Virginia Heffernan vs. Science Bloggers
Who's doing the half-time show?
Clearly I’ve been out of some loop for too long, but does everyone take for granted now that science sites are where graduate students, researchers, doctors and the “skeptical community” go not to interpret data or review experiments but to chip off one-liners, promote their books and jeer at smokers, fat people and churchgoers? And can anyone who still enjoys this class-inflected bloodsport tell me why it has to happen under the banner of science?Well… In my experience, the commenters on ScienceBlogs are much worse offenders than the bloggers. The commenters are much more likely than the bloggers to treat nuclear energy as though it had cooties or assume that organic food must be the key to good health.
In addition, many of the ScienceBloggers aren't active research scientists but rather lowly journalists who don't know anything more than … I do (and not much more than Ms. Heffernan).
There's another phenomenon that might produce the nonsense she's talking about. Many academic scientists are actually aware of the fact that they have a shortage of common sense and look at nearby non-scientists to make up the shortage. Unfortunately, those nearby non-scientists are likely to be “knee-jerk” leftists (for example, ScienceBlogs commenters). I suspect the leftist politics of some of the bloggers were picked up from the commenters.
That reminds me. On another occasion, I speculated:
I'm pretty sure they become ScienceBlogs commenters.
This applies even despite the apparent fact that professors at “elite” universities are more likely to be atheists. After all, if we take the judgment of the more prestigious universities as authoritative, we must also be convinced of the inferiority of “short people with big ears.” I suspect that professors at prestigious universities are recruited from atheist subpopulations (e.g., students at prestigious universities or ambitious people who focus their ambition towards being part of the Galileo–Darwin–Einstein lineup). We can check the latter quite easily by trying to identify people with similar ambitions but who lack the intellectual firepower popularly associated with the Ivy League. For example, are drop-outs from Harvard, Yale, or Princeton particularly likely to be atheists?