Why “Just What The World Needs, Another Atheist Blog”

A recent blog article about “Why I blog” made me think about what are we doing rightly or wrongly as skeptics/atheists. No matter how many times I see yet another article debunking chiropractor’s, I still see people including my friends, spending money on chiropractor’s. The same goes for anti-vaccine  debunking, or homeopathy, or chem-trails. The Internet is awash with skeptic/atheist sites, in fact, I had wanted to call this blog “Yet another atheist blog”, but it had been used before and deleted already so the name was not available to me!

Considering how easy it is to set up a blog these days perhaps our message is simply being lost in the noise of the Internet? I have no illusions of grandeur here. I am not expecting to make  any difference single-handedly; hence my sardonic dig at myself.

Still, is there something each of us can do at the grassroots level? How many of us actually challenge our friends on why they  go to chiropractors? Is this the way we can each make a difference in the world by not being “keyboard warriors” but actually engaging our friends? Perhaps that’s why some of us are keyboard warriors in the first place as we have driven all our friends away? 😉 I honestly don’t know the answer and the friends I have discussed it with don’t know either.

Meanwhile, I plod along doing what little I can, by contributing  time to talk to people who are coming out of religion. (I was one of the lucky ones.) Perhaps marching in gay pride marches will help one more person come out of religion or. protesting atheist Bangladeshi bloggers being arrested might force our government to  ask questions. (I can dream can’t I?)

Perhaps, more of us should concentrate on the grass roots, and volunteer to do atheist/skeptic outreach in our own community. I know I am.

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7 thoughts on “Why “Just What The World Needs, Another Atheist Blog”

  1. I think online-offline are a false dichotomy, as both can (and often do) go hand-in-gloves together. I’m sympathetic to Anonymous (hi NSA!). It depends on how it is used. Even if some person is not doing anything special, it may be their blog or tweet where other people connect and then do something together (e.g. on grassroots level).

    I asked myself the question too, why start blogging recently, why now, when there are trizillions of blogs out there? I started as I thought it still increases the share of “good” content versus religious nonsense and woo and since it’s one-to-many, that one person somewhere may happen upon it and may just have needed that perspective at that time, written in that way. Everything is connected, in a good way.

    Finally, being online doesn’t take anything away anything as I see it. The only issue I see, is the recognition that it’s not all USA. That would be great sometimes. For one, we simply have a very different situation in many ways here, and it could actually help to see it and take away lessons from the different situations and perspectives (which may help for activist work). For another, national discourses are often very special (e.g. racism) and hard to follow in detail from somewhere else. But that all creates issues which may be demotivating, which then has a negative impact on activism. The online space can be great for motivation and learning, and connecting and providing a frame where action can happen. It can also be a think tank, work on issues on the intellectual level, even help to churn out effective memes and slogans, which then end up on flyers and banners.

    • I’ve never made that mistake of seeing the online world vs. offline world as totally disjoint. Thoughts are thoughts no matter the source and, the emotional results are just as real. The difference lies wholly in the lack of the non-verbal communication, since that channel is missing online. (http://linguistlist.org/issues/24/24-601.html) This is somewhat compensated for by many, notably philosophers, using the principle of charity. Though there are many online who do not understand this principle or, sometimes deliberately ignore it for propaganda reasons.

      What I was referring to was as you put it, “trizillions of blogs”. Perhaps to be more effective with our skepticism we also need to utilize this non-verbal communication channel more.

      I am in much agreement with you overall. The caveats as I have mentioned are the lack of the non-verbal channel and, the refusal by some to give principle of charity. As you said yourself it can “creates issues which may be demotivating.”

      BTW Fame is a double edged sword.

  2. Just interested- why worry about chiropractors? I personally know nothing of them- but certainly they go through a course before practising and I think that there are relevant university courses for them. But the important thing is that they do seem to help people! Surely that’s what counts. Lots of conventional medicine is also like this. Not based on anything that we know about, but something that makes people feel better!

  3. One thought about the online/offline split and the question of whether blogs can matter is that blogs can be a great way to inform others about offline efforts in one’s community. Love him or hate him, Justin Vacula comes to mind as someone who has done this quite well. Offline, he’s an atheist activist who does good work in his community. He then uses his blog to tell the world about it. I realize this won’t work for everyone, but it does seem to be a good way to operate.

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