Archive for Blogosphere

Moved!

Hi everyone, in case you all still reach this blog through its wordpress hosted website, please bookmark the new blog location (on its own very domain!)


http://www.obsessedwithreality.com

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Under Construction

under-construction

Okay, despite the low readership here and despite the fact that I have no idea whatsoever how to promote this blog, I’ve purchased hosting services at bluehost.com and will soon move this blog from its wordpress servers to my own personal domain. The address remains the same, only this time it won’t be a redirect to https://obsessedwithreality.wordpress.com

The new site will simply be on my original domain: http://obsessedwithreality.com or conversely, http://www.obsessedwithreality.com (I think. I’m sure about the former, though).

I’m planning to add at least one important plugin, and that is the comment subscription plugin. I bet most people never return here after they comment because you can’t subscribe to comments. So I’ll be adding a plugin that allows email notification to all commentators here.

I’d also like to try promoting the blog somehow, but since this isn’t exactly a business, I’m not sure what will be a legitimate way of doing so. I just write about biology, atheism and deaf people, it’s not like I’m trying to sell a product.

Anyone got any ideas?

I’ll update more during the week (it takes about 3 days for the registrar to update my DNS’s, so this means that I can’t really do anything yet until Wednesday).

What It Takes To Convert An Atheist

jesus

Caucasian Jesus

How Jesus probably looked like, sans Kefiyeh

A picture of a Palestinian middle-aged man. How Jesus probably looked like, sans Kefiyeh. Acknowledging this would make wingnuts turn into pagans, since only pagans at the time of Jesus were Anglo-Saxon.

Over at the atheist mecca of Pharyngula, yet another broiling comment section ensues due to the latest conversion of former atheist blogger, The Raving Atheist (who apparently will be “The Raving Theist” from now on).

Many considered the possibility that it’s a hoax (still possible in my book, but I really can’t say one way or another), or that TRA was somehow goaded or wooed into his conversion. A few thought that a spade is actually just a spade and that TRA reached a decision in his life to follow his heart, and that no “violence” of any kind was inflicted, nor trickery used, on TRA.

I for one am not going to predict or ruminate on the matter of TRA’s particular conversion story. I would, however, say that I know what kind of events lead people to completely change their worldview, and Jeremiaically call the atheists’ bluff of certainty in their lack of faith (says I, a die-hard atheist).

See, I believe based on the books I’ve read about human nature, biology, and the cognitive dissonance we so often employ, and my personal experience, as well, that humans think and feel very differently. Manyย  times during my life, I feel certain things which I know for a factย  are patently false. I admonish myself, banging my head on the wall with accurate rationalizations to try and alleviate the damage my intuition and emotions cause. Sometimes it works.

The point I wish to make is that atheists make the decision to become heathens based on what they think (at least, atheists like me, who simply spent a few weeks with Dawkins and talkorigins and did the math). When I “became an atheist”, it wasn’t as though I needed any special encouragement from Dawkins or from any other atheist spokesman. Atheism was merely a result of a long string of computations I conducted faced with the evidence and non-evidence available.

What I feel, though, sometimes has nothing to do with evidence, but merely with the way my brain functions.

I say all of this because TRA didn’t say jack zilch about what made him think that Christ is his savior and why he knows that God exists and that he watches over him. Nope. TRA believes, and “knows God” in the “other ways” necessary to know him that Dawkins alluded to when he wrote :”There are many ways of knowing besides the scientific, and it is one of those ways that are needed for us to know God”.

There’s a point to this besides telling my “fellow atheists”ย  that they shouldn’t be so snarky at the bible-thumper formerly known as TRA. I wish to give an explanation as to why TRA converted in the first place, while trying to base it on the modicum of evidence available.

When mom died, I still remained an atheist. I was lonely, crazed, inflicted with mental illness and growingly paranoid. I didn’t find God, even though in these parts, God is almost everywhere (metaphorically speaking). I did, however, drastically departed from the person I was. I became, in many respects, my former exact opposite. This is the result of emotional trauma, not of rational thought, and everyone, atheist or not, can and often will turn against his beliefs and convictions when pressed hard against the wall with the hot-poker of reality.

I say then to anyone comfortable in his intellectually-based atheism: your atheism is a result of your personal worldview, and like all humans, your worldview is malleable, and mostly so when reality throws a hot cauldron full of shit into your life.

Addendum

I wouldn’t write this post the way I did if TRA’s post about his conversion contained anything besides appeals to emotion, evidence-wise. With all due respect to what I wrote vis. the way emotional turmoil can change a person, when I use my head to think and not my heart, I take every input cum grano salis, and in the case of amazing conversion stories like this, cum multis granis salis.

Adding a new page: ” Quirky Search Entries That Brought People Here”

No need to elaborate ๐Ÿ™‚

Just check the left side bar for the darnest search entries that found their way to this blog!

Post Cemetry

Today I found myself contemplating what happens to posts once they die. The most circulated blog I can think of is probably Pharyngula. PZ Myers’ words are being viewed and re-viewed about a million times every month, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it gets to more than that on particularly spicy seasons. But even Pharyngula has archives, and I’m betting the ancient posts (especially those on Pharyngula.org, the older blog) never get accessed again.

Blogs aren’t like books, codices of carefully constructed words, designed, should people “read Kafka” or “read Conan Doyle” to be immortalized as character witnesses for the authors who created them.

But with blogs, words are ephemeral. PZ Myers and other notable bloggers might have written amazing and popular posts in the past, and those posts are forever forgotten. It’s possible that some literary jewels were created almost on a daily basis, and they’re all gone forever. In a way, this makes blogging a middle-ground between literature and journalism. Sure, responsible bloggers proof-read and carefully pick their post’s main topics and issues, and very serious bloggers even write multiple drafts – but no post ever conceived beats the literary manuscript. The worded piece of art that its creator proudly refers to it as “my book”.

All of this made me come to the realization that even when I write a post that actually gets read (the only example I can give is the post I wrote about the Yom Kippur riots), I know that it doesn’t matter much. People click on a link, skim through your carefully crafted words, and forget all about you, or blog, and your post the next day.

So what makes the distinction between “a person who blogs” and a “blogger”? Unlike bookwriters, it’s not any particular post or even a particular category of posts, but simply the style and history of the blog. Most Pharyngula readers aren’t science afficionados, and even though I love reading PZ’s posts on science, most of the time PZ writes about activist freethought and liberal politics (or about their antagonists).

This is, of course, not a problem in the least, but still, Pharyngula is without a doubt more of an “Atheist blog” than a “Science blog”, and that’s hardly a shame. Seeing the world of science through a self-avowed atheist with the charming and captivating worldview of PZ Myers is quite rewarding on its own. However, reading a science textbook is rewarding in a totally different fashion.

This also brought me to the realization that this blog will probably never succeed in its current setting. It’s not necessarily because I’m a bad writer (I’d say “smack average” would describe me well) or because I write about boring topics (hardly, I’ve touched some interesting issues, entirely not of my own merit, while this blog’s been alive) – I think it’s because this blog doesn’t offer the possibility of a posse like other blogs do (religion related blogs are a good example to cite). I do not offer “a home for like-minded atheists” like Pharyngula does. I do not offer a breeding ground for passionate biologists or even rather interested young peers.
Obsessed With Reality, like me, is destined to always swivel and veer to whichever my convoluted mind is up to and that, since I’m no celebrity, politician, or large-breasted female human, is of no interest to almost anyone (except other reality-obsessives, which I scarcely meet or know of).

This fact, although disheartening, is never going to be a death warrant for the blog. Writing things down endows me with some sort of releasing sensation. To be obnoxiously poetic, I could say that putting my meandering thoughts and ideas in writing “sets them free”, in a way – and that is something I’ll always love and require and fortunately, this doesn’t need a large readership to achieve.

The Pharyngula Effect

I wonder if this is only because this is a completely god-forsaken (zing!) blog, but thanks to PZ, I was finally able to quantify what happens to a backwater blog that gets linked to by Pharyngula:

Welcomed to the Atheist Blogroll – annoucement

I have recently been added to the atheist blogroll. Before I’ll write a tiny snippet of my own about this blog’s addition to the blogroll, I want to paste the annoucement Mojoey graciously proposed here:

Obsessed With Reality has been added to The Atheist Blogroll. You can see the blogroll in my sidebar. The Atheist blogroll is a community building service provided free of charge to Atheist bloggers from around the world. If you would like to join, visit Mojoey at Deep Thoughts for more information.

So, first of all – if any Atheist bloggers happened to read this blog (it’s less than a month old, so I doubt it there’s much readership here) – I highly recommend adding yourself to the Atheist blogroll. I’m frankly honored to be a part of such a community and I’ll probably be sniffing around the atheist blogosphere a lot from now on.

Second, I should probably write a page, and not a post, about what this blog is actually about. It’s apparent in some posts and in the “about me” page that this blog is about Atheism, but frankly – it’s not just about Atheism. This blog will be full of favourite bits of Biology, dealings with creationism, both in Israel and abroad, science in general (and as I wrote, biology in particular), a lot about the deaf culture, particularly the Israeli deaf culture (this is probably not going to be a huge nexus of interest for the atheist blogroll, but it is a personal issue for me) – and probably an occasional post about martial arts, a field I have been occupying in for more than a decade.

I’m a bit busy with work right now, but I’m going to put some effort into writing a proper post/page about the subject, and I should also try and figure out how exactly do I insert the blogroll in my sidebar – for now, I’m just going to put a link to the blogroll until I figure out how to use a more sophisticated widget.

Cheers, and here’s one for rationality, reason, and most importantly – the freedom of thought.

No Gods, no Masters.