My Plans for Common Sense Atheism (feedback needed)

by Luke Muehlhauser on June 23, 2009 in News


Dear readers,

I have grand plans for Common Sense Atheism.

I have already begun publishing my unprecedented project to map the Kalam Cosmological Argument. But I need to race through my Intro to Logic course to supplement it.

I have also begun drafting the first scholarly defense of desire utilitarianism, but I need to race through my Intro to Ethics course to supplement that project.

I’m blogging my way through Richard Carrier’s Sense and Goodness Without God and also The Blackwell Companion to Natural Theology (see the bottom of this page), and I’ve already drafted posts blogging my way through other books:

I also have an upcoming series that goes on the offensive against theism, as well as dozens of individual posts already drafted.

I’ve also had many requests to write posts about:

  • basic epistemology
  • Plantinga’s Evolutionary Argument Against Naturalism
  • the Euthyphro dilemma
  • the problem of evil
  • and other topics

So I already have more to write and publish than I could accomplish in a whole year. But I’d like to know, from you…

  • …what have you enjoyed most so far on Common Sense Atheism?
  • …what would you like to see less of?
  • …which of my plans and projects are you most excited about?
  • …what would you most like me to cover, that hasn’t been planned or suggested already?

Finally, you may have noticed that I have posted about twice as often in June as in past months. I think I’ll return to the previous rate, as discussions seem to get cut short when I post too many articles too quickly. But let me know what you think.

Previous post:

Next post:

{ 24 comments… read them below or add one }

Dace June 23, 2009 at 9:30 pm

Hey Luke,
I’ve not much to request, since you cover so much already . I particularly like the logic series (I like to remind myself of this stuff from time to time),  and I’m looking forward to the DU defense.  But one thing you could cover that’d be useful is probability and Baye’s theorem. Perhaps you’ll do that with the EEAN.
But I’ll take the opportunity to say:  I think you do a great job with the blog, keep it up! :)


Steven Carr June 23, 2009 at 9:51 pm

It’s all good.


Chuck June 23, 2009 at 11:07 pm

I would like to see Desire Utilitarianism applied to various real-world scenarios.
By the way, I continue to like the depth. Mark Linville Pt. 1 was a real pleasure to read.


Ryan June 23, 2009 at 11:49 pm

I like the intellectual resources that this blog provides, at least in terms of  arguments and ideas and the assessments of arguments and ideas. Your extensive lists aren’t bad either.
Generally, I would keep the mix about the same though. The reason being that unless some feature is hated, there is likely more risk of damaging a good thing than eliminating a bad thing.
This is certainly one of my favorite atheist/counter-apologetics blogs though, so good work!


Haecceitas June 24, 2009 at 12:48 am

From my perspective, the posts that give a genuinely unique perspective on some issue are the most interesting ones. “Intro to ethics” types of posts are less interesting to me, since I’d rather read such materials written by a Ph.D. who has specialized on that subject (thus ensuring depth of knowledge and ability to represent all relevant points of view correctly).  IMO, well-read laymen are more likely to make a valuable contribution by thinking outside the box and avancing a novel view, rather than trying to fairly represent the entirety of relevant literature on some subject in an introductory survey.


Derrida June 24, 2009 at 1:51 am

This is a great blog, and I enjoy all of it. I am, however, particularly in your posts on the Blackwell Companion. I can’t wait to hear the objections and counter-objections to the various arguments. I’m also eagerly anticipating your treatment of the EAAN, and Kreeft and Tacelli’s apologetics handbook.


Silas June 24, 2009 at 2:14 am

I look forward to your defense of DU. Conversations from the Pale Blue Dot is fun. Your mapping of the KCA is also great.
I’m less fond of “Intro to…” posts because it’s really not that interesting… It’s easier to just buy an introductory book.
I like originality. I want to read something and think, “I’ve never thought about it in that way!” or, “Wow, that’s really interesting!” Basically, I want to hear what you think.
I like posts that have a… Captain Beefheart-ian quality. ;)


William June 24, 2009 at 5:04 am


As I have mentioned before I am not an atheist, but I do enjoy your blog. It gets my blood up sometimes, but it always keeps me on my toes philosophically. I wish that I had more time to read more of what you post and the responses from other readers.

At your request I offer the following input to your questions.

. . . what have you enjoyed most so far on Common Sense Atheism?
What I have enjoyed most about your blog is you. That is to say, it is obvious to me that you actually put some mental effort into your posts. I certainly do not agree with a lot of what you write, but your writings force me to think thoroughly about my own position. I also like that fact that unlike other similar blogs, this one doesn’t tend to gravitate to the Evolution vs. ID debate at every turn. Oh, how boring that has become!

. . . what would you like to see less of?
This is difficult to say, because I am new here and there are certainly more posts that I haven’t read that ones that I have read. But I would agree with Silas when he says that he wants to hear more of what you think. I am not much interested in the “Intro to…” posts. I am sure that you do a fine job laying out that information, but it might be better served on an entirely different blog. I come here for something a bit deeper than introductions.

. . . which of my plans and projects are you most excited about?
I am interested in seeing the finished KCA project. And I hope that you will go through Plantinga’s book in the same manner as Carrier’s. It will be interesting to read through that chapter-by-chapter along with you.

. . . what would you most like me to cover, that hasn’t been planned or suggested already?
Nothing comes immediately to mind, but I will get back with you if anything does.

Finally. I could have done without the Lunacy Chart. Comic relief is good. It tends to lighten the atmosphere and keep people amicable. But I would never include it at the expense of my opponent. It only sours the debate. Yes, it tends to create a lot of traffic, but it is rarely the type of traffic that would interest a thinking person. People who otherwise would never respond to a well-presented argument respond with a load of foolishness that clutters any real discussion. Besides, there are plenty of topics that would amuse people on both sides of this debate. (Do you follow politics at all? There is enough foolishness from both sides to make anyone laugh. Well, if it doesn’t make you cry.)

Anyway, that’s my two cents. Keep up the good work.



Scotty B June 24, 2009 at 5:35 am

I have been enjoying the Intro to Ethics and Intro to Logic series. I also like the ‘resources’ you provide (Ethics FAQ, Atheism debates, audiobooks).


lukeprog June 24, 2009 at 6:14 am

Thanks for the feedback, everyone.

So far, about half of you seem to ignore the Intro to… posts, and the other half find them very useful! Of course I’ll finish those series, and those of you who don’t like them can ignore those posts.

Dace, I’ll be covering probabilistic logic and Bayesian reasoning toward the end of my Intro to Logic series. I’ve never seen an interpretation of Jaynes’ work on this written for the layman, so I look forward to writing that part! In the meantime, this is the best online tutorial for Bayes’ Theorem.


Chuck June 24, 2009 at 8:29 am

Having read some of the other comments, I find I agree with what others have been saying about the “Intro to …” courses. Lately, I’ve been skipping over them. More useful from my perspective would be if you were to instead find “Intro to …” books (or the online equivalent) and do Amazon-style book reviews. It would be a great resource for self learners who have no idea what they should buy.


Reginald Selkirk June 24, 2009 at 10:27 am

I am looking forward to the defense of Desire Utilitarianism so we can talk you out of it.


Kip June 24, 2009 at 10:43 am

I’m also looking forward to the defense of Desire Utilitarianism.


Lorkas June 24, 2009 at 10:48 am

Moi aussi.


Penneyworth June 24, 2009 at 1:20 pm

I’m looking forward to your nude pics.


exrelayman June 24, 2009 at 1:43 pm

I would like to see, insofar as you have taken on a bit of book reviewing, reviews of FORGERY IN CHRISTIANITY by Wheless and THE CHRIST BY Remsberg. For 3 reasons: to become aware of any flaws you may catch, to bring some pertinent criticisms not in vogue with the ‘new atheists’ to the attention of theists who visit your blog, and to cast an appreciative light on powerful thinkers of the past. These books are free online at internet infidels I believe.


Jacob June 24, 2009 at 1:59 pm

My strongest personal interest at the moment would be more analysis and counterarguments against the Kalam Cosmological Argument as I feel that it is the only argument for deism that even gets off the ground. I’m having trouble getting an intuitive defense against it so I need to learn more about it.


lukeprog June 24, 2009 at 2:43 pm


I think I actually am nude on YouTube, somewhere. Happy hunting.


lukeprog June 24, 2009 at 2:45 pm


Unfortunately, the evidence has changed quite a bit since both those were written, and I’m not really qualified to comment on the evidence, anyway. I have some understanding of historical method, but I’m certainly no expert on the evidence ITSELF.


Lorkas June 24, 2009 at 5:23 pm

Don’t forget you promised to write about your argument for the existence of the natural world without special pleading.
Even if you don’t get around to researching and posting this, I’d love to see a sketch of it, so that I can evaluate it myself.


lukeprog June 24, 2009 at 8:06 pm

Lorkas: ah, yes. That too.


bitbutter June 25, 2009 at 10:36 pm

“which of my plans and projects are you most excited about?”
Mapping Kalam.


Jeff June 26, 2009 at 12:39 pm

I think I like your honesty the most.  I appreciate you pointing out the many flaws in atheist thinkers and debaters especially.  I think that gives you a lot of credibility and shows you are truly interested in good arguments/debates and are not just an apologist for atheism who thinks our guys always win.
I like the whole DA project and have listened to the podcasts on it a few times and will probably listen a few more times to really get a better understanding of it.
I like the ethics stuff although I find myself wanting to read more than you are posting.  Maybe that is the point?
My biggest question is when do you have the time to do this much work???  :)


Paul June 26, 2009 at 8:23 pm

I am fairly new to Atheism and this site. So far I have really enjoyed the series on Logic and Ethics. I’d like to think of myself as a logical person, (probably why I came to atheism) but I want to learn more about critical thinking and logic, so as to avoid buying into something false again. I enjoy the educational/instructional series, as there is always more for me to learn.


Leave a Comment