Do you want to talk about it?

Ladies and gentlemen,

I’m in a bit of a dilemma. On the one hand, I’m all for free and open discussion. On the other hand, I’m not sure that blog comments are the best venue for extended dialog. What’s a blogger to do?

Well, for this blogger, the answer is the new Evangelical Realism Discussion Forum. It’s a standard web-based board, so if you’ve got something on your chest and you want to get it off, have at it. There is currently one (1) forum available at the moment, but I’m willing to open up more if there’s a demand for it.

I’m a bad comments moderator and I’ll likely be a bad board moderator as well, so everything is likely to be pretty wide open at first. I’ll leave it up to you folks whether we want moderators or not (and if so, who). But the main idea here is to provide an alternative to comments as the primary venue for extended discussions. In fact, if I think a discussion would be better suited to the boards, I may politely request the participants to take it to the forum (and if that doesn’t work, I may move the discussion there myself).

The general rule of thumb is that if you have a comment about a blog post, leave it in the comments. If you have a comment about someone else’s comment, then it could go either in the comments or on the boards. If you’re commenting about a comment on a comment, then it definitely belongs in the boards. Post to the boards and then leave a link.

Cheers, and enjoy the boards.

 
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Comments

As everyone has probably noticed by now, I am way behind on reading comments, let alone responding to and/or policing them (other than the automatic spam filters, of course). I would greatly appreciate it, therefore, if commenters would try to police themselves.

I strongly encourage the expression of sincerely-held beliefs and ideas, even if wrong, so that they may be discussed and critiqued. I strongly encourage thoughtful critiques of any and all beliefs and ideas so presented. I strongly encourage tolerance of the manner in which these ideas might be presented, since not everyone is a skillful writer (and those that are, haven’t always had their morning coffee yet).

I strongly discourage discussion of the character, abilities, motives, or personal ancestry of individual commenters, as tempting as such comments may be at times. I discourage the posting of comments that make frequent use of the pronoun “you,” as in “you always…” or “you never…” or “you are just so…”, when directed at a specific individual.

Please think before posting. My goal is to address the ideas themselves, and to demonstrate which ideas are most consistent with real-world truth. Personal attacks are a distraction (and indeed, one way to defend a weak idea is to present it as offensively as possible, in order to side-track the discussion into a mere flame war, and thus protect the bad idea from direct analysis).

It is not necessary to win any one argument. Truth is consistent with itself; the evangelical realist need only persist in directing people’s attention to the truth, and over the long term the burden of maintaining a falsehood will weigh more heavily on the untruthful person. We ought to have the confidence of our convictions, and rise above personal foibles. And if we have guests whose thinking is misguided, we should welcome and encourage them, because where else are they going to go for better guidance?

I know that I myself am not as good at that as I should be (Challenger Grim comes to mind—I really regret losing him). But I originally named this blog Evangelical Realism because I saw a need for a place where realists could reach out to the misguided, and encourage them to adopt a better world view (to borrow an oft-misused term). I want to show how the ideas of realism make more sense and are more consistent with real-world truth than fantasies, intuitions, superstitions and hearsay are, and how realism actually improves one’s quality of life.

I could do better. We all could do better. I invite everyone to join me in trying.

 
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A quick shout out

Just want to say a hearty thank-you to Daniel Florien for including my blog on his list of The Top 30 Atheist/Agnostic/Skeptic Blogs. That’s quite an honor, and I’m flattered to be in such good company. You should drop by if you haven’t already and have a look (don’t forget the blogs mentioned in the comments too).

Thanks also to PZ Myers for repeating the list on his blog Pharyngula. We’re seeing a nice bump in the stats right now thanks to these two mentions, and I appreciate it.

 
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Server hiccups

My ISP seems to be having some server difficulties, and I’ve had to revert back to PHP 4 temporarily, which might keep some of my WP plugins from working correctly. Please bear with us while we get this problem sorted out. Thanks.

 
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Welcome to evangelicalrealism.com!

It’s moving day. The old accommodations were quite nice, and I’m very happy with the service I got at WordPress.com. To be perfectly honest, I’m losing one or two sidebar widgets by moving to my own host. The new place has a lot more room for expansion and customization though, and will let me set up a corresponding web site that doesn’t have to fit itself into the blog way of doing things.

If you’re reading this via a newsreader, here are the new URL’s.

  • http://blog.evangelicalrealism.com/?feed=rss2
  • http://blog.evangelicalrealism.com/?feed=comments-rss2

Also new, and I hope you’ll all bear with me on this: I’m going to put a few ads in the sidebars, just to help pay the bills. Given the topic of conversation around here, I expect a lot of the ads will be for religious books and web sites, which isn’t entirely bad. I’m always looking for new topics to post. ;)

 
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Retiring the Professor

I think it’s time to retire the Professor. It was a fun pseudonym back when this was a completely unknown and unread blog, but now that I’ve built up a little bit of readership, it seems a bit, I don’t know, ostentatious. I have therefore retired the Professor, and replaced him with Deacon Duncan, my new pseudo. This one’s just as fun, plus I have served as an officially elected deacon in a conservative evangelical denomination, so I actually have some legitimate claim on the title.

 
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Winter break

I’m taking a few days off for the holidays, so enjoy the break and see you all next week sometime. And remember,

Axial tilt: it’s the REASON for the SEASONs.

Cheers.

 
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Who is stalking whom?

Now this is interesting. Apparently Anthony Horvath has taken to following me around the Internet so that he can spread rumors that I’m a stalker (just because I comment on things I find on the Internet and respond to the things other people say about me).

I guess if you can’t address my evidence, you can at least try and assassinate my reputation behind my back. Christianity in action folks.

(Horvath’s comments are attached to this post, by the way.)

 
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Updated: Unapologetic Encyclopedia

Just a quick note to say I’ve gone back and updated the Unapologetic Encyclopedia (the “Encyclopedia” link at the top of each blog page) with new entries covering some of my more recent posts.

I’d like this encyclopedia to include entries for all of the various apologetic arguments used to defend Christianity, so feel free to suggest topics that ought to be included.

 
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