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The Week of Science Challenge

Do you consider yourself a Science Blogger? You could be a hard blogging scientist, science journalist, student of science, or just a member of the general public with an interest in the scientific process. If you identify with any of these, I’ve got a challenge for you.

It boils down to this:

  • One week of science blogging and only science blogging.

  • At least one post a day of pure science content.

  • No blogging about anti-science — no creationism, no anti-vaccination, no global warming denialists.

Just Science from February 5 through February 11.

More information can be found here or below the fold. Further details (how to make your participation known, how to contribute to the RSS feed, etc) will be provided in the coming weeks.


On the internet you can find a blog dealing with pretty much any subject you fancy. There are some topics that receive the majority of bloggers’ attention: personal life, politics, pop culture, politics, politcs, sports and of course, politics. And you can find a fair number of blogs devoted to science as well. The science bloggers can be further classified into those who deal primarily with science, those who write about the interface of science and culture, and those who blog about the politicization of science.

There is also a strong anti-science presence on the internet – global warming denialists, creationists, the anti-vaccination movement – and many science bloggers end up spending a fair amount of time combating the misinformation spread by these groups. This comes at the expense of blogging about actual science, and sometimes it swallows all the content of the blog. Many of us are tired of the attention anti-science advocates manage to receive. We understand the importance of engaging them, and yet feel that the debates where anti-science is the topic of interest sucks much of the oxygen out of the science blogging community, in time and effort, which we could devote to commentary on genuine science.

While there is no immediate solution to the various anti-science movements (and ignoring them is hardly a viable long term option), we would like to propose a Week of Science, to begin on Monday, February 5, and end on Sunday, February 11. During that time each blogger should post about science only, with at least one post per day. Furthermore, issues which are favored by anti-scientific groups (creationism, global warming, etc.) should be either avoided, or discussed without reference to anti-scientific positions.

If you consider yourself a science blogger (whether you are a scientist, science writer, philosopher of science, or interested in the interface of science and politics) and would like to accept the challenge, you can find more details below.

Bloggers who self-identify as scientists and science writers should post on:

  1. Published, peer-reviewed research and their own research.

  2. Their expert opinion on actual scientific debates – think review articles.

  3. Descriptions of natural phenomena (e.g., why slugs dissolve when you put salt on them, or what causes sun flares; scientific knowledge that has reached the level of fact)

Bloggers who claim to be philosophers of science (or have been accused of so much) should post on issues, ideas, and debates in philosophy of science that are not frequently used or dictated by anti-scientific groups. The demarcation problem, for example, should be avoided unless it\n can be discussed without reference to anti-science movements.

And bloggers who are not scientists – focusing mainly on public and policy debates on scientific issues – should post on issues that are legitimately controversial for scientific reasons. Topics that are controversial simply because of anti-science movements should be avoided.

The challenge has been issued. Do you accept?

Comments

  1. #1 Rick
    January 17, 2007

    Although I’m new to this whole blogging ordeal, I’m going to give this a shot. I’m working on a project related to Cephalosporin C production, so I might just go with that as a start…

  2. #2 meerasedai
    January 17, 2007

    Cool! I’m going to give it a shot!

  3. #3 Shelley
    January 17, 2007

    I’m on board. Give me a reason to talk about adenoviral mediated gene delivery and all kinds of other bedtime stories for the lay. :)

  4. #4 PhysicistDave
    January 17, 2007

    Creationism is surely anti-science.

    But are anti-vaccinationists definitely anti-science? After all, if everyone in the world except you is vaccinated, you’re in good shape, and you avoid any possible negative consequences of vaccination.

    Similarly, are critics of “global warming” necessarily anti-science? It’s hard to see how anthropogenic CO2 has no effect, but the exact details of climate models are horrifically complex. It’s possible to understand the basic science and still doubt if the modelers really have the details right.

    Dave

  5. #5 Ian Findlay
    January 18, 2007

    About time. This site (scienceblogs) hasn’t dealt with any science for far too long.

  6. #6 ken
    January 18, 2007

    Hey Dave…

    Reading carefully, I don’t think anybody will object to an evidence-based anti-AGW position. Main point, as I see it: don’t give the time of day to the folks who place their “trips” ahead of evidence.

    Furthermore, issues which are favored by anti-scientific groups (creationism, global warming, etc.) should be either avoided, or discussed without reference to anti-scientific positions.

  7. #7 Philip Small
    January 18, 2007

    I’m in. I think I have 7-plus in the hopper
    Soil Science myths and oversimplifications: “It takes [67, 500, 1000] years to form an inch of soil” (Gross Oversimplification), heavy soil weighs more than light soil (Myth!), sandy soils don’t compact, adding sand to clay increases infiltration, wetland plants indicate water (Myth kinda, they indicate anoxic conditions),
    Others: Triclosan+soil=recipe for disaster, My Terra Preta implies high glomalin content speculative hypothesis explained with references,
    Plus: Review OA soil science articles…

  8. #8 Camphor
    February 3, 2007

    I’m on board. Now to think of a subject on which I can actually give an “expret opinion”. Am a student. Most probably will go with Did-You-Knows and How-It-Works. Those are interesting.

  9. #9 Goldsteins Woman
    February 5, 2007

    What? No atheist rants!

    Dawkins and PZ Myers won’t like that!

    Chamberlain scientists!

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