Oct 27 2008
Yes – another skeptical blog. We can’t get enough of them.
SkepticBlog is a group skeptical blog featuring regular contributions from Michael Shermer, Phil Plait, Yau-Man Chan (yeah, the Survivor guy), Mark Edward, Kirsten Sanford, Brian Dunning, and Ryan Johnson. Oh, yeah – and me. That’s a pretty solid line up of skepticism, if I do say so myself.
You can read my introductory post here for more info. Essentially, the blog has two functions. The first (and the impetus for the blog) is to help promote our pilot skeptical reality TV show The Skeptologists. That project is still moving forward, and the blog is a way to help promote it. If the show gets picked up then the blog will likely continue as a companion to the show – although I honestly have no idea what would happen once TV executives own the show.
Completely aside from The Skeptologists, we just wanted to run a group skeptical blog for its own sake. This blog will have a life of its own, whether or not the show gets picked up.
I will be contributing to the blog every Monday – and you can read my first Monday contribution here. I will continue to contribute at the same rate to NeuroLogica, including a regular Monday post.
I am already getting the obvious question – am I spreading myself too thin? Well, yes and no.
In terms of work load, yes I am extremely busy, what with my academic medical career, 2 podcasts, and now 4 blogs. But honestly, the amount of time I put in is about average for an academic, and less than many of my colleagues. Rather than spending all of my time in the lab, or maintaining a textbook, or publishing hundreds of papers, I am promoting science and reason and exploring the new media.
Also – popular science bloggers write more blog entries than I do each week. Phil Plait (Bad Astronomy) wrote 18 blog entries in the last week, and PZ Myers (Pharyngula) wrote 31. I typically write 6-7 blog entries per week, and now will increase that number to 8. I just spread my work around to 4 different blogs.
I don’t know if this is a good strategy or not, but it fits my goals. Phil and PZ have built their media-science careers around their very popular blogs. My media flagship is my podcast – the Skeptics’ Guide to the Universe. NeuroLogica is my personal blog where I explore whatever interests me, including issues of neuroscience. The Rogues Gallery is a companion blog to the SGU, and so there I focus on issues that relate more to the podcast.
Science-Based Medicine represents the intersection of my medical career with my promotion of the public understanding of science and anti-pseudoscience watchdog activities. This site, which is also a group blog, has a very specific purpose – to promote higher and better standards of science in health care, and to oppose those efforts to either change the definition of science in medicine or to eliminate the scientific basis of the standard of care in medicine.
And now SkepticBlog also has a specific purpose – to promote The Skeptologists. But also to serve as a collaboration among various skeptical organizations (Skeptic Society, JREF, the NESS) and individuals. Skeptical activists have been pretty much left to do their own thing, without any existing organizational infrastructure to climb. This has had its benefits, actually, encouraging independence and experimentation. But as the movement has grown, I think there is great potential in trying to pull together some of the various threads into collaborative projects to achieve things that individually we cannot.
Whereas up until now the skeptical movement has been dominated by individual efforts, now I think we are entering a new phase that will be shaped by collaboration and partnerships. SkepticBlog and The Skeptologists are manifestations of that.
We’ll see where it takes us.
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