Review 2586

I was greeted to an eye pleasing aspect upon entering ‘Pharyngula’. Considering the absolute encyclopedic list of information that is crammed onto this page, it was a minor miracle! The backdrop for the page, I at first took to be bubble wrap. But upon investigation, found out I was looking at Zebra fish eggs. Before I went another step, I had to find out what the title of this blog meant. The author had politely provided a link to do just that. Pharyngula, I read, is: “when vertebrate embryos of all species are most similar to one another.” I had just stepped into the world of science…. or so I thought.

The author is a professor of Biology at the University of Minnesota.

As I began to read the most current entry, a curious mix of science and politics emerged. Drawing from a myriad of sources, he weaves an astonishing web of comments on all things scientific and political. The writing was very clear and concise, with a liberal spattering of quotes from all over. He seems to be VERY well read.

There are notes to his students about recent tests and complex biology essays on subjects of interest to the author and his readers. Evolution is a common topic. He writes some very thorough rebuttals to Intelligent Design apologists. If you are interested in the evolutionist’s point of view, this is your blog of dreams.

The author has archives that go back to June 2003. In the archives I found book reviews, excerpts from student papers complete with illustrations, photos of mating frogs and an absolute plethora of scientific information, side by each with some very frank political opinions. If you are of a scientific bent, this website should be right up your alley. And is a rich, if almost overwhelming source of jumping off points to other science related sites.

He is not shy in voicing his opinion, nor does he apologize for his politics. Here is how he describes himself in one entry: “I am a scientist and a biologist. I am pro-evolution. I’m an atheist. I’m a liberal. I’m left wing. I’m, ummm, blunt.”

Now to my rating. If his stated intent was as he describes in an “About Me” section I found, “I created these pages to describe some of my past and current research and to support my teaching.” . . then he has succeeded. For I have never seen quite such an astonishing collection of scientific information in one place.

However. (And I must emphasize the ‘however’ here), if I have one criticism of this site, it would be that both his science and his politics would be better served, were they located on separate sites. I found the transitions between the two subjects quite jarring. Though his scientific analysis was comprehensive in the extreme, and he elucidated his politics clearly, they seemed to fight each other on the page, thus substantially diminishing both in my opinion.

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