When we read about human evolution, we eventually get to the part about humans becoming “modern” (i.e., reaching the Platonic ideal, the End of the Linean Line, The upper middle part Catechism’s Great Chain of Being, the Archetype of the Repressed Middle Class, and all that other good stuff). That is the moment when we “Leave Africa.” Africa must have felt pretty empty when modern humans left it back then.

But of course, that is a horrid misconception dripping with racism, blanketed in the cloth of falsehood, and riddled with incorrect facts, and now for the first time, smothered with metaphors. We did not leave Africa: We expanded beyond it’s borders (not for the first time, I quickly note). And, the original and most impressive expansion of “modern humans” certainly occurred in Africa itself where our species adapted to a very wide range of conditions, more different, very different, habitats than any primate and most mammals ever before. Then after that, there seemed to be living space elsewhere, up in the upper right part of the human world, so that space got expanded into.

But I digress.

The point is that an exodus is underway and I’m all over it, but using the opportunity very differently from many others. Here’s the story:

You probably know that National Geographic has bought Scienceblogs.com. Please unlearn that fact now. They never did. Scienceblogs.com is owned and has always been owned by Seed Media Group. What did happen is that National Geographic made a deal with Scienceblogs.com having to do with advertising and cross linking and content direction and other stuff. I do not feel comfortable speaking about the details because I don’t want to accidentally misrepresent any part of the deal or reveal secrets (though I’m pretty sure no one has told me any actual secrets). This deal comes after a long period of decline in the number of bloggers at Scienceblogs, in fits and starts, owing to various historical events, but (and this probably is a secret) not after any period of lessened readership. As far as I can tell, Scienceblogs.com has held the course until recently in the number of readers, page hits, whatever whatever.

Now, here’s the thing. Suppose I’m sitting here at Scienceblogs.com and I see that the blog network is losing advertising dollars (because of the economy) and a lot of my fellow bloggers are leaving (for one reason or another) and I still like blogging at Scienceblogs and all that but I see change coming. Then, some dude sends me an email that says “Hi, I’m an editor guy from National Geographic and I’d like you to blog as part of our bloggy network, but if you do, it should be about stuff that fits our themes (which are diverse) and it should be done in a manner suitable for consumption by our audience and so on and so forth…”

I am an anthropologist, I study human evolution, human diversity, as well as a handful of earth-science related topics and stuff. The match between National Geographic and me topically could not be better. I am trying to be a science communicator intent on providing non-scientists who are interested in science and related things with information and critical analysis, and along the way, crafting tools and ammunition useful for the fight against ignorance such as Creationism and Climate Change Denialism and other forms of politically motivated pseudo-science. The match between what I want to do and National Geographic’s audience could not be better.

So if this dude from National Geographic, let’s call him David, contacted me and made this offer, I’d take it in a second.

And, here I am, sort of. As I said above, NGS does not own Sb.com, so I’m not really blogging at NGS’s bloggy network. NGS has its own site, and its own blogs, and Scienceblogs.com is different. But we do have this link-up and things are likely to develop in a direction that would have positive and interesting effects.

However, there is a small problem. The problem is that I also like to blog about some other stuff. The kinds of things that make right wingers and denialists and others show up and say “This? This is a science blog???” and so on. The US presidential election season, which is about two years long at least, started two weeks ago. I like to blog about that sort of thing … and judging by Google stats, readers like this too. And it isn’t just what I like to do. This is a matter of what I think I should do.

So, I’m going to be like Early Modern Humans and expand my territory outside of Scienceblogs. I have already have expanded here and there. I have a regular long term commitment for a monthly post at 10,000 Birds. I have a short term commitment, running out in a couple of weeks, at birdingblogs.com. Quiche Moraine stands now as an excellent archive of excellent posts by three excellent bloggers (one of which is me) and some of my best stuff is there, though the blog is currently inactive. So there is all that.

But starting on September 1st, which by my reckoning is tomorrow, I will also be blogging at a blog called … Blog X. At Freethoughtblogs.com.

Freethoughtblogs.com is the multi-authored blog started up by PZ Myers and Ed Brayton, the top two bloggers at Scienceblogs.com, so that they could do their non-family oriented blogging. Others have joined that blog network over the last several weeks, and Ed and PZ have done an amazing job in their struggle with very difficult technological problems and who knows what else. On September 1st, a number of different bloggers are going join Freethoughtblogs.com. A fairly large number.

When I look at the list of who is going to join Freethroughtblogs.com, along with who is already there, I am truly and seriously impressed. Blown away, in fact. When you see it, you will know what I mean. You’ll see.

And in the mean time, I’ll let you work out what “Blog X” means. There are clues in the blog’s banner. Those of you who have figured it out already because you had advance knowledge, please reserve your comments for later and let the others try to guess!

I am very much looking forward to blogging at Freethoughtblogs.com.

I’m working out how to differentiate what I’ll be writing for the two sites. So far it does not seem that difficult. There are two distinct categories …. politics, church-state and religion/atheism, and related topics mostly go at Freethougthblogs.com. Science and related stuff goes on Scienceblogs. The intersection occurs, of course, with creationism and science denialism. Here, the difference is not so much topical but presentation. For example, for vocabulary, consider the following tuples:

{yahoo, antagonist}
{boy buggering shites, men of the cloth of questionable morals}
{ignorant Rebublcant whackaloons, GOP candidates who oppose climate science and policy}
{Bible-humping morons, young earth creationists}

I think you get the idea.

The question on all of your lips is this: Will Greg be an accomodationist on Scienceblogs.com and a new atheist-skeptic on Freethoughtsblogs.com?

The answer is a firm “no.” Using a family friendly term to refer to a politician who freely and thoughtlessly damages our children’s future to enhance his own political position among masses of misinformed voters, who’s level of misinformation is enhanced by the rhetorical policy supported by the self same politician, will not make my statements about said politician less biting, powerful, or accurate. It is not the lingo, it is the language.

And finally, while we are on the topic of my blogs, please don’t forget: It is never too late to get your Darwin “I Think” cap!


  1. #1 Mike Haubrich
    August 31, 2011

    If you ever were to turn into an accommodationist blogger, I would provide Huxley and Amanda with a “safe house.”

  2. #2 Lewis Thomason
    August 31, 2011

    Hey I read both,welcome to the dark side.

  3. #3 Kevin
    August 31, 2011

    This whole dual-blog-networks seems like the most reasonable and rational response to this whole deal. Congrats on the expansion – it looks like I’m going to have to figure out yahoo pipes to manage all the varying feeds/cross posts and c.

    Oh well, more platforms = more content = more goodness. I’m for it.

  4. #4 James Sweet
    August 31, 2011

    Thumbs up to this post. Sounds like the right solution. And very much agree that the problem with accomodationists is not that they tell us not to cuss so much (they might even have a fucking point there, I’ll grant) but rather that they tell us to avoid legitimate criticisms just because, I dunno, it might hurt somebody’s feelings. Totally different things.

  5. #5 quietmarc
    August 31, 2011

    I’m really lazy with my internet reading habits, and scienceblogs (which I originally found through pharyngula but quickly embraced as my go-to point for science and drama together at last) has been, until recently, the hub of all my blog-reading with rare exceptions, so I’m glad that you’ll be on freethought blogs with PZ, Ed brayton, and the rest. Less clicking!

    I’ve also come to enjoy the cuttlefish and zingularity on there, too, so I guess change (much as I try to avoid it) does have some good points.

  6. #6 Lynn Wilhelm
    August 31, 2011


  7. #7 JL
    August 31, 2011

    You should do whatever generates the most ad revenue for your family without attracting too many malevolent stalkers.

  8. #8 theshortearedowl
    August 31, 2011

    Yay! Maybe you can persuade them that the malware/pop-ups situation on freethoughtblogs should be rectified so that Windows-using folks like myself can read it? I know I’m not the only one.

  9. #9 Greg Laden
    August 31, 2011

    Shortear: That is being addressed. Actually, it probably has been addressed already, within the last couple of hours.

  10. #10 Randy Owens
    August 31, 2011

    What my esteemed colleague, Lewis Thomason, forgot to mention at #2, in welcoming you to the dark side, is that we have cookies.

    (And not the kind that enable those nasty pop-ups Shortear was complaining about!)

  11. #11 blogromp
    August 31, 2011

    Thank you for the first two paragraphs. The description on the TED Talk in your previous entry angered me for just this reason, and I appreciate you directly addressing the racism in it.

  12. #12 Greg Laden
    August 31, 2011

    Blogromp, that description is quite problematic.

  13. #13 Gerrit Bogaers
    January 16, 2017

    Seems to me a good idea. Beware of censorship under t. Make a safe-haven. A pied de terre elsewhere. Good luck Greg. Laren NH, Tuesday 17 January 2017, 0.08 AM DT.