The blogging on this seems to have started with the hgg blog:
Got myself an early yule present today; "The Oxford book of modern science writing" edited by teh Dawkins d00d. A first glance of the table of contents sends happy shivers down my spine - a great collection of 83 pieces of science writing. ... Of 83 texts Professor D has selected 3 written by women. That's about 3.6 %. How hard could it be to find a handful more? Like 10 %? It would still be a wiener fest.
Sheril Kirshenbaum picked it up at The Intersection blog:
... we have work to do.
Don't we always?
Dawkins, who gets great credit from YHN for engaging the blogosphere, replied.
2008? Who said anything about 2008? This anthology goes back a hundred years, and not a single contribution is as recent as 2008. It is not an anthology of "science writing", such as would indeed include Olivia Judson and the other admirable science writers whom you list. It is a collection of writing by good scientists, many of them dead and very distinguished.
As you can imagine the Twitter and blogo spheres started humming! w00t!
Tara of Aetiology blog:
I call shenanigans. First, Dawkins also claims that he is "...not one of those who thinks men are genetically better equipped than women to become distinguished scientists." Therefore, he must know that it's other factors that have led to larger numbers of men than women in the top ranks of the scientific enterprise--one of these factors being a nasty feedback loop. Women lack role models in the upper echelons of science, leading more of us to think that perhaps this isn't the place for us, which is reinforced by examples such as this anthology. While Dawkins may not support such an attitude, his incredibly male-dominated collection, and his "too bad, so sad, that's just the way it is" response to this criticism reinforces this conclusion.
Dunford of Questionable Authority blog:
I am not disappointed because Dawkins failed to bend over backward to make sure that the scientists included in his anthology matched some sort of set of diversity statistics. I am disappointed because Richard Dawkins, a man who is as gifted and talented a communicator of science as anyone alive today, clearly failed to consider the message that his choice of authors might send to quite a few of his readers, and the good that might come from putting a bit of thought into finding even one or two more talented scientists to include in the anthology who were not white men.
UPDATED to include drdrA at BlueLabCoats blog:
Let's focus on that lost opportunity, however big or small, to actively and positively influence the future of the other 50% of the population to participate in academic science and participate at a high level. That, in my humble opinion, is what everyone is so upset about. You see, I'm a young(ish) female scientist- and there is a high probability that your book will cross the threshold into my house, like so many of your other fine books. I'm going to read your book, and I'm going to see that great science writers don't include people like me, hardly at all. Then I'm going to re-read your - hey, sorry,-it's-not-my-fault-history-is-what-it-is comment up there- and I'm going to have the reaction I'm having right now.... which is- yes, duh- I know you can't change history- but you CAN influence the future SO WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?
Just a sample but I was Twitt-lerted to another comment of Dawkins' over on a blog which was defending his position. Miranda objected to the notion of:
I'm opposed to the idea of inclusion for inclusion's sake.
Dawkins approved and the shenanigans began. Go Play.
Additional reading from YHN
On diversity in white institutions
The Gender Smog We Breathe: The NIH Edition
HHMI Eary Career Awards
Major, Jack, Willie and Warren
On racial discomfort and blogger diversity