Can you believe it? As of today I’ve had this blog online for ten years!
Way back when, in 2003, I started a website called, “The Calladus Project” on Tripod. It was about some of my thoughts, and I used it to play with wysiwyg HTML editors. I wrote several pieces there, but didn’t touch much on the themes of skepticism and atheism.
I quickly ran into the limitations of HTML and HTML tables, and in creating multiple pages and a table of contents to jump to each new posting. Frankly, it was a dinky website that was becoming claustrophobic. And since I was holding down a full time job AND going to school at the time, I wasn’t about to use HTML to invent the “next new thing”.
So in 2005 I shut down my tripod page. I left a sign there, to indicate I was moving. And I started “The Calladus Blog” right here on Blogger.
I created a brand new first post in which I mentioned the new podcast, “Skepticality”. I also wrote about how terrible it was that people believe that humans in the past just are not smart enough to invent and build wondrous things.
In 2005, three years before California Proposition 8 was implemented, and ten years before the Supreme Court ruling that same sex marriage is constitutional, I made the prediction that same sex marriage was inevitable. I based this upon the fact that same sex couples were already raising children, and that these children were more accepting of same sex couples. I did not mention that friends and relatives of these children, and friends and relatives and parents of gay children are also more accepting of homosexuality and of LGBT rights. I didn’t mention that this was a form of positive feedback that would continue to grow. I think I knew this argument at the time, but didn’t include it.
In August 2005 I purchased the domain names calladus.com and calladus.net. I set them up as a redirect, so if you put those into your browser address bar, you’ll end up back here at my blog. If for some reason my blog ever disappears, try using those addresses and see if you get to a new destination.
My first post to gain lots of attention was a humorous post I made about a very unfortunate Gecko. It also gained me a friend that I’ve never met in person, but hold great respect and admiration for. (Hi Sumi!)
Here are a few of my most popular posts over the last ten years:
- I explain crystals to a young woman who works in a pyramid
- I explain why “Sin” is a victimless crime
- I teach Christians how to witness to atheists
- I respond to a spokesperson for the group Answers in Genesis
- I create my own non-believer’s symbol – the Fleur-de-pensée
- I explain why “I don’t know” is an honest, scientific answer
- I discuss the benefits and problems of a National ID Card
- I explain exactly why Jonah ran away from God
The one post that gets absolutely the most traffic on my blog is, Testing the Counterfeit Money Detector Pen by DriMark. This post was created in response to a Skeptic’s Circle contest held in September 2006, and hosted that month by Dr. Janet Stemwedel. You can find Dr. Stemwedel at her blog, “Adventures in Ethics and Science” – where she’s still doing great things.
Traffic to my Counterfeit Money page comes mostly from Google searches, or from links in various web forums that talk about counterfeit money – from both sides of the law. I am somewhat amused that I get just as much referrals from police and law abiding people warning about DriMark as I do from people who are attempting to create “funny” money.
Looking back at that post, I can see that the formatting didn’t change gracefully when I made blog changes. I may re-make the entire post to make it prettier.
I am proud that one of my posts has actually been cited in a few different semi-scholarly places. That post was in response to Tony Perkins, President of James Dobson’s Christian lobbying organization “Family Research Council”. Mr. Perkins stated in March 2007 that there are “stacks of peer-reviewed research” that show abstinence only education is effective.
Due to Mr. Perkin’s statement, I started reviewing the “peer-reviewed research” that he cited. And I found that it was all a sham – a facade created out of whole clothe to give people against birth control something to point at. I wrote up what I found in a post called, “Let’s examine the proof that Abstinence Only education programs actually work“.
Some of the posts that I’m the most proud of have to do with the intersection of religion and human rights. Specifically how some religious positions limit human rights. The post that most demonstrates this is, “If Abortion is murder, coffee is manslaughter“. In this post I explore the implications of declaring humans to exist as persons under the law from the moment of conception. If a blastocyst has the same rights as a born human, then how shall we treat those women who are guilty of the death of their unborn through criminal negligence? Later, I followed this post up with, “Abortion vs. Personhood” – which further clarifies terms, and explains why the chance of miscarriage can increase due to a woman’s actions. This leads to grave implications if a zygote is legally the same as a born person!
As an atheist, my blog contains questions and responses to Christians. Of course, I’m not a “big name” atheist, so I get relatively little discussion. Still, I have to ask. For example, how can anyone be happy in Heaven if there is a Hell? Or how about this, if an atheist can recreate the experience of the Holy Spirit at will, what does that say about people who base their faith upon this experience? Here’s another question – if you try to witness people into a religion, what happens when that religion is proved false? In this case, it can be both funny, and extremely sad.
And I answer questions that have been put to me. “What do you believe?” “Why do you discuss atheism“, and my favorite, “What’s the point of life if you’re an atheist? Why bother?“
I’ve tried to inform and teach in my blog from time to time. I’m very much interested in art, and most love Romantic Realism. Over a 3 year period from 2005 to 2008 I posted “Friday in the Atelier” about art that I love. I also posted a 3 part series called, “What is Art?” where I explained the difference between the skill of Pierre-Auguste Cot, the unskilled “happy accident” produced by Jackson Pollack. And I speak about Pablo Picasso – who had skill but decided to use as little of it as possible so it wouldn’t interfere with the time he spent with wine and women.
One of my informational posts that gets heavy traffic is about the aggressive selling tactics shown by members of the Core Gas Aggregation program. These are the people who knock on your door and say, “Hi! I’m from PG&E! Can I look at your latest PG&E bill?” My take is that if you have to lie to sell your product, then you don’t deserve the sale.
There’s been drama in my blog. Frankly, I wish I could have avoided the whole “Possummomma” affair. I am left saddened and confused by my friendship with Chris – who is no longer communicating with old friends. I haven’t heard from her in years now – although I see occasional updates on Facebook. I am still not making any conclusions on the matter, one way or the other. But because of this drama I have become much more wary of offering assistance to any blogger.
And that is sad, because I’ve been the beneficiary of assistance when I needed it most. On the death of my late wife, Won Chong, I received over $3,000 from very kind people all over the world – which helped me fly to Korea and bring Won back home. That was a dark time for me, and my blog updates dropped off dramatically after that.
I’ve had other dark spots in my blog. Not quite as traumatic, but traumatic at the time. For example, when my dog Leena died – it shook me deeply. From my point of view now, it seems like the foreshadowing of Won’s death.
There’s been bittersweet. Losing my dog Tasha, just after proposing to my wife Wendy. That is also a whiplash of the heart. Wendy and I have recently lost another dog due to old age. I’ve yet to write about her, but I expect that I will. I’ve heard it said that owning a pet was owning delayed heartbreak.
But there has also been healing. Finding out that my scumbag ex-stepfather was in jail for his crimes was extremely healing for me and my sister. And knowing that my sister had some part in putting him there made us both do a fist-pump of triumph.
And buying a house together with Wendy has also been amazingly great. I had not thought that I’d ever be married again, but I lucked out and found a perfect mate.
My blog posting hasn’t increased to the point where it was before 2010. But that’s for mostly happy reasons. I’m a homeowner, a newlywed, and more active in my hobbies of woodworking and aquaponics. I have also started researching several possible books, and have been writing a little. I hope to become more serious about that.
I do write in a much more trivial manner, much more often, on Reddit. Look me up as Calladus there to see what I’ve written. Don’t expect too much of it to be very profound.
And now, at the ten year mark, the question remains. Do I continue blogging?
Yea, whenever I think I have something to say, I’ll blog about it here. It probably won’t be amazing, and I will probably never have a large audience. But it will always be what I’m thinking about. And it may occasionally be profound.