Book Cover

By Shamus Posted Monday May 31, 2010

Filed under: Links 91 comments

I basically have nothing for you this week. I burned almost the entire weekend on a massive project, which I will discuss later in the week. But I really screwed myself in the meantime. I think at this point that if I decide to work twice as hard, I can look forward to only being two days behind, forever. I have no one to blame but myself, which is really annoying. A scapegoat would do wonders for my false sense of professionalism right now.

But, here is something interesting. I’ve mentioned before that my wife is an artist of the painting variety. (Watercolor, mostly. Occasionally she dabbles in oil.) Her work is going to be used as a book cover, and the author is having people vote on which image to use. I’m rather proud of her work on both images, and I’m eager to see which way it goes.

(Do note that the book and the site are explicitly Christian in nature. Totally uncensored! You’ve been warned.)

EDIT: Okay then, that was a great way to stir up a lot of pointless bile.


We're done here. Let's go talk about games.


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91 thoughts on “Book Cover

  1. Falcon says:

    For shame Shamus, I’m terribly disappointed in you. Failure to come up with a decent scapegoat, I thought you better than that ;)

    Now onto the actual topic of discussion, quite cool that your wife will be a published artist. No small amount of skill either. My vote goes for shoes btw.

    1. David V. S. says:

      Wow. Quite a comment thread…

      I’ll rudely “reply” to the first comment only to be saying something towards the top of the page.

      First, many early comments are rude, but the discussion gets better.

      Second, Heather on her blog has shared more than Shamus about their financial stress. My wife and I recently purchased one of her watercolors both because we liked it a lot and as a tiny help. Receiving it, we were thrilled by her talent. If I had time, I would scan a close-up so Shamus’s readers can admire Heather’s brushwork. I heartily recommend helping Shamus by supporting his wife’s art income.

      1. kmc says:

        And I approve of this comment.
        Shamus, the covers are beautifully done, and please tell Heather how many of us have thought so (I’m sure you will).
        I think the eye conveys a much more solemn message–more of a focus on the pitfalls–and the shoes convey an “everyday living” attitude. I think that if the book is more of a _Reviving Ophelia_-type warning to parents of the insidious problems their children may face, the eye is probably a better choice, and if it’s more focused on maintaining a certain attitude as parents face each day, I’d pick the shoes. What do other commenters think? Am I reading too much into it, or do you disagree?

        Anyway, it reminds me that there’s one of Heather’s prints that I’ve been thinking about ever since I first saw it, and now’s a perfect time to order a print of it for my office. I love her brushwork and color.

        *** Regarding much of the discussion below:
        Wow, the posturing gets thick almost right at the start, doesn’t it? There are a few thoughtful comments buried in this back-and-forth arguing about ethics vs. context filled with strawman arguments, immediate and poorly-informed conclusions, the works. This is why I don’t talk about religion with anybody besides my mother and my husband. Very few people on any side of the discussion can make any argument better than “You’re a fool to think the way you do,” which is not an argument with a proud track record.

  2. Galad says:

    Well, you can always give a lower priority to whatever you do on this blog as opposed to your RL projects and occupations. Sure, your loyal fan base would not be pleased, but we’d understand (most of us anyway).

    Also, I chuckled at the “totally uncensored” bit. As if you’re giving us porn links or something lol. My vote goes for the shoes too, at least they’re not creepy =P

    1. Kdansky says:

      I honestly would have preferred porn to a pamphlet on how to indoctrinate and spank children… I’ve glimpsed through the blog, and I will probably have nightmares (about logical fallacies and child abuse) today. That warning was well justified.

      1. acronix says:

        Well, the one that decided to go around that site reading was you.
        You could have always read what it was about, take a vote, and leave. If you didn´t read, however, then you can´t say they are promoting child abuse with logical fallacies because you haven´t read them! But I´m sure you did, so…you deserve those nightmares!

      2. KremlinLaptop says:

        Eh, as a mere biological machine, descended from primates, and a big homo supporting atheist with generally liberal attitudes towards society (and a gun toting, V8 owning, libertarian otherwise) I know I’m not the intended audience for that sort of thing. Now the intended audience might scare the boiling piss out of me, but I figure live and let live till circumstances change.

        You know you should have just looked at the covers, gone ‘ooh’, ‘aah’ and then left.

      3. pHonta says:

        I don’t usually comment… however, it struck me as weird that the blog advocated “spanking”. In any case, to prove me (and you) right/false, I read a little bit. I’ve come to the conclussion that the book being talked about is some kind of discussion about child education ways, so to speak. But, talking about spanking, I found, from the blog’s author:

        “For those who believe in spanking their children, we highly recommend seeking alternate resources and avoiding these ones”

        So I think you jumped to conclusions here… In any case, probably Shamus can clarify this, as I’m not sure I’ve gotten the right idea neither.

        1. acronix says:

          Have read some more, and I think I know where the misunderstanding comes from. The blog series that are linked in the page we got to are a critizisms to another, suppousedly christian, book about raising children. The blog has this grey, big, squared quotes of the book (which say a lot of nonsense, if you ask me) and then proceeds to debunk them. I guess some people, when peeking, would read this grey quotes (which call a lot of attention to theirselves) and then think that the blog is promoting X when it is opposing it and showing why.

          1. KremlinLaptop says:

            Gotta admit; I did this when I skimmed through the posts. I prefer the PZ Myers way of having the quotes of your enemies in Comic Sans, it lets the savvy reader instantly know what’s what.

            1. pHonta says:

              Haha, at last Comic Sans is iseful for something. But yeah, the idea the blog conveys when first looked at isn’t very clear. Maybe the posts need a more informative title, one more suited to someone who doesn’t know what he’s getting into, like: “How NGJ is totally contrary to christianism, part X”. Ok, that’s quite lame, but I’m sure she’ll find something better :P

  3. Maldeus says:

    I like shoes myself, but Shy seems to be getting more votes on-site. Maybe there’s something about the subject matter we’re not aware of that they, having actually followed the project, are?

    1. Peter H. Coffin says:

      Oh probably… But since when has informed been an essential criterion for having an opinion on teh internets?

    2. glassdirigible says:

      I like shoes as well. The eye is creepy. Well-done, of course, but creepy nevertheless.

      So the word god, when used to describe the Christian god, now has to be in a different typeface as well as capitalized? Geez, things keep getting harder and harder.

      1. ehlijen says:

        I don’t find the eyes creepy at all. I saw a kid feeling bad about having been caught by an adult before I got to the book title.

  4. Vegedus says:

    (Do note that the book and the site are explicitly Christian in nature. Totally uncensored! You've been warned.)

    Oh god! Argh! My eyes, it burns! NSFA warnings BEFORE links! Forever…. Tainted….

    Also, I vote for shoes. The other one doesn’t really relate to the title as far as I can see.

    1. Vladius says:

      This is the best comment because I am ashamed at many in Shamus’ audience.

  5. I think the “Shoes” image is much more inviting and approachable.

    But a book about how to raise a child according to an imaginary, invisible, nonexistent buddy in the sky is creepy to me no matter how you slice it.


    1. Mistwraithe says:

      Does the supposed source of the advice necessarily mean that the advice can’t be good?

      No idea myself but I think it is quite possible that the advice within the book could largely be practical and sensible. Only way to find out would be to read it I guess!

      1. Ramsus says:

        Mistwraithe you’re absolutely right.

        I now want to see an advice book done in the name of Lovecraftian horrors. After-all it’s not like some small cunning bit of madness inserted into otherwise benign advice would cause any real problems to occur. Right?

        1. Krakow Sam says:

          Parenting in the name of Nyarlathotep; Great Messenger, bringer of strange joy to Yuggoth through the Void, Father of the Million Favoured Ones, Stalker among the stars, Crawling Chaos, the Black Pharaoh, etc…

          A cheat sheet for parents tested by sanity.

      2. Kdansky says:

        Does the supposed source of the advice necessarily mean that the advice can't be good?

        The supposed source should not be of issue (though I would be vary to ask a mass-murderer in matters of ethics), but the argument does. If you use the wrong reasons to end up with the right result, you’ve still done something wrong.

        Let me give you an example: You kill some random person in the mall, because you want to try out your new shotgun. Afterwards, you get told that you actually hit a suicide bomber who was about to blow up said mall. Arguably, we would not hate you for this, because you indirectly saved a couple dozen lives. But it does not make you less of a cold-blooded murderer, even though you did the “right thing”.

        1. Josh R says:

          Comparing murder to a belief in God is quite frankly ridiculous.
          If you decide to follow a set of rules that really do not encroach on anyone else, and are fundamentally about being nice to people, then what is the problem?

          In fact I’d go out on a limb to say some of the finest parents I know are Christians. Even if you take it as “lies to children,” I’d still go along with telling my kids about it if it had been entirely disproved. The hardest topics for children: love, death and loneliness all have their answers within religion.

          I’m also going to throw my voice in with the people ashamed that so many negative comments are being posted. People have a right to live their life however they want. If you disagree, you can fuck off.

    2. blue_painted says:

      The shoes picture is much more scary (now I have read some of the site and some of the scary Pearls site)

      … those shoes look to be slightly toes-pointed-in … legs stiff … I can imagine the pale face … clenched fingers .. “Pleeese mommy, don’t hit me, I really haven’t done anything bad!” ..

      “It’s for you own good, dear, just in case you might grow up to have a mind of your own!”

      But whether it’s the right cover for the book … I don’t think so. Not unless the subject is placed rather more explicitly across the cover.

  6. acronix says:

    Shoes! I like shoes (but Not Really). The first one strikes me as the cover for a novel more than anything else, and as Leslee above me, I think the second one is more likely to get people to peek on the book.

    I wonder how many people will take the opportunity to show their dissagreement with religion before some other post calls our attention.

  7. Josh says:

    Not only does the “Shoes” cover is more invinting, I also feel it really fits the content of the book.

    It’s just sad how some people came out of their way to insult the work of a friend of Shamus. I guess that’s why we can’t have nice things.

    1. Shamus says:

      It is a shame.

      And this is one of the NICE places on the internet.

      1. Jimmie says:

        Can’t be helped. Some folks just can’t help but shoot their mouths off (or fingers or what have you) even though they’ve all but been told to let it be.

        I go with the shoes cover. I think it’ll appeal to Moms more, which may give the book a bit of a sales edge.

        1. Mari says:

          As a mom, yes, the shoes appeal to me more. And I hate that because my goal in life since adolescence has been to buck the mainstream, throw off the shackles of trends, and forge my own road with my own opinions that are entirely contrary to the opinions of everybody else in the world. Gah! I’ve gotten old and reabsorbed into the mainstream world.

      2. Wayoffbase says:

        Congratulations on having your website be popular enough to attract trolls :D

        1. acronix says:

          Now we just need to build a bridge for them to live under!

          1. Mari says:

            Then can I be the Big Billy Goat Gruff? I’ve always wanted to crush a troll’s bones and toss him into the cascade.

  8. Peter H. Coffin says:

    Nice works, both of them. I have no clue as to what the book’s about and probably wouldn’t be very patient with it if I did, but the art’s interesting.

  9. krellen says:

    My vote is for Shoes. It’s a far more attractive cover and makes me infinitely more likely to pick up the book.

  10. Roll-a-die says:

    What of the Spoiler Warning vids, Shamus? That fills up like 3 days. It also gives us something to bitch about for the other 4

  11. C.L. Dyck says:


    This comment is explicitly Christian.

    Totally uncensored.

    Shamus, thanks for linking.

    Gang, the book is a compiled series of blog posts debunking a $1.7 million-per-year pseudo-ministry which claims to have The Only Way To Save Your Kids From Hell. “It’s not spanking, it’s Discipline! spanking is only for AFTER they misbehave!”

    That’s right. Hit your kids *before* you *think* they’re going to misbehave. Among other mind-bending travesties.

    In this instance, it doesn’t matter whether God/god/GOD-IN-BIG-RED-MELODRAMATIC-LETTERS/the tooth fairy is real. The stuff in the big grey quotes is a major misuse of a melodramatic, screwed-up idea of God, in big red letters.


    Thanks to those who’ve visited, and to Josh, for being in favour of people being friends. Voting’s open till end of Thursday.

    Sorry about the lack of porn. I know. I’m lame that way.

    1. Roll-a-die says:

      Growing Kids God’s Way, Mrs.Dyck?

      Also I find it amusing, in my own twisted head, that a Christian parenting book is being written by a pair of married Dyck’s.

      {Just so you get the joke, if you have a funny/non-Californian accent, it could be pronounced dyke or dick here.}

    2. Viktor says:

      The subtitle, combined with the ‘explicitly Christian’ joke Shamus made and the title, worried me a lot. But that’s because I grew up in Texas and heard a lot of ‘Ignore the lies of scientists and liberal heathens!’, so the word deceit from a Christian immediately puts my hair on end. I can see why people have panicked. That said, while I disagree with you on just about everything religious, and would never give you cash, your statements about homeschooling and childcare seem non-harmful(though I dislike homeschooling).

    3. KremlinLaptop says:

      Call it a symptom of the internet that any person with a non-religious and sceptical mindset (and hell many religious ones too) when faced with religion in the context of blogs and webpages instantly expects that there will be an attempt to not only proselytize but also spread something very special brand of stupidity or hate; Ben Stein, Ken Ham, Ray Comfort, Answers in Genesis etc and the like have over the years done a magnificent job of knee-capping the exposure of any sort of logical, rational, moderate Christian views by espousing their own brand of crazy bullshit as being the norm.

      So the unintended audience will now approach anything with God involved with only the very best of whiskey soaked Hitchensian levels of cynicism over what it must contain, the pre-conception is that if God is brought into it than most probably the contents will be ludicrous at best and incredibly harmful at worst.

      It’s really not that uncommon that a minority is so very loud and vocal that they manage to completely overshadow more fair voices with the constant shouting match and poison the well of civil discourse. I suppose like Poe’s Law (where there is no parody of religious fundamentalism that someone won’t mistake as being real due to how ridiculous reality has become) there’s a less comedic inverse of it where people will at a glance assume anything dealing with God must involve a fundamentalist element and thus be bursting with the crazies.

      It’s a sad state of affairs, of course, but I don’t think it’ll change — it’s the internet after all.

      1. Hal says:

        Eh, it’s a consequence of the internet that people feel like they can be surprisingly rude in ways that would boggle the mind face-to-face. I think Penny Arcade’s theory on the matter summed it up nicely.

        It’s so bizarre, but just the mention of religion on the internet will send normally friendly, polite atheists into a frothing rage. For some of them, they actively maintain this stance.

        Story time: A few years ago, I stumbled onto an atheist blog where the writer and commenters were ranting about some planned Christian community in Florida. Turns out the entire story was a hoax, so I mentioned it in the comments.

        That was mistake number one. I guess pointing out that they were making fun of people for something they weren’t doing was . . . wrong? I dunno.

        But mistake number two was linking my blog to the comment (it was another Blogger site, I couldn’t really help it). The author started a “throw’em to the lions” feature on his blog, where he would link to some poor Christian’s website and encourage his readers to both savage it and troll it. Guess who his first target was? I was scrubbing filthy comments from my site for weeks.

        I guess my overall point is that the internet has given some very angry people an appropriately anonymous outlet for venting their bile. News at 11.

        1. KremlinLaptop says:

          I’ve surmised that among my fellow atheists, especially those who live in places and situations that make it impossible for them to be honest about their views, many tend to build up this sort of resentment towards the religious they’re surrounded by; so when given a chance to pour it on them? They do.

          I used to be like that, I didn’t grow up in a religious family but I did grow up in an EXTREMELY disciplinarian one — which later influenced me to first find religion, then not find it and finally settle on some sort of comfortable variation of ‘fuck all y’all I’mma do my thing’ and also humanism — and the experience did drive a wedge into my personality for a long time where I’d dismiss certain view points with a quick flick of the finger.

          Part of it’s feeling threatened (and arguably some like a few arab atheist friends of mine are actually threatened if they get found out) and another part of it is that civil discourse juw5 tends to break down when religion comes up.

          I’m sure that as a Christian you probably find it offensive when an atheist says God doesn’t exist, but the thing is that atheist most likely finds it equally offensive when you say God does exist — they’re such contrary viewpoints that it quickly snowballs into what seems like two sides just trying their best to irritate the other. This happens enough and eventually the less vocal and moderate middle, which I expect you belong to (I won’t say anything for myself), inevitably gets caught in the knee-jerk reactions and crossfires between them.

          1. Josh R says:

            As a comfirmed Catholic, I can tell you that when someone tells me they don’t believe in God, I accept it and understand that it’s up to them what they believe.

            I was brought up to be understanding of others, no matter what religion, race or gender they are.
            You get idiots all over, don’t judge an entire people by what a few weirdos do.

            You don’t take the KKK as examples of Christianity, and I won’t take them as examples of Americans.

          2. kmc says:

            Um, way to assume what’s going on inside other people’s heads? You don’t think any Christians believe what they do because they have gone (or go on a regular basis) through times of deep introspection where they question the existence of God or anything else taught by any number of Judeo-Christian religious authorities? Christianity, although it’s *shock* not apparent on the internet, has a long tradition of questioning. And I’m not talking about saying, “hayy wouldnt it be wierd if God didn’t exist lololol”–I mean questioning the very structure of everything before you, everything you imagine on the earth and in the heavens, and deciding that you, as a person, will continue to have faith in God. Some Christians may never do that, it’s true, but some will do it nearly on a daily basis. They are people who understand that any person’s knowledge of what God is and whether they believe is entirely resident within his or her own mind and soul, and that is where it belongs. But those people tend to be pretty content with their own faith, so they don’t engage in troll wars on teh intarnetz. Some people go through that and decide that, no, they do not believe in God, and I can understand when the local environment is harsh and unforgiving, that can create bitterness. But unless you’re under 20, it’s long past time to start to recognize that other people are not those people. Believe in God or not, but don’t do to them what they’ve done to you. I always say that anybody who says they’re Christian “because it teaches you morality” is weak, because if you can’t be moral without the guiding of an Overwatcher, then you don’t really get it. But you actually have to try to live in peace to make that argument. By all means, continue to speak out as sharply and boldly as you wish against hypocrites and purveyors of cruelty–I’m sure you’d find yourself right among the ranks of many religious believers. You are only making the problem worse, however, to assume things and then accuse people based on those assumptions.

    4. Angie says:

      That's right. Hit your kids *before* you *think* they're going to misbehave. Among other mind-bending travesties.

      My mother was raised that way, although it wasn’t explicitly religious. It was more that she was an only child, and my grandmother was determined that she would not be spoiled. She’d give my mother pre-emptive smacks at various times, to remind her that if she misbehaved, there was more where that came from.

      Her favorite technique was the left-handed backhand across the face. By the time my mother grew up and married, the prongs holding the diamond on my grandmother’s engagement ring were worn down all the way to the surface of the diamond, and barely secured the stone. The only thing she wore down those metal prongs on was my mother’s face, well into her teens.

      Lovely way to raise children.


    5. Robyrt says:

      I’m delighted that someone is taking the time to thoroughly debunk these guys from a (relatively) sympathetic perspective, so that adherents might actually listen. The more I read those block-quoted sections in your book, the crazier they get.

      And who cites “Rev. 4:1-20:15” as a support for a one-sentence blurb anyway? That sets off all sorts of alarm bells in my book.

      1. C.L. Dyck says:

        Angie, that’s…horrible. Just truly horrible, and I’m sorry to hear of it happening.

        Thanks for the encouragement, Robyrt. Today, I have been helpfully educated as to what a “Jezebel” I am, so your words are a refreshing change.

        Time to have another look at Roll A Die’s quotes. (next thread)

  12. C.L. Dyck says:

    Roll-a-Die, yeah, I got called that by someone from the child-abusing camp just a couple of days ago, actually. Women who talk without permission are obviously lesbian cage fighters.

    I happen to respect lesbian cage fighters a lot more than child abusing wackos, so it worked out excellent from my side of things.

    My name’s Cat, btw. Cue the meow jokes.

    Viktor, thanks for the respect, appreciate it. We’re doing the project first off as a free e-book for concerned parents to give to their homeschooling associations. The parenting material in question is in a lot of groups’ libraries, shows up on sales tables at conventions, and is actively supported by the largest Christian homeschooling magazine in the States. If enough people request hardcopies, we’ll self-pub and put it out there at cost, zero-profit. Reason being:

    It came across our screen that a kid in California was beaten to death by her parents about three months ago. Google Lydia Schatz. Also check out Sean Paddock in 2004. That’s why we did the writing. Something’s got to be said, and we happen to know how to speak to the needful audience, so we’re saying it.

    I understand about Texas…I’m from Canada, so I’m automatically a leftist liberal heathen. Note my communist free propaganda e-book.

    Yeah, that stupid tagline has to change. That was a brain fart. It’s meant to speak to the kind of people who would use the word the way you’re describing, but it’s just not working for me or the commenters.

    1. Roll-a-die says:

      Just googled that, seems much more EXTREME, as the codex would say, than Growing Kids Gods Way. Growing Kids Gods Way, is more of, well it includes spanking, but not to the extent that this talks about. Spankings are a last resort, when they’ve well and truly fucked up and done something that could have either killed them(and they escaped without injury), when they show blatant disrespect(like calling your mother a bitch), or when they perpetrate violence. You also limit yourself to a set number of spankings for a child. EDIT: But not whipping, spank no more than 5 times lightly with a flat thin object. Hands to them make you not dissociate the act of discipline and cause endorphins to come about causing pleasure. A short quick tip of the hand causes none of this. It also stresses not to leave any marks or or even much redness. the spank is more to ingrain that they did something wrong, than to ingrain that if they do something wrong pain is going to happen.

      This is just a book advocating abuse as a method of indoctrination. The bible itself says something like, “Force them not to the path, for he who is forced, never truly walks along it.”

      As to the insult’s, I’ve found that telling them that Jesus was killed for blasphemy and not regarding the laws of the time, works quite well. Or perhaps John of Patmos being exiled to an island to die, for teaching scripture, that works well too. Also good for shaking believers down a notch, is 1st John 4:20 “If anyone says, “I love God,” yet detests his brother in Christ, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen.” Or Colossians 3:21 “Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged.” Which invalidates that book altogether in one sentence.

      As to me I don’t worship anyone but accept the possibility that god or xenu could be out there. I don’t discount anything, really.

      1. C.L. Dyck says:

        >Colossians 3:21 “Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged.” Which invalidates that book altogether in one sentence.

        Dead right. Thanks for clarifying some of the differences — I honestly don’t have time to sift through all the things that claim to be “God’s way” to raise kids, but I know there’s been debate about GKGW for years as well.

        1 John 4:20. Good one. I dunno if it would’ve worked for me, since I was refusing to don my mental burqua as ordered, but I’m sure I’ll get another chance to try that one out.

        My sister has the same outlook on life as you do (I’m not from a religious family). I like atheism for its practicality, but agnosticism for its sense of wonder. There’s so much in the universe we just don’t know.

    2. Mari says:

      As long as we’re tossing about Canadian stereotypes, are the penguins still playing in the snow up there? ;-) Sorry, it’s a long-running joke between me and a Canadian friend. I’m from Texas so automatically I’m either a right-wing whack job who beats my kids and bombs abortion clinics for fun or I’m from a wealthy oil family and ride horses through the middle of Dallas. She’s from Canada so she’s either a raving commie liberal who demands constant coddling from the government or she’s some kind of French-speaking wilderness woman who plays in the year-round snow with the beavers and penguins. It’s bad enough to be stereotyped because of our hobbies and interests but it somehow seems worse when we’re stereotyped because of our location or other factors not entirely in our control, huh?

      1. C.L. Dyck says:

        Some of my best friends are from Texas, and deal with the same stuff, and also with some of the wilder religious things. Keepin’ it real is always an interesting challenge.

        Uhhhhhmmm…I do speak French some, and live in the wilderness. No penguins, but darn, I’d really like one. Bonjour, Gouvernment du Canada? Where’s my penguin?!? I demand my penguin!!!!

        1. krellen says:

          Wrong Pole. Sorry.

          If I write a nice letter, they might send you a polar bear, though.

  13. Yeah, I’m going to stay out of the above semi-flame/troll wars. However, I also noticed most of the comments (or at least the earlier ones) on the linked site prefer the close up of the kid’s face.

    Seeing as it’s about children lying I guess that makes sense, but I far prefer the shoes image. It’s more colourful and also shows an understanding of children. They look abashed or cornered (from the knees down, at least).

    The top cover implies (to me) that children are inherently deceitful – the darker colouring of the image also adds to this tone. Perhaps that’s what they are going for, but I really think it would be beneficial to use the shoes image in terms of people actually picking up the book to see what it’s about.

    Other than that, this is the first time I’ve seen your wife’s art and I really liked it. She has some really fantastic art on her site.

    (Since this site won’t be monitored for the votes I’ll cut/paste some of the above to the other side.)

    1. kmc says:

      I’m pretty sure the book isn’t about kids lying. “Deceit” is often used in the sense of daily temptation, those things that try to deceive you into straying from the path just by being there in front of you. Although the verb “deceit” is one that implies conscious action, it’s not uncommon in Biblical discussions to use this type of language to describe objects or situations, which makes sense when you consider the context–that being, that (in simple terms) that situation or object is a manifestation of a conscious, evil influence, such as the Devil. I’m probably making it sound too inherently fundamentalist–it’s just a linguistic affection.

  14. Angie says:

    Shamus — I noticed that the book is an e-book. Do your wife and the author know they’re eligible for the EPIC awards? This year’s publication deadline just passed, but if the book comes out within the next year, they’ll be eligible for next year. The info for this year’s submissions will be here within a day or so; keep an eye on that space a year from now for next year’s. The EPIC Award is for e-book authors, and the QUASAR is for cover artists. Note that you don’t have to be an EPIC member to submit a book or cover, although there’s a discount on the entry fee if you are.


  15. TehShrike says:

    Cool to see a thoughtful response to the Pearl’s book. Haven’t seen too many of those.

  16. Kdansky says:

    I'm relieved that the book does not actually advocate hitting children as the best way to raise them. One “trains” slaves and pets, but not children. I should have read the introduction first (silly me, starting at the end) to figure that out and not totally misunderstanding the content.

    I will stick with half of my original claim though. “The bible says X (according to how I interpret it) therefore you are wrong” is a horrible way to support ones claims. One can (and should) read the bible, but not to take everything literally, but to understand how people have thought 1500 years ago. Arguably the original work seems even worse, judging from the quoted parts, with gems such as “99% of all christians [think X], therefore [X is true]”.

    I was rather shocked to (mis)understand that Shamus actually hits his children on a regular basis ;) He sounds way too nice for that.

    Also: Shoes gets my vote.

    1. acronix says:

      “The bible says X (according to how I interpret it) therefore you are wrong” only works if both persons have the same base of beliefs. Since in this case both are christians, both can argue their viewpoints through the authority of the Scriptures. The problem comes, as you say, because of the interpretations. The only way to use interpretations as a way to support a claim is through the principle of no-contradiction: If my interpretation contradicts some of the basic beliefs, itself, or other interpretations of mine then it can´t be right….you get the idea.
      They could also apply hermeneutics (for added seriousness and order), which change between different scholars and, once again, we come to the part in that they cannot argue if they don´t follow the same base beliefs (ie: protestant hermenutics aren´t the same as catholic hermeneutics).

      Of course, this to non-believers will sound like total bullcrap, since the authority of the Bible is mostly based on faith (which is the joke, actually).

    2. Valaqil says:

      Focusing entirely on a semantic distinction, proceed at your own risk:

      You may not approve, but to “train” children is an absolutely proper use of the word. Training animals and children (and soldiers, and athletes) are different contexts all deriving from similar meanings of the word. One who knows something teaches it to someone else through discipline, instruction, or practice. Each is a valid use of the word, and not inaccurate. To “train” a child does not denote that the object is a slave or mindless, nor must it imply physical punishment.

    3. C.L. Dyck says:

      >”The bible says X (according to how I interpret it) therefore you are wrong” is a horrible way to support ones claims.

      Yes. I agree. Without external historical verification, empirical scientific non-contradiction, or valid logical proofs girding an argument, it’s just two clowns hitting each other on the head with baseball bats.

      Since we’re writing to an audience that already implicitly accepts the Bible as a valid source, we didn’t walk through verification and falsification too much on this one. But we do touch on effective crap-filtering how-to’s in the first 2 or 3 articles in the post series, because it’s so blatantly lacking from the material we’re analyzing.

      That said, due to audience issues, the jargon used will still make it sound like bullcrap to anyone not from the conservative Christian culture. And that’s totally fair where there are no shared premises.

  17. froogger says:

    Dangit, I posted my say without reading her caveat. So it’s not about childrens deceit after all? Well, then I’d probably go for #1 Face as it stands more out in the shelves. On a side note: “Women who talk without permission are obviously lesbian cage fighters” is hilarious – thanks for the grin of the day.

    1. Ah, looks like also didn’t read that. Oh well. Doesn’t affect my vote, though (you’ll never make me change my political affiliations no matter how many cars you buy me, death threats you send, etc.)

      1. TehShrike says:

        Wait, is someone offering free cars in exchange for votes? I wouldn’t mind a waterproof vehicle.

        1. C.L. Dyck says:

          Yes, but it’s a HotWheel.

  18. Zaxares says:

    I didn’t really have time to read the blog, so I’ll stay out of any debate about the book itself since I’m sure I’m horribly non-informed. I’ll just say that I like “Shoes” a lot more than “Shy”. Shy seems vaguely… disquieting.

  19. someguy says:

    Ok, uhm, the paintings are really nice. But I am sort of trained to see the mess that is the four and a half different typefaces…

    1. C.L. Dyck says:

      I know…I suck that way…I’ll try to be somewhat better by the time we put it out there. In a nerdy way, I’m thrilled someone knows enough to notice.

      1. someguy says:

        well, now that I feel some obligation to elaborate: a certain font talks a certain language. And there are different, quite opposing languages all over the place. As often, it’s quite easy: Less is more.
        You might want to have a look at this funky flowchart over here, which – on its own – is probably not THAT helpful, but it points to a good direction what to think about when choosing typefaces.

        (and, *ahem*, the SHY version… you might want to do something about the boy’s ear, where it smears into black)


        1. KremlinLaptop says:

          Hah! I have that flowchart saved, bloody useful as a general reference and for quickly explaining how different fonts convey completely different messages. For me the biggest problem is the the font of the subtitle, it’s… er… jarringly comicy.

        2. Tesh says:

          Agreed, that’s a brilliant font flowchart. I had to invert it though; can’t stand white on black. ;)

      2. I was thinking the same thing, Cat. And I agree with the others who have suggested changing the font on the blurb (figured you probably would when you changed the blurb. It IS a bit to cutesy for the rest.)

        1. C.L. Dyck says:

          Heather, I know. I can’t stand the way that font looks. And posting deadlines bite, because this is what happens.

          someguy, yeah, the ear has been driving me nuts trying to get that fixed. To me it’s a major disqualifier, because this has to blow up to 8.5 X 11 for downloaders who print things.

          You guys rock. Thanks for the flowchart tip.

  20. some random dood says:

    Just commenting on your expected lack of posts for the coming week – sure, I’ll miss not having them to read, but hey, life comes first!
    Good luck with whatever you are working on, and throw us a few crumbs when you have time ;-)

    1. KremlinLaptop says:

      Wait, wait, wait… waaaait a minute.

      Does this mean no Spoiler Warning? ’cause there might be riots. Like a one man riot.

  21. wtrmute says:

    Actually, I prefer Shy. I can’t really articulate why, but I do. De gustibus et coloribus non disputandum est, I suppose.

    Also, it’s nice to see your wife is involved in a project like this one, even if just as a cover artist. We certainly do need to educate people on child-rearing; it’s a terrible responsibility, and there are absolutely no qualifications to being a parent — just being past 12 or so and horny. Being Christian myself, I have no problem with Christian literature, either.

  22. Factoid says:

    Shamus, I know you’re backlogged and all, but you should REALLY teach the blog owner on that book’s website about how to embed a poll.

    If there were a simple enough voting mechanism that people bothered to vote, I would be HIGHLY surprised if it didn’t end up being the Shoes painting, not just because the painting is nice, but also because the graphic design and typography of the cover is vastly superior.

    And Kudos to your wife on both paintings. I’m a fan of the shoes, mostly because faces are easy for our brains to deal with. We are wired to understand and recognize faces. We see faces in grilled cheese sandwiches, tortillas and road signs. Recognizeable objects like shoes and clothing are much more difficult to represent..

  23. ccesarano says:

    I can understand my job having your wife’s page blocked since her URL has wordpress right in there, but blocking a Christian site just seems…well…I dunno. Maybe they’re afraid I’m going to stand up and recite the Sermon in the Cubicle?

    1. Mrs. Shamus Young says:

      Cat’s site is actually on as well, despite being a private domain. It’s just masked. Which probably explains it.

  24. Vladius says:

    I believe strongly in the angry fairy man in the sky and I think that the level of smugness and condescension in this column of comments is astounding, even from a bunch of nerds.

    “Open-minded liberal atheist from Canada checking in to say that I hate Christians too! Have fun with your creepy book, homophobic child beater!”

    1. C.L. Dyck says:

      LMAO can’t help it. I’m so sorry. I am. I shouldn’t. I know a lot of people skim-read, especially comments. But I can’t help it.

      First, more seriously, thanks. Thanks a bunch. I mean it. I appreciate you putting yourself out there for Shamus’s friends and the value of respect.

      But. Um, I’m the AUTHOR of the book. If you meant me, which I’m really not sure about, because the description’s pretty muddled.

      I’m not an atheist, though I used to be (in the formal sense, not the generic secularist sense. Yep, all the NSFA folks are wincing just now). I’m not politically or religiously particularly “liberal” (oh, crap, now here it comes. I know. Fire at will!) I don’t hate Christians, I am one. Not homophobic or calling anyone such. Not a book advocating child beating.

      But I am from Canada. One of seven ain’t bad, eh.

      Tip of the hat to you for standing up against the condescension factor, my friend. Appreciate it. Just don’t bang your knee against the desk like that, it’ll hurt.

      While I’m here…Factoid, I’m familiar with the Polldaddy embed on, but it’s a discussion post as well, and I can’t hardly get in touch with winning voters to do the ***free giveaway of Heather’s art!!!*** based on the click poll. Also, the typography on both covers is identical at the moment. See typography discussion thread further up for fascinating (and much-appreciated) details.

      That said, you’re right, a quick click would give a faster measure of immediate visual reaction. I’ll keep it in mind next time I do something like this. Thanks for the suggestion.

      Anyone else today? Go for it. Because you know I’m not here to save you from yourself. :~)

      1. Kdansky says:

        I actually think Vladius means people like me who are openly against religion, not you.

        Sometimes I agree with christians (call me a secular humanist, so we have some overlap on the “shalt not kill” and “Don’t do unto others what you would not have done unto you.” fronts) and sometimes I do not (gays are fine people, abortion is a necessary evil and all rules need context, even the spanking debate).

        I try to dial it down a notch when I’m here, but it is difficult to do. Imagine being black and someone linking to a page which openly discusses how all black people are worthless and should be enslaved. I am a white as possible and I would take a stand against that instantly, as I will against the Creationism-crowd or religious-war zealots. Sometimes, you just have to make a stand, and offending other people is a minor concern:

        Subnormality is a huge recommendation, by the way. Just think of it as essays, not as comics.

        1. C.L. Dyck says:

          >I actually think Vladius means people like me who are openly against religion, not you.

          Can’t help it. I see the word Canadian, and it’s Vimy Ridge all over again. Sorry, Vlad…

          >Imagine being black and someone linking to a page which openly discusses how all black people are worthless and should be enslaved…

          You’re one of the guys who didn’t read a thing at Scienda, I take it? ;~) I understand what you mean, but the mentality of the Klan does not allow for the wide variance of actual beliefs found under the Christian banner. The analogy doesn’t hold, in my view.

          What does hold, and I give you full allowance for this, is the ubiquity of frickintarded opinion pages on the net, which can pretty much negate any corners of genuine individual thought.

          And if you live in a part of the States where it’s taboo to be an atheist, then who cares about the sparkly Christian mosaic. It’s all static.

          >Subnormality is a huge recommendation, by the way.

          Taken. Brilliant.

          Been to Daylight Atheism? Great blog. If you want to see something really unusual, search the Quixote Dialogue. I find Sarah Braasch’s posts on humanism, women’s issues and moral formulations particularly thought-provoking.

          1. krellen says:

            I should take my mother on blog tours so anti-theists (a very different breed from atheists, mind) could meet a minister that wouldn’t immediately hit all their wrong buttons on beliefs and faith.

            She raised an atheist (and, to be honest, didn’t realise she was a minister until I was already an adult, but looking back I realise she always had been one, just not officially), but left him with a really good impression of just what a good Christian looks like, and how many of them there are. As well as the impression that there’s room for all sorts of faiths, philosophies and world-views, not just one.

            1. kmc says:

              I know what you mean. I have such a mixed-up background that it’ll take me years (more than the years it already has) to figure out if I’m a Christian or an atheist, but the woman who married my husband and me is a minister and dear family friend who is truly a beacon for me–no matter which I decide.

        2. Vladius says:

          Yes, that is a very apt comparison.

          Creationists, people who discipline children too harshly = Hitler, the Klu Klux Clan

          We have to take a stand, everybody, against the religious war zealots who want to know which cover would be best for a book on raising children.

      2. Vladius says:

        Calm down. I wasn’t talking to you. I’m talking to people like this:

        “Eh, as a mere biological machine, descended from primates, and a big homo supporting atheist with generally liberal attitudes towards society I know I'm not the intended audience for that sort of thing. Now the intended audience might scare the boiling piss out of me, but I figure live and let live till circumstances change.”

        “But a book about how to raise a child according to an imaginary, invisible, nonexistent buddy in the sky is creepy to me no matter how you slice it.”

        “Of course, this to non-believers will sound like total bullcrap, since the authority of the Bible is mostly based on faith (which is the joke, actually).”

  25. Telas says:

    I wonder how many “you never touch a child!” commenters actually have kids… (Just kidding!)

    Seriously, I like “shoes”. Especially the fact that one is obviously a boy and one is obviously a girl. Anyone who thinks kids are identical until puberty doesn’t have much experience with them.

    And I do like Heather’s art. Thanks for the link to it.

    1. Josh R says:

      I’ve heard the “you’ll think differently when you have kids” argument before…
      And truth be told, I hope I don’t. I’m too good at patience so ever day is likely to be a trial.
      But my beliefs are firm, and I’ll persevere.

      Now all I have to do is find a willing woman and get her pregnant.

      1. Telas says:

        So did I. Then we had a daughter. And despite my earlier confidence that I wouldn’t, I’ve swatted her bottom a couple of times. It’s an attention-getter, not punishment. It cuts through the tantrum, the frustration, the stubbornness, the “but I am going to run out in the road as soon as you let me go” attitude.

        It’s not a first response, nor a second, but it is a tool in the toolbox.

        BTW, “nose in the corner” is much better punishment. And when she gets older, Dad the Former Soldier will teach her the value of push-ups as a self-correcting mechanism. There’s something powerful about punishing yourself for your mistakes.

  26. Josh R says:

    I find the level of retardation here quite amusing.
    Despite being Catholic, I take advice from Catholics the same way I take advice from anyone, with a pinch of salt and a slight belief that I am superior anyway.

    Just because some random Catholic or Christian is giving out advice, people who don’t believe assume that everyone who is Catholic falls into line.
    I don’t fall into line with bible written views about homosexuality, divorce, abortion, or even some of what the aid workers in Africa are doing, let alone what some crazy Texan thinks.

    I might not agree with what they are saying, but dammit, they’ve got the right to speak. I’ll admit I didn’t really look at the website much, I didn’t really think I was the target market, being both not a parent and convinced I know best about everything.

    I guess what I really want to get across is two things, that I’ve put in other comments, but I’ll put them again here:

    I'd go out on a limb to say some of the finest parents I know are Christians. Even if you take it as “lies to children,” I'd still go along with telling my kids about it if it had been entirely disproved. The hardest topics for children: love, death and loneliness all have their answers within religion.

    I was brought up to be understanding of others, no matter what religion, race or gender they are.
    You get idiots all over, don't judge an entire people by what a few weirdos do.
    You don't take the KKK as examples of Christianity, and I won't take them as examples of Americans.

  27. Shamus says:

    Okay then, that was a great way to stir up a lot of pointless bile. Actually, this was fairly friendly and tame by internet standards, but I don’t see this going anywhere good from here.

    Let’s go talk about something fun.

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