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Back in November, Charlie Jane Anders posted at io9 that atheists needed to read more science fiction because we were smug, arrogant people who have no respect for viewpoints other than our own.

Needless to say, I didn’t care much for those comments.

I bring this up against because Anders has written a piece about what she’s learned from “5 years of arguing on the Internet” and one of her points addresses that very post:

I’ve definitely written things I regretted afterwards. Like that piece about atheism and science fiction a while back — that was a case where I hadn’t fully thought through what I was trying to say, and I wrote something kind of half-assed, that hurt people who already felt marginalized and under assault from mainstream culture. (And in retrospect, a lot of what I had been reading as “smugness” from a few of my fellow non-believers was probably more like anger at that marginalization.) I’m sorry about that.

But there have also been times I wrote things, and the commenters wound up convincing me I had been completely off base — and I was still glad I wrote those things, because the discussion was 100 percent worth it.

That’s pretty awesome. She read the comments and feedback, took certain ones seriously, and changed her mindset accordingly. It’s never easy to do that. It’s even harder admitting you did that, especially on a public forum. So hats off to her.

(Thanks to Jason for the link!)

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Hemant Mehta is the founder of, a YouTube creator, podcast co-host, and author of multiple books about atheism. He can be reached at @HemantMehta.