, following the 10 commandments and living good. But what if you are wrong and there is a GOD, and you have rejected HIM, and you have missed your chance to repent and live for HIM? Please repent and be saved. You are doing what the antichrist wants you to do; Just think about it!

July 29, 2015

Would You Rather Be Happy and Wrong or Unhappy and Right?

happiness
happiness (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
In a recent comment I left at Bitchspot, I suggested that many religious believers would probably prefer to be "happy and stupid" than "sad and smart" in the sense that they are willing to believe things that are probably false as long as such beliefs are perceived to contribute to their feelings of happiness. In this post, I'd like to expand on this possibility a bit and suggest that it might not even be limited to religious believers.

If you have watched any of Anthony Magnabosco's street epistemology videos, you may recall seeing him explain how he wants to believe things that are true and avoid believing things that are false. He sometimes asks his conversation partners if this is true of them as well (i.e., are they interested in trying to maximize true beliefs and minimize false beliefs?). Not surprisingly, most say that they are. My guess is that they probably only do so because they are not making the connection between the pursuit of truth and their emotional state. That is, I'd guess that many are interested in maximizing true beliefs only up to the point where the pursuit of truth might be perceived as jeopardizing their happiness.

July 28, 2015

Political Questions Ahead of the 2016 U.S. Election

Red-blue-purple view of counties
By M. E. J. Newman, via Wikimedia Commons
I've seen several people on the various social media networks in which I participate asking all sorts of hypothetical questions about the 2016 U.S. presidential election. "If the election was held today and all the current candidates were still running, who would you vote for?" "If the Democratic primary was held today, would you vote for Clinton or Sanders?" "How can any sane person seriously support Trump for president?"

I think it is great to see this much interest in politics this far ahead of the election. I'm hoping that 2016 will be the year we make some real progress in increasing voter turnout among religiously unaffiliated voters. If we can do that, we increase the chances that those running for office in the future will listen to us.

I suspect that the motives for asking questions like this so far in advance of the election vary considerably. For some, it is simple curiosity. Others might be trying to get a better read on the political persuasion of their friends, followers, or others in their social networks. And a few are probably more interested in trying to identify any "sexists" who might have snuck into their various circles in order to purge them. Whatever the reason, I say keep the discussions going. Elections matter, and apathy is the enemy.

July 26, 2015

Outrage Culture: Punishing Offenders Like Hulk Hogan

Hulk Hogan 04 (14029003947)
By GabboT, via Wikimedia Commons
It appears that we have yet another excuse to discuss outrage culture, so let's do it.

Suppose you were to learn of an incident in which a waitress at a popular chain restaurant called a customer a racial slur that many people find offensive. It would be perfectly reasonable for the customer to complain to the manager and to expect that the waitress might lose her job. After all, she said what she said at work while performing the responsibilities associated with her job. The employer almost certainly has policies indicating that this sort of thing is not tolerated.

Now suppose that the manager and even the bosses up the line decided to do nothing. The manager took the customer's complaint but decided not to act on it. The customer, who is understandably angry by this point, takes to the Internet to tell her story. It generates considerable buzz, and this is where you and I first learn about it.

The question I'd like us to consider is what, if anything, you and I should do in this situation. Specifically, should we as persons not directly involved in the incident join the online mob in demanding that the waitress be fired and/or her employer be boycotted at least until they do fire her?

It seems to me that reasonable people can and probably do have different opinions on this question, as well as the many related but distinct questions the situation raises. Note that the question of whether the waitress should lose her job is a different question from the one I asked above about our role as persons not directly involved in the incident. I might, for example, believe that the waitress should be fired without necessarily believing that it is my right or responsibility to try to make that happen. Similarly, I might hope that bad things happen to the waitress without deciding that I personally need to act in order to bring about such bad things.

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