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Freethought Blogs (FtB) is a spinoff of ScienceBlogs begun by PZ Myers and Ed Brayton and having some of the same contributors. At its start, FtB hosted the following blogs: Comradde PhysioProffe,[note 1] Digital Cuttlefish, Dispatches from the Culture Wars (Ed Brayton), Pharyngula (PZ Myers), This Week in Christian Nationalism (Chris Rodda) and The Zingularity (Stephen Andrew).
The site hosts advertisements for revenue. While the owners want targeted ads to ensure relevance for their readers, the present state of the software used to target ads often leads to hilarious juxtapositions. Also, they've chosen an ad network so eyegougingly obnoxious that people install AdBlockPlus just to get away from the zillion popups, popunders and auto-starting video with sound. But if you can tolerate it, it does provide the opportunity to cost luckless woo peddlers money every time you click.
Taking a feminist-skeptic stand
Post-Elevatorgate, Freethought Blogs is seen as one of the strongest and most prominent supporters of the feminist position within the atheist/skeptic movement. PZ Myers and other contributors frequently post about the continuing controversy, often strongly attacking those on the other side of the question, and their members include a number of second- and third-wave feminist skeptics, including Ophelia Benson, Greta Christina, Jen McCreight, Taslima Nasrin,[note 2] Zinnia Jones, and Stephanie Zvan. As a result, the ongoing war over sexism in the skeptical and atheist communities is a major part of the subject matter on the site, and sexism (a result of unexamined prejudices) is treated as just as much woo as any other; this has resulted in the creation of the Atheism Plus movement, a form of secular humanism focusing on skepticism and social justice issues.
The vlogger Thunderf00t briefly joined Freethought Blogs in summer 2012, but was quickly fired after repeatedly (and somewhat incoherently) blogging that those pushing for protection for women at atheist/skeptic events were wrong, or overreacting, or whatever. The vocal group of FtB anti-fans gleefully took this as another confirmation that FtB isn't about "freethought" at all because something-something-evo-psych-something girls are stinky, and some have taken as a hobby attacking the most vocal feminist bloggers. A somewhat common line of attack is accusations of groupthink[note 3] and claims that contrary to the site name, FtB "doesn't allow free thought at all."[note 4]
How to blog
The procedure has been simplified. Potential bloggers should send an e-mail with a sample of their writing or a link to what they have written to show what they can do. Diversity is valued. Bloggers need to be godless social justice warriors and most serious RationalWikians are that. Bloggers get a little money and a great deal of attention. See how to join freethoughtblogs.
The site has expanded significantly since its beginning. The following blogs were hosted as of August 2017:
- A Trivial Knot
- Against the Grain
- Alethian Worldview ("Deacon Duncan," known for and still blogging at the Evangelical Realism blog)
- Atheism Music and More
- Bi Any Means
- Comradde PhysioProffe ("physioprof")
- Cristina Rad (yes, ZOMGitsCriss) (on hiatus since 2014)
- Death to Squirrels
- Fierce Roller
- Geeky Humanist
- Great American Satan
- Heteronormative Patriarchy for Men (Ally Fogg)
- Incongruous Circumspection
- Mano Singham (A theoretical physicist who shares "[t]houghts on atheism, religion, science, politics, books, and other fun stuff.")
- Maryam Namazie
- Nastic Deliberations
- New Frontier
- Nirmukta on FTB (Sunil D'Monte)
- Pharyngula (PZ Myers, posts dealing with science also go to the old blog at ScienceBlogs)
- Reasonable Doubts (a radio show/podcast)
- SecularVoices on FtB (Kevin Davis of Young Skeptics)
- No Country for Women (Taslima Nasreen)
- The Atheist Experience (a weekly TV show)
- The Digital Cuttlefish (a poetic cephalopod)
- The Hispanic Atheist
- The Indelible Stamp (Tauriq Moosa)
- The Zingularity (Stephen Andrew, a.k.a. DarkSyde)
- Thoughts of Crys
- The Sex Politics And Religion Blog (Jamila Bey) Joined around the beginning of February, 2015. She made a handful of posts on FTB, but nothing since her ill-received #born-this-conservative #freethought! post in March 2015.
- YEMMYnisting (Yemisi Ilesanmi)
- Libby Anne's Love Joy Feminism joined for a brief period of time, but moved to Patheos, citing that she had positive experiences but felt it was better financially at Patheos, and would have joined their network if they offered prior to Freethought blogs' offer.
- Assassin Actual (the titular guy, a cavalry scout in the US Army, and this doesn't actually involve any horses). Went on hiatus in August of 2012, and hasn't been seen on the site since.
- Blasphemous Blogging Edwin Kagin, who died in March 2014.
- A Citizen of Earth (Hank Fox; Fox's blog was formerly known as Blue Collar Atheist). Now at Patheos.
- John Loftus' Debunking Christianity also joined FtB and then left, for different reasons, and then Loftus burned his bridges by taking a bizarre (post-)parting shot at Natalie Reed.
- NonStampCollector (another atheist YouTube vlogger; joined October 2012; decided to take a hiatus from NonStampCollecting and ceased blogging (and Facebook-ing) in April 2013; his last post has fun exposing the stupidity hurled at him for associating with FtB.)
- Thunderf00t was a member of the collective for a brief period of time, but was asked to leave shortly after joining due to issues relating to his professionalism and antagonistic attitude toward some other network members. (See his article for details.)
- Blag Hag (Jen McCreight). Left the site in 2013, her last post was on Halloween of that year.
- Greg Laden was removed by Freethought Blogs at the same time as Thunderf00t for using "violent threatening language" towards Justin Griffith of the Rock Beyond Belief blog.
- JT Eberhard's blog What Would JT Do? was hosted on Freethought Blogs, though unlike the above three he left for financial reasons as Libby Anne did; he quit his job with the Secular Student Alliance and moved his blog to Patheos with the reason that advertising revenue was higher, with his Freethought Blogs URL redirecting to the new blog.
- Dan Fincke's blog Camels with Hammers also moved to Patheos in 2012; as with WWJTD, a redirect to the new URL is in place.
- Kylie Sturgess of Token Skeptic is a former Freethought Blogger who is currently located on the Patheos network.
- Chris Hallquist of The Uncredible Hallq is also a former Freethought Blogger who is currently located on the Patheos network. As with the above, a redirect exists.
- Al Stefanelli's eponymous blog moved back to a stand-alone blog. A redirect was left in place as with the bloggers that relocated to Patheos.
- Natalie Reed of Sincerely, Natalie Reed has left blogging altogether.
- Crommunist, of The Crommunist Manifesto has stopped blogging in order to focus on his musical pursuits.
- Rock Beyond Belief (Justin Griffith). Went to Patheos.
- Chris Rodda, author of Liars For Jesus: The Religious Right's Alternate Version of American History. Left Freethought Blogs in April 2014 due to disagreements, currently blogs for Huffington Post.
- On The Margin of Error (Kaveh Mousavi). Switched to Patheos, as with several others he has a link on Freethought Blogs that redirects to his Patheos blog.
- A Million Gods (Avicenna, a British-Indian medical student; joined October 2012) After it was revealed that Avicenna had been plagiarizing other authors, his blog was removed from the site. A stopped clock moment for the Slymepit.
- A Veil in a Dark Place (Hiba)
- Butterflies and Wheels (Ophelia Benson, editor of the Butterflies and Wheels website). In her last post so far at FTB she said "I’m going back to the original B&W, with NO ADS and no fatuous people announcing that I’m a transphobe because I have my own ideas about gender". This may be the most controversial episode so far in the history of FTB bloggers leaving the network. She now refers to Freethought blogs as "Purethought blogs" for some reason.
- Dispatches from the Culture Wars (Ed Brayton) Also went to Patheos.
- Richard Carrier left in June of 2016.
In March 2016, several FtB, SkepChick and Patheos bloggers came together to form a new network called The Orbit, "atheist and nonreligious bloggers committed to social justice." Those who left have been replaced with new bloggers.
- Almost Diamonds (Stephanie Zvan) Moved to, The Orbit
- Ashley Miller Moved to, The Orbit
- Black Skeptics (Black Skeptics Group Los Angeles, Sikivu Hutchinson) Moved to, The Orbit
- Biodork (Brianne Bilyeu) Moved to, The Orbit
- Brute Reason (Miri, Professional Fun-Ruiner) Moved to, The Orbit
- Consider the Tea Cosy (Aoife) Moved to, The Orbit
- En Tequila Es Verdad (Dana Hunter) Moved to, The Orbit
- Godlessness in Theory (Alex Gabriel) Moved to, The Orbit
- Greta Christina's Blog (Greta Christina) Moved to, The Orbit
- Heinous Dealings (Heina Dadabhoy) Moved to, The Orbit
- Lousy Canuck (Jason Thibeault) Moved to, The Orbit
- Zinnia Jones ‘‘Moved to, The Orbit
“”We aim to contribute to a more just and equitable world for all people, free of disadvantage on the basis of gender, gender identity, race, age, economic or other social class, sexuality, physical ability or mental illness, geography, nationality, immigration status, and other forms of marginalization and systemic oppression. Our site is feminist and progressive. We know black lives matter and that no one is illegal. (...) Our site has no editor or person in charge; decisions are taken collectively by contributors who know one another and share the same basic principles. (...) Having such a collaborative structure makes us different from any other atheist site, and we love it. (...) we can promise a dynamic group of atheist writers dedicated to social justice.
|— The Orbit |
The Orbit is a new website for atheist supporters of social justice started in mid March 2016. The site hosts many prominent former contributors to 'Freethought Blogs' and covers similar issues to Atheism+.  'The Orbit' contributors also include people from Skepchick, Patheos and elsewhere. 'The Orbit' are looking for funds to help them get started. As of May 2016 'The Orbit' had reached an Alexa ranking just under 55,000 in the USA.
- Patheos, a religion-oriented blogging network with a handful of atheist blogs (including blogs from a few of the above-mentioned former FtB members)
- First post: "We are live at Freethoughtblogs!! I am a punkeasse little guy compared to PZ and Big Ed. I will be posting on politics, practice of science, food, Yankees baseball, booze, and other shitte!"
- Who, incidentally, is a perfect example of how not to be Thunderf00t. When she first came aboard, she took a deeply unpopular stance equating prostitution and sex slavery. Although nearly everyone disagreed with her, the whole thing was handled very well without immaturity or drama from anyone, least of all Nasreen herself.
- While the bloggers very often agree with each other on various issues, this is usually more due to their shared belief in skepticism and social justice rather than for the sake of conformity.
- Note that the meaning of the word "freethought" is not quite the same as its etymology, and that even if it was, "free thought" doesn't necessarily mean that one is obliged to give a platform to every shouty "dissenter" who comes along.
- Why Evolution is True: What’s with Freethought Blogs? (Screenshots)
- How to join freethoughtblogs
- Another Blog Move, Love Joy Feminism
- Mission Statement
- Help Launch The Orbit
- , although by the end of summer 2017 it had sunk to 153,686, as most of the bloggers there are now inactive.How popular is the-orbit.net?