• I've posted a new revision of the comment policy. The first version of this policy was too short; the second one, I think, was too long, and misguidedly tried to enumerate every forbidden behavior while eliminating every possible loophole. I think that was a mistake, and this newest revision is intended to be more concise and readable. As always, use common sense. The earlier revisions will remain for historical purposes.
• This will be the last I have to say on this subject, but I have to say something about the commenter "cl". I don't punish people just for being theists, as several regular commenters can attest. But in the time he's been here, he's shown a consistent pattern of antagonizing everyone he comes in contact with, monopolizing threads, derailing discussions with perpetual complaints, quibbles and demands for attention, and generally making arguments that display a lack of good faith and responsiveness. In the past I've let it be, but it's become intolerable. I'm not banning him, but I'm putting in place some restrictions on how often he can comment. Further measures will be taken if they become necessary.
Announcements and Miscellany
• Daylight Atheism reader Juan Felipe has completed Spanish translations of two more Ebon Musings essays, "La sombra del cambio" (Shadow of Turning), and "Un juego de trile cósmico" (The Cosmic Shell Game). Please check them out and be sure to thank him for his fine work. And if you're interested in joining the effort to translate, into Spanish or any other language, please e-mail me and let me know.
Also, I have two announcements I was asked to pass along:
• First, Q Transmissions, a skeptical talk radio show from Canada, is sponsoring a contest for atheist-themed songs. Musically inclined freethinkers have until January 2 to send in an entry in MP3 or video format. Please follow the link for more information. (I rather like Chumbawumba's "Charlie", myself.)
• Next, nonbelievers who hail from Ireland may be interested in Atheist Ireland, a new freethought advocacy group active in the Emerald Isle. Again, visit their website for discussion forums and more information about their mission.
And finally, this was a parody too good not to share (HT: Positive Liberty):
New on Ebon Musings: Spanish Translations
I'm very pleased to announce that reader David Cabrera has volunteered to translate some of the essays on Ebon Musings into Spanish. He's already completed work on five of them: the disclaimer and introduction, "Why Ebon Musings?", "Life of Wonder" and "All Possible Worlds". I've added links to the Spanish versions of these five from the index and site map on Ebon Musings. All the complete translations are also listed here:
That page is still a little rough, but it's a work in progress. Depending on David's free time and interest (and, of course, any other volunteers who want to translate are welcome to step up as well), I hope to get, at the very least, all of the Foundational Essays translated. I may even be able to take part in that effort myself by year's end.
I'm sincerely grateful to David for his time and effort in helping to bring our message to people in non-English-speaking cultures. And rest assured, I haven't forgotten Ebon Musings. Since completing my book, I've resumed working on it. Expect a brand-new essay later this month or early next month.
UPDATE: Thanks to Daylight Atheism reader Juan Felipe, we now also have a translation of "One More Burning Bush". Additional translators are welcomed!
A Sneak Preview
Tomorrow, Daylight Atheism will feature a post by the site's newest guest author, who is someone you've probably all heard of before. Stay tuned!
I apologize for it having taken this long, but I have important news to report: I've finished editing the complete rough draft of my book, and I think it's now in a form ready for publication. If you've read any of the chapters so far and would like to see the complete draft, e-mail me or leave a comment in this thread.
In its current form, the book is approximately 78,000 words. This compares favorably with the current atheist bestsellers, while still being short enough to be read fairly quickly. (In my experience, religious believers are unlikely to even consider picking up a brick of a book.) There are ten chapters, plus a prologue and epilogue, which address the following topics:
Prologue: Unapologetic: Why write this book, and what I hope to accomplish
Chapter One: Fossil Fuels: The real-world danger posed by religious belief
Chapter Two: A Book of Blood: The argument from scriptural immorality
Chapter Three: All Possible Worlds: The argument from evil
Chapter Four: One More Burning Bush: The argument from reasonable nonbelief
Chapter Five: The Cosmic Shell Game: The argument from religious confusion
Chapter Six: Life Without Superstition: The virtues and benefits of being an atheist
Chapter Seven: Shattering Stereotypes: Debunking popular false conceptions of atheism
Chapter Eight: Universal Utilitarianism: A secular, rational basis for objective morality
Chapter Nine: Stardust: An atheist's response to death
Chapter Ten: Into the Clear Air: The process of becoming an atheist; the effort to organize atheists politically
Epilogue: Looking Ahead: Is there hope for humanity to free itself from supernatural beliefs?
Most of these chapters are based on the essays of the same titles at Daylight Atheism or Ebon Musings. People who've read those essays will recognize the overall argument and layout of the chapter, though each one also has substantial new material that I've never previously published. In any case, I intend to make sure the original essays will always be freely available.
Some Items of Note
I have two short announcements to bring to your attention:
• Daylight Atheism commenter Eshu has started his own blog, Bridging Schisms. If the first few posts are any indication, it ought to be a fine addition to the ranks of the atheist blogosphere. Go check it out and tell him I sent you!
• John Loftus of Debunking Christianity will soon be releasing a book, Why I Became an Atheist. I haven't read it yet, but he's collected some superb endorsements. It definitely ought to be worth looking into.
Open Thread: Site Slowness, Continued
I'm aware that this site has been having problems loading these past few days. I assure you all, I'm just as frustrated by it as you are. In a way, it's good news - these are a sort of growing pains; the slowness is at least in part because of the steady increases in traffic I've been getting. But these response times are intolerable, and I assure you all I'm working with my host to get it fixed as soon as possible.
If you're still having slowness, or if you're not, please comment about it here and let me know. The more information I have about the problem, the more it will help me work out a fix.
I'm aware that commenting and permalinks were broken earlier today. I think all that should now be fixed. If you notice any further bugs or problems, please let me know.
And We're Back
If you're seeing this post, then you've made it back! This is Daylight Atheism at its new, and hopefully much faster, host. Thanks for your patience. Regular updates will resume shortly.
I do have a request to make of my readers. Until the move, I hadn't upgraded WordPress since I first set up Daylight Atheism in 2006. I figured, since the move was happening anyway, it was about time I got around to doing that long-overdue software update.
As it turns out, the designers had introduced just enough interesting database incompatibilities in the intervening two years to make that job interesting. Nevertheless, after much grumbling and occasional cursing, I think I've gotten it all sorted out. (No thanks to God, but many thanks to the designers of Perl.) Posts, comments, and all the other data should be here, and commenting and other site functions should be working properly. But to be sure, I'd like to ask you, readers, to be my beta testers. If you have the inclination, please explore the site and kick the tires - check out some old posts, the archives, the search function, and make sure everything is present and working as you expect. If you find anything that's missing, broken, or odd, please drop me an e-mail and let me know. Thanks!
Important Note: Site Transfer
Given the patently unsatisfactory response of my hosting company to the recent slowness issue, I've begun preparations for moving Daylight Atheism to a new host. The DNS transfer will begin soon, and while it's in progress, my domain name may not function for a day or two. If this happens, don't fret. The site will be back up (and hopefully much faster), probably by the end of the week. I'll post updates in this thread for as long as the domain name still works.