Farewell, Dear Friends

by Luke Muehlhauser on January 28, 2012 in News

Common Sense Atheism is closing its doors.

It’s been a great ride, and my interests have now turned elsewhere.

I’ll keep comments open for about a week, and then comments on the site will be closed, but this site will remain online as an archive. I also plan to keep the debates page updated.

Previous post:

Next post:

{ 96 comments… read them below or add one }

CPBD Fan January 28, 2012 at 10:56 am

Thanks for everything Luke.

What will happen to the other episodes of CPBD that you haven’t edited and published yet?

  (Quote)

ptet January 28, 2012 at 11:03 am

Thanks for a magnificent blog and all your hard work…

  (Quote)

Reginald Selkirk January 28, 2012 at 11:15 am

Live long and prosper.

If I get to Hell first, I’ll save a seat for you.

  (Quote)

Stig January 28, 2012 at 11:34 am

What will happen to all the great content on this site? Will it be available elsewhere? If not, it will take me a while to save it all to disk before it disappears…

Thanks for all the work you put into CSA; I have yet to find another site on theism and morality that is its equal.

  (Quote)

TitoAustin January 28, 2012 at 11:44 am

Thanks for all your time dedicated to producing amazing and unique content on this site Luke. I look forward to following you in your future work.

  (Quote)

David Iach January 28, 2012 at 11:59 am

This blog has really changed my life in a number of ways, I am sad that you will close it. Hopefully you will not delete it – you should not, there are still a great number of posts that should stay on the internet for the generations to come :)

  (Quote)

Scott January 28, 2012 at 11:59 am

Luke,

Thanks so much for CSA. I wish you the best.

Scott

  (Quote)

TaiChi January 28, 2012 at 12:03 pm

Thanks for all your efforts here, Luke. I wish you the best of luck with your future endeavours, not that I think you’ll need it.

  (Quote)

Scott January 28, 2012 at 12:16 pm

Wow. Loved this site for many years. You introduced me to Bayes (which I still struggle to figure out). Is the content here still going to stay up?

  (Quote)

A Fan January 28, 2012 at 12:20 pm

I’m a theist. But I love this blog. Wandering through the internet I’ve stopped at dozens of atheist blogs which I found to be deeply vicious (and intellectually embarrassing). And then I found your place. It was a revelation (bad pun intended!) Your de-conversion story was one of the most heart rending stories I’ve ever read. The content was intellectually rigorous and the CPBD always enlightening (and enjoyable) to listen to. You also brought a level of humility and honesty to the discussion that was very refreshing. I’m very sad to see you go. My only regret is that I didn’t post here earlier.

  (Quote)

Dick Beery January 28, 2012 at 12:21 pm

Sorry to hear this. You have been a source of clear thinking and an inspiration to me.

  (Quote)

Rev. Pudgemuffin January 28, 2012 at 12:27 pm

Hi Luke,

I’ve learned so much from this blog. I hate to see you go. Will the CSA archives remain available as a resource for research? I hope so. They are incredibly helpful.

Looking forward to Worldview Naturalism!

Take care!

  (Quote)

Ryan January 28, 2012 at 12:49 pm

You know, you could just keep it going, and replace yourself as a content generator.

Also, what about the content that you’ve placed in links here?

  (Quote)

Garren January 28, 2012 at 1:53 pm

Best wishes and stuff.

  (Quote)

Tony Hoffman January 28, 2012 at 1:59 pm

Whenever a commenter says they’re done commenting on a site I never take them seriously, mostly because I’ve seen so many of them come back and subsequently comment again. The same goes for bloggers — some stick to their guns and close things down for good, but others (The Barefoot Bum comes to mind) find that announcements of their moving on are premature.

Here’s to hoping you find yourself getting dragged back in. If not, know that your efforts here we’re much appreciated, and enjoyed.

Cheers.

  (Quote)

piero January 28, 2012 at 2:42 pm

Thanks for everything. It’s just too much to list, but I’ve discovered wonderful stuff through your posts and references.

Where is cl, by the way? S/he surely could send you a farewell note: after all, this has been his/her home for years…

  (Quote)

John Danaher January 28, 2012 at 2:58 pm

Thanks for everything Luke. CSA really did inspire me to start my own blog a couple of years back so I owe you that.

Here’s to the future….

  (Quote)

John Danaher January 28, 2012 at 2:59 pm

Oh and I also owe you for helping increase traffic to my blog, and providing me with a forum for some of my own posts. Thanks.

  (Quote)

Garren January 28, 2012 at 3:35 pm

Ditto on the inspiration-to-blog and traffic points, John. Here’s a screenshot to show the Muehlhauser effect:

http://dl.dropbox.com/u/3098594/Blog%20Files/hits.png

  (Quote)

Adito January 28, 2012 at 4:24 pm

Thanks for keeping it up as long as you did. You played a large part in moving me from atheist-on-a-rampage to a more mature way of reflecting on how the world is.

Good luck on your future projects.

  (Quote)

Ralph January 28, 2012 at 5:04 pm

Luke,

Thank you so much for the time and effort you have spent maintaining this site. It has proved invaluable in my learning and continuous to be a great resource for my continuing exploration. I hope you can keep the site up even as you will close the comments. More power to you and good luck on your endeavors. I hope to be able to meet you one day. Again, thanks.

  (Quote)

Henry January 28, 2012 at 5:28 pm

Luke — You did a fine job. Time to move on. Good luck with the new stuff. Sounds interesting.

  (Quote)

Neil January 28, 2012 at 5:28 pm

I regret I only found this site the other day. There is a lot to read and consider. I do hope an archive remains accessible somewhere.

  (Quote)

Zeb January 28, 2012 at 6:06 pm

Coincidentally I had just decided while on retreat at a Trappist monastery to unsubscribe from the blog and comments. I’ve come to feel the same way Luke does about philosophy of religion; that after so much investigation of the arguments a time comes when one needs to get on with living out the implications of the beliefs one has landed on. CSA has taught me a lot, widened my horizons, and drastically narrowed the number of claims I would confidently make about God, the universe, and everything. And I have gained a lot more respect for differing view points and for skepticism in paticular. But I never did find good reason to doubt the existense of God or accept Luke’s scientism. My greatest disappointment with the site is that Luke never took the many oppurtunities provided by CPBD guests and commentors to fully explain and justify his “science works” justification for his epistemology. Not that Luke owed us an explanation, but I have just remained genuinely curious how and why an intelligent and critical person would stand so firmly on that particular basis for all his beliefs. That one unsatisfied desire aside, I’m so grateful for all Luke provided here, most especially the forum for discussion in the comments. I don’t think there is anything else like it online in the way it combined accesibility, serious philosophy, fun kindness and respect. While it is time for me to move on anyway, I’m sorry this won’t be here for other seekers of all stripes to work through the issues. For me it’s on to more contemplative prayer and working on bringing the distibutivist economic ideals to life as a lay Catholic. Good luck Luke and all the regulars in pursuing truth, beauty, and goodness as best you can and in gathering others to join you in your worthy efforts.

  (Quote)

Marcus January 28, 2012 at 8:05 pm

Luke, you’ve put out a ton of great work through this site and connected projects. It was a great help to me as I transitioned from theism to atheism. Thank you so much.

Love “Facing the Intelligence Explosion,” by the way. Good luck with all your future projects.

  (Quote)

MarkD January 28, 2012 at 10:34 pm

Very much enjoyed CSA! Having never been anything but an atheist for my entire (remembered) life, I’ve also never been drawn to the, eh, more simplistic and argumentative versions of atheist rhetoric in the blogosphere. I’ve kept coming back to CSA, however, and have enjoyed the quality of both the posts and the ripostes to them.

I’m also thrilled that you have had the opportunity to learn about some of the most profound recent developments in cognitive science! Though I’m somewhat skeptical about the long-term value of SI/LW, I am not at all skeptical about what you have learned and that it will continue to impact you in your intellectual life.

  (Quote)

slappy January 29, 2012 at 1:20 am

When this site was at its peak and all of the wonderfully awesome episodes of CPBD were being cranked out like every other week, I wondered to myself how much longer could this possibly go on. It turns out it was this long.

If post-explosion robots someday somehow begin to wonder why they are so damn good and well-behaved, I hope they are able to determine your role in the process and all the sacrifices you made for them. If they do, they’ll have one leg up on us… if they even have legs that is.

  (Quote)

AndrewR January 29, 2012 at 1:32 am

I’ll add my thanks for CSA to everyone else’s Luke. The theism/atheism debate is not endlessly fascinating after all :)

  (Quote)

PDH January 29, 2012 at 5:50 am

This site has genuinely changed my life for the better. It was as hard on the excesses of atheists as it was on those of theists, without collapsing into wishy washy accomodationism. It introduced me to things I wouldn’t otherwise have discovered and it forced me to change my mind on a whole host of issues. Thanks for everything.

I’d also like to thank those posters – especially theist posters – who challenged my views on a number of issues and helped me to better understand their positions. There were some really clever people like Zeb, ayer, Rufus etc. who made for lively, provocative and useful discussions/rows.

  (Quote)

Ajay January 29, 2012 at 7:31 am

Thanks for all of your amazing work Luke! I have loved the site for a very long time now. I sensed that the end was near over the past few months. Rest assured that you have changed the minds of many people, and you should feel very proud of yourself. All the best in your future endeavours!

  (Quote)

Mike Gantt January 29, 2012 at 8:44 am

Luke,

Thanks for all the content you provided and organized on this site. I appreciate also your personal approach where I’ve been able to detect it, which has seemed all too unique in its respect for those with whom you disagree.

There is a baby worth preserving in the bathwater of Christianity that you have rejected. Christ can be known apart from the church; in fact, He can only be known apart from the church. Even though everyone is going to heaven, I still hope you will find Him – or return to Him, as the case maybe – on this side of death.

Thanks again, Luke, and may God bless you.

  (Quote)

cl January 29, 2012 at 10:04 am

piero,

Where is cl, by the way? S/he surely could send you a farewell note: after all, this has been his/her home for years…

LOL! I’m here. I’m actually taken aback. I feel like a good friend just died. I’ll return soon with farewell note, that’s for sure… even though CSA was kinda dead for a while we had those times where it would just spark back up full flare and I always took something from it. Like last week. That shows me people are still very much interested in discussing (a)theism.

Yes, live out your beliefs for sure, but the conversation must go on.

  (Quote)

Matt S. January 29, 2012 at 11:28 am

Luke,

I’ve never commented before, but I hope you read this. You had an enormous influence on my views on religion back when this blog was fully active. I didn’t so much agree with your thoughts as I admired and mirrored your approach: an honest effort to be respectful, careful, and original. I’ve watched your intellectual and moral development with great interest; in a way, you were my companion in the search for truth. I’ve followed this blog for years, and I can’t begin to tell you how much it has meant to me.

I think that you’re an extraordinary person, and I wish you nothing but the best.

Thank you, for everything.

Peace.

  (Quote)

antiplastic January 29, 2012 at 11:44 am

No! Now my questions will never be answered in future editions of the FAQ!

Thanks most of all for maintaining the Debates page; it’s impossible to count the hours of commuting and housecleaning made tolerable listening by to them (and, to be honest, usually fast-forwarding 25 minutes past the apologists’ opening statements because seriously who needs that kind of aggravation?)

I stand by everything I’ve said about the corrosive effects of the fundamentalist mindset and the moral hazard of basing one’s life around the personalities of a Thiel or a Yudkowsky (or a Fyfe). Remember, no matter what you hear in that echo chamber, disagreement is not synonymous with being a traitorous Judas to Rationality or whatever they calling it to shout down dissent.

I can’t stress enough the importance of maintaining an independent social support network comprising people your own age whose interests intersect with yours but don’t necessarily overlap. Self-sealing cults make it infinitely harder to leave, by injunctions like “sell all you have, take up your cross, and follow me” and “if anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters–yes, even his own life–he cannot be my disciple.”

Always have an escape hatch. Being intellectually, emotionally, and financially dependent on a small group of like-minded ideologues means taking your leave will be that much more painful when you want out. You could still be the next Sam Harris or the next Michael Shermer. I’d hate to see you be the next Nathaniel Branden.

  (Quote)

Mike Gantt January 29, 2012 at 12:35 pm

antiplastic,

Given your militant atheism and my commitment to Jesus Christ, we obviously have reason to see many things differently. However, on the point of your comment above I agree with you, practically speaking, completely.

I have noticed that there is often a pattern associated with evangelical Christians who “deconvert.” And that is that they take their chosen social dynamics with them intact when they embrace atheism or agnosticism (although it’s much harder these days to find an agnostic support group than an atheist support group). Thus the “de-converts” either find a new “pastor” (or in a case like John Loftus or Bart Ehrman, become a new one), join the “choir,” start giving to “the collection plate,” and “evangelize” others to join this group that is proclaiming “truth.”

The people who follow this pattern are not trading faith for reason; they’re merely trading one social group for another. The “truth” is secondary in such an environment; what’s essential is an affirming group to give oneself identity and meaning.

I comment on both atheist and Christian websites, and when it comes to their respective social behavior, I can’t tell the difference. Both operate according to rigid unwritten protocols, groupthink, defense mechanisms, self-preservation, squelching of anything that doesn’t toe the party line, etc. Your advice to Luke – apart from the atheism, of course – is well taken. If he heeds your warning, he can protect himself from a lot of hurt and wasted motion.

By the way, though it’s much less important, I also agree with you about the particular value of the debate indices that Luke provided.

You prove that just because a person is wrong about Jesus Christ doesn’t mean he’s wrong about everything.

  (Quote)

Dan Stenning January 29, 2012 at 6:04 pm

Thanks for all your hard work on this blog and your CFTPBT podcasts.

I learned so much from them. Its a shame we never got to see you in debate mode but hey
maybe some time later. Like you its probably good to move on to fresher pastures.

  (Quote)

ShadowHill January 29, 2012 at 6:04 pm

Darn, this was the finest source of philosophy of religion out there for a long time. I truly loved the heck out of the philosophy podcasts. Thanks for it all Luke.

  (Quote)

Howard January 29, 2012 at 6:08 pm

Sorry to see you go, Luke. Although I seldom commented here, I have read this blog for over a year. If you are ever in the DFW area on the 3rd Sunday of the month, you might want to drop by a meeting of the Fellowship of Freethought Dallas — actually, we’d love to feature you as a speaker.

  (Quote)

Reidish January 29, 2012 at 6:25 pm

Luke,

CSA represents a top-notch body of work in the atheist blogosphere. Thanks for your contributions, and best of luck in future endeavors.

R

  (Quote)

Peter January 29, 2012 at 8:41 pm

From the bottom of my heart, thank you.

This blog, and its accessible treatment of philosophy of religion, radically changed my life for the better. It’s absolutely the very apex of the atheist blogosphere.

I wish you all the best.

  (Quote)

joseph January 29, 2012 at 9:42 pm

Shame,
I was genuinely interested in seeing what insights programming a friendly AI would have with regards to ethics…
Thankyou for providing a nice forum, compiling all those debates, being a source of ideas and information.
Thanks to everyone else here if I don’t hear from you again.

  (Quote)

Antybu86 January 29, 2012 at 10:51 pm

I always loved this website. Good luck with all your future endeavors.

  (Quote)

MarkD January 30, 2012 at 1:05 am

I threw this together over the weekend and may try to carry forward with some of the spirited discussion of CSA, though from a slightly more technical perspective. Contributors/dissenters are welcome:

Ex Uno Plura

  (Quote)

Gary January 30, 2012 at 1:06 am

Thanks for everything Luke.

My commute is so much more tolerable with CPBD.

All the best for the future

  (Quote)

mpg January 30, 2012 at 2:59 am

Thanks for everything Luke. I’ve appreciated the raised level of discussion and the links to new and interesting bloggers, theist and atheist both.

Good luck with your next ventures.

  (Quote)

Taranu January 30, 2012 at 3:43 am

Thank you Luke! It’s been a great ride. I will continue to read your posts on Facing the Intelligence Explosion and I look forward to WorldviewNaturalism.com
You played an important role in the last few years of my life and I hope you will achieve all your goals.

Best wishes,
Taranu

  (Quote)

Larkus January 30, 2012 at 5:49 am

Thanks for all the work, Luke.

I wish you all the best.

I hope you find the time (and money) to finish your degree.

  (Quote)

Zeb January 30, 2012 at 6:53 am

By the way, Feser has been publishing some good posts about scientism here and in his ongoing take down of Rosenbergs book defending scientism beginning here

  (Quote)

TK January 30, 2012 at 7:01 am

Thanks, Luke, for getting me back into philosophy and (ultimately) being the catalyst that encouraged me to do Ph.D. work in theoretical biology. If I ever achieve my goal of debating Bill Craig live, I’ll acknowledge you publicly.

  (Quote)

Rufus/Daniel January 30, 2012 at 8:25 am

Luke,

Thanks for your blog. I appreciate your quest to work out a consistent world-view. I never came around to your views, but you offered some interesting challenges and you opened me up to explore some new topics. The debates page remains the best archive on the web. I hope your intellectual curiosity brings you back to reconsider the big questions.

I also want to say that I really enjoyed interacting with many of the people who commented on this blog. Perhaps I will see you guys on other blogs and forums.

Best,

Daniel

P.S. cl, some of us out here miss your blog. Will you be bringing it back? I’d still like to collaborate with you on some projects/debates!

  (Quote)

Justgreatthanks January 30, 2012 at 8:49 am

Luke,

Thanks for all your work here. I was an atheist before I discovered this blog, but I am now a much better informed and educated atheist because of it. In reality, since you introduced me to the God and naturalism debate as it occurs in higher levels of philosophy, you actually have done more to challenge my worldview than even the theist blogs I frequent. And I like to think I have a much more robust and intellectually defensible stance because as a result.

Good luck with all of your future endeavours, and here’s hoping you have many opportunities to use your rare talent of making complex concepts accessible to curious laypeople.

Justgreatthanks

  (Quote)

Robert January 30, 2012 at 10:48 am

Thanks for all the great content. This has been my favorite blog for a long time.

  (Quote)

Ben January 30, 2012 at 11:52 am

Luke

I’ve hardly posted here, but I would like to say a big thank you. I was quite an angry atheist and reading your blog has helped me realise the silliness of my views and my anger, and pushed me to adopt a different approach. I can confidently say I am a better person for discovering this blog. Thank you.

  (Quote)

Tudor January 30, 2012 at 2:19 pm

This was the best blog I ever followed. Thanks for the information.
From Romania.

  (Quote)

DaVead January 30, 2012 at 4:23 pm

Good luck with the pre-emptive war against the nanobots, Luke. It was fun while it lasted.

  (Quote)

nige January 30, 2012 at 7:50 pm

Unfortunately for me, I discovered your site towards the end of your regular run of CPBD, so did not experience the pleasure of eagerly anticipating each interview in real time. However, I have spent many fascinating and highly informative hours listening to the back catalogue, and reading your blog too. Easily the most intellectually rigorous atheist blog and podcast on the net, and consistently so. I truly morn their passing, though I do implore you not to waste existing material and to edit and post any unpublished interviews that you may have, even if on another site.

Thanks for all your efforts Luke, and all the best for your current projects.

  (Quote)

Citizen Ghost January 30, 2012 at 8:56 pm

I first heard of “Common Sense Atheism” a few years ago from various online discussions involving theists and Christian apologists who kept repeating a quote from a “leading atheist blogger.” The quote of course concerned the debate between William Lane Craig and Christopher Hitchens and your conclusion that “Craig spanked Hitchens like a foolish child.”

I wondered: Who is this blogger? And was he watching some other debate? So poor was Craig’s debate performance, I thought – so obvious was his High School Debate Team sophistry, that I actually felt sorry for him. I doubted that this would be a worthwhile blog. I was skeptical partly because of the high regard you seemed to have for the overrated William Lane Craig, But also because the accolades seemed to be coming from theists who were surely eager to annoint you a “leading” atheist blogger precisely because of your praise for their champion.

Well I’m pleased to say that I was dead wrong. Not about Craig, but about the worthwhileness of your blog. It has been thoughtful, throrough, interesting, well-researched, honest and, above all, very well written. Even as you moved on from the trenches of debates about God to the deeper issues of philosophy, it’s been a fascinating journey.

Thanks for sharing your very fine blog. Good luck in all of your endeavors.

  (Quote)

Ronnie January 31, 2012 at 4:51 am

Thank you for all you’ve done with this blog, Luke. I wish you happy trails and good health.

  (Quote)

Jesse Dart January 31, 2012 at 7:09 am

As an avid reader of the blog and listerner of the various podcasts, I am saddened by the news. Thanks for all of your hard work and high quality content!

  (Quote)

el ninio January 31, 2012 at 12:38 pm

Thank you Luke. Thank you for all the wonderful posts. I am anxious to see what you have in stored for us at worldviewnaturalism.com

I salute you, but this is not goodbye.

  (Quote)

Noah January 31, 2012 at 5:43 pm

I always appreciated your genuinely honest and reasonable approach to theism vs atheism debate from an atheistic perspective, we non-new-atheists seem to be so difficult to come by on the internet. I’ll still consider this a premier philosophy of religion resource on the internet years after you close it up. CPBD is probably the best philosophy of religion (if not philosophy as a whole) podcast on the web (and I can’t help but hope that you put up any episodes you’ve yet to edit). The content on this site runs deep, and I’ll still be exploring it all for quite some time. Best wishes in your new areas of study, though I strongly suspect that you might come to share Mark Vuletic’s sentiments about quitting philosophy of religion, “But philosophy of religion is like potato chips—no matter how sick to the stomach you feel right now, and no matter how bad you know the stuff is for you, soon enough you will once again find yourself snacking away. ”

  (Quote)

piero January 31, 2012 at 6:26 pm

piero,

LOL! I’m here. I’m actually taken aback. I feel like a good friend just died. I’ll return soon with farewell note, that’s for sure… even though CSA was kinda dead for a while we had those times where it would just spark back up full flare and I always took something from it. Like last week. That shows me people are still very much interested in discussing (a)theism.

Yes, live out your beliefs for sure, but the conversation must go on.

Hi, cl. Good to see you around. We disagree on almost everything, but I will miss you anyway.
By the way, are you male or female? I never found out.
A hug.

  (Quote)

Yair January 31, 2012 at 6:27 pm

It’s been a fun, and often informative, ride. Thanks for all your efforts, and good luck with the rest of your life…

Yair

  (Quote)

Mastema January 31, 2012 at 6:28 pm

Even though you’re “closing the doors,” I’m glad the site will be up as an archive. You should be proud of what you have accomplished here. Your site will continue to be a source of information, as well as the gold standard of what an atheist blog should be.

Best of luck.

  (Quote)

Leon January 31, 2012 at 11:32 pm

Fantastic stuff Luke, thanks so much for all your work over the years. I’m still skeptical of the LessWrong/Singularity/Cyronics memeplex but am super-interested in (meta)ethics and philosophy of probability, so I’ll still be reading your stuff around the interwebs.

Thank you!

  (Quote)

paul February 1, 2012 at 7:34 am

thanks Luke! your blog posts and both podcasts have had a strong (and often useful) impact on the way i think about the world. I appreciate your hard work and willingness to share your knowledge!

here is a link to keep up on all your work.
http://bit.ly/wwMul0

  (Quote)

Thrasymachus February 1, 2012 at 1:57 pm

Thanks for having me. All the best for the future.

  (Quote)

Usman Sharif February 1, 2012 at 2:26 pm

Thank you Luke for such a wonderful Journey. you have been a great inspiration to me. you are the reason i got interested in Analytic Philosophy. i learned a lot from your posts. i have still not read all of your post. so i read 1 post in archive per day pretending its a new post :P

Best of your for your current and future projects :)

  (Quote)

OriginoftheWhores February 1, 2012 at 2:36 pm

Yep, this blog has changed my life too in many ways. Sad to see it close.

  (Quote)

exapologist February 1, 2012 at 3:40 pm

Congratulations on running an excellent blog and podcast. It’s sad to see it go. Best of luck on your new endeavors, my friend.

~EA

  (Quote)

Stephen R. Diamond February 1, 2012 at 3:51 pm

Yudkowskism isn’t, I don’t think, a cult; a more accurate characterization is that its a sect. Sects are useful. Although their viewpoints are narrow, they can stimulate discourse. In my case, I was incited to write about morality – http://tinyurl.com/7advgq5

What’s crucial is to separate your opinions from your beliefs — see http://tinyurl.com/77ob2m3

I’m confident Luke is capable of making that distinction.

  (Quote)

Leo February 1, 2012 at 5:59 pm

Thanks for everything Luke, you made a great contribution with this blog and the podcast. Success in your other interests.

  (Quote)

Alec February 1, 2012 at 9:00 pm

Hey Luke,
I just want to say thanks for everything you’ve done here with this blog. I was introduced to Common Sense Atheism by a friend when I was going through my first real doubts, and I feel that it was largely because of your work that I was finally able to accept, and even embrace atheism, something that I never would have thought possible before then. I sincerely owe you for helping me see the flaws in my old Catholic worldview, and I continue to be a huge fan of your work at lesswrong and elsewhere. Best of luck in all that you do!

-Alec

  (Quote)

bossmanham February 2, 2012 at 6:11 am

Well, there was a time when interesting things were discussed here, but Luke’s many man crushes have led him to really embrace a joke. He’s watched I Robot maybe one too many times. It’s too bad. Intellectual honesty and integrity have gone and now we just have blind allegiance to some other guy out there.

It was fun while it lasted, Luke.

  (Quote)

Rhology February 2, 2012 at 6:28 am

Drat, now Luke won’t be making new posts on which he can delete my dissenting comments.

My heart is broken for you, Luke, but I appreciate your useless work in making sure spontaneous generation doesn’t happen a 2nd time, this time among the ruthless machines.

They’re amoral monsters, you know.

  (Quote)

The LORD February 2, 2012 at 9:43 am

Drat, now Luke won’t be making new posts on which he can delete my dissenting comments.
My heart is broken for you, Luke, but I appreciate your useless work in making sure spontaneous generation doesn’t happen a 2nd time, this time among the ruthless machines.
They’re amoral monsters, you know.

Sinner,

Remember what I said in 1 Corinthians 13:2?
“And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.”

Where is the love, my fallen servant?

How will people know that you are one of mine if you have not love, Rhology?

Repent and show love.

The LORD has spoken.

  (Quote)

ildi February 2, 2012 at 10:55 am

Best of luck in your future ventures, Luke; it’s been quite the learning experience following this blog, and I’ll miss it.

I hate change… (sniff)

  (Quote)

Bebok February 3, 2012 at 6:00 am

I’ve learned an awful lot from this blog. Thanks and all the best for the future.

  (Quote)

Polymeron February 3, 2012 at 9:23 am

I find that this website has greatly enriched my life over the past few years; both Luke’s insightful posts and projects, which introduced me to new concepts and arguments, and the discussions in the comments, which were some of the most stimulating conversation I’ve found on the Internet.

This site will be missed. But I’ll be looking at your other work from time to time :)

  (Quote)

Alex February 3, 2012 at 10:34 am

Thank you Luke, you will be missed. This blog changed my worldview and prevented me from turning into yet another angry dogmatic atheist (the kind that frequent blogs that shall remain nameless). I doubt that any other blog on religion will reach the level of sophistication of this one. I will especially remember the many epic comment threads filled with excellent arguments from all sides. I must admit that I am sad that mapping the Kalam will never be completed.

It was a fun romp through the philosophy of religion while it lasted and I wish you the best.

  (Quote)

Wells Fargo Must Die February 3, 2012 at 10:52 am

Good luck. This blog was a true accomplishment and something you can be proud of for the rest of your days. For an anonymous clueless college kid to wade into the philosophical waters and enlighten and entertain so many worldwide with your start-up individual blog is quite remarkable.

  (Quote)

RA February 3, 2012 at 11:08 am

Now that the site is closed, I think you ought to change the subtitle back to the original. Just an opinion.

  (Quote)

cindy February 3, 2012 at 12:08 pm

Now that the site is closed, I think you ought to change the subtitle back to the original. Just an opinion.

Opinion rejected.

Luke will still be working on the harder problems. It isn’t as if he gave up on them he is just answering them on different sites.

  (Quote)

T. Joyner Drolsum February 3, 2012 at 7:30 pm

Those individuals visiting this site may be interested in my recently published book, Unholy Writ: An Infidel’s Critique of the Bible. The book represents an attempt at an extensive and penetrating analysis of the Bible from the point of view of a skeptic. The inescapable conclusion derived from that inquiry was that, despite the claims contained therein (e.g., 2 Tim. 3:16-17), Holy Writ is not an adequate road map for the soul; and that the moral terra incognita in which we stumble from cradle to grave is better navigated by using the compass of reason which, with regards to metaphysical questions, will direct us away from the blind alley of theism toward the enlightened path of Atheism/Agnosticism. In my book, these iconoclastic assertions concerning the Bible and matters relating to it are supported by the considered opinions of many acclaimed thinkers from Aristotle to Zeno, from pre-Socratic philosophers to 21st century cosmologists. For anyone interested more information is available at http://www.unholywrit.com.

  (Quote)

Mo February 3, 2012 at 7:44 pm

What I can say. This was a great site and the first atheist blogs I came across. It’s been a great ride Luke. Maybe Odin will open the gates and I’ll see you in Valhalla……….or not.

  (Quote)

Stephen R. Diamond February 3, 2012 at 9:11 pm

One loss when this site closes will be a venue for criticizing Less Wrong. The karma cult marginalizes criticisms posted on that site. If you want to know LW’s direction (particularly re atheism), consider this recent post, which got 31 upvotes—that’s a HUGE number for a mere comment. Here’s the whole comment, so I’m not suspected of quoting out of context; note well the point concerning atheism:
START QUOTE (http://tinyurl.com/7zdc3pu)
>In response to I’ve had it with those dark rumours about our culture rigorously suppressing opinions
knb26 January 2012 12:51:15AM* 31 points[-]
>Let’s do the impossible and think the unthinkable! I must know what those secrets are, no matter how much sleep and comfort I might lose.

*Smart people often think social institutions are basically arbitrary and that they can engineer better ways using their mighty brains. Because these institutions aren’t actually arbitrary, their tinkering is generally harmful and sometimes causes social dysfunction, suffering, and death on a massive scale. Less Wrong is unusually bad in this regard, and that is a serious indictment of “rationality” as practiced by LessWrongers.
*A case of this especially relevant to Less Wrong is “Evangelical Polyamory”.
*Atheists assume that self-identified atheists are representative of non-religious people and use flattering data about self-identified atheists to draw (likely) false conclusions about the world being better without religion. The expected value of arguing for atheism is small and quite possibly negative.
*Ceteris paribus dictatorships work better than democracies.
*Nerd culture is increasingly hyper-permissive and basically juvenile and stultifying. *Nerds were better off when they had to struggle to meet society’s expectations for normal behavior.
I would also like to endorse GLaDOS’s excellent list.
END QUOTE

It begins to look to me—and not just based on the quote, which is but a stark example of a trend—that Luke’s withdrawal from this venue is responsive to the LW “party line,” which is moving sharply to the political right (“dictatorships are better than democracy”) and against vocal atheism (e.g., “the expected value of arguing for atheism is … quite possibly negative”).

Relevant to recent discussions, the moralistic vehicle of this trend is a utilitarianism run amok precisely because it takes itself completely seriously. (What’s important is the sum of satisfied desires, its bearers being artificial intelligences whose satisfied desires add up to an immensity, although each endures the most miserable existence.

My blog’s “morality series” (http://preview.tinyurl.com/7advgq5) is open to all comments concerning atheistic ethics.

  (Quote)

Keith J. February 4, 2012 at 4:59 am

Awesome ride Luke. You’ve definitely given me lots to contemplate!

  (Quote)

cl February 4, 2012 at 11:58 am

Well, one thing I was going to say was, “Thanks, Luke, for not being like most of the other atheist bloggers who censor / ban others and delete dissenting comments,” but then I saw Rhology’s remarks above. Oh well. :)

So, instead, I’ll say this: thanks Luke creating an awesome archive of Phil. Religion stuff. Disagree as we may have on A, B or C, I really enjoyed watching your thinking and writing mature. You always struck me as a funny, friendly guy who enjoys life and I wish you the best. For me at least, it was never personal, not even in our darkest hours. Thanks.

I really do feel that you should leave comments open so people can continue the many awesome discussions that took place here. All you’d have to do is put up the “recent comments” widget so we could keep track. Please consider it. After all, since there’s virtually no cost or loss to you, it seems to me that a person with good desires would allow commenting to continue. Or, to put it another way, allowing commenting to continue would definitely fulfill more desires than it thwarts. So, if you really believe in desirism, you seem obligated, buck-o!

Nonetheless, thanks again, no hard feelings even when you stooped to name-calling, and I really do wish you the best.

piero,

By the way, are you male or female? I never found out.

That’s my little secret! My gender anonymity is actually a filter to easily detect people who make rash assumptions. Most people do. I like that you still don’t.

Hope to see you around, piero. A hug back.

Rufus,

cl, some of us out here miss your blog. Will you be bringing it back? I’d still like to collaborate with you on some projects/debates!

Hey thanks! Who would’ve thought? Yes, I’ve been meaning to bring it back for a while, but been busy. Now, I’ve noticed people started finding it, so the fire under me arse is really lit. I’m hoping to be back fully up and running with an official relaunch announcement on Monday. I think you’ll like it and I’m still very much interested in having you judge and/or participate in the new “debates” section. In fact, I just added some new challenges: Luke Muehlhauser on his claim that value monism is false, Ebonmuse on his claim there is no evidence for the soul, and John Danaher on whether or not free will necessarily entails at least one instance of moral evil in heaven. I also just heard from Peter Hurford and we’ve confirmed dates and formats for our first debate. Things are picking up!

Everyone is welcomed:

http://www.thewarfareismental.net/b/

In case the above link gets held or doesn’t work:

www [dot] thewarfareismental [dot] net [slash] b

Thank you all!

  (Quote)

Stephen R. Diamond February 4, 2012 at 12:38 pm

I really do feel that you should leave comments open so people can continue the many awesome discussions that took place here.

There are defensible reasons for closing comments: there’s a (weak) presumption in conversation that silence connotes agreement, and Luke could reasonably want to shed any residual duty to respond to any outrageous comments, not to speak of removing spam. But Luke ought to announce a _definite_ closing date because leaving it open imposes coordination costs on those who want to continue the discussion.

  (Quote)

Stephen R. Diamond February 4, 2012 at 3:20 pm

Well, one thing I was going to say was, “Thanks, Luke, for not being like most of the other atheist bloggers who censor / ban others and delete dissenting comments,” but then I saw Rhology’s remarks above. Oh well. :)

A good example of the presumption of agreement and admission of truth. Lacking a response from Luke, we must ordinarily assume the accusation of comment deletion is true. It’s actually worse if Luke hasn’t announced the policy or the fact. When a blogger deletes posting behind the backs of readers, it’s an Offense against Rationality: readers are effectively misled about the range of comments. This might be enough to be a show-closer for me; I think it might well be unprincipled to comment an a blog that creates this kind of environment. (I haven’t completely thought through the applicable ethics.)

[This may highlight the question, "What is morality for?" — http://juridicalcoherence.blogspot.com/2012/01/142-what-is-morality-for.html
and perhaps the difference between the ethics comporting with atheism and those dictated by Christianity.
On my blog, I pledge to delete NO comments — I delete only beyond-any-reasonable-doubt spam.]

  (Quote)

Sally February 4, 2012 at 3:42 pm

When a blogger deletes posting behind the backs of readers, it’s an Offense against Rationality:

Deleting posts that contain threats, racism, insults towards one’s family and mother, etc. is an “Offense against Rationality?”

Really?

More like it is called having standards, little guy.

  (Quote)

Sally February 4, 2012 at 3:44 pm

Nonetheless, thanks again, no hard feelings even when you stooped to name-calling,

LOL – nice way to cap your faux feud with one last jab.

  (Quote)

Stephen R. Diamond February 4, 2012 at 4:12 pm

Deleting posts that contain threats, racism, insults towards one’s family and mother, etc. is an “Offense against Rationality?”

Really?

More like it is called having standards, little guy.

“Behind the readers’ backs” is crucial here. Care to explain how failing to acknowledge the policy exhibits “standards”? What it exhibits is cowardice.

Should such posts be deleted *with* acknowledgement? Whether _that_ exhibits “standards” depends on what the blogger’s standards happen to. There are in fact different ways to be moral. (See “Why do what you ‘ought’?—A habit theory of explicit morality — http://tinyurl.com/7dcbt7y )

My standards are that unfettered discussion is more important than avoiding insult. Others’ ethical standards may vary, although _yours_ are beyond the pale. (Your insult in this post shows you not only lack respect for reasonable discussion but are to boot a hypocrite who advocates deleting insults, yet who posts insults that the _recipient_ is powerless to delete.)

  (Quote)

Stephen R. Diamond February 4, 2012 at 4:28 pm

LOL – nice way to cap your faux feud with one last jab.

I’d prefer, rather than a mere jab, a knockout punch—accomplished by linking to the name-calling. Assuming, that is, that the characterization is warranted.

  (Quote)

Rorschach February 4, 2012 at 5:41 pm

“Behind the readers’ backs” is crucial here. Care to explain how failing to acknowledge the policy exhibits “standards”? What it exhibits is cowardice.”

We are sorry that you dont get that racism, name calling, insults to family and etc.. are tacitly prohibited. Every polite people realizes that.

  (Quote)

Stephen R. Diamond February 4, 2012 at 6:07 pm

We are sorry that you dont get that racism, name calling, insults to family and etc.. are tacitly prohibited. Every polite people realizes that.

You’re another hypocrite. You *rudely* call me impolite—although I initiate no exchanges of insults—yet you condemn name calling and extol politeness. You’re a regular Newt Gingrich.

There’s no consensus that the flaws you mention should _disqualify_ a post. To think they do is to elevate politeness to an infinite degree, so that impoliteness automatically outweighs any virtues the posting may possess. Rational people may be polite, but politeness isn’t for most people the _highest _virtue. And reasonable readers don’t trust a moderator to decide for them whether an ideological opponent has _really_ committed these sins.

And if these criteria were universally excepted, it would be impossible to account for the fact that so many blogs that do screen for these flaws announce the fact prominently.

  (Quote)

Leave a Comment