According to the Home Page, under the “Buzz in the Blogosphere section:

A few ScienceBloggers were angered when they noticed that blogger Casey Luskin of the Christian-based Discovery Institute tagged one of his posts with the official ResearchBlogging icon. They point out that Luskin failed to register at, and argue that his post didn’t meet the organization’s requirement of reporting “accurately and thoughtfully” on peer-reviewed research.

Holy crap, do they have no shame? Do they have no ethics or values? Well, no, of course we already knew they did not. But this still pisses me off.

But what can you do. There is as yet no adequate system to peer-review the blogging of peer reviewed research process. (Here is the Research Blogging site, by the way)

This event has sparked a bit of discussion on this issue, as you might imagine. I want to react to some of that in the few minutes I have today … then I’m off to a conference then an evening of caucusing, so nothing else fresh from me after this until tomorrow (sorry, but you Americans should be busy standing on street corners with signs on sticks anyway, and if you are not a US voter and are living in some other country, you’ll be glued to your radio listening for the results of the US election right?)

Here is the key post, as far as I can tell, on this issue. Mike Dunford of The Questionable Authority, writes:

Casey Luskin has a post up over at the Discovery Institute’s website that discusses an article that was recently published in PLoS Biology. The post itself is nothing particularly remarkable – … , it’s a fairly typical example of Discovery Institute work.

This time, though, Casey added a little something extra to his usual work product. He stuck a little image up at the top left corner of his post. His use of the icon in question demonstrates an eagerness to assume the trappings of intellectual respectability without actually making the effort to be respectable.

Maria Brumn’s take on this is to not care. Shequ does not feel that BPRR is worth all the trouble.

the boosterism and the use of the icon I’ve seen has been so relentlessly serious that me and my light tone find it difficult to identify as a member of the tribe.

Way to go with community building, Maria! I’ll remember next time I’m trolling for posts for an underdeveloped blog carnival!

Unlike Maria Brumm, I find the use of the BPRR system to be easy relative to alternatives. First, it gives you a very cool HTML compatible bit of code to use as the reference in your post. Second, it is one of the cheaper, easier ways to get link love. It is almost exactly the same amount of effort as submitting a post to a carnival, for instance, and it give you more: It gives you a warm fuzzy feeling from supporting an incremental increase in the quality of science blogging.

On the other hand, I wish I could write my blog without having to do anything that promotes it. If you readers would digg and stumble me more, I could do that. Hey, get your acts together, you guys! Help me out here!

Anyway, I totally understand Maria’s feelings, she’s just, well, totally wrong. Too bad she was mean to me on her first day at work. Or I would have overlooked this bit of crumudgiosity on her part.

OK, enough digression. Back to the point:

I totally get why Mike is pissed off. I think this is an abuse of blogospheric etiquette. On the other hand, I’m not sure what I would do if I was running the BPRR site. Would I delete the link? Send them a nasty note? Make a Buzz in the Blogosphere? Create a category on the Research Blogging Site called “Questionable or obnoxious links”?

All of the above, probably, except deleting the link. Once they make the link they are yours, and you can control quite a bit about how various readers get to the questionable site.

Any ideas?


  1. #1 Dunc
    February 5, 2008

    Well, if I were running BPRR, I’d insist that people loaded the icon from me, rather than hosting it themselves, and I’d make sure that anyone who tried to use it without being registered got a rather different icon. Still tricky to enforce properly though…

  2. #2 IanR
    February 5, 2008

    From what Mike said yesterday (and Dave Munger says here) there is no link – Luskin simply copied the icon, not the code. There’s no backlink to the BPR3 or ResearchBlogging websites – Luskin apparently simply copied the icon to his server. So apart from everything else, it’s a copyright infringement (why does that sound familiar?)

  3. #3 J-Dog
    February 5, 2008

    Luskin should be publicly laughed at and scorned. Oh, wait…

    Even MORE laughed at and scorned.

    But on a more serious note, Luskin IMO SHOULD be asked to cease and desist. If the reason this was done, as I suspect, in an attempt to gain some credibility for ID – “Look Ma, I done did some Peer Reviewed Research!” – the cease and desist request will cause his action to lose some of it’s luster.

    Bottom line – Luskin is just another DI / ID loser troll, but we have to be prepared to stomp him and stop him from pretending to be all grown up and doing real reasearch.

  4. #4 Maria Brumm
    February 5, 2008

    Greg! Does this mean we are officially Blog Enemies? I’ve always wanted one of those 🙂

  5. #5 Greg Laden
    February 5, 2008


    Well, we can do the Howard Ali-Cosell thing if you want. But I’m not sure which one of them I want to be.

  6. #6 Dunc
    February 6, 2008

    Well, if there’s any hint of copyright infringement, just get a lawyer to fire off a cease-and-desist letter to their ISP. If experience is anything to go by, the ISP will fold immediately.