Politics, science, me and thee

Bad Astronomy
The entire universe in blog form
July 15 2007 11:33 AM

Politics, science, me and thee

Whenever I write about politics, religion, or something that is not 100% straight-up science, I get a handful of protests in the comments, usually along the lines of "I came here because this is supposed to be an astronomy blog..."*.

Well, for the nth time, I'll let y'all know: this is primarily a science blog, but not exclusively so. I think people like what I write about astronomy because I add a dimension of humanity to it, since I'm personally involved with some of it, and I know some of the fun back story. But that same humanity means I'm human, and I have other things on my mind too.

Phil Plait Phil Plait

Phil Plait writes Slate’s Bad Astronomy blog and is an astronomer, public speaker, science evangelizer, and author of Death From the Skies!  

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This may sound crass, but it's true: it's my blog, and I'll write what I want to. If you don't like it, there are lots of other sites about astronomy on the web. Spare me the lectures, the drama, and the grandstanding in the comments. If you don't want to read my blog, that's fine. I can't please everyone, and by its very nature a scientific and skeptical blog will make some people upset. But I am not going to change my style, my topics, or my behavior (unless there is some evidence-based reason, of course). So if you're gonna go, just go. Being dramatic about it in the comments won't change anything.

But before you leave, take a good look at whatever it was that I wrote that ticked you off. Why? Because in a recent post, I was accused of bashing Christians, bashing religion, saying that all global warming deniers are also young-Earth creationists, and I'm sure if I look more carefully there's something in the comments about me eating kittens, too. I never said any of that. People are reading their own issues into what I wrote, and and not reading what I actually wrote.

How ironic is that?

So here is my stance, for those of you who still don't get it: I am a scientist, a skeptic, a science fiction fan, a father, a pet owner, and a human being. I have opinions, and I have a blog, and therefore I will write about my opinions. I try very hard to base my opinions on well-grounded, evidence-based reasoning, and I try very hard not to extrapolate beyond what is reasonable.

But I will not tolerate the attacks on science, whether they come from politicians, religious zealots, New Age gurus, or regular old folks. And I will speak out.

Update: Coincidentally, PZ Myers at Pharyngula just wrote a similar post (his is about religion), as did Chris Pirillo (about politics). Make of this what you will.

* And why don't these same people complain when I post about cartoons I like, or some funny website I found? After all, those are "off-topic" too. Could it be that I simply don't have the same political or religious affiliation that they do, and they don't like it? I know some people just don't want to hear more about those topics, but still, I don't think that applies to most of the folks who leave in a huff. I strongly suspect that many (but not all) of those who do leave in a flash of drama need to very carefully examine their own beliefs; they are guilty of precisely the crimes they accuse me of.

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