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My Absent Career 6: Blogging or blagging?

Last updated on 1 Jan 2023

Another result of my meanderings on the interwebs was my blogging career, the tail end of which you are now reading. P. Z. Myers, whose name I routinely misspelled for about ten years until I ran out of alternatives, was active in the group. He was early into science blogging, and convinced me to start up, so in 2006 or so I began to blog at Blogger. A while after that, Scienceblogs began* and I moved there, along with PZ and a slew of other people I knew.

For a few years, I was a popular blogger in the arena of the philosophy of science, but as blogging began to be taken over instead by microblogging, or Twitter as we now know it, I published less and less. Nevertheless, I drafted a good many of my papers, and sought assistance with technical topics, on this site. And now that Twitter has become an official ClusterFsck, I will increasingly use it for that purpose again.

But I was still not an Academic. I published, and I even taught (I organised a subject at Melbourne with Karen Jones before I even finished my PhD)., but until I finished my thesis and it was accepted, I was doing all this for my amusement. Then, I gave a talk at an AAP meeting in South Australia, and I met Paul Griffiths. Now Paul was a big name in philosophy of biology, and he was a student of Kim Sterelny’s, who by now was a leading figure in that field and others, and he still is.

Paul found what I thought was an incoherent paper of interest, and we stayed in touch. This surprised me, as my reception at AAP meetings generally had been a bit iffy, but I took it as affirmation. When I finished my thesis in 2004, he contacted me. He had just been awarded a prestigious Federation Fellowship at the University of Queensland, and two postdoctoral fellowships came with it; one funded by the ARC and one by the University. I should apply.

Now here is the kicker. By this time I had been studying since 1978. At no time did I recognise I had the slightest ability or a future as an academic; so when I was asked if I wanted to proceed as an academic at Latrobe and Monash, I shrugged it off. But now I was asked to apply for an academic position. I did. I got it (it was an open contest, just by the way). So I moved to Brisbane and began researching the history of species further.

My family suffered somewhat at this time. I apologise to them occasionally. It resulted in divorce, alas, but it was amicable, and my daughter’s reaction was “What took you so long?!” Yes, she even pronounced the interrobang. She was 16 by then, and my son 14. He didn’t react too well at first, but he was eventually quite fine with it.

* Scienceblogs is now a questionable reposting site, which has no indication of the blogs that were published there when Seed Magazine owned it. However, the Wayback Machine has cached copies. Contribute to which has the Wayback Machine and so much more.