One of the richest sub-worlds of blogging is the Atheist NetRoots. As I described last week, popular atheist bloggers such as PZ Myers have developed a loyal and engaged following of readers. Like political blogs more generally, these online discussions offer valuable insight but also feature a dark underbelly of ideology. And for better or for worse, the Atheist NetRoots now shapes how issues at the intersection of religion and society are debated.
Which prompts the question, given their popularity and presumed influence, are atheists better at blogging than religious folk? It's a query that was posed to me in a video interview with Big Think. My answer was spotlighted yesterday by the Atlantic's Andrew Sullivan. Below is the text of my reply taken from the transcript for the video interview.
What do readers think? Is there something unique about the atheist community that makes the world of blogging a natural outlet?
In part the new atheist movement is almost a social movement within the larger scientific community. Many of the people that are attracted to new atheist movement identify with science or are scientists themselves and certainly scientists have been online for a long time. In fact, many of the most prominent bloggers, new atheist bloggers, they came about… they came up and they kind of honed their skills in internet discussion groups, mostly around the debates about evolution. So they have that natural consistency and that natural… the pre-existing experience with using online organizing and reaching people online that maybe some of the religious organizations do not. The advantage that the religious organizations have though is they have real world communities. They have networks of interaction through mega-churches, through traditional churches and one of the things that I’ll be blogging and writing about and taking a look at, at the Age of Engagement is how are traditional religious organizations and movements now using the online world to foster the communities, to build their communities or is the online world actually taking away some of their followers and distracting people who otherwise might commit to that particular religious faith or even attend church on a weekly basis.