The Best Science Blog 2007 Saga (1 of 3)

Phil Plait’s Bad Astronomy (BA) and Steve McIntyre’s Climate Audit (CA) have been awarded the 2007 Weblogs Award for Best Science blog. Remarkably, they are both prisoners of their own devices: BA cannot criticize mainstream science, CA can only criticize mainstream science. They are both great blogs and their shared Award is a honest snapshot of their relative merits. PZ Myers’ Pharyngula, on the other hand…

The Best Science Blog 2007 Saga (1 of 3) – Introduction and The Bad Astronomy Blog
The Best Science Blog 2007 Saga (2 of 3) – The Climate Audit Blog and The Weblogs Award for Best Science Blog committee
The Best Science Blog 2007 Saga (3 of 3) – Pharyngula and Conclusions (and a Prayer)

The 2007 Weblogs Award for Best Science blog has been jointly awarded to Phil Plait’s Bad Astronomy (BA) and Steve McIntyre’s Climate Audit (CA) after a nail-biting finale that has seen the lead swing back and forth (amazingly, even after the poll had closed, demonstrating that the Internet is a province of Florida).

I cannot but be very pleased with the result, as I have been a regular subscriber to both BA and CA for years and months respectively (yes I am an astronomy and climate basket case).

Are Bad Astronomy and Climate Audit the best science blogs on the web? Surely not. This is the best blog about everything in the whole Universe, I am sure you’ll all agree.

The circumstances have made both Plait and McIntyre rise in this reader’s consideration, alongside of course the extremely smooth operators of the Weblogs Award. The only protagonist that has lost several hundreds points is PZ Myers, the author of the close-minded gratuitously-offensive flame-throwing Brighter-Than-Thou fundamentalist Pharyngula blog.

The Bad Astronomy Blog
BA is a great blog, especially if you like astronomy. It comes out of a great website (“Bad Astronomy” of course) that has been pointing out for years the scientific fallacies of public astronomical depictions, including in the media, and especially in the movies (silly sounds in the vacuum of space and all that). Of course there is also much to learn, mostly in the form of ever-more-spectacular astronomical pictures, but there are also extraordinarily good posts on the absurd attempts by certain astrologers, fear-mongerers and deluded “religious” people to scientifically demonstrate their craft or beliefs. (Plait gets all my envy when he talks about his friendship with James Randi and Penn Jillette).

The series on pareidolias is particularly humorous. In fact, pretty much everything on BA is great fun (including the sometimes harrowing love confessions for all sorts of pop-culture heroes).

Phil Plait (bless!) has even dedicated a blog entry to my discovery that National Geographic Magazine has “sexed up” at least one recent article. And of course he has written a “Bad Astronomy” book and is going to publish a new one “Death from the Skies!” soon.

The bit where the BA blog falls short is when Plait “the Bad Astronomer” talks climate change and/or launches in long tirades against the current White House inhabitant. The two things are obviously related. Plait sees himself fighting for “Science” against the Bush Administration’s admittedly rather clumsy attempts at getting only the “right” messages across, even in matters of science. When there is climate involved then, Plaits sides with the “scientists” (i.e. the mainstream) in opposition to the White House’s reluctance e.g. to follow the recommendations of the IPCC.

Alas, in the process Phil Plait forgets to apply to climatology the same healthily skeptical methodology he is so good at using with the various nutters usually so skilfully dealt with.