Mixing Memory

Week of Science Challenge

So RPM of Evolgen and I were sitting around, chattin’ about science blogging, when we suddenly realized that more and more, what science bloggers blog about is dictated not by science, but by anti-science. Creationists, global warming skeptics, anti-vaccine nuts, people who think the moon landing took place in New Mexico, etc. are increasingly in the science blogging driver’s seat. We recognized, of course, that the anti-science people are largely to blame science bloggers dealing with anti-science, because they’re the ones who keep touting their anti-science agendas, often publicly. This makes it difficult and even irresponsible, long term, for scientists not to respond. But it also means that increasingly, real science and debates that are important for scientific reasons are getting less attention. So we decided to issue a challenge to science bloggers around the blogosphere: one week of science, and nothing but science. We even came up with a wepbage, Just Science, where science bloggers can read the specifics of the challenge (one post a day on science, and not anti-science), and sign on.

So, if you’re a science blogger and you think you’re science-bloggery enough to do it, sign up! Give the world a week-long break from anti-science. Like RPM, I’ve included the whole challenge statement below the fold.

UPDATE: If you want to, you can sign up for the challenge at the Just Science page, here. Or you can do it here:

Sign up for Just Science 2007!

Blog name

Email contact

Blog URL

Blog Feed



Submitting this information means that you will be signed up for the aggregator
blog site Justscience.net for the week of February 5th to the 11th.


The Challenge

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 James Hrynyshyn
    January 17, 2007

    I accept.

  2. #2 Chris
    January 17, 2007

    James, right on!

  3. #3 small and gray
    January 17, 2007

    Don’t know if I can do one a day, but I’ll give it a shot…

  4. #4 Jason Buell
    January 17, 2007

    Thank goodness. I read science blogs for the science. I stopped reading a few blogs because all they ever seemed to write was ID rebuttals and the like.

  5. #5 Clark Goble
    January 18, 2007

    I’ll do my best to join in.

  6. #6 Chris' Wills
    January 18, 2007

    An excellent idea, some formerly OK blogs now just spend their time preaching intolerant atheism and bashing religion.

    I’m sure that they enjoy it, but I do visit for the science not the preaching (if I wanted preaching I’ld visit Dr Dawkins’ site).

    Proud Agnostic – Neville Chamberlain

  7. #7 BenP
    January 18, 2007

    It’s a good idea ! I’m on (in french)