If you’re a regular reader of my blogs, you don’t need to go any further. Otherwise, read on….
Substance: As indicated by the title of the blog I will focus on biological science. Specifically, I’m interested in evolutionary genetics & genomics, human evolution & genomics, as well as odds & ends such as paleoanthropology, phylogenetics and natural history. But science isn’t all that I’m interested in, and I will cover topics which catch my fancy, such as history, religion, economics and public policy. On occasion I will synthesize and interweave a scientific perspective into “non-scientific” topics. For example, how do history & biology relate? That path was long blazed by works such as Plagues & Peoples. Religion & biology? As outlined in Breaking the Spell there is a good case to be made that religion is a natural phenomenon which emerges from our evolutionary background. And so on. I am a nerd and I will offer a nerd’s eye view.
Style: I try not to take myself too seriously. There are many monographs you can read, and this weblog won’t be written in such a manner. I’m genuinely interested in topics of substance, but there’s no reason that a bit of human silliness or humor can’t be injected to enliven the flavor. If there’s anything I would ask, it would be that you not take me too seriously, rather, that this weblog be a jumping off point for your own explorations. I’m not holding forth from on high, but trying to make my way through choppy waters in the hopes of glimpsing startling new vistas. We all have our own paths and trails to blaze, and there’s no fun in unanimity of method or outcome.
Comments: Comments are important. From the comments over the past 8 years of blogging I have learned much. But civility is important, and I enforce that with some zeal. Rudeness and snark have a high short term yield in satisfaction, but they often poison the long term ecology. I’m the game warden here, and work hard to keep down the number of introduced pests. Moderation will be turned on. I don’t care for “meta” discussions about the standards for comments and moderation, so don’t go there. Some of my readers have been with me for nearly 8 years, and they’re the ones whose opinions I value.
Where I’m coming from: I’m an atheist, but not a “new’ one. I have little interest in converting people to anything or from anything, but my naturalistic presuppositions do inform my assessments of the world. I’m also politically somewhat conservative. Politics is not a great animating force in my own life, so I doubt you will to be subjected to much in the way of political commentary, but when it comes to social or policy issues my own perspective obviously matters in interpreting what I’m saying. More specifically, it probably influences non-scientific topics which catch my eye, even if my own stances are left ambiguous. If I’m neutral or leave my own opinion implicit, that’s conscious. Again, I have little interest in swaying the opinions of readers, and nor do I appreciate readers “connecting the dots” when I leave aspects unsaid (e.g., “So what you’re trying to say….” is a way to really get me angry; if I was trying to say something I would say it). The readership of my blogs are generally diverse when it comes to political topics, so do not expect a uniform choir. There are many places where you can find that!