Nick Byrd’s Blog

11 Steps Toward WordPress Optimization (for both of us)

This is a WordPress website. And I have done a lot of WordPress optimization in the last 6 months. That optimization correlates with a more than 500% increase in traffic and an almost 50% reduction in webpage loading time. In case you’re interested in how I optimize the website, here’s a summary.

A.  Security

1.  Your connection to this site is encrypted! So no one can see what email address you use to subscribe to or comment on this blog (more on that below). It’s like your bank’s website, your credit card’s website, etc. That’s why you see the 🔒 logo in your address bar, by the way. Apparently Google’s search gods prefer secure websites. I hope you do too.  😇

(How I did it: I purchased a SSL certificate from SSL.com and then asked my web host to install it — more on web hosting below.)

2.  I run regular anti-malware scans on the site to make sure that it is not wreaking havoc on me or you or anyone else.

(How I did it: with the Security and Brute-Force Firewall plugin).

B.  WordPress Optimization

3.  The site is now faster (and no longer hosted by a Endurance International Group company) after switching from Bluehost to InMotionⓇ Hosting.

(How I did it: InMotionHosting.com will tell you.)

4.  Your browser can now load each page of the site much faster because I’ve eliminated a bunch of unnecessary processes and information. Continue reading 11 Steps Toward WordPress Optimization (for both of us)

My Experience with Christian Apologetics

I took a few courses in biblical studies and Christian apologetics as an undergraduate. The courses definitely influenced my thinking, but not in the way that I expected.

0.  Context

For years, I intended to study engineering. In my senior year of high school, I was admitted to a public school with a decent engineering program. But late in the summer, I changed my mind. I had recently become a Christian and I was dating someone who was going to the Christian college. And apparently that was enough to convince 18-year-old me that I should go to the Christian college to study the Bible. (Aside: Can you believe that 18 year old me was allowed to vote and serve on a jury?)

1.  Apologetics

I signed up for Christian apologetics courses — as well as biblical studies courses — hoping to find compelling arguments to rationalize my relatively new faith. At first, the arguments seemed compelling. I remember being excited to take the arguments to unbelieving friends back home and see what they had to say.

But the more I thought about the arguments, the less Continue reading My Experience with Christian Apologetics

How To Create A Digital Library

I find that computers, software, and various internet services drastically improve academic life. For example, I have my digital library (10,000+ books and papers) in my pocket right now. In this post, I’ll talk about how that works.

Related post: how to listen to your books and papers using text-to-speech.

The Basics

If you are thinking about creating or organizing a digital library, then I recommend thinking about 6 things: Continue reading How To Create A Digital Library

Are Atheists More Reflective Than Theists?

On Saturday, I joined the Veracity Hill Podcast with Kurt Jaros. Kurt and I talked about the studies which suggest that atheists are more reflective than theists. You can listen to the podcast below. Below that you’ll find an outline of our discussion and some suggested reading/researchers.

The Podcast

 

The Discussion

  1. How exactly are atheists more reflective than theists? How do we measure reflection? How do we measure religiosity?
  2. What do these findings about atheists and theists tell us about atheism and theism (if anything)? How might further research answer hitherto unanswered questions about how atheists and theists reason?
  3. What are some related findings? What does this have to do with philosophy more generally?

The Suggested Reading/Researchers

The paper that Kurt and I mention a few times is freely available to anyone. The title is “Atheists and Agnostics Are More Reflective than Religious Believers: Four Empirical Studies and a Meta-Analysis“. It discusses over 30 studies of over 15,000 people. I highly recommend it.

And here are some researchers that study religion and/or reasoning: Continue reading Are Atheists More Reflective Than Theists?

How To Write A Philosophy Paper: 4 Criteria, 9 Tips

When my students ask about how to write a philosophy paper, I tell them to aim for three or four criteria. And if they want more guidance, I give them writing tips. Below are the criteria — in order of importance — and the tips.†

1.  Clarity

What this means: It should be difficult for me to misunderstand you.††

So don’t waste time crafting long sentences with big words. Instead, aim for a 6th to 9th grade reading level. Yes, I know: that’s not how many academics write.††† But many academics do not write well.

1st Writing Tip: Continue reading How To Write A Philosophy Paper: 4 Criteria, 9 Tips