An anonymous blogger claiming to have two PhDs attempted a smear tactic against atheist bloggers today. The blog The Good The Bad and The Ugly presented three "top 5 lists" for best atheist blogs, mediocre blogs, and crappy blogs.
Christian blogger Groundfighter76 first brought it to my attention via the comments section of a recent post at Goosing the Antithesis. Check out the comments section of that post to see my initial reaction to the list, and my eventually labeling it a pile of bullshit.
From the beginning the list seemed funny. A guy claimed to have two PhDs, one from Oxford, and one from Cambridge. He said he was an atheist who had to be anonymous because of his recent applying to a University job of some sort. Although that isn't too out of the ordinary, it is worth noting that countless atheist doctorate holders have made their views quite public; people like PZ Myers of Pharyngula for example.
The three lists he posted are a literal roll call of atheistic social clicks on the Internet. I mean, there are hundreds of atheist blogs and bloggers out there that put out a lot of work, and I am only associates or friends with a small minority of them. But the three lists this anonymous guy posted were filled almost exclusively with bloggers that I know and interact with. Dawson Bethrick, the folks at Goosing the Antithesis, John Loftus, The Raving Atheist, Ed Babinski, etc. This was too much of a coincidence for me.
This list was so insular, that I was actually listed twice! Kill The Afterlife (of which I am the sole member) was listed in the mediocre section, while Goosing the Antithesis (of which I am a team member) was listed in the bad section. How do I manage to get listed twice out of all the hundreds of atheist blogs out there? And why the hell is Dawson Bethrick in the mediocre section? His blog is anything but.
Then it got worse. The Sam Harris link isn't even a blog but an article from 2005. The Secular Outpost is just an outlet for the Internet Infidels website.
But then what happens? I notice that the 5th blog listed on the "best" list, Discomfiting Christianity, which I've never seen before (literally the only atheist blog I haven't heard of before seeing this list), gives extreme amounts of props to John Loftus, whose blog Debunking Christianity is listed last in the "worst" list. Then after reading the first few posts from Discomfiting Christianity, I realize that the blog is likely a hoax. Groundfighter76 then confirms with me in the comments of Goosing the Antithesis that Discomfiting Christianity is indeed a hoax blog meant to parody and insult John Loftus. Call me crazy, but the whole thing reeks of Paul Manata and/or friends.
So an anonymous atheist with two PhDs who seems to only read a small circle of atheist blogs puts a parody site in the best top 5 list, and some respectable blogs in the mediocre and worst of lists. Plus he throws in a site that isn't really an atheist blog but an essay from Sam Harris. He actually lists two blogs that I write for (I can only wish my name was that popular in the field of atheism). And the guy provides no reasoning or explanations as to why each choice got on the list that it did. For a guy who claims two doctorates and appoints himself as the judge of the intellectual merit of these blogs, he sure doesn't like to support his assertions!
At this point, I realized that this is very likely another hoax. I have officially called the bullshit flag. But unlike the Discomfiting Christianity blog, which is a somewhat obvious parody, this Good Bad Ugly blog is quite disingenuous. It took some research to figure out that it was a lie, and at first glance it very much comes off as a legitimate blog. I can imagine that it would fool a lot of atheists as well as theists. There is no disclaimer that I can see either. Even the Objective Ministries site has a disclaimer or parody notification buried deep within it.
Whoever created the Good Bad and The Ugly blog thought they were clever, but their little scheme only worked for about 5 minutes. I have nothing against Christians doing parodies. But I do have something against Christians lying and trying to deceive others deliberately. But of course Christians don't feel too bad about this, what with their Biblical revisionism and interpretation, master/slave moral ideology, and tendency to blindly follow the commands of their self-appointed mystics.
Christians clearly suck at doing atheist parodies. But atheists rock at doing Christian parodies. That's because atheists are smarter. Parodies like the aforementioned Objective Ministries and the infamous Landover Baptist site are brilliant in their conception and execution. If Discomfiting Christianity and The Good The Bad and The Ugly are the best hoaxes that Christians can do, then I feel pretty damn good about how this ideology war is going right now. All indicators show that atheists are the ones gaining ground, and that Christians are losing ground. By their works, we shall know them, the losers that they are.