I’m not a science blogger, I’m a scientist-blogger, a professional scientist* who has a blog. So I am not offended by this zinger of a paragraph by Virginia Heffernan in The New York Times:
Hammering away at an ideology, substituting stridency for contemplation, pummeling its enemies in absentia: ScienceBlogs has become Fox News for the religion-baiting, peak-oil crowd. Though Myers and other science bloggers boast that they can be jerky in the service of anti-charlatanism, that’s not what’s bothersome about them. What’s bothersome is that the site is misleading. It’s not science by scientists, not even remotely; it’s science blogging by science bloggers. And science blogging, apparently, is a form of redundant and effortfully incendiary rhetoric that draws bad-faith moral authority from the word “science” and from occasional invocations of “peer-reviewed” thises and thats.
In fact, I kinda think she hit the nail on the head with some of this. ScienceBlogs hasn’t been a source of serious science content for me for quite some time, since many of the best science writers have gone one by one to more science-focused venues. But Virginia, don’t lump all science blogs in with ScienceBlogs — there are some excellent ones written by scientists and science writers.
* For the purpose of this post, “professional scientist” is defined as someone who does scientific research for a living, publishes research in peer-reviewed journals, and is funded by granting agencies to do it. Not just writes about it, or is studying it, or doing some of it as a grad student, or only teaches it. Science bloggers — people who have blogs partly or mostly about science — are not necessarily, or even usually, professional scientists.
[NOTE: Before you post yet another comment about "what about industrial scientists?" or "but not everyone receives grants", just go to the new discussion here].