Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Why Blogism?

(Hey, it worked for Skepticism!)

Well I got tagged for this by TheBrummell (yes, it did get around to me), so here goes, a list of reasons why I blog:

  • It's something to do. Honestly, this might actually have been the biggest reason for my starting this blog. I had a ton of free time at work (what can I say? I was so good at my job they couldn't find enough for me to do), and I needed something to do. So I blogged. I still have lots of free time around school, and I'm on a short vacation right now, so I still need something to do.
  • Community. When I started this blog, I was just losing touch with all my friends from high school. I didn't plan on using this blog to make new friends online, but when it started to happen, it became a reason to keep going.
  • Interacting with "famous" people. Sure, anyone can go and post on the blog of someone moderately famous in the blogosphere, but it's an entirely different feeling when they come and post a comment on your blog. (Yes, he was correcting a minor mistake I'd made, but I've corrected him on occasion too, and I maintain that I'd prefer to be corrected than leave a mistake up.)
  • I can help grease the wheels of skepticism. I noticed early on that most of the big swaths of skepticism are already covered in various places by very good bloggers. I've found a few subjects that went unmentioned and covered them myself, but that's not my primary contribution to the cause. The most popular posts I've done have actually been what I call "Greasing" posts, where I talk more about the philosophical side of what we're doing. This includes my Why Skepticism? posts and the Distilled Wisdom series, which give explanations of why this is important and how you can argue better, respectively. While these posts aren't directly attacking woo, they serve the purpose of helping other bloggers attack it better. For instance, my second Why Skepticism? post showed how Godel's Incompleteness Theorem actually serves to help disprove faith rather than put a limit on science, as many woos are prone to claim.
  • I can teach people about science. One thing I've noticed is that many people are genuinely interested in learning about the scientific picture of the world. The problem is that they see huge barriers such as having to be great at math and studying and getting an undergraduate degree before they can even be told qualitatively what's going on. With this blog, I can create a bridge out to them to teach them roughly what's going on without having to drown them in math. It's no coincidence that my Quantum Mechanics for Dummies post is the most frequent target of Google hits (beating out Faith no More lyrics and Bible quotes by a wide margin).
  • I get to randomly reference Terry Pratchett, this note included.
I can't think of the expected five people to tag with this that haven't already been hit, but I'll send out a couple to Akusai and Tom Foss. Let's see what you've got.

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