Euan Adie, who works for Nature and runs their Postgenomic tool, ran an analysis of common terms in response to the big blow-up a few weeks ago at Bayblab called the state of science blogging.

His "Postgenomic" tool holds a prime spot on the front page so he unsurprisingly doesn't get too controversial and provoke his sacred cow, but he did take the time to do a little data mining, so it merits discussion.

And his title was funny, though he used Darwin and Jesus rather than Dawkins. Anyone reading this is going to think 'why do you care? this is a science site' and, you're right, another meta missive on science blogging rather than doing actual science blogging is somewhat lame. Clearly too many people write about blogging rather than write about science. But this is my blog and it's where I talk about things like this. Plus, tangentially we are part of the blogosphere culture too. We have some people here who are primarily bloggers and just put features here when they want a larger audience.

My comments are a little one sided because I did not run the ClearForest API on this site (actually, I am baffled by how he was able to do it with, being they have 8X the articles we do) but the results can be discussed even without comparison.

Darwin should be bigger than Jesus on a science site, right? In 9,000 articles here he (Jesus, obviously) gets 8 mentions, excluding a reference to the movie classic "Jesus Christ Vampire Hunter." So Darwin ahead of Jesus makes sense but some of the other results there are odd. I have intentionally not Googled Michael Egnor, who occupies the #1 spot on mentions, with Richard Dawkins behind him.

I know Dawkins has been mentioned a few times here but he has his own website so he doesn't need any help from us. President Bush, strangely, is next after Dawkins, but given their political proclivities I am assuming he does not get the kinds of positive articles Dawkins gets. What baffles me is why Darwin is only #5. They are primarily a biology site and the lower half of their top 10 is rounded out by a few science site mentions (NIH, etc.) so they clearly do write science articles.

It may be that the 65 out of 80 who write science tend to get lost among the more popular cultural posts. John Edwards shouldn't be in the top 20 mentioned terms of any hard science site (mentions here: 4) but the culture wars are their shtick so it makes some sense.

My only bafflement, relating back to the big blow-up a few weeks ago, is why they resent the label. You can't be all things to all people and Seed was proudly founded with a pop culture focus, with some science-y stuff thrown in. We will have somewhere around 2.5 million impressions this month and we would not have that if one science site could do everything. We can't do the culture stuff they do, it would be "me too" writing.

We do have a few people who get into that, just like they have Carl Zimmer and other serious writers, but they're known for their stuff and we're known for ours.

We don't spend any time wondering why we don't write more about George Bush, though as we continue to grow and begin to do actual blogging alongside our feature articles, I am sure our content will be more diverse in that regard. One thing we probably won't ever do are 900+ posts about 'carnivals.' 'Carnivals' were the second most popular term in articles there after 'evolution.' I looked at the upcoming Gene Genie carnival list and we are doing our first one ever but 3 of the 6 upcoming are hosted by Scienceblogs. Those are wonderful link fests and fine for community building but they don't generate any audience (compared to overall numbers for Scienceblogs or Livescience or us) they just generate a lot of Technorati links.

Still, they aren't science articles, they are blogging events. After 'evolution' and 'carnival' the next most popular terms in articles were 'global warming', 'intelligent design', 'new york times', 'blogosphere' and 'religion.'

There is science in 'global warming' and that would probably be in our top 5 also. But 'religion' and 'blogosphere' and 'New York Times'? Not even close. So I would encourage our brethren at scienceblogs to stop being reactionary about what independent sites think of their focus on culture. It's clearly made them successful and success is part luck but it's also part vision and determination.

If it ain't broke, don't start fixing it.