by Greg Mayer
Matthew has brought to my attention an article in Evolution: Education and Outreach by Adam Goldstein that mentions the WEIT blog. It’s apparently addressed to a curiously naive audience, taking great care to explain what a “blog” is, and how the word “post” is both a noun and a verb, and that bloggers often provide “links”, and much more in that vein. It’s curious in another way, too, calling WEIT an anonymous blog, deducing that Jerry is the author only from subtle cues, and the fact that PZ Myers has referred to the blog’s author as Jerry (actually, the Myers post he cites is about the book, and predates the start of the blog). Goldstein must have missed the “About the Author” link up over there to the right.
Besides characterizing what blogs are (and mis-characterizing them a bit, too: as the Darwinius case made clear, posting to the web does not constitute scientific publication), he also classifies blogs as being “professional,” “amateur,” “apostolic,” or “imaginative.” WEIT is “amateur”, but that’s a good thing in his classification. Goldstein says about amateur blogs that
…blogs of this variety are superior to those of other varieties for the purpose of explaining evolutionary science… Those who create the blogs in this category are not amateur scientists; indeed, most are experienced research professionals. Nonetheless, they are not professional bloggers, and their blogs present them with an opportunity to take a lighter, less formal approach to the topics they know and love. For this reason, many posts to blogs in this category are highly informative expository essays on a range of topics in evolutionary science.
I also learned from the article about a bunch of evolution-oriented blogs I didn’t know about (including one by people I know!). PZ is classified as “apostolic”; I’m sure he’ll appreciate the religious terminology!
Of more general interest is that the whole journal, which began publishing in 2008, is available free online, at least through the end of this year. Go take a look.