Wednesday, June 18, 2008

50 reasons to contribute to Iron Chariots

PZ Myers just posted an email he received entitled "50 reasons to believe in god." While the apologetics contained therein are the usual unremarkable tripe, I thought this was a good opportunity to renew enthusiasm for Iron Chariots, the counter-apologetics wiki.

The mission of Iron Chariots is to collect in one handy reference guide an exhaustive list of theistic arguments and thorough rebuttals to each one. Here in this email, we find a neatly wrapped parcel of sound bites which collectively represent EXACTLY the sort of thing which Iron Chariots was set up to debunk.

Many of the bullet points from the email already have responses at IC, but many others do not. I've taken the liberty of creating a new page dedicated entirely to responding to this email. I've also included an example of the kind of response which would suffice to answer the first bullet point.

Go to the article and start editing!

The point of this exercise is not simply to write a long essay in the body of the response. If there is already a response within a different article, link it! If there is no such article, make one! If an existing article fails to sufficiently address the point, improve it! You can categorize new articles yourself, or simply write something basic and let our crack team of experienced editors come in behind you and wikify the contents. Either way, let's make this a group activity. Have fun! And feel free to share the link.

Also, you'll noticed that I've created a new category for this project called Internet Memes. If you know of any other good messages that fit into this category, feel free to create more articles in there.


  1. Look what you've done, you've got me editing! Oh well, what's done is done. Hopefully I'm doing more help than harm.

  2. Sorry to say, but I find the wiki incredibly hard to navigate. I wish I could offer some constructive criticism but my experience with Wikis is minimal to say the least.

  3. Baz, have you spent much time on Wikipedia? You may be right that the wiki is hard to navigate, or it may just be that using a wiki in general requires a different mode of interaction than you're used to.

    My experience with wikis is that they are not designed to encourage simple, self-contained articles. They are expressly written with the intention that you should jump around to whatever catches your attention. So for instance, the first comment says:

    1. Whilst agreeing that random patterns occur naturally by chance, DNA however, consists of code, which requires a designer.
    Response: This is the _argument from design_. (link)

    If you're interested in exploring further, you click on the link to visit "argument from design" and learn more. Or if you're already familiar with the concept, you keep reading from where you are.

    My interaction with Iron Chariots usually happens in one of three ways:
    1. I search for a particular topic that I'm interested in.
    2. I surf around from a starting point.
    3. I browse the category structure.

    Remember that Iron Chariots is primarily a reference source rather than a collection of essays. So don't expect to have a set path of things you should read.

  4. I know, my initial comment was a bit cowardly :s

    I will definitely look back at IC and see if I can contribute anything.

    What I was hoping for was a clearer way "into" the body of the wiki. I tried navigating the category structure but didn't find it very self-explanatory.

  5. Just added some "Snappy Comebacks" to the 50 reasons...

  6. I love it! Keep up the good work!


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