Massimo Pigliucci has been writing at his site Rationally Speaking since August of 2005, which is three years and four months longer than this site. And, after all those years, he’s decided to curtail his writing there, as he explains in his farewell post, “So long, and thanks for all the fish” (the title, of course, comes from a Douglas Adams book). The occasion, as he notes below, is that he’s reached the half-century mark and wants something new to do—a feeling I completely understand. But he’s also not quitting the internet entirely—just moving to a new kind of website:
However, I feel like I need a new project or two to re-energize my batteries, now that I have just celebrated half a century on this planet! Hence my decision to close Rationally Speaking (though the archives will remain available as long as Blogspot will host them) and open Scientia Salon (which you can, of course, follow on Twitter, Facebook orGoogle+).
“Scientia” is the Latin word for knowledge, broadly construed – i.e., in an ampler fashion than that implied by the English term science. Scientia includes the natural sciences, the social sciences, philosophy, logic and mathematics. And Salons, of course, were the social engine of the Age of Reason in France and throughout much of Europe.
The idea of Scientia Salon is to provide a forum for in-depth discussions on themes of general interest drawing from philosophy and the sciences. Contributors will be academics and non academics who don’t shy away from the label of “public intellectual,” and who feel that engaging in public discourse is vital to what they do and to society at large.
He’s also striving for a kindler, gentler, site, one with less trolling and name-calling.
Massimo and I have had our differences in the past: he’s been upset that I construe science too broadly, and that I seem philosophically naive, while I’ve been angered at what I considered too much defense of his own academic turf, and at what I saw as beating the dead horse of scientism. Regardless, though, he was always a worthy opponent: thoughtful, not quick to anger, and engaged with his commenters. I regret that our discussions have often had a bit too much rancor, but I do wish him well in his new venture. I’ll be checking into Scientia Salon from time to time, and hope readers will alert me when there’s something especially interesting happening there.