John Bullock's Blog

November 26, 2017

So about a year ago, I started making music with a friend (not a euphemism), just for fun. At the time, I was a barely more than a novice guitar player, and I had the voice of a dying cat. I liked writing lyrics and I seem to be able to come up with melodies… even if I couldn’t sing them! But the aforementioned friend, one Andrew Lomas, is a pushy bugger, and insisted none of this was important… yet. Fast forward to now and I would say I am mediocre guitar player who can, with enough of a run up, hold a vocal note.

I’ve also acquired a lot of knowledge about making music in that time.

So now, Andrew and I are working on something we consider legitimate, and I’m excited for that project, but any kind of completion is probably a long way off. In the meantime, I have folders and folders of songs and song ideas and finished demos from my year of learning to be a person who makes music. Obviously not all of these are in anyway worth listening to—perhaps none of them are—but while I’m ready to draw a line under this part of my musical life and move on, I didn’t want to just throw all this work away.

So, to that end, I picked four of my favourite “finished” songs, unceremoniously dumped them on SoundCloud, and called it an EP. Because having an EP is cool. Each of these songs were finished at different stages of this year of learning music stuff, so if some sound a bit more professional than others, that’s why. Or maybe they all sound equally terrible. So, to that end, you can find said “EP” on SoundCloud by clicking right here, or if that’s a bit much, you can just listen to it through the magic of YouTube below.

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Published on November 26, 2017 23:16

March 13, 2017

If you follow me on any of the social medias (if you don’t, how did you find this?) you’ll probably have seen me banging on about the new book I’m writing. The last book I wrote back in 2012—which I self published—sold something like fifty copies which, with little to no advertising and a free version available, is far better than I expected.

But hardly grounds to quit the day job.

Since then I’ve continued writing in the dark and been content with just writing for my own enjoyment. Now, with somewhere in the region of a million words of fiction written that have not yet seen the light of day, I’ve decided to give it another go. This time using Inkshares.

What is the Story?
The Eddie Prophecies by John BullockThe Eddie Prophecies by John Bullock

Tentatively titled The Eddie Prophecies, the story centres around Eddie. Eddie is the subject of an ancient prophecy involving himself and a powerful artifact that one well-meaning guardian of said artifact has taken upon himself to deliver to Eddie.

And now the other guardians are on his tale.

Things get complicated when Eddie’s ex-girlfriend (whom Eddie is very much not over) gets involved. And, reluctantly, the two of them soon come to learn there is far more to the world than they ever imagined.

The tag line I chose was “If Robert Rankin wrote Neverwhere, it might have looked a bit like this,” and that’s as accurate a one line pitch as I could think of. The style of the story is very much in arena of Robert Rankin’s “far fetched fiction,” but the tale itself is involves much inner-city magic of the kind Neil Gaiman weaves in his great novel, Neverwhere.

Of course, I’m not making any claim so grand as to say I’m on their level, but I hope to bring you an enjoyable read nonetheless. I’m certainly enjoying writing it.

If I were to reel off a list of author’s that I’d count as inspiration (including the aforementioned Rankin and Gaiman), they would include the likes of Terry Pratchett, Douglas Adams and, more recently, Yahtzee Croshaw, so you can probably get a feel for the kind of story I hope to produce.

What is Inkshares?

Inkshares is a kind of crowdfunded publishing platform. Users can sign up and follow authors they like and the books those authors are writing. You can receive updates from authors on the progress of their books and leave feedback directly on the story itself as it’s being written.

When the novel is ready to move on to production, the book can start accepting “pre-orders”. This is where the crowdfunding part comes in.

Books that reach a set number of pre-orders are automatically published by Inkshares. Not in a self-publishing sense, but legitimately published. There are tiers of publishing. At the moment, 250 pre-orders qualifies a book for a limited publishing run, whereas 750 pre-orders gets the works, including services such as editing and marketing.

The bit that interests me more, however, is that Inkshares will periodically select stories for publishing based on other factors. Competition winners, popular projects, and so on. For this reason, I would be ever so grateful if anyone interested in the story would sign up and follow it. It’s free, and the more interest the story has, the better.

That’s It

All that’s left for me to say now is thank you for reading this somewhat self-indulgent post. If you have the time please check out the story—which you can find by clicking this link—and if you like it, please consider registering your interest with Inkshares.

It only costs time, and not much of that!

And, of course, tell anyone you think might like it. For the nobody starting out in writing, word of mouth is king.

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Published on March 13, 2017 04:25 • 8 views

November 22, 2016

After watching hours and hours of videos of people making guitars from scratch (Crimson Guitars in particular), I decided to take a crack at making one myself… as you do. I had a garage full of tools, a load of random wood, and an impulsive desire to see if I could make a guitar, so I got to it.

The plan was basically to make a guitar buying as little in the way of tools and materials as possible. This was my first attempt so I expected things to go wrong, but it would be a learning curve at least and maybe I could have another go afterwards with nicer materials and a bit more experience.

That bit about expecting things to go wrong? Yeah, I was right about that bit, but more on that at the end.

I had some rather large beams of some unknown wood in my garage that were left behind by the previous owner of our house. The logic was simple enough; if it’s strong enough to support a ceiling it should be strong enough to make a guitar out of. I had decided to copy the Gibson ES-335 style of guitar, though unlike the hollow body of the 335, mine would be a solid neck-through guitar. “Neck-through” means that a single piece of wood is used down the centre of the guitar, from the base of the body to the headstock. I had recently purchased a Tom DeLonge signature Epiphone ES-333, and was quite taken with the centre stripe;

A photo posted by John Bullock (@beagrie) on Jul 7, 2016 at 9:25am PDT

As such, I harbored a (somewhat optimistic) notion that I could recreate the centre stripe style using the natural colour of the wood. So, I set to work.

The wooden beams were indeed strong, and had I known just how tough the wood was going to be, I might have reconsidered my decision to spend as little money on new tools as possible. Nonetheless, two long evening later I had the rough shape of a neck through guitar (minus the “wings”).

Homemade Guitar Update: It's starting to look like a guitar.

A photo posted by John Bullock (@beagrie) on Aug 29, 2016 at 9:12am PDT

I found a piece of wood suitable for the fretboard on Amazon, made of some unpronounceable material that had “Indian” before it. It was cheap and it said “perfect for guitar fingerboard” in the description, so I went with that.

The next step was to add a truss rod to the neck. The truss rod was another Amazon purchase—actually most of the things I bought were Amazon purchases; that tends to happen when you’re already paying for Amazon Prime—but to fit the truss rod I had to buy a new tool. I didn’t own a router (not the thing that gives you WiFi, the other one) and making a guitar without one was out of the question.

Homemade Guitar Update: Shiny

A photo posted by John Bullock (@beagrie) on Sep 3, 2016 at 8:15am PDT

With the truss rod channel routed and the truss rod in place, I glued the fret board to the neck. This involved a lot of planing of the neck and fretboard to get the surfaces as smooth as possible, before smearing copious amounts of wood glue across them and clamping them together with no less than six clamps (I should have used more but it was all I could get hold of).

Twenty four hours later, with the fretboard firmly attached, I planed a radius onto it, measured out the frets using an online scale length calculator, cut the fret channels, and fit some nice abalone dots. The dots provided a handy lesson in just how important focus and concentration is when making a guitar, as I somehow managed to get the fifteenth fret dot horribly off centre. I wasn’t sure how I could fix that without it looking horrendous, and I wasn’t prepared to start over with the fret board for one dot, so I left it alone. This was supposed to be a practice run, after all.

Errant dots aside, everything was going so well. Time for the “wings”.

Hopefully by the end of tomorrow she'll look like a real guitar…

A photo posted by John Bullock (@beagrie) on Sep 3, 2016 at 8:55am PDT

A regular solid body guitar would typically be made of a one piece body with a neck glued or bolted to it. A neck through guitar is made of one long piece that makes up the neck and centre of the body while “wings” are glued to the side to create the typical guitar look.

Sticking with my not-spending-any-money mantra, and knowing that it wasn’t particularly important to the sound of the guitar what the wings were made of, I glued a number of pieces of regular CLS timber together, cut them into the shape of a guitar, and glued them to my neck. This process proved a little tricky. I may have had six clamps at my disposal, but only one of them was large enough to clamp the whole body. Unfortunately I don’t have a picture, but the final clamping method involved the aforementioned lone clamp, two breeze blocks, and a lot of careful balancing.

Once the wings were glued on I was faced with a great deal of elbow-aching, mind-number planing and sanding to get the body down to the shape I wanted it. Then I could start making it look like a guitar.

DIY Guitar Update: Side by side with the real thing. The big one, not the ukulele.

A photo posted by John Bullock (@beagrie) on Sep 4, 2016 at 10:26am PDT

I posted the above picture to show off my proud work. “It looks like a guitar!” I thought. I was promptly messaged by a friend who is very knowledgeable on the subject of guitars. The bridge was wrong. It should be angled, and it wasn’t. Un-drilling a hole is impossible, of course. Filling a hole wouldn’t have been a big deal if I’d intended to paint the guitar, but I wanted to stain it. I wanted to keep the difference in colour between the two woods visible to get that centre stripe look.

Nonetheless, there was a very real chance that guitar wouldn’t tune properly if I didn’t fix the bridge, so fix it I did. “The guitar was already made out of old cheap wood and parts,” I told myself, “stop being so precious about how it looks!”

DIY Guitar Update: Had to move the bridge

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Published on November 22, 2016 08:57 • 6 views

November 6, 2016

Twitter recently announced they’re killing off Vine. I’ve taken this a little harder than I probably should have given that I didn’t exactly post a whole lot. I did spend a lot of time on the app, however. On a site that consists solely of 6 second (or less!) videos, I somehow managed to regularly lose hours just scrolling through all of the weird and wonderful videos that the nutters on there put together. Something about the time constraint seemed to really bring out the loopy in people (pun intended).

Anyway, this post isn’t to mourn the loss of Vine, nor pay tribute to it. It’s for me to share my ten favourite Vines from the time I spent on the app. Obviously with Vine shutting down it seems a bit pointless to link out to the creators’ Vine pages, so I’ve linked to whichever social media accounts they seem to be most active on. Now, in no particular order, here are my favourite ten Vines. Enjoy.

The Heimlich Maneuver

Aaron Chewning

Selfie Stick

Jason Nash, featuring heathhussar and Daniel LoPriore

Colour Run

Lance210, featuring Childish Brandino and lifewithbry

Cookie Monster’s Diet


Long Day?

Brandon Calvillo, featuring Manon Mathews

Take Me Into Your Loving Arms


Alcoholics Anonymous

Evan Breen

Proud Parents

Brandon Calvillo, featuring Jesse Calvillo and Gregory Calvillo

Didn’t See That Coming

Manon Mathews and Jason Nash


Brandon Calvillo


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Published on November 06, 2016 14:56 • 44 views

May 6, 2013

In the back of my recent [modest] newcomer success on YouTube, I found myself in a brief exchange with a “Christian Apologist” by the name of biblethumpingwingnut. You probably know where this story is going, but here’s what happened.

So, I recently made a video in response to a fairly average Christian attempt to demonise Atheism. I posted it as a video response, of course, but I also listed it as a video response to another video, which was basically just a deluded Christian listing off all the Christian’s on YouTube, as though the growing numbers were evidence that Atheists are losing the argument over God.

You can find my video here.

I received a comment from creator of the latter video, the aforementioned biblethumpingwingnut that went something like;

your last statment proves the point that matthew4nineteen is making. I gladly aprove this video response as evidence atheist will believe anything but the Truth.

Now, for context, here is my last statement in the video he’s responding to;

All reason and argument aside, do I believe that us being inside a computer simulation, or being distant alien offspring, is more likely than God creating Earth in six days and filling it with all kinds of evidence to suggest he didn’t? Yes, I do. Really.

The video is also linked earlier in this post, if you want to check for yourself. So, apparently, that comment is proof positive that atheists will believe anything. I replied thusly;

You're mistaking belief for likelihood. I think Panspermia and the Simulation Argument are more likely than Christianity. That is different from believing Panspermia and the Simulation Argument are the case in reality. When compared to Christianity, the bar for being more likely is particularly low.

Seems straight forward enough, right? I next received a private message. Why biblethumpingwingnut felt the need to continue this discussion in private, I do not know.

now you're back peddling and making excuses

So, after making the statement that I think Panspermia is more likely than Christianity, I am then “back peddling” for reiterating that I don’t believe in Panspermia (or the Simulation Argument), I simply think that is more likely than God. Personally, I feel my statements are consistent, but I’m open to evidence to the contrary. I said as much;

Saying a thing doesn't make it so. By all means, tell me what part of my video I have backpeddled on, and I will either concede that you are correct, or explain why I feel you are wrong. Be aware, I don't play with trolls. Failure to come up with an actual point that I have backpeddled on will result in being ignored.

I didn’t expect much of a reply to that… and I wasn’t disappointed;

Ignore me fine. Ignore your knowledge of God, imposible. Cya

The video he linked in that response can be found here, but, I should warn you, it’s little more than selective editing and more assertion without evidence. Also, Jesus is coming, apparently.

This isn’t a remarkable exchange, I presume most atheists who can be bothered challenging theists will have a similar story, but I thought I’d share mine.

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Published on May 06, 2013 13:21 • 97 views

April 11, 2013

Well, I think the title says it all, but if you need back story, check this post.

Update: Richard responded to this one. Personally, I think he’s throwing in the towel, what do you think? Find his response here. I won’t be replying directly again, as Richard’s skewed perception prevents him accepting any view that doesn’t align with his own, and I’ve wasted enough time on this. The words, both mine and his, are there for all to see. I’m interested to know what you all think.

So this can have nothing to do with the video

From whence have you pulled this notion that your video can only be judged on its own? You’re advocating a movement which a lot of people do not like, I would argue the association would be enough to earn a downvote from those who disagree with Atheism+, regardless of the content. But, seeing as you seem convinced that you are right on this technicality, here are reasons that are specifically to do with your video. They are technicalities, too, but that seems to be all that you’re interested in.

1) The audio quality is quite poor

2) You keep looking up at (presumably) a slideshow that we, the video watchers, cannot see.

3) Your speech often stalls, whether you’re forgetting what to say, or waiting for some technological component, it makes for very frustrating watching.

Ultimately, up or down voting is a matter of preference. It’s like or don’t like. It’s subjective. I could have downvoted your video because I don’t like your hair, or voice. I’d be petty for doing so, but it would be a reason for not liking your video, I mean, it’s 46 minutes of you talking! I’m indulging your ridiculous demand to have every disagreeable word pointed out before you’ll accept the legitimacy of a downvote because I don’t believe you are sincere when you say you’re open to reasonable discussion, but, please, stop this ludicrous notion that only what happens in your video is relevant to this discussion.

That said, as I am not quite so rigid as you, I will try my very best to avoid any judgement of your video based on things that were not said in the video. You’re right, of course, that you do not mention that Atheism+ ideals are heavily feminist in their make up, which brings me to…

4) You do not accurately represent the movement for which you are advocating.

Now, onto the rest!

So, if you don’t like other presentations of Atheism+

And I didn’t like this one. See above, above above, and below.

You don’t seem to be objecting to the quoted line here. To the contrary, you just affirm it. Therefore, this is not an example of an objectionable line.

I’m sorry if my points don’t tie in neatly with the quotes I used. I didn’t quote whole paragraphs (for the sake of your blog, if nothing else), so it’s entirely possible I’d forgotten exactly what you said by the time I’d finished watching your video for a second time, noting timestamps.

But, really? The fact that my point doesn’t tie in neatly with the quote above it invalidates the point? You’re advocating Atheism+, and I object to you co-opting the name Atheism for a movement that has little to do with Atheism. That’s not grounds for a downvote? Okay, Richard. Okay. Let’s move on.

Firstly, how will denouncing and downvoting sexual harassers “prevent me from converting any religious types”?

You state, quite clearly, that those who cannot discuss with rationality and reason will be dismissed/ignored/downvoted/etc (I’m not watching your video again to find the exact quote). Religious people, evidenced by their irrational, no-evidence-necessary belief system, would fall into this category. You’re not going to win many religious people over to your side by denouncing them and refusing to talk to them. Or is it only the unreasonable atheists you won’t talk to?

I specifically say in the video how it will actually help us do that: because theists (and especially inquisitive fence sitters) are watching our forums


Fourthly, the only moral values I defend are compassion, integrity and reasonableness. If you have no objection to atheist organizations promoting those values, then you have no valid objection to the statement you are here listing

I too think that everybody should be reasonable, honest, and compassionate. Am I a hero, too? Or is the sentiment meaningless without a plan of how to push forward toward that goal? Of course, we can’t discuss the issues I have with Atheism+’s plan, because it wasn’t in the video. (see 4 in my list of technicalities).

Ultimately, since it shouldn’t matter who the culprits are when asking whether we should condemn and downvote it, this cannot be a relevant point for downvoting my video.

You seem to be creeping away from the point a little, here. I wasn’t making the point that you shouldn’t downvote them, I was expressing my dislike to the fact that you constantly refer to these idiots’ atheism as though it was a defining factor. I didn’t like that. For me, it was unlikeable. Downvote rape-threat enthusiasts all you like, Richard. I commend you.

What has that to do with whether or not we should denounce and downvote such remarks?

Nothing. See above.

Give me an example of my failing at it in which I didn’t apologize or correct myself.

This was clearly explained in my previous comment. You categorise these people as atheists while they’re committing horrible acts en-masse, creating the misconception that atheism is somehow related. We have religious people to link horrific behaviour to atheism, we expect better from so-called spokespeople for the “Atheist community”.

Again, what has that to do with whether or not we should denounce and downvote such remarks?

Again, nothing. It has to do with how we shouldn’t be called trolls for denouncing and downvoting your remarks.

You mean, by saying that those who apathetically allow harm to be done when they could do something about it (literally the least thing of all: just say they disapprove or click a thumbs down button) are still empathetically caring for the victims of this behavior?

Define victim. Your definition will almost certainly differ from mine, but you don’t deal in such specifics. For you, it’s “You either oppose sexual harassment or you don’t!” with no nod to what is actually considered sexual harassment. If someone is being assaulted in the street, it would be nice if others would step in, but what if someone is being assaulted by a number of people, should a single person, who would almost certainly get their arse kicked if they intervened, be called a bad person for not doing so?

As for downvoting morally offensive behaviour on the Internet, people can do it or not do it, as far as I am concerned. Nothing less than voting it up makes them a bad person. I don’t thumb down trolls because it’s giving them some degree of attention.

This is a difference of opinion, Richard. And if the belief that down voting trolls is a waste of time, fine. Do you assert that that makes me a bad person?

Why do you think it’s either/or? Were you only able to be taught math or reading in high school, and thus had to choose between them? Or were you able to be taught both?

I was taught how add, subtract, and so on. I wasn’t given the answers to complex math problems, and then told how to work out those answers for myself.

It has bearing on what we as the atheist community do in reaction to that behavior. Which is entirely the point.

The atheist community is mostly groups of people who are atheists, and have come together to do stuff, whether it be go bowling, or fight inequality. They are not doing it because they are atheists. Ask a Catholic priest about the dangers of being seen as part of a group, and what can happen if elements of that group go rogue. Also, take this paragraph as my response to;

Not the atheist community. The first two minutes of the video explains the difference between just being an atheist, and being part of the activist and organized atheist community.

Now you are ignoring the video again. In the video I explicitly say I am talking about the organized, activist atheist community, not just all atheists anywhere whatever.

I must have tuned out there. I will take your word for it, and apologise for that mistake. I am sorry.

I also see nothing preventing you from denouncing Atheism+. You are doing it even here

And I am being called illogical for it. The truth is, there has been a mass-denouncing of Atheism+, but you refuse to accept its legitimacy. It seems, also, that when faced with a half-coherent objection, you fall back on what is and isn’t in your video. No, you don’t mention feminism, but feminism is there in this movement for all the world to see (if you would like to question that, I will happily reluctantly provide links to Atheism+ forum posts), and you pointing out that you “didn’t say that”, does nothing to further any kind of discussion on Atheism+ itself. Are you interested in the movement, or your own image?

“The movement” in this remark is the one I defined in the very first slide: the larger atheist movement. Not Atheism Plus.

Okay, fine. Not an echo chamber, then. Only you don’t seem particularly open to the wider atheist community when they are criticising you. You get downvoted, you declare trolling. People explain why they don’t like Atheism+, you demand exact citations of which part of your video they don’t like. You get said citations, you say “illogical”, and “I see nothing here for you to object to” two hundred times.

By the standards spelled out in the video…

Well, as you’ve made quite clear in these comments, your video doesn’t paint the whole Atheism+ picture. Had your video been the only information I had on Atheism+, I might not have been so opposed to the movement (though the choice of name would still be a point of friction), but it wasn’t the only information, and the fact that you leave out so much of the detail in your speech is a reason for downvoting alone.

…those who engage in demeaning sexism and harassing and abuse and who openly reject the basic values of compassion, integrity and reasonableness.

What’s your definition of sexism. What’s your definition of abuse? These are important details.

There is again no logically valid reason to downvote the video here. Unless you reject the core values this video asks that people be judged by.

The core values are vague and meaningless without the details, which is where my disagreement comes in. And, unless your video consisted of you saying “I think people should be honest, compassionate, and reasonable”, and nothing else, how do you figure that I have no reason to downvote your video unless I disagree with these things.

The question is whether you think that’s actually the case: which do you think it is, trolls or atheists who think the values I promote in the video are bad?

I think it is atheists who disagree with your movement. Some of them may not have put as much thought into it as I have (and nobody should have to), but I doubt there are many who just downvoted to for the fun of it. Still, I have no proof, and neither do you.

Your argument against the possibility that the downvotes are legitimate seems to be solely based on the technicality that you didn’t say anything bad in and of itself in this video. I think you did, as you can see, but I still maintain that, just because you were very careful with your words, doesn’t mean people can’t express distaste to the overall idea by downvoting the individual aspects of its PR campaign.

If trolls, then you should upvote the video, since you shouldn’t want good values to be represented to the world community as bad because of trolls. If you want atheists to be seen as moral people, then you should be enraged that trolls are making us seem immoral and even opposed to being moral.

If atheists who think the values I promote in the video are bad, then do you agree with them or not? If not, then you should upvote the video to counter their vote and communicate to the world community that they don’t represent you.

But if you do agree with them, then please explain what values in my video are bad.

If you cannot (in any honest way that actually references what was actually said in the video) then you have no honest reason to downvote the video.

Otherwise, by all means do so. Then your vote will actually represent the values you (an atheist) reject. And Christians and anyone else who watches the video will see what values atheists downvote. And that will be the story of you.

I quoted that entire bit because I find it interesting that you carefully construct a model in which the only possible way in which I can downvote your video is if I disagree with your core values. I’ve taken great pains to avoid name-calling as best I can, but you are outright arrogant. The possibility that you might be anything less than absolutely right about anything hasn’t so much as crossed your mind, has it?

I repeat; saying ”Everybody should be reasonable” does not get you any brownie points. I can declare there should be no more war, but I seriously doubt it will change any plans North Korea might have. You want to talk about punishment for rapists, fine. You want to publicly shame men for glancing at a woman’s behind as she walks by, I think you’re going too far. As I said, your definition of things like sexual harassment are important.

Since you are a person in a community of atheists, this distinction is irrelevant here and has no logical bearing on the line you are quoting in the video or anything else in the video. You cannot separate the fact that you are a person from the fact that you are an atheist. And it matters a great deal whether you are seen promoting basic moral values as an atheist: because that communicates what values atheists in our community have, and dispels the theist’s claim that atheists have no morals. Do you really not care about that?

Well, again, you are assigning yourself as the absolute judge of what should be. You think it matters a great deal that I should be seen promoting basic moral values as an atheist, I think I should promote basic moral values as a human being. My atheism does not define me, anymore than somebody elses vegetarianism defines them. I am not seen doing anything as an atheist, and I don’t think I should be. I might get together with a group of atheists and organise a fundraiser for a cancer charity, but it wouldn’t be in the name of atheism. I mean, what happens if some fascist movement starts up in the name of Atheism? Bang goes any good PR the fund raiser might have brought in. Atheism cannot police what people do under its name, so it’s better we keep it detached. Atheism+ can say ”The actions of this person go against our values”, and point to your clearly defined values. As can religion. Atheism has no clearly defined values, and, as soon as people start viewing it as a group of people, we’re all lumped in with the rest of Atheism, including the crazies. Humanism is a movement, Atheism shouldn’t be.

You disagree, and that’s fine, we can debate that, but I’m not saying you’re wrong. By all means, show me where, in your impressive qualifications, you are qualified to decide what is absolutely right and wrong in these kinds of matters? Give me some kind of justification for your arrogance.

But, seeing as you’re taking this route anyway, do you not think it’s a little hypocritical to accuse me of not caring about how atheists might be viewed as having no morals by theists, while, in the same post, dismissing my annoyance that you lumped a bunch of idiotic pillocks in with the rest of us by constantly referring to their atheism as they abuse fifteen year old girls?

So you downvote the video because I ask in it that we should ask to hear more black and hispanic speakers speak at conferences?

I am serious. Is that actually what you are saying?

Really, Richard? Tell me exactly how my view that giving minorities and women an advantage over white men is not the best solution is the same as saying “I don’t want black, hispanic, or women speaking at Atheist conferences”.

At no point in the video did I say otherwise. So you must be saying there are no women or hispanics or blacks suited to leadership roles in the movement.

Now, and I’ve been back to re-read what I wrote here, and it was quite clear, I can’t imagine you didn’t understand it, so why accuse me of such a thing? Slightly trollish, don’t you think?

I said people should be given roles of leadership if they are suited to it, not as a means of luring others who look like them into the conference hall. You say you didn’t say (imply, perhaps?) that, so, as you’re the one with the PhD, I will assume that I misunderstood you, rather than you failed to get your point across clearly.

I don’t see the relevance of the point. I’m not advocating that we recruit rapists and rape threat enthusiasts.

You evidently have lost track of what’s being said in the video at this point.

Nor was implying you were hoping to recruit rapists. My point was that, while you may have met a number of atheists who are only interested in matters that involve religion, that’s just atheists you’ve met. I get hot under the collar when religion interferes with my life, but it’s not the only thing I care about. It’s another way of making the point that atheism covers a very wide spectrum. Again, you’re the one with the PhD, so I’ll assume I didn’t make my point clearly, rather than you misunderstood it.

So you should fight none?

In the video I specifically say at several points that individuals and organizations can even pick which fights to focus on. But we should be discussing more options than the few we’ve been focused on in our nearsightedness. For the reasons I gave in the video (which, conspicuously, you do not address here).

I cede this one to you. You did say that. It seems to be in contradiction to a number of other things that have been said in the name of Atheism+, but we can’t address that here. In this video, you said that. My mistake.

So if this is your reason for downvoting the video, you might want to rethink that.

In reference to the Coca-cola remark. No, it’s not a reason for downvoting the video. It’s also not a problem I have with Atheism+. As I stated very clearly, I have no problem with this kind of behaviour. I just found it curious. Atheism+ claims to be founded on reason, but needs good PR to sell it? A good product speaks for itself. In any case, it was an aside, I apologise if my including it derailed your train of thought.

So it is insincere of you to make an issue of this. You know full well it would be impractical of me to say “all atheist women”

Coming from the man who took a comment about how to deal with a lack of minorities and women in atheist meetings, and turned it into a comment about banning minorities and women from atheist meetings.

What’s “the feminist idea of harassment”?

And what has this inference to do with whether the video should be downvoted? (an inference nowhere made in the video

As I’ve said, I’m willing to provide links to all the feminist-like discussion (though I’d appreciate you not asking me to, I’ve spent enough time on this as it is), so, let’s just throw this under the banner of “not fully representing what Atheism+ actually is” as the reason for the downvote.

indeed, you evidently could point to no example of anything you disagreed with actually mentioned in the video)

Please stop confusing your refusal to acknowledge any of my examples as valid with this reality you seem to be inhabiting where there are no examples. We can debate how significant a problem is, but you can’t just dismiss it as a non-problem because it suits your argument (such as it is) to do so.

Since I don’t even know what you mean by “feminism”

Arguably, nobody can know what it means at this point, since feminism covers such a wide range of views. But, let’s try this one. You advocated educating atheists as to what feminism is and isn’t, as so many of us are “clueless” on the matter. Leaving aside the undecided issue of whether feminist ideals are right, or good for society as a whole, how will you choose “what feminism is and isn’t”? Who put Atheism+ in a position decide?

This is illogical. “Some people stuff ballots …

Just as I have thus far failed to convince you that my downvoting of your video is based on legitimate reasoning, so have you failed to convince me that it isn’t. Given the burden of proof you have placed on those of us that have come to your blog (pointing out specific lines in your video), I now challenge you to show me some proof. The current ratio of downvotes to upvotes on your video is around 3 to 1. If you want to imply that some YouTube “ballot stuffing” has been going on, prove it.

… therefore no one should vote.” “Many people vote for irrational reasons, therefore we shouldn’t vote at all.” Etc.

Perhaps your intellectual artillery is beyond me, but, having re-read what I wrote a number of times now, I still fail to see any part of it that says or implies that people shouldn’t vote. Really, you’re too intelligent for your own good. I meant only what I wrote.

Because people downvote the video for invalid reasons, therefore no one should upvote the video for valid reasons?

Invalid to you. Richard, you have created a world in which there is no possible alternative to you being right. At the top of this post, you call the people who downvoted your video “haters”. It’s not possible that there could be a single legitimate concern in the many dislikes your video received? And I never said people who liked your video shouldn’t upvote. Again, I meant only what I wrote.

Let’s also look at your attitude toward the upvotes. At the top of your post, you say;

Please go watch that video … and see if you can find anything that honestly deserves a downvote. Seriously. And if you don’t, please upvote it.

Woah boy! This isn’t a this or that game. Who said that your video deserves an upvote just because it doesn’t deserve a downvote. The criteria should have been if you think it deserves an upvote. People are allowed to be lukewarm, or neutral on a topic.

Another thing for you to consider is that, despite you asking your community to go and watch your video, and despite leading them with the upvote request, there are still many many more that downvoted, and there’s no rally call from the wider atheist community to come and downvote you—that happened all by itself.

I’ve seen it work many times in my twenty years of experience in online communities. Whereas I have never ever even once seen “ignoring them” make them go away.

I never said ignoring them would make them go away. I said your idea of social justice in the online space wouldn’t make them go away, either.

So, factual fail here.

Uh huh.

Do you not care? If not, then you no longer get to complain when theists say atheists have no morals or that atheism increases immorality.

Some atheist have no morals. If a theist told me atheists have no morals, I would simply point out that I have morals, and walk away. If they wish to talk about how they believe you can’t have morals without God, I would explain to them the logic behind how it is possible to have morals without God. I do not want to be morally grouped with atheists, because there are some pretty nasty atheists out there. I don’t think Atheism+ is particularly nasty, I just disagree with some of the finer points, and dislike the use of Atheism in the name, but there are worse people out there than you, and they are atheist, too.

“I want to see the full picture, so please don’t downvote demeaningly sexist and harassing remarks” is simply not a logical mode of argument

My “full picture” remark was in reference to trusting a community that moderates comments. Community downvoting is not moderating. I credit you, Richard, with not being the kind of person who would “moderate” a comment because you can’t think of a good reply, but how could I be certain that everybody who gets into a position of authority within the Atheist+ community would have your upstanding moral values?

To make such a call without any evidence may be challenging to your claim to be a critical thinker. But that has nothing whatever to do with my video.

And yet you call the downvoters “haters” without evidence? The moderation of your blog has nothing to do with your video, true, but my point really had nothing to do with your blog, I was simply saying that the “moderation” you spoke of in your video is fine for a personal blog, such as yours, but I would have trust issues with a community that had such practices. Especially Atheism+, which, thus far, has not been represented by the most upstanding commenters (on YouTube and Atheism+ forums). And, if you have some notion of telling me that these kinds of people would never get into a forum moderator position within Atheism+, you’re incredibly naive.

But it makes no sense to say I have to support (even, literally, pay for) the publication of demeaningly sexist and harassing and abusive remarks

Like I said, on your blog, do as you please. In a forum space, the community should do the downvoting (as you yourself advocate). I have a problem with the idea of a single person being able to remove comments because they don’t like them. They may be right, they may be overly conservative.

This is, of course, a matter of preference. If I don’t like the way Atheism+ forums are run, I can just not contribute to them. I do not, however, like the idea of a forum moderated in the way you suggest. Others may prefer it, and perhaps they upvoted your video. I don’t prefer it. And I didn’t.

If people see atheists as a whole upvoting demeaning rape banter 3:1, that’s you being represented in that figure.

And I don’t want representing. Hence the downvote, and hence why;

But regardless, there is nothing here you have identified as a reason to downvote the video.

Is your opinion on the matter, and not an empirical statement.

To the contrary, I made a case and asked people to critique it (even since my very first post), and revised in response to reasonable criticisms. I specifically said in that first post “I think the values of Atheism+ are to be built collaboratively, and don’t have to be dictated by me alone.”

So, here you are perpetuating a myth, not a fact. The “lie” is that I ever dictated anything to anyone. The truth is that I did the exact opposite.

So you didn’t dictate. So you’re (allegedly) open to reasonable criticisms. You’re still placing yourself in a position of representation for a group of people who didn’t ask to be represented. If you had called this anything other than Atheism+, there’d be considerably less opposition. Of course, there’d also be less people like me talking about it. Any publicity is good publicity, right?

How on earth can we communicate our wishes and concerns at all, if the moment we do so we aren’t even listened to because of petty dislike of the fact that we have a pulpit?

The continued dismissal of valid concerns as “petty” will not win you any friends. People listened to your message, and a lot of them didn’t like it.

You have taken an incredibly aggressive stance on this matter, Richard, something that is not befitting of a reasonable movement that is open to criticism. A more reasonable response might have been to ask why there is so much hate, and discuss the issues. You immediately dismissed these dislikes, called those responsible haters, and responded to heaps of criticism on the movement with an inane request to point out which bits in your video are at fault. And, when you received said points, you dismissed each and every one in an unconvincing and brash manner.

This simply isn’t logical behavior. There is no intelligible reason to downvote the video here, other than some sort of misplaced and ginned up jealousy of the fact that a lot of people listen to me and read my blog and books and ask me to speak at conferences.

Once more; disagreeing with you, oh great Richard, is not illogical. Contrary to your apparent beliefs, it is possible that you are not infallible. As for your success, I have no problem with that. I’m happy for anyone to make their way in life as best they can. If you have an audience, give them what they want, take their money, buy a nice big house, do whatever you like. Note that nobody (that I know of) has shown up at one of your talks, hung a banner up outside the conference hall reading “Richard Carrier’s MRA Fund Raiser”, and started preaching about male rights.

Just to make the point again, if you’d been called “The FreeThought Movement”, there’d be considerably less hate. I, personally, had I come across the movement, would have discovered the points I disagree with, decided not be part of the movement, and moved on without complaint. But you didn’t call it that, you called it Athiesm+, thus, you involved us.

Downvoting a video because you ignore what it says is not a sound reason to do so.

Ignoring a downvote because you can’t possibly imagine a world in which you are not 100% right is also not sound reasoning.

People judge us as a community.

And that is okay with you? Well, okay, that’s your call. It’s not okay with me, so your video earned a downvote from me because I do not agree with the pushing the idea that Athiesm itself is a community.

Ditto what humanism is, what socialism is, what democracy is, what Christianity is, and so on.

You would not see this as an issue in those cases. So you shouldn’t in this one.

Actually, I would. I would argue that the attributes that make someone a Humanist or not a Humanist are much clearer than those that define a feminist. Christianity, too, has very clear guidelines as to what a Christian is. True, very few Christians adhere to those guidelines, but, if someone were to ask what makes a Christian, it’s there for all to see.

Just as atheists all differ in opinions, and Christians all differ in opinions, and democracy-advocates all differ in opinions, yet there is a singular definition for what an atheist is that applies to all atheists, and a singular definition for what a Christian is that applies to all Christians, and a single definition of what advocating democracy means that applies to all democracy-advocates.

I’ve been making the point that Atheists differ on opinions (and morals) throughout this whole affair. Christians may differ in opinions in reality, but they have set rules for what a Christian should and should not do, and I constantly argue with Christians who do not, for example, “observe the Sabbath” over the legitimacy of their claim of their claim to being Christian. As to the point we’re discussing here, about feminism, there is a core group of viewpoints that, in my experience, are pervasive throughout feminism, regardless of the differing opinions on other things. I agree with you there. And I find some of these viewpoints objectionable (please don’t shout “You don’t oppose sexual abuse?!” again. There’s more to it than that). These are the same viewpoints that I have seen in Athiesm+, and are the main reason I do not wish to be part of, or associated with, Athiesm+. Of course, we can’t discuss that here, because it wasn’t in your video.

The reason Atheism is front and center is explained in the first two minutes of the video. Which once again you are completely ignoring.

And the reason people are annoyed that Atheism is front and centre has been explained clearly, and you refuse to acknowledge its validity. Atheism is the smallest part of your mission statement. Skepticism is a multi-faceted thing. Humanism is a multi-faceted thing. Atheism one thing.

… you do not seem willing to admit that you actually believe the answer is “not,” that atheists should have no truck with humanism or skepticism or any of what that entails. At the same time, you seem also pretty sure atheists should also be humanists and skeptics and, as rational people, should act consistently with that fact. The cognitive dissonance is clearly maddening. I feel for you.

I do not believe that Atheists should be Humanists or Skeptics. I do believe that those atheists who arrived at Atheism through critical thinking (as opposed to just not wanting to go to church, for example), will often end up at Humanism or Skepticism as a natural progression, but that doesn’t mean Atheism should be associated with them. I appreciate your condescending concern for my mental well being, but, honestly, your perception of the outside world is so drastically warped insofar as nothing you say can be in anyway wrong, and nobody holding a different view to you can possibly be right.

Here, however, is the concept you seem to really struggle with. Your movement does deal in absolutes. We are not talking about judging things based on empirical data, or hard evidence, we are talking about subjective matters. How do you deal with a troll? What constitutes justice? When does a flirtatious remark become sexual harassment, and so on. None of these things have a clear cut answer, and yet, when someone disagrees with Atheism+’s solution, you call them wrong. You don’t discuss the matter, you don’t listen to reasonable criticism, you call them unreasonable and wrong and dismiss them.

It’s getting late, and I’ve already wasted far too much of my life on this, so let’s wrap this up. This particular quote was somewhere in the middle of your response, but I saved it for the end because, well, it’s pretty much the sentiment you have after every point.

Surely you are not claiming this as a reason to downvote the video

In and of itself, perhaps not. Combined with all the other points, yes. Add that to the wider aspects of Atheism+ that you did not go into (such as the aforementioned feminist roots), and we have a strong basis for a good downvoting.

You can spout all the nice, well-meaning words you like on stage, but I daresay somebody could put together a speech about Nazism that was, itself, unobjectionable, if they really set their mind to it, it doesn’t mean we should like it.

And, in any case, the audio quality was poor. Your speech was awkward, and we, as watchers, were not getting the whole story from your talk. Are you going to tell me audio quality is no grounds for downvoting? Or just tell me my ears are illogical?

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Published on April 11, 2013 14:30 • 66 views

April 9, 2013

This is actually a comment reply to Richard Carrier on his post, Atheism… Plus What? However, as the reply is near 2,500 words long, and as the only [non-fiction and public] writing I do these days seems to be comments on YouTube or blogs, I thought I’d post it here, so it looks like I still update my site. Especially seeing as there is a possibility that Mr. Carrier may decide to “moderate” my comment, in which case, this will be the only place to read it.

Quickly, here’s the brief exchange we had that led to this behemoth of a comment;

John Bullock—Richard Carrier Comment on Atheism+

And you can find that comment here, and the original video here. Happy reading.


There only seems to be two weapons in your “intellectual artillery”, Richard. You either invoke a wider issue, or ask for a citation. Before I give you exactly what you asked for, a couple of brief points.

1) My not liking your way of doing something does not automatically mean we have different goals. I care about the wellbeing and happiness of women, but I believe it can be achieved without the extremes of feminism.

2) In these comments, you repeatedly demand citation of the exact points within your video that are disagreeable. Perhaps you are aware of the phrase “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts”? Even if there was no single disagreeable sentence in your video, it wouldn’t preclude the possibility that the whole of Atheism+ is still disagreeable to many.

As it turns out, I found quite a bit to take issue with. It’s a long read, but, remember, you literally asked for it.

00:58 – “The biggest one, the one that it seems is growing the most, is the identity of being an atheist”

This is true, and is probably the reason your branding campaign is getting so much hate. Atheism is already a thing, and atheists who do not agree (of which there are many) with your methodology, are not happy about the possibility of being tarred with your brush. I identify as an atheist, and I would not want to be associated with your movement any more than any semi-reasonable Christian would want to be associated with the Westboro Baptist Church. And, no, before you say it, I am not saying A+, or feminists, are as bad as Westboro.

3:26 – “Obviously, one of those big goals that’s been talked about today already is to increase the number of atheists. Uh, hopefully, that means increasing the number of morally responsible atheists.”

Firstly, and this isn’t so much a problem I have with your branding campaign, but a flaw in your logic. How do you intend to increase the number of atheists by going after… wait for it… atheists? As we see later in the video, your denouncement policy will prevent you from converting any religious types who, as shown by their belief, aren’t particularly reasonable.

As for the morally responsible part. Your idea of morals. A+ apologists seem to trot out the “So you’re for bigotry” whenever anyone opposes them, but it’s perfectly plausible that someone can be against your solution to the problem. More on that later.

5:30 – “Worse than that is that a hundred atheists were thumbing up these remarks”

Yes, comments about raping a fifteen year old girl (or anybody, for that matter) are unacceptable. First point of contention; is the fact that this was an atheist subreddit proof that everybody there was an atheist? Minor point, I know. Second point of contention; why did it matter that these people were atheists? Atheists have enough on contending with assertions that, without God and his morals, we’re all one step away from Stalin, or Hitler. You talk about this story as though the fact that these morons were atheist has some bearing on their behaviour. It doesn’t. They were morons, plain and simple. Just like there are feminist morons, and Christian morons, and so on. It may be another small point, but if you’re going to elect yourself as a spokesperson for morally responsible atheists, be better at it.

5:49 – “…Rebecca Watson, you may know that she is the target of this kind of thing a lot, as well…”

Again, the kind of abuse you’re referring to comes from morons, who might be atheist, or they might not. Unless you’re implying their lack of a “+” after their atheism makes them this way, it is irrelevant. And please don’t quote yourself from the video saying that there are actually more atheistic than religious people making the aforementioned comments, unless you have statistics on exactly what percentage of those sites’ visitors were atheists. If 90% of the sites’ visitors are atheist, most of the harmful comments will come from atheists.

You seem to ride this horse for a while, but I think I’ve made my problem clear.

10:00 – “Disowning people who declare their refusal to be compassionate, honest, or reasonable. I mean, if they stalwartly say we reject your moral values, I’m gonna disown those people, and I’m gonna say so.”

I imagine you can see what’s coming, here. You said it in the above quote “…if they stalwartly say we reject your moral values…”. Again, it’s easy to say we should stop sexual abuse, and murder, and war, it’s quite another thing to actually do it. The constant implication here being that rejection of your methods is an admission that we are not compassionate, honest, and reasonable.

11:42 – “…atheists plus we use critical thinking, and skepticism.”

As you know, this sits at the end of the list of values your branding campaign is based on. You want people to be an atheist, to care about social justice, to support women’s rights, to protest racism, and then, when they’re all those things, you want them to adopt the kind of thinking that leads a lot of atheist to that point organically? Do you not think it would be better to educate those who need educating so that they decide it’s wrong rape, or discriminate against race, rather than tell them not and then let them work out why? Well, clearly you don’t, and that’s not a bad thing. Your view is just as valid as mine, but I’m not calling you uncompassionate, dishonest, or unreasonable for your view.

12:29 – “Now, it starts with atheism, because we’re atheists, and we’re in the atheist movement…”

And yet, like the commenting trolls who abused that fifteen year old girl, the fact that you’re an atheist has no bearing on any other part of Atheism+.

Side note: Atheism isn’t really a movement, as you call shortly after the above quote, it’s a lack of a movement, if anything. Humanism is a movement, and, if a bunch of humanists started sending rape threats, it would be terrible for that movement. Atheism covers the whole spectrum of humanity, from Douglas Adams to Kim Jong Il, and we have no control over who can call themselves an atheist, which, incidentally, is probably another reason you’re getting so much hate; atheists are probably pissed at the fact that they can’t effectively denounce Atheism+, because we’re not part of a movement. You commandeering the name for your branding campaign is taking advantage of that fact.

16:28 – “And also, let’s accept and encourage constructive criticism of each other within the movement…”

Within the movement? Two words; “echo chamber”.

16:58 – “Don’t let bad atheists represent you…”

Bad by your standards, presumably? Some might say that all the downvotes your video got were the result of a lot of atheists trying to prevent other atheists they see as bad from representing them. Of course, they were mostly trolls, trying to censor your message, right?

17:42 – “…as atheists, you should be seen caring about those things…”

Okay, I’ll try and make this the last time I make this point. As an atheist, I should be seen not worshipping a god. That is all. As a good person, I should be seen caring about poverty. My atheism has no bearing on the type of person I am. A large part of why I avoided religion in the first place is because I didn’t like the implication that I needed telling (by anyone) how to be a good person.

22:50 – “I think we should have an atheist bowling club in every major city in the country.”

There’s nothing wrong with this, I just thought it was worth pointing out that probably the loudest applause you got in the entire talk was for a comment about bowling.

23:55 – “…start giving them leadership roles…”

Now we’re getting into it. I do not believe that the foot up approach to minorities and women is the way forward in this day and age. I might be right, you might be right, we both might be right (or not), but, again, I’m not “denouncing” you for holding a different viewpoint. Make women and minorities welcome, of course, but, in my opinion, nobody should be given a position of leadership (however small the organization) unless they are suited to it, whatever their race or gender. This is not a matter matter of morally right or wrong, it’s a matter of differing solutions to the same problems.

26:35 – “I’ve run into a lot of atheists that say that it’s not relevant to them if religion isn’t somehow involved in it.”

You’ve also witnessed hundreds of atheists making rape threats, it doesn’t mean all of us have a penchant for rape. Nobody can fight every battle—there are too many battles to fight! Some atheists (Richard Dawkins might be a good example) are primarily concerned with fighting the inherent ignorance of religion, and the dangers that come with. Some people choose to focus on women’s rights, some people on inner-city poverty, and so on.

There is always an equally noble cause around the corner, and if the atheists you met are only concerned with religion, that’s fine; there are other atheists feeding starving children in Africa. Let us pick our own battles, rather than assigning them.

30:08 – “…it’s not that Coca-cola company actually gives a damn about poverty…”

I’m of the opinion that a good deed is a good deed, whatever the motive, so Coca-cola pulling a PR stunt that results in a few kids being slightly better educated is fine by me. But I find it curious that your brand, with all its talk of morals and social justice and critical thinking, is not above a PR stunt to further your reach, rather than letting intelligent people find and choose to be part of your brand.

32:39 – “All atheist organisations should publicly, and officially, denounce the harassment of prominent atheist women.”

Just the prominent ones? I’m sorry, I’m sorry, cheap shot. On the face of it, there is nothing wrong with this statement, but this a case where the detail matters. Atheism+’s idea of harassment, from what I’ve seen on the Atheism+ forums, is indistinguishable from that of the feminist idea of harassment. And, before you accuse me of “not caring about the wellbeing and happiness” of women again, I have no desire to see women treated as lesser people, but, for me, feminism is a step too far. Just in case you had the notion of telling me that my opposition to feminism is tantamount to misogyny, remember that you would be including all non-feminists in that group, including a lot of women.

33:40 – “Whenever you have an opportunity to state publicly … that you, atheists in particular are opposed to this, I think we should all be doing that…” (in reference to social justice/downvoting)

Barely minutes earlier, you spoke of “going to the source” with regards to being educated, and “knowing what you’re talking about”, and yet you state at the top of your post that “Others reading the comments … tell me that the downvotes appear to be coming from people who didn’t even watch the video” and they were simply an attempt discourage others from watching. So, you make a recommendation on how to handle things you oppose, and when that recommendation is put into practice by people opposing you, they are just attempting to censor you, rather than expressing an opinion that your branding campaign is disagreeable.

Incidentally, you repeatedly ask for specific lines in your video that people disagree with, and, well, if you’re still reading, you know where those comments got you. This hasn’t been fun for me, either.

34:53 – “If they don’t see that there’s any massive widespread social disapproval within the community they pretend to be in, they’re gonna continue doing that.”

If you think that some communal head-shaking and tutting under our breath will discourage the real trolls (as opposed to the ones who just disagree with bad language), you’re incredibly naive about the Internet. Nothing short of banning will shut a troll up, and, even then, there’s nothing to stop them signing up with a new account. As for moderating your own comments, it’s a matter of personal preference when it’s your own blog, but I would have major trust dealing with a brand that does this kind of thing on a community level. How would I know I’m seeing the full picture?

35:34 – “Better represent Atheism as a community.”

Atheism+, not Atheism. I can bring up every problem I have with your video, but, ultimately, the mass-hate you’re getting from the Atheist community stems from the fact that you have inserted yourself into a position of representation for a group of people who didn’t ask to be represented.

You already put Atheism in the name, referring to it when you’re talking about your brand is just rubbing salt into the wound.

35:50 – “…what atheists are about, what atheists stand for…”

Not believing in gods.

37:28 – “…there’s people who are a little clueless, don’t quite understand, what feminism is versus what anti-feminists say it is…”

Given the diversity of viewpoints in feminism, how can you explain this? “Pro-life” feminist exist, while, at the same time, I once had a conversation with a feminist who believed that women should be able to have an abortion at any point prior to birth.

Phew, we’re done!

Ultimately, the admirable causes you wish to pursue (women’s rights, education, improved quality of life for disabled people, etc), however you choose to go about it, has nothing to do with Atheism, it just so happens that you are all atheists as well. By setting yourself up within the atheist demographic, you’re creating a “big fish in a little pond” scenario, which will only make you feel good about yourself, and do little effect wider change because you will be preaching (sorry) to the choir, and no one else.

This branding campaign should have been called Something+Atheism. Feminism+Atheism. Social Justice+Atheism. Anything. By putting Atheism front and centre, you include all of us, unwillingly, in your vanity project, and that is why you’re getting so much hate.

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Published on April 09, 2013 14:56 • 48 views

January 22, 2013

It’s been a while since I’ve blogged, partly because I haven’t felt like waxing personal lately, and partly because I’ve been busy. Anyone who’s seen this website will know writing is high on the agenda for me, though.

I recently dipped my toes into the world of content writers, which may, or may not, be scoffed at by the more successful authors and scriptwriters out there. When I first began to settle down for the long haul, I assumed I would be writing my stories around my day job, and one fateful day, my quality of writing and persistence would result in a publishing deal, or at least the sale of enough self-published books to consider doing this for a living.

I’ve come to the realisation, however, that in the world of modern media, “big breaks” are an increasingly diminishing phenomenon. There will still be the occasional J.K. Rowling, or Stephanie Meyer, who, either through talent, or luck (or both), get the huge breakthrough and sell millions of books, but, for the most part, success in the creative mediums will be more averaged. That is to say, rather than 1% of authors making millions, and the rest barely making enough to pay for coffee, there’ll be more people earning a nice-but-not-spectacular income, and fewer superstars.

The biggest effect this revelation has had on me is that I now believe I can’t simply keep writing and hope that, one day, I’ll get some kind of break, and from that day on I’ll be able to write for a living.

Enter the world of freelance writing.

For the past few months, I have been trying my hand at writing for money. The idea of convincing people to pay me to write has always been on the agenda, but I hadn’t, until recently, considered that what I was writing would be anything other than my own creative babies. Rather than, lets say, 250 words of copy for a new website launch.

It doesn’t have quite the same romance about it, does it?

The truth is, my brief experience as a freelance writer has been successful enough for me to believe this can be a legitimate money earner for me. And, while it’s not the creative medium I dream of, it is writing, and, the thing about writing is, you only get better at it by doing it.

No job I have worked (until now) has involved any more writing than it takes to type out an email, and I’ve been squeezing my novels, short stories, and articles into the hours around those jobs. Hours that lessened with the arrival of my son three years ago. A career in freelance writing can at least hone my writing skills for those times when I do settle down to work on a novel, or script.

The plan now is to put my spare time into content writing around my full time job, and look to maybe making it a full time gig in the future. In the meantime there’s a short story for Sword & Laser to finish, and a NaNoWriMo novel to edit.


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Published on January 22, 2013 22:36 • 41 views

July 8, 2012

It’s easy to “inspirational” on the internet. To write a holier-than-thou blog post that declares proudly to the world that, “do these things, and life will right itself.” Of course, there are so many of these kinds of posts on the web that it’s hard to see value in the message of someone like, well, me.

If I were to write post declaring happily to the world that these, yes, these, are the ten steps you need to a better novel, it would be widely disregarded on the basis that I have no credentials to back up my claim (actually, it would be widely passed by as no one reads the blog part of my website). But when someone like Chuck Wendig writes “25 Things I Want to Say to So-Called ‘Aspiring’ Writers“, a big ‘ol chunk of the literary circles I follow sit up and pay attention.

Naturally, you would take writing advice from an established author over that of unproven one, but why, knowing this, do the rest of us still write things like, “10 Tips To a Better Protagonist”, “Making Your Plot Thicken”, and a whole host of other such subject matters? Why am I writing this now? The simple answer is that we have a desire to be heard (or read, in this case), but we also like to sound authoritative and knowledgeable, and some of us might be, but it’s probably more important to have practiced (successfully) what you wish to preach first.

A while ago, I wrote a post on blogging for the sake of blogging, in which I declared my disapproval of blogging about your day, when your day was a perfectly ordinary day in which nothing special happened. With this post I suppose I’m further narrowing my scope for blogging, almost to the point where, unless I write a best-seller, I won’t be able to blog about anything without being hypocritcal.

Still, I can still rant about tech news and gaming. And religion. And being a dad.

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Published on July 08, 2012 15:16 • 45 views

March 13, 2012

I've been looking for an opportunity to get into podcasting for a while, whether it be as a voice or a more technical role, like editing. There was a short-lived gaming podcast that, unfortunately, died a death of distance, as my two American co-hosts and I found it difficult to consistently get together on Skype to record. Well, a year on, and I'm at it again.

The Crazy Fools Minecraft SMP server, a server I have been a donating member of for pretty much my entire time as a player of Minecraft, responded well to the idea of having a podcast, both for informational purposes, and as a kind of promotion for the server. Surprisingly, it took less than a week to get the first one recorded, edited and up, and, at the time of writing, we have posted the second show, and have high hopes for the future of the podcast.

Side note: I have created a "Podcasts" section on this site (at the top of the page) where I will post links to any podcasts which I am part of.

In the wake of this podcast, there is potentially another podcast with some of my co-hosts from the Crazy Fools Minecraft Podcast, this one on the topic of writing. We'll see how it goes.

I am also open to other podcasting ideas. If you are starting a podcast, and you think I might (based on the clear and obvious interests laid out on this site) be a good fit, feel free to get in touch. I need to find something to fill the spare time I have between being a father, writing novels and playing video games!

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Published on March 13, 2012 08:02 • 35 views