A New Home for Several Popular Atheist Bloggers

Starting today, PZ Myers is no longer part of ScienceBlogs, the company that had hosted Pharyngula over the past few years. (***Edit***: My mistake. According to PZ, he’s not leaving ScienceBlogs entirely, but basically, all the fun/interesting posts about religion will be at FreethoughtBlogs:

As an outlet for self-expression, this move was necessary. National Geographic will be taking a more active role in hosting the ScienceBlogs stable, which is a good thing, since they’ll be bringing their prestige, better support, and some welcome changes to the site as a whole. They’ll also be bringing their standards & practices, which are different from the more freewheeling policies of Seed Media…and it was clear that there was going to be a culture clash in the transition.

NatGeo and I have worked out an acceptable compromise. This site on Freethoughtblogs is mine and only mine, and none of the content is in any way associated with National Geographic. Yay freedom! I can say whatever I want here! At the same time, whatever I write that I feel is compatible with the more conservative ethos of National Geographic will also appear over there — so less liberal, more religious readers can read the sciencey stuff without getting their staid world rocked. One qualifier: anti-creationism is well within the NatGeo brief, so young-earth creationists and intelligent design cretins aren’t going to like either site. There are limits, you know.

Closed parentheses.)

National Geographic is taking over ScienceBlogs. I’m not privy to the conversations they all had, but my guess is that the new owners probably didn’t want bloggers writing for them who spend a lot of time attacking religion. It’s bad for their business. It gives theists a reason not to subscribe to the magazine. I get it. But if you feel that’s an important thing to do, what option do you have? You have to leave.

PZ is joining Ed Brayton, The Digital Cuttlefish, Chris Rodda, and Steven “DarkSyde” Andrew in a new venture called FreethoughtBlogs. That’s just the first group. Several others well-known atheist bloggers have already committed to joining the network over the next few months…

It’s tough moving your website to a new location. The servers have to handle the traffic, the readers have to come along for the ride, you have to deal with 3298423 glitches at the outset, but if it works, the site could become a major force for secular opinion. (Not to mention a great place for publishers of atheist books/products to purchase ads…) So why bother moving? It may be the only way to guarantee no censorship of your writing. It’s not a big deal when you’re blogging on your own, but when another company’s name is in the header, that can become an issue.

I wish them the best of luck, and I hope everyone makes their site a daily destination.

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_ELBGCUBPREUUO6QMO5VBYYKY7M John

    Does anyone know who owns NatGeo magazine? I recently learned that arch-conservative scumbag Rupert Murdock owns the TV channel of the same name.

    • Andrew T.

      The magazine is owned by the National Geographic Society (i.e., itself).  The TV channel (which I always found appropriately underwhelming) was always operated as a collaboration with News Corp.

  • Anonymous

    According to the announcement on the new Pharyngula site, he’s not dropping the ScienceBlogs/NatGeo site, just filtering the content that gets put there.  All of the content will be on the new site.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/ Hemant Mehta

      Fixed! Thanks.

  • Simon

    FYI PZ will still host some posts at the scienceblogs address, just not everything:

    So, if you liked the old Pharyngula exactly as it was, this is the place you want to be: update your blogrolls, change your bookmarks, redirect your RSS feeds. Other than the address, nothing has changed. This isPharyngula Unfiltered, double espresso Pharyngula.If you’ve been wishing Pharyngula was a little less rude and offensive, if you were constantly annoyed by the challenges to your cherished and foolish religious dogmas, do nothing at all and stick with the old site.  That will be Cool Menthol Pharyngula, or de-caf Pharyngula.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/ Hemant Mehta

      Just saw that. Post updated! Thanks!

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_YX7ASMUKML5PBUZ4AT5ZHBQB7A Moq

    Could it be an alternative to Patheos hosting for the “Friendly Atheist”?

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/friendlyatheist/ Hemant Mehta

      Nah. I’m happy with Patheos.

  • Albert A Armes

    Doesn’t look like the new server can take the strain….

  • samuel

    Database Error

  • http://www.holytape.etsy.com Holytape

    For what I’ve read, the demise of ScienceBlogs has been coming for a while.  They have had two mass exoduses in the last couple of years, and a host of technical problems.   Maybe National geographic can fix it.

  • http://www.bynkii.com/ John C. Welch

     I’m not privy to the conversations they all had, but my guess is that the new owners probably didn’t want bloggers writing for them who spend a lot of time attacking religion. It’s bad for their business. It gives theists a reason not to subscribe to the magazine. I get it. But if you feel that’s an important thing to do, what option do you have? You have to leave.

     

    What’s wrong with not guessing? There are a host of things that have been pissing people off about SB for a while, all nicely documented. The “National Geographic won’t let them attack religion” implication isn’t supported by anything, so why bring it up at all? 

    What’s wrong with “I’m not privy to the conversations the bloggers and NatGeo had, but over the years, here are some of the documented complaints and issues people have had with SB in general…”?

    Guessing like you did just raises it as a potential issue, and we both know how those can get blown out of proportion if they fit enough people’s preconceived notions. Why not just say you don’t know, if that’s the case?

  • Sue D. Nymme

    Yes, NewsCorp owns National Geographic.  We’re all doomed.

  • http://profiles.google.com/adamrsweet Adam Sweet

    why don’t you guys all join us on Google+, create atheist circles, and add us to them?  

  • Chris Slaby

    Also, you said: “I’m not privy to the conversations they all had, but my guess is that the new owners probably didn’t want bloggers writing for them who spend a lot of time attacking religion.” By “new owners” I think you were referring to Nat Geo, but from the information in the link in the sentence before that it says that SEED is still going to be the owner, not Nat Geo. 

  • jjramsey

    I wonder what Myers will do with the pre-NatGeo content on his site. Will he leave it intact, or will it be filtered, too?

  • Pseudonym

    Actually, this might encourage me to subscribe to Pharyngula for the first time, if that’s where the… you know… actual science is going to be.


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