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Is blogging killing science?

by Greg Krehbiel on 1 March 2010

Here’s a good quote from The Value of Science Blogs?

The single-biggest blogging negative, however, is the grouping together of people who already agree about everything, and who then proceed to square and cube their agreements, becoming increasingly self-assured and intolerant of other viewpoints. Thus, blogging about science has brought out, in some cases, the loud, angry, nasty, and profanity-strewing minority of the science world that denounces the rest of America for its ignorance and superstition.

And again …

Science blogs themselves continue to afford a wonderful medium for scientists and science writers to reach broad audiences, but they also tend to result in groupthink …

The PR train wreck of global warming science might be a prime example.

It’s obvious that the AGW crowd got too insular, delighted in demonizing their opponents, became “increasingly self-assured and intolerant of other viewpoints,” etc.

Even before blogs, scientists were generally considered to be arrogant egg-heads with no social skills who lived in their own world. My high school was divided into the “science and tech” students (the “techies”) and the “regular” students. The techies were caricatured as arrogant nerds with no social life who played D&D and wore a TI-80 like a sidearm.

(It was partly true.)

If blogs had existed back then, we would have been ten times more arrogant than we were. Which — believe me — was too doggone arrogant.

2010-03-01  »  Greg Krehbiel

Talkback x 4

  1. John Krehbiel John K
    2 March 2010 @ 10:01 pm

    I agree that blogs usually allow people who agree with each other to reinforce their insular opinions, but see this post on the acceptance of AGW relative to the amount of evidence available.

    Funny how money talks, huh?

  2. John Krehbiel John K
    2 March 2010 @ 10:09 pm

    And how are scientists arrogant? It is scientists who constantly and consistently subject their views to doubt and testing. Scientific knowledge is provisional.

    Oh yeah, I forgot, they “look down their noses” at people who can’t be bothered to try to understand the real world.

    (Sorry, but right after being moved to tears [literally] telling my 9th graders how understanding the real world makes it so much more interesting, I got one of those pain-in-the-ass “But why do I need to know this?” questions.)

  3. Greg Krehbiel Greg Krehbiel
    2 March 2010 @ 11:25 pm

    > And how are scientists arrogant?

    “making claims or pretensions to superior importance or rights; overbearingly assuming; insolently proud.”

    Where’s the problem here? Seriously.

  4. Greg Krehbiel Greg Krehbiel
    3 March 2010 @ 10:07 am

    About money influencing the debate, there’s no question that it affects both sides.