Tuesday, September 14, 2010

In which I feel ambivalent about blogging...

Another one of my posts has gotten picked up on reddit. It's nothing like the last time it happened, though. I've gotten a couple of hundred extra visits instead of 10,000-plus. Very noticeable on a little blog like this one, but no longer WOW! territory. Still, many thanks to whoever posted it.

I can see several possible reasons for the post not taking off: it's about science and philosophy, not Star Wars, and thus of less general interest, and the reddit Philosophy board (group? page? I don't actually know what they call them) is much smaller than the Atheism one. But mostly I think it's because my "Star Wars destroyed my faith" post was much better written.

The Star Wars post was much more immediate and personal, had a narrative structure, and finished with a pretty good punch line. I was very happy with it, and pleased that it got some readership. And when I saw criticism of it on reddit, I found myself very eager to rush over and defend it (although I didn't have time to do so).

The "philosophy sucks" post? I'm not so happy with it. I suffer no illusions that I can successfully dismantle philosophy in 700 words or less, so it was intentionally written to be shallow and slapdash. Although it does express my real opinion, it was never meant to be taken as some sort of serious critique of philosophy. It was just something I tossed off in an evening.

The only serious thing about it was this question: Are there any facts about the world that we know because of philosophy? That's actually a question I'd like to hear some answers for.

I think what happened is that I actually kind of forgot that I was putting the post on the internet. What I mean is, I basically never expected anyone to read it except my regular readers -- my friends, as I think of you -- so I wasn't expecting just anyone to read it nor was I expecting any unfriendly criticism. Sharp criticism maybe, since I made some bold claims without a lot of support, but criticism from people who at least sort of know me and sort of like me.

It's a weird thing for a blogger to say, but I almost wish it hadn't been picked up by reddit. (But only almost; any reader is a good reader.) I suppose it's just that out of more than 1,000 blog posts, there are dozens that I'm very proud of, and I wish that those posts would get more readers instead of one that I'm not especially happy with.

Anyway, in contrast to the case with the Star Wars post, I feel no desire to head over to reddit and defend it from the critics there, most of whom seem not to have understood what I was trying to say. Instead of "No, you don't understand, this is what I meant," my attitude is "You don't get it. Meh. Whatever."

But then, I'm not terribly interested in philosophy in the first place. I actually find the bat'leth question more interesting: edged weapon or blunt-force weapon -- what do you think?

(Also interesting to me is that I think I'm developing my first-ever scientist crush. Yowsa!)

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  1. The bat'leth is an edged weapon. It has an unsharpened false edge which may be used to strike opponents but it's greatest potential for harm rests in the edge and points.

    Is a katana a bludgeoning weapon because a portion of the false (rear) edge is unsharpened?


What do you think?