Welcome to TWIM 4!

Posted in Blogosphere, Web/Tech on  | 6 minutes | 8 Comments →

Happy belated New Year! I don’t know about you, but I sure had a nice rest. Once I noticed that people were finding the new TWIM (presumably through Google searches), I had to step into high gear and get back in action. My apologies if the blog has seemed “dead” for a while. I assure you I’m now fully up and running and will now be responding to comments and posting in my usual manner.

If you were a regular at the old TWIM, you might have noticed that I’ve given it yet another facelift. Although, this time it’s actually more than a facelift. We went from a WordPress-hosted, generic, rigid, ugly, hardly-customizable theme to a self-hosted hand-crafted theme! The “stock” WordPress blog definitely had it’s pluses and minuses, but in the final analysis there weren’t any existing themes that had the look or features I wanted. So I wrote my own. That’s the cool thing about WordPress: a basic coding / graphic design skill set allows you one to do almost anything. It’s definitely a little Beta, but at least now I can do pretty much whatever I want with this blog (technically speaking). Please have a look around and let me know if you come across anything that looks or works funky. Are any areas hard to read? Any broken links? Any weird paragraph formatting? Page(s) not displaying correctly in some browser or device? Leave a comment describing whatever it is, and also your system, device and/or browser if you don’t mind. So far the theme seems to work well in the major browsers and on iPhones.

So what else is new?

Without a doubt, the most significant addition is the debate page. This year, I intend to host at least a half dozen legitimate debates on contemporary topics in philosophy, with special emphasis on philosophy of religion. As an added incentive for all involved, I also intend to publish these debates in a small book (more details here). We’re offering both real-time and letter formats, with flexible rules to accommodate varying schedules and commitment levels. Volunteers and suggestions for judges, topics, and opponents are welcomed. If you would like to challenge somebody to a debate, hop on over to the debate page and leave a comment stating the claim you wish to address, your preferred format(s), and your desired opponent. Should your opponent accept, I will talk to the judges and attempt to schedule the debate. FWIW, this is something I’ve been thinking about for over two years, and I’m really looking forward to the next level of (a)theist blogging and debate. Thank you all for participating!

Writing-wise, I managed to squeak out a few short posts while TWIM was down, but more importantly, I methodically inspected probably 90% of 500-something existing posts, looking for formatting errors I never corrected when I moved from TypePad to WordPress 18 months ago. Some of the comments are still looking a little funky, but I’ve got this place pretty cleaned up for the most part. It was cool to see what I was writing about 2, 3 or 4 years ago and check each post and the entire set for logical consistency, trying to find instances of “X” and “~X” in my own arguments. It had been so long since I read most of my stuff that I was able to approach it somewhat objectively. More than once I found myself thinking, “Ah man… that was terrible!” or “Oh, hey… that’s an insightful take.” It was a very interesting journey, and I suggest it to any serious writer.

Structure-wise, I culled through the homepage and tried to organize it a little better. The idea is to present a sequence of posts that represent my baseline philosophical / religious beliefs. I shortened most of the descriptions to one-liners to keep the page from growing too unwieldy, and added an index at the top of the page for easier navigation. Though it’s still a work in progress, I eventually want to turn the homepage into one massive argument map. These recent edits reflect the continuation of that process.

In the interest of making sense, I added a few more words to the terms page, and in homage to the now-defunct CSA I collected over two-dozen valuable philosophy links from that site into a new resources page (which features the now-defunct “papers” page from TWIM 3). Enjoy!

I ditched the 10,000 pixel columns from the old theme and added a feedback page, which is basically the list of favorable and not-so-favorable feedback that used to be on the left side of the blog. As for all the interesting philosophy quotes that were on the right side of the page, I’ll be working those into a “rotating quote” feature to be unleashed soon.

People had been asking about the book, so I updated that page with the current synopsis and partial table of contents. People had also been asking if I had even a basic outline of my beliefs so I added an about page. I also added a few post sequences to the series page:

So that’s most of what’s new here at TWIM 4! I’m happy to be back and can’t wait to get back in touch with the handful of regulars (if I haven’t lost ’em, that is). I’ll be adding new features for a few more weeks to come, but mostly just aesthetic stuff. I currently don’t have any worthwhile subscription or social media services but bear with me, I’m working on it. It’s the next priority (besides getting ready for my debate with Peter Hurford).

Oh, a word of technical warning to anybody who exports their WordPress-hosted blog intending to self-host: the WordPress importer is known to choke on larger XML files, and it might be necessary to split your file into smaller chunks when you import. I found this Python script and it did the trick. I can’t remember where I got it, but whoever wrote it is an awesome individual. If I’d have known about this from the minute the “Please upload something more substantial” error appeared, it would’ve saved a day and a half of headache.


  1. Garren


    Welcome back from the dead.

  2. cl


    Hey hey, good to be back!

  3. Matt


    God to see that you’re back on line. I look forward to reading the new stuff as well as your upcoming debate.

  4. Kwon Mega


    Glad to see you back in action! Looking forward to all upcoming posts :)

    Also, the new format looks great, and I really enjoyed your about page.

  5. Mr. Nightstick



    Glad to see you are back and ringing a bell.

    Mr. Nightstick

  6. cl


    Thanks all.

    Kwon Mega,

    …I really enjoyed your about page.

    I appreciate it. I’ve always found those types of pages difficult to write. What does one include? What does one exclude? That sort of thing.

  7. If possible, can you make the comment author’s name appear at the top of the comment (too)? I like to know who made the comment before I reach the end of the comment.

  8. cl


    Hey long time no “see” …

    Yeah I thought much about that and I left off liking them at the bottom on the notion people would be less tempted to make assumptions about what’s being said based on whose saying it. But I can also see valid reasons for wanting it up top. So, maybe I’ll make it where it’s an option (but that would entail a bit more work than I want to get into at the moment).

    Maybe I’ll try a hacky version where only your IP displays the author name up top. Stay tuned :)

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