What do you have to say?

Simply put I’d like to hear from people who read my blog. I want to know what you the reader like about my writing, and what you don’t like. What you’d like to see more of and less of. What brought you here in the first place and what keeps you here.


  1. I like your cogent arguments.

  2. I like that when I want to hear the best possible argument against my own beliefs, I can usually find them here. Your arguments keep me sharp and help me see the places where I need to think further. You tend not to let conversations descend into bible verses and proselytizing.
    There are posts of yours I avoid- usually because they are about US politics where I feel woefully underinformed- but I do enjoy the posts on particular issues where the focus is on the ethics as opposed to specific policy.
    I’m happy to see you getting a larger base of regular commenters, but sometimes find myself giggling at the amount of backslapping and uncritical congratulations going on amongst you. I really can’t be too critical, because relative to the echo chambers and attitudes at most conservative/Christian blogs- I feel you are doing a much better job. As you know I feel strongly enough about your blog to recommend it to others and you ought to feel proud that you are the only conservative blog on my blogroll.

  3. For me, it’s not unlike watching an episode of the 700 Club. Ok, maybe not that bad.

    I find it fascinating to hear what some folks actually have to say about many of the topics here, especially the posts related to religion. I have learned a lot since visiting this blog; not the least of which is the difficulty bridging the gap and actually having a fruitful discussion regarding beliefs. As a result, I often just sit here quietly and shake my head…

    I appreciate the fact that, as George points out, this blog doesn’t tend to proselytize like some other blogs I’ve encountered. This blog is well put together and well designed. I’ve noticed there are a number of followers that “like” a post, but would like to see them get more involved with the discussions.

  4. Marshall Art says:

    You articulate your positions very well. I hope that doesn’t come across as back-slapping….WAIT…I indeed give a virtual back-slap to well articulated positions, particularly positions that reflect logic and reality. I’m a back-slapper at such places and face-slappers at others. No apologies. No shame. Good thinking, like good behavior, demands encouragement and acknowledgement. But I wonder…isn’t every blog an echo chamber? Each has its visitors who agree and disagree. Allowing thoughtful dissent does not diminish that, though where dissent is prohibited the echo is louder. I echo most, if not all of your positions due to the logic and reason behind them. Again, no apologies for doing so. Keep up the good work.

  5. Unfortunately, Marshall Art, it’s that very rhetoric that prohibits a productive conversation.

    It seems like “well-articulated positions that reflect logic and reality” are only ones that you happen to agree with.

  6. So Marshall is aware, I don’t consider him a prime offender of the “back-slapping” phenomenon. I would add that I actually appreciate most of Marshall’s input on these posts- he is usually mindful to say something of value.
    I don’t think back-slapping is an inherently bad thing- if the person being congratulated is being held up for making a particularly good point. Most of the kudos John gets are deserved.
    Every blog is certainly not an echo chamber. Certainly some of them weed out commenters who dissent by moderating their views or cherry-picking which views are presented. As the context of my comment points out- I specifically lauded this blog for being decidedly not an echo chamber.

  7. I agree with you, George.

    I certainly don’t mind folks adding their two cents, whether they agree or disagree. Everyone has the potential to add to the conversation. What doesn’t add to the discussion, however, is obfuscation and rhetoric.

    As for the echo chamber stuff, I would just caution anyone who constantly reposts and retweets anyone else’s writing. If you wish to say something, say it and add your own words.

    Case in point: the above tweet about “What doctors think about Obamacare” should cause you to do a little digging. It didn’t take long to expose the source of that study. http://www.democraticunderground.com/1002926904

    * sigh *

    • I’m not looking for arguments here, but you offer democraticundergound as a more credible source than the daily caller, an organization with press credentials? Hmm.

  8. I’m not proposing that the website that presents this information is perfect by any means, but the argument they make seems rather legitimate. Just follow the money trail in most cases.

  9. I liked your articles very much, but mostly don’t read them. I left your link on my dashboard so I can see what they are about, which is how I found this one. I thought you may be an intellectual novelty, so I commented a few times.

    Alas, I could not know. I decided that you could not debate on equal terms. You ignored most counter points and chastised the use of “fisking.”

    You seemed unwilling to engage except on selected points that you felt most comfortable with.

    I don’t think you are ultimately incapable, but I do find you unwilling to “compete,” for like of a better term.

    That is my greatest criticism of your site. It is based on you giving your opinion with drive by comments welcome, but real analysis forbidden.

    Of course, you will disagree with this, and that is OK. I am not here to try to debate on what I consider a stacked platform. I just wanted to point out that I consider your blog something that would have been one of the good ones, which is especially rare for conservative blogs, but that missed the mark due primarily to ego (or perhaps something else, who knows).

    • I only technically disagree, John.

      It’s true, I don’t debate people on my blog on their terms. I am none too fond of fisking, the practice os isolating and addressing every sentence individually as though they are proverbs instead of an overall body of work, like the posts were intended to be taken.

      It’s not that don’t or can’t or won’t debate on equal terms, Its just that I think equal terms means something different from what you think equal terms means.

      Our biggest hurdle John, was that you thought it perfectly acceptable to come to my blog and insist that I do things your way.

      • Our biggest hurdle John, was that you thought it perfectly acceptable to come to my blog and insist that I do things your way.

        You put me in a position where you did not have to substantiate anything and you were welcome to ignore any rebuttal. That is a stacked deck, not a debate.

  10. “It seems like “well-articulated positions that reflect logic and reality” are only ones that you happen to agree with.”

    Why would I agree with poorly articulated positions that do NOT reflect logic and reality? To be honest, I would even agree with poorly articulated positions that reflect logic and reality, but I wouldn’t agree with well-articulated positions that do not. How’s that? John’s blog reflects the original comment in my opinion and thus his blog is a regular stop for me. I haven’t found any left-leaning blogs that reflect that sentiment, though I’m sure the hosts of those I visit would like to think they do. I’m always willing to visit a new one even though it’s difficult to do without a reflexive tightening of the sphincter. Mostly, though, I judge blogs by the host’s willingness to interact with those who disagree.

  11. I feel like JB presents some of the better perspectives of the conservative movement and it’s interesting to stop by and craft responses for my own purposes.
    JB contrasts with Dan Trabue who has more inspiring views but don’t really reflect the conservative perspective. Glenn Chatfield and Marshall Art represent the sort of stoneheaded fundamentalism makes most conservative blogs valueless. Please forgive my name-calling. I do it only to put brackets on the not-too-liberal, not-too-conservative, just-right comment I’m making. It’s nice to have coherent commentary from JB, my many objections notwithstanding.
    Although I will say that some of the more recent posts have been fabricated and clumsy arguments for atheism that have lowered the standard of the blog. Better to cite an accurate argument presented in context rather than building a straw man if you want to address atheism directly. That’s a change I’d like to see. I’ve also got no interest in the republican/democrat arguments. But on that note, the primary secular lobbying organization has a republican Executive Director and didn’t give glowing marks to Obama or terrible marks to Romney. I’m not sure that’s the sentiment you’ll get from most atheists, but that’s a more non-partisan leadership perspective: http://secular.org/content/2012-presidental-candidate-scorecard

    • Jason

      Keep in mind the last few seemingly vacuous posts which appear to tackle strawmen, are actually arguments a lot of atheists use. I mean, just scout the ‘Atheism’ tag on wordpress, or scroll through planetatheism.com. I regularly check up with them looking for ideas. I agree they are stupid arguments, but that’s kinda my point. I do realize that there are Atheists who do more thinking than would be convinced by such empty complaints against Christianity. But then again, there are a lot who think those are good reasons.

  12. JB / John – I also like JB’s avoidance of fisking and overall point-counterpoint-move on approach. It doesn’t get us to resolution on issues, but I think that would be too high a standard to hope for. We can at least understand a quick point or two.

  13. Marshall Art says:

    I’m not sure Jason has a clear view of my position on anything, as I have not done much more but question positions taken by others. How that makes me a stone-headed fundie requires more explanation. Any time anyone wishes to ask specific questions about my positions on any topics covered here, I am more than welcoming.

  14. You and your readers think differently than I do. I enjoy reading the discussions between the people here. I normally don’t comment because I don’t think I could add anything to any of the conversations… I guess for me I am here to learn. I don’t always agree with everything you say, but usually the things I disagree with you about are things that don’t matter much anyway. I have an appreciation for the way you think and the way your readers think. Every time I walk away from one of your posts/discussions, I have learned something or thought about something I otherwise would not have. I honestly feel that you have a gift a talent a purpose writing this blog.

  15. I don’t know about John, but KT’s comments arouse curiosity. I’d love to hear her perspective on the topics presented as I also learn things by the comments of visitors and the posts John offers.

    • I second that Marshall. I think KT could add to the discussion greatly. It shouldn’t worry anyone that that they might not have anything to add. You’d be surprised how significant even some of the littlest things can be. I can’t tell you how many posts have been inspired by a Whimsical conversations with someone where they said just the right thing which sparked an inspiration.

  16. Thank You Marshall Art and John! You are definitely one of John’s commenter’s that I take delight in reading! It seems like you take as much heat from atheist and agnostics as John does. You both handle the conversations very well. I do enjoy reading the atheist’s point of view too. I don’t have the tolerance and patience for them that John and you do. I will try to contribute more thoughts to the conversations! Thank you both for being so kind!

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