Evolving Thoughts

Recursions

Janet asks what others have asked – what is science blogging all about, after a bully in the schoolyard taunted us Sciencebloggers. Her questions (and her answers) are very like mine, so I will steal them, below the fold.

1. Why do you consider this blog a science blog?

Like Janet, I don’t. I don’t often blog about the science, for a very simple reason: I’m not a scientist, nor have I scientific credentials. I’m a philosopher of biology (check the Profile at the top left – it’s there for all to see).

So I blog about science itself, about scientists, ideas in science, and the ways we respond to it.

2. So if you yourself wouldn’t necessarily call your blog a blog about science content, why are you blogging at ScienceBlogs?

They asked me and I was pleased to say yes. The Seed Overlords obviously thought that having someone blog about Science Itself was a useful way to get people engaged with science. I think that too. I try to write about scientific history too, and occasionally if I know the science I will throw in a piece about it, but that is rare.

3. Why do so many bloggers at ScienceBlogs write about stuff besides science?

Because we are human beings who live in a social context, which includes sport, politics, creationism and woo. At least, that’s why I do – you’d have to ask each and every Scibling what their motivations are.

Who said that one can only talk about one topic at a time? If you get to know me, then you have to put up with all my interests and obsessions. Sometimes that means Australian politics. I won’t, however, put a bullet through your head if you do not read those posts.

4. You get paid to blog? Does that mean that you make all your blogging decisions on the basis of what will drive traffic?

No, I choose what to blog to attract traffic because I’m a vain egotist. I don’t get enough money from this gig to get out of bed on a Monday morning. At best, I get enough to buy a book I can’t get in Australia. Or some simple shareware software that I think the authors deserve remuneration for. I still have to work for the daily bread, and broadband.

5. Do the bloggers at ScienceBlogs think they’re better than all the other people who blog about science? Do they think their traffic or incoming links make them the best?

Yes. It’s just true.*

6. Why so many blogs about biology at ScienceBlogs? Why aren’t there more blogs about chemistry, or astronomy, or lepidoptery, or gastroenterology, or …?

One of the few public benefits to having a creationist movement is that it motivated a lot of scientists and intellectuals to start talking to the public. This meant, of course, that those engaging in the evolution debate would be the first and generally the most vocal bloggers (I was involved with this on the internet for 15 years before blogs came along). Hence the biological bias. And this is, after all, the century of biology, as last century was of physics and chemistry (at least, until the 70s).

Incidentally, lepidoptery is a part of biology, as is gastroenterology.

7. Why don’t ScienceBlogs bloggers ever link to blogs outside ScienceBlogs.

I do, and so do most others. But we are aware of our neighbours like anyone else, and we all chat in the supersecret backchannel (oops, I’ve said too much. Now I must kill you). But I subscribe to scores of non-SB blogs and feeds.

8. Are all the ScienceBlogs bloggers BFFs?

Are you kidding? Those guys drink. You don’t want to be seen with them.

Actually, some of the Sciblings, like PZ Myers, I have known for years (and Larry Moran, a non-Scibling). Others I have met via Seed, such as Janet and John. But overall we are like rogue elephants, looking to take each others’ audiences over, so we always maintain eye contact when we meet.

*So you don’t have a sense of humor!

Comments

  1. #1 Bob O'H
    February 29, 2008

    We were discussing this same question at the start of the week at Nature Networks. Vain egoism was mentioned or implied more than once.

  2. #2 Matt Penfold
    February 29, 2008

    “Like Janet, I don’t. I don’t often blog about the science, for a very simple reason: I’m not a scientist, nor have I scientific credentials. I’m a philosopher of biology (check the Profile at the top left – it’s there for all to see).

    So I blog about science itself, about scientists, ideas in science, and the ways we respond to it.”

    John, but don’t you know that the very fact you blog on ScienceBlogs means you are only allowed to blog on peer reviewed science ? I mean, we cannot have people who discuss science in a social, cultural and philosophical context here. What will the public think ? They will get all confused about what science is, and go away thinking it is about how being nasty to gays is wrong, how Morris is very cold in the winter and how bad the last Australian Government was. We cannot, must not, allow that! I mean fancy the bloggers here thinking that people might actually like that sort of stuff.

  3. #3 Brian English
    February 29, 2008

    BFF is? Big F***ing F***s? (My vocab is limited after 8 Boag’s premiums.)

    No, I choose what to blog to attract traffic because I’m a vain egotist.
    That’s why I blog. And My last post mentioned John Wilkins Esq. http://philosophicalneuron.blogspot.com/
    Surely that’ll make the narcissistic old greyback take a look…..Or not.

  4. #4 bill r
    February 29, 2008

    The bully link states that you get a cut from Seed. Is that true? What revenue do they get from Scienceblogs?

  5. #5 Dr. Free-Ride
    February 29, 2008

    BFFs = best friends forever.

    At least, that’s what it stood for in junior high. (I have no idea why the arc of the debate put me in mind of junior high …)

    Also, I know that lepidoptery and gastroenterology are part of the life sciences, but why don’t we cover them? (Butterflies in the stomach are an enduring human concern!)

  6. #6 Marc Buhler, PhD
    March 1, 2008

    Hi John…

    Long time since we chatted – hope you are well!
    (I kinda dropped out of Talk Origins after all those months of antibody arguments burned me out – and Google changed the way their reader worked just when my kids got me started playing “RuneScape” – so I have accept Guthix as a faith!)

    This was just in the New York Times – about a G.W. Bush Aide (to the Christian groups, too) guilty of plagiarism. Big time.

    http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/us/AP-White-House-Plagiarism.html

    Maybe you can flag it for PZ + co.

  7. #7 Sam Heads
    March 2, 2008

    Hi John,

    I enjoy reading Evolving Thoughts and having recently received an Excellent Blog Award, decided to pass it on to you.

    All the best,

    Sam

The site is undergoing maintenance presently. Commenting has been disabled. Please check back later!