Guess Who’s Joining the Atheist Blogosphere…? April 1, 2011

Guess Who’s Joining the Atheist Blogosphere…?

Sam Harris is now blogging:

It’s too early to tell if this will be a worthwhile endeavor for Harris — I would guess that most people stop blogging after only a handful of posts — but it’s a step forward.

One of the problems with the popular atheist books is that, as helpful as they are, they can’t address current events. Richard Dawkins may have led you into atheism, but PZ Myers helps keep it at the forefront of your mind.

Maybe this blog will allow Harris to respond immediately to situations where an atheist viewpoint could offer a relevant perspective. It helps that Harris already has a strong fan base.

My only complaint: It’s still a one-way conversation. There’s no place for comments on his blog.

I’m sure moderation would be annoying as hell on his site, but if you’re not soliciting reactions from the readers, what’s the point? I already know Sam Harris can write persuasive articles. But it’s a different beast altogether to put something out there that people can react to (and criticize) instantaneously.

Wait: One more complaint. There’s no RSS feed for the blog portion of the website. (There’s one for the rest of the site, but not the blog specifically.)

So it’s a small step forward. But a welcome one, nonetheless.

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • He’ll get there 🙂 step by step 🙂

  • Michael

    For now, it’s more material existing communities can use.

  • Can you let us know if he ever adds a blog only RSS feed? (Yes, I know I am super lazy. I am so unused to checking websites anymore).

  • I subscribed to the site RSS feed and I got everything but the blog. Needless to say I quickly unsubscribed.

    I replied to the tweet. It’ll be interesting if there’s a response.

  • Anonymous

    I was glad he weighed in recently when Keith Ellison was on with Bill Maher.

    http://www.samharris.org/site/full_text/honesty-the-muslim-worlds-scarcest-resource/

    And honestly? I won’t cry if he doesn’t allow comments. Not everybody does (for example Andrew Sullivan). I’m just grateful to have his voice in the mix.

  • Another complaint: I don’t actually agree with anything Sam Harris says, and wish PZ would replace him as the fourth horseman.

  • I completely understand why he wouldn’t want to deal with moderating comments, but I’m disappointed that there isn’t an opportunity for discussion. I had a lot of questions after reading The Moral Landscape, and I’m super frustrated that I will probably never get them answered.

  • As someone who likes Harris way more than PZ, I say ‘yay.’

  • gsw

    I too would like to see a thread addressing his conviction that atheists should not refer to themselves a a-theists since nobody says a-philatelist, a point he mentions in his blog.

    While I agree in principle – philatelists are not trying to run our schools! For any group to be recognised, and taken seriously, it needs a reference – i.e. a name.

    Time to herd cats.

  • Revyloution

    Blogs without comments are like Youtube videos without comments.

    Not worth my time.

    My favorite thing about getting news/opinion from the internet is that I get to put in my two cents.

  • another D-List celebrity blog without comments. meh. let me know when he wants to have a conversation, and not just talk into the void.

  • Most blogs I have seen don’t allow comments, or at least make it so hard, as to be useless for that purpose. That’s one reason why I love this blog.

  • How can you have a blog without an RSS feed? It’s pointless. Plus the lack of comments is a big disappointment.

  • Seriously- it shouldn’t even be called a blog if it doesn’t have an rss feed or the ability to comment. What is this? It’s just an essay on the web.

    Most newspapers allow comments these days. Even the Washington Post’s On Faith section allows comments for every essay on there, even the introductions.

    Sam–Change your mind! Hire an intern if you have to!

  • JustSayin’

    What’s with all the hatin’ on Sam? Although I like the other Horsemen, I owe him the biggest debt. He was the first of them that I ever read, and his arguments really opened my eyes, causing a paradigm shift in my thinking on nonbelief. And although I certainly don’t agree with everything he espouses, to me he’s an indispensable voice for atheism. (By the way, I think “D List celebrity” is a bit harsh, chicago dyke.)

  • Darwin’s Dagger

    Blogging is easy. Comment moderation is hard. Give Harris some time and I’m sure he’ll work it out.

  • tim

    @miller

    PZ will never compete with Harris or Dawkins simply because he doesn’t understand how to frame his opinions to different audiences.

    Personally I wish PZ would just stick to biology because whenever he makes a comment outside that field he comes across as a complete idiot.

  • OverlapingMagisteria

    Not sure what kind of traffic he is getting, but remember that comment sections become almost useless when there are too many people there. It becomes less of a conversation and more like graffiti on a subway wall; your comment just falls into the vast ocean of comments. Take a look at any article that is featured on the Yahoo front page. When you make a comment, it is on page 5 within a minute.

  • Claudia

    I much prefer Harris to PZ, whose too far that side of dickish for me, especially when he’s shitting on fellow atheists for the supreme crime of not being as pissy as he is. Some of his rants are entertaining, but he’s a lot less thought provoking than Harris.

    Actually, as a regular reader of The Daily Dish, I can say that a very well run blog with no comments can be a pleasure to read, when the blogger takes the time to write considered posts and publish the best commentary, both in agreement and dissent. However running a blog that’s engaging enough to read without the benefit of instant commentary is much harder than the regular comment-enabled blog. If Harris is willing to put up the effort (or, more likely, finds people willing to help him out that also write and select well) it could be great. I look forward to seeing what he can do.

  • Matt

    I made a feed for just the blog using the Feed43 service:

    Sam Harris Blog RSS

    Enjoy.

    -Matt

  • Jaik

    I don’t blame him for not opening a comments section. Look at all the crap PZ goes through on a daily basis.

  • David H

    Bitch bitch bitch. Any Sam is good Sam. I’m more than happy to take what I can get.

    I don’t even know what a FSMD RSS feed is, and I don’t think that will be a problem.

    Sam’s got shit to do. If he has the chance to bang out a little free content, than good on him.

    And he is certainly not responsible for carrying on a conversation with every entitled opinionator on the web.

  • flatlander100

    Gotta tell ya, H, I don’t quite see why, once someone has reached the point of recognizing that he or she is a non-believer, that they should necessarily have to keep studying non-belief, and seeking reinforcement for it. It’s not like there’s an atheist unholy text that needs to be referred to when matters of interpretation arise. There’s no atheist authority that needs to be, or should be, appealed to, by right of its [or he or she] being an authority.

    I find atheist sites like yours and PZs and a few others useful for pointing out news stories I’d not have otherwise seen, e.g. new bill board or bus campaigns, or incidents of theists peddling their belief a science in the schools, etc. But beyond that? As instructive sites to resolve doctrinal problems [so to speak] of non-believers? Not so much.

    I’ve always been a little uncomfortable with some of the questions/answers you post as “Ask H” advice. Someof the questions are phrased as “what should an atheist do in this situation?” Since there is no atheist unholy text to refer to, no atheist authority to be appealed to whose Word is Law on matters of non-belief, I’ve not always understood the point of asking.

    So I’m a little skeptical about the value of sam’s blog. But I’ll look over there regularly for while. My skepticism may be misplaced. We’ll see.

  • Tim

    I am glad Sam has a blog.
    But given his media-facing approach and what I have seen of him in news and interview shows, I expect it to be quite worthwhile.
    While I agree this should definitely have an RSS feed for following, i disagree with you Hemant about the problem being a lack of comments. I do not go to your or other blogs for the readers comments, but because I respect the writer and want their views.
    (This is my first comment in reply to a “Friendly Atheist” post and do appreciate the irony of using it to state the lack of needing such a facility on a blog.)

  • Tim

    Appreciate Matt putting together an RSS feed at http://www.feed43.com/sam_harris_blog.xml
    The advantages of motivated people using open standards!
    (OK, so some comments are useful!)

  • As far as I can tell there’s a feed for the blog now?

  • Oops, my bad; it’s for the entire site. It does, however, include the blog.