Day Three of the Twelve Days of Solstice


We're celebrating the 12 days of Solstice rather than the 12 days of Christmas. I'm done writing and editing books. So I'm highlighting each of my twelve books leading up to the 25th of the month when we party. I'll tell you something about each of them you probably don't know. [See Tag Below]

After my first anthology I started telling authors the due date for their submissions was one month earlier than the actual deadline, to avoid last minute submissions. If I was concerned how the chapter was going I would ask for an outline, or rough draft along the way.

One fact readers should know is that I cannot get just anyone to write for me. I caught up with Susan Jacoby, author of books like The Great Agnostic: Robert Ingersoll and American Freethought, at a JREF convention. I asked her for a chapter. She took a look at me and said, "Honey, you can't afford me." Then she turned and walked away. I asked Louise Antony, editor of Philosophers without Gods, who had debated William Lane Craig on morality. She politely declined, telling me she has a different focus: "I am first a feminist and second an atheist", which I respected. Others never responded to my request via email at all. Still others said yes and didn't deliver. Several times in my anthologies there were submitted chapters I had to reject.

With this anthology there were even greater difficulties.

C.s. McKinney: This guy claims he is "a liason/marketer/promoter/negotiator" for Reasonable Press. As I was working on the book and putting together a book proposal, he wanted to publish The End of Christianity. McKinney went over my head by appealing to my authors, asking them to publish with Reasonable Press. He sent them this message:
Our hope is that all authors doing compilation works with John Loftus will desire to go through Reasonable Press. Our policy is to ensure that every author contributing to a volume such as "The End of Christianity" is fairly compensated with a royalty. We want to be extras sure you know that you are all taken care of & look forward to working with us in the future. We appreciate your contributions & just want you all to know that.
He told me, "I wrote every single author about this deal to ensure they all know they will be well compensated & taken care of. We intend to meet the highest standards of business practice, get your books in the stores & advertise/market/promote your book better than any other publisher."

This produced a shit-storm. My authors had questions which I had to respond to, as well as dealing with him. After rejecting his offer he blasted me. I learned he was never a friend.

Richard Carrier: First I'll mention two items I wish we could change. I asked Richard to write up a summary of his book Not the Impossible Faith, in which he dealt out blow after blow to JP Holding. But since I was annoyed with Holding I asked him not to mention his name. Carrier obliged, but on hindsight I wish I hadn't asked, since it would've been a better chapter.

Carrier was just starting to use Bayes' Theorem. For many readers his use of it in his chapter on the design argument was not helpful. I asked him to put the math in the end-notes as far as possible, which he obliged. But it was still a harder chapter to read because of it. Again, my goal is to reach the educated person in the pew.

The biggest shit-storm I ever had to deal with was the dispute between Carrier and some of the authors over the issue of morality. David Eller, being the anthropologist that he is, had written on morality for The Christian Delusion in which he argued morality is culturally relative. After that book was published Sam Harris wrote his book, The Moral Landscape: How Science Can Determine Human Values on October 5, 2010. He argued there is a basis for moral facts.

Harris sparked quite a debate among the authors in The End of Christianity.
I had made the mistake of connecting all my authors via one email. I thought it would be easy to communicate with them all at the same time. That was a bad choice. I never did that again. Carrier had defended Harris in the last chapter. David Eller, Taner Edis and John Shook disagreed with it. The authors went back and forth on this debate, sometimes getting quite heated. John Shook dropped out of the book because of it. So did Taner Edis. [You can still see his name in the description of the book on Amazon!] Thankfully David Eller stayed. I tried to stay neutral on this issue at the time. But I agree to some extent with Carrier and Harris. I subsequently discussed the issue of morality in a chapter for the revised edition of Why I Became an Atheist in 2012.
 
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John W. Loftus is a philosopher and counter-apologist credited with 12 critically acclaimed books, including The Case against Miracles, God and Horrendous Suffering, and Varieties of Jesus Mythicism. Please support DC by sharing our posts, or by subscribing, donating, or buying our books at Amazon. Thank you so much!

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