Friday, May 14, 2010

SI’s “Smaller Sample” Survey Is In

Dear Guests of SIITIS:

In the Iron Skillet today Aaron Blumer, site publisher of the Sharper Iron site has posted the results of their 2009-2010 survey. In December 2009 he posted an initial reaction with excerpts from the then not yet complete survey. I posted an article on the midway report from Blumer. See


For this review I will simply quote a few excerpts from Aaron’s new report on the SI survey and offer some commentary.
704 people took the survey; 643 of these completed it. While this is a smaller sample than I’d hoped, it’s large enough to be interesting.
Smaller sample” for an obvious reason that Aaron apparently does not want to accept or come to grips with. SI lost the majority of its membership and participation because of the historic bent and bias of SI. It is a pseudo- fundamentalist site that historically exists for the advancement and defense of the so-called “conservative” evangelicalism, its star personalities and its conferences. Not long ago Blumer described SI as a site for those,

who identify with conservative evangelicalism of the fundamentalist variety.”

Blumer has since edited that statement, which blurs the factual nature of it. That statement was and still is the most accurate depiction of what type of membership and message SI was created for.

SI, furthermore, has from its inception been strongly biased toward the propagation and defense of Calvinism. It is also the home for men like Kevin Bauder and likeminded angry YF’s to heap “lavish praise” on the evangelicals and malign/trash Fundamentalism with the broad brush.

The SI Blogroll promotes and links to sites such as, Paleoevangelical and the Glory & Grace blogs that are to varying degrees openly hostile toward Fundamentalism. If Aaron ever becomes transparent about the obvious bias of SI and its moderators it will be a welcome admission.

A little over half of those who took the survey were SI members, with the other two quarters divided about evenly between readers who were once members (but did not re-register in June of 2009 when the site migrated to new software), and readers who have never been members.
Here we find that half of the survey participants were once members who quit SI such as myself or never joined in the first place. The parenthetical note is IMO damage control. It appears Aaron can’t bring himself to accept and acknowledge what became of the SI membership. These people he says, “did not register,” had quit participating at SI. They did not want to be part of SI prior to the new version 3.0 being opened in June 2009. They had already stopped participating and therefore did not want to be part of SI, the original or the new 3.0.
But SharperIron ought to be a place for keeping an eye on what’s happening in Fundamentalism.
The truth is that SI is keeping an eye on Fundamentalism almost solely for opportunities to trash it on the home page or through its Blogroll. When is the last time SI had any home page article on Fundamentalism with an exclusively positive spin? I can’t say with 100% certainty that such an article does not exist. I’d like to give benefit of the doubt, but I do not recall any such article in the last four years that I have been looking at SI. I’m challenging Aaron to produce any main page article since his taking the reins of SI that has positive and exclusively complimentary spin toward Fundamentalism.
One strong response under “changes you would welcome” is noteworthy as well: “structured debates between selected participants.” This is a long time dream of mine. We just haven’t figured out how to do it yet!
Too late! It is not a matter of “how to do it.” SI’s problem is that it can’t get two participants from opposite sides of a major topic to do that debate. From its inception SI moderators took sides against, would hound and run off any who take an opposing view to Calvinism, Lordship Salvation or will not embrace the star personalities of conservative evangelicalism and tolerate their aberrant theology and ecumenical compromises.
There’s no disputing that SI has a Calvinist tilt in the forums…. But the survey results reveal that the Calvinist tilt at SI has been overestimated by some of our critics and is not as large as it may seem when reading randomly in the forums.
Really? “Overestimated?” Why can you NEVER find any home page article that is critical of and/or rejects Calvinism at SI? Is Blumer trying to cloud the obvious bias toward Calvinism by limiting his comments to “reading randomly in the [SI] Forums?”

SI has never been a friend of a balanced Fundamentalism. SI has masqueraded (and not very well) as a site for Fundamentalism, but the facts are obvious. SI has been about the promotion of conservative evangelicalism. SI does what it can to propagate and draw whom they can to embrace conservative evangelicalism, its star personalities and their conferences.

SI members and/or moderators pounce on any participant who raises legitimate concerns and/or rejects Calvinism, Lordship Salvation and the stars of evangelicalism. SI allows for men like Kevin Bauder to malign and trash Fundamentalism with impunity. To suggest that this has not been SI’s history and pattern is patently dishonest by any measure or incredibly naive.