Readers picked Pharyngula as their Favorite Atheist Blog of 2011. This is the second year in a row... sort of. Technically it is the new Pharyngula that has won this year while the old Pharyngula won last year — and the old Pharyngula still exists, too.
In case you've been living under a rock, PZ Myers is a biologist and associate professor who teaches at the University of Minnesota, Morris. He writes about biology and science, naturally enough, but also atheism, religion, evolution, creationism, church/state separation, and related matters.
He used to do all of that on the Pharyngula blog hosted at Science Blogs, but after it was purchased by National Geographic he and a few other bloggers decided that their non-science blogging wouldn't be a good fit there anymore (and would, sooner or later, put the new owners in a position of being pressured to censor non-science commentary that offends someone).
The old Pharyngula still exists, full of science and cephalopods, but that's not the blog that has won this year's award for favorite atheist blog of 2011. The winner is the new Pharyngula (no matter how many times I type that name, I still type it wrong and have to correct it!) hosted on the new group site, Freethought Blogs.
There he can continue to speak his mind on whatever subject he feels like — and that's certainly one reason for his popularity — including with people who disagree with him. Like it or not, P.Z. Myers has become one of the most prominent public (or at least online) faces of atheism today. That's not because of votes in an online poll but because he is willing to be assertive and even aggressive in arguing for his ideas. Some people object to this, but when was the last time positive changes were achieved without that element?
I'm sure that Pharyngula (New Pharyngula? Pharyngula II? Freethought Pharyngula?) winning Favorite Atheist Blog doesn't come as a surprise, but all the finalists for Best Atheist Blog are very good and all should be read regularly. Producing a consistently strong blog over the long term is difficult and requires an investment of a lot of time and work from the writer (I know, believe me), so the people behind the finalists all deserve our thanks as well.