Author Topic: Is Neil Degrasse Tyson a bit of a cunt?  (Read 4657 times)

touchingcloth

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Re: Is Neil Degrasse Tyson a bit of a cunt?
« Reply #60 on: September 10, 2019, 12:57:52 AM »
On the first - Dawkins gives an enormous amount of weight to theories that treat religious belief in humans as result of (broadly) faulty low-level perceptual mechanisms, alongside his own view of religious beliefs as "viruses" (i.e. adaptive for their own propagation to detriment of the carrier).

Gotcha. I always found the meme stuff in TSG a bit woolly and wasn't entirely sure the extent to which Dawkins saw them as being analogous with genes. That said, I can well believe that the Dawkins of now thinks of religion as a literal virus given that he's fallen into the trap of playing to the I FUCKING LOVE SCIENCE people.

Zetetic

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Re: Is Neil Degrasse Tyson a bit of a cunt?
« Reply #61 on: September 10, 2019, 01:02:07 AM »
Viruses of the Mind dates from '91.

I don't think that these things are irrelevant, to be clear. I think he gives them undue importance, because they confirm his personal views about religion, and minimises adaptive accounts for the same reason.

chveik

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Re: Is Neil Degrasse Tyson a bit of a cunt?
« Reply #62 on: September 10, 2019, 01:12:35 AM »
when I was studying philosophy of biology it seemed pretty clear to me that Dawkins had misunderstood Darwin, the way he considered genes as some sort of first principle and all that (the whole reductionnist approach I spose).

my brain is a bit rotten at the moment so I doubt I could really expand beyond that. maybe a brighter cab member can.

touchingcloth

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Re: Is Neil Degrasse Tyson a bit of a cunt?
« Reply #63 on: September 10, 2019, 01:34:55 AM »
when I was studying philosophy of biology it seemed pretty clear to me that Dawkins had misunderstood Darwin, the way he considered genes as some sort of first principle and all that (the whole reductionnist approach I spose).

my brain is a bit rotten at the moment so I doubt I could really expand beyond that. maybe a brighter cab member can.

I don’t think he’d misunderstood Darwin, and genes are a first principle in evolutionary biology in a way that Darwin wasn’t able to understand cos he didn’t have a big enough microscope.

FerriswheelBueller

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Re: Is Neil Degrasse Tyson a bit of a cunt?
« Reply #64 on: September 10, 2019, 02:10:46 AM »
when I was studying philosophy of biology it seemed pretty clear to me that Dawkins had misunderstood Darwin, the way he considered genes as some sort of first principle and all that (the whole reductionnist approach I spose).

my brain is a bit rotten at the moment so I doubt I could really expand beyond that. maybe a brighter cab member can.

I have an undergraduate philosophy degree - what seems to be the problem here? Somebody need some under-graduate shit-tier thinking done?

touchingcloth

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Re: Is Neil Degrasse Tyson a bit of a cunt?
« Reply #65 on: September 10, 2019, 02:14:24 AM »
Can you offer undergrad AIDS-tier thinking? GO

FerriswheelBueller

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Re: Is Neil Degrasse Tyson a bit of a cunt?
« Reply #66 on: September 10, 2019, 02:38:42 AM »
Can you offer undergrad AIDS-tier thinking? GO

Only kind I have on offer, old son.

QDRPHNC

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Re: Is Neil Degrasse Tyson a bit of a cunt?
« Reply #67 on: September 10, 2019, 06:03:33 AM »
The Kids from Neil DeGrasse Street.

(Tag)

ZoyzaSorris

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Re: Is Neil Degrasse Tyson a bit of a cunt?
« Reply #68 on: September 10, 2019, 08:26:52 AM »
Cosmos spends some time telling the story of Giordano Bruno, who is portrayed as a martyr to scientific ideas. Nothing could be further from the truth. Bruno was a mystic who was executed for his heretical beliefs, beliefs which had nothing to do with science even by the standards of the time. While it's certainly not a good thing to execute people for having different religious beliefs, that just shows that the Church was intolerant, not anti-science, which it clearly wasn't. Bruno believed the sun was the centre of the universe because of his hermetic beliefs, not because of any observations or calculations he or anyone else had done.

See here for more.



I don't know much about Bruno but the rest of that article came across as annoying bullshit.

Edit: On further research the writer HanK Campbell seems to be a right-wing (and probably religious) nutcase with some very questionable beliefs (and a book called 'Science Left Behind: Feel-Good Fallacies and the Rise of the Anti-Scientific Left'). I'm going to have to request some slightly less kooky sources I'm afraid.


ZoyzaSorris

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Re: Is Neil Degrasse Tyson a bit of a cunt?
« Reply #70 on: September 10, 2019, 12:24:20 PM »
Seems like a bit of a dickhead with an axe to grind to me. Anyone who uses 'New Atheist' unironically is instantly marked down as a div for starters.

Re: Is Neil Degrasse Tyson a bit of a cunt?
« Reply #71 on: September 10, 2019, 01:29:09 PM »
Can you please find anything incorrect with these accounts rather than giving us your opinion on the writers?

Re: Is Neil Degrasse Tyson a bit of a cunt?
« Reply #72 on: September 10, 2019, 01:41:51 PM »
Seems like a bit of a dickhead with an axe to grind to me.

Sure he is, but he's also right.

Thony Christie, another good lad, concurs:

https://thonyc.wordpress.com/2010/01/25/bruno-was-not-scientific/

https://thonyc.wordpress.com/2014/03/14/a-strange-defence/
« Last Edit: September 10, 2019, 01:52:00 PM by Productionforuse »

Re: Is Neil Degrasse Tyson a bit of a cunt?
« Reply #73 on: September 10, 2019, 01:57:25 PM »
Yeah, both O’Neill and Christie are disagreeable curmudgeons, but they know this stuff inside out and they’re not wrong.

touchingcloth

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Re: Is Neil Degrasse Tyson a bit of a cunt?
« Reply #74 on: September 10, 2019, 02:19:25 PM »
I don't think it's contentious to say that Bruno was both a Copernican and burnt at the stake by the church but that there was no direct connection between those two things.

They'd have been better off telling the story of conflict between the church and science by picking an example of someone where there was a closer link between their heliocentric beliefs and their censure by the church. A better example would be having Copernicus' theory being officially denounced by the Catholic church, but then you have to address the issue that the denunciation didn't happen until Galileo started to publicise them, but that was close to a century later.

It's also less of a compelling narrative because Galileo's punishment was house arrest rather than being burnt at the stake. I guess you could say that the Cosmos writers responded more to spectacle than data.

Re: Is Neil Degrasse Tyson a bit of a cunt?
« Reply #75 on: September 10, 2019, 03:13:54 PM »
It’s likely he was killed because he used a surname for a christian name and a christian name for a surname, which is highly disrespectful to the natural christian ordering.  Or maybe he was just thinking so hard he burst in to flames, probably while he was waiting for an apothecary to try all the drugs.

a duncandisorderly

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Re: Is Neil Degrasse Tyson a bit of a cunt?
« Reply #76 on: September 10, 2019, 03:47:04 PM »
Dawkins gives an enormous amount of weight to theories that treat religious belief in humans as result of (broadly) faulty low-level perceptual mechanisms, alongside his own view of religious beliefs as "viruses" (i.e. adaptive for their own propagation to detriment of the carrier).

He gives little or poor treatment of approaches that try to make sense of religious belief as adaptive, either for individuals or societies (e.g. as a mechanism for effectively signalling common adherence to a moral code).

That then probably ties into a failure to deal properly with religion in history, or indeed why religion has been so weakened in the last few centuries. (The Dawkinses and Gervaises and so on would like to put the death of religion down to the victory of Science - the sheer potency of the On the Origin of Species driving out the fug from the minds of the common sort, or something like that.)

this is nicely put. I despise the way dawkins puts religion down without understanding (it seems) that there's a need for it, & not only outside of the hardcore scientific community, for comfort if not explanation when it comes to the much bigger questions that science cannot answer, nor will ever answer on its own.

he & other great scientific minds have offered a great deal by way of explaining what we're all made of & what the universe is made of, & how it's all altered since it got here, but there's a great existential abyss of not-knowing when it comes to 'why?' all this happened, & he fails to acknowledge that various belief systems offer something in this area, even if it's just a placeholder. not all of what organised belief systems (religions) bring to the table is self-righteous or punishing of non-adherents.

Blumf

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Re: Is Neil Degrasse Tyson a bit of a cunt?
« Reply #77 on: September 10, 2019, 06:29:19 PM »
You guys will love this offer:

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Cardenio I

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Re: Is Neil Degrasse Tyson a bit of a cunt?
« Reply #78 on: September 10, 2019, 06:36:27 PM »
Why would I pay eight and a half grand to fuck Richard Dawkins?

imitationleather

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Re: Is Neil Degrasse Tyson a bit of a cunt?
« Reply #79 on: September 10, 2019, 06:39:08 PM »
If you have that sort of money to wax on a short cruise you'd surely hope to have friends more interesting than Richard Dawkins that you can talk to for free?

Zetetic

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Re: Is Neil Degrasse Tyson a bit of a cunt?
« Reply #80 on: September 10, 2019, 06:52:17 PM »
there's a need for [religion], & not only outside of the hardcore scientific community, for comfort if not explanation when it comes to the much bigger questions that science cannot answer … there's a great existential abyss of not-knowing when it comes to 'why?' all this happened
While I don't disagree with the broad logic here - that science ultimately can't (and doesn't really try) to answer some sorts of questions - I'm not sure I find it very compelling as a driver for actual human belief in religions.

After all, these questions haven't gone a way in the last few hundred years, and indeed many more humans in the West arguably have a lot more time and energy to put into existential crises than in 1600. But we've mostly seen the collapse of organised religion and professed religious belief over that time.

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he fails to acknowledge that various belief systems offer something in this area
Hmm. I don't know - I think Dawkins does recognise something like this, but he sees it as fundamentally a vulnerability in the human mind.

(I don't think I'd quite cast it into those terms but I do think that, for example, "numinous" experiences are interesting in part because I think that the feeling at work is … false? nonsensical? incorrect?)

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not all of what organised belief systems (religions) bring to the table is self-righteous or punishing of non-adherents.
Although that's probably some of the most useful stuff.

Re: Is Neil Degrasse Tyson a bit of a cunt?
« Reply #81 on: September 10, 2019, 06:58:57 PM »
But we've mostly seen the collapse of organised religion and professed religious belief over that time.

Have we? Or is the word "professed" doing a lot of work for you here? In some places we might have seen a decline, but not in America. And there's that famous old chestnut about how when you ask people in East Asia if they're religious, most say no, and so it looks like religious belief is very low in that region. But then if you ask the same people if they visit shrines or temples and pray for this and that, or if they sweep the tombs of their ancestors and that sort of thing, then they say yes. The problem seems to be that while people don't identify with the term religion, they do have beliefs (or at least behaviours) that many would class as religious. Something similar happens with the rise of people who say they are 'spiritual but not religious', which hardly suggests a decline in religious belief, except in a semantic way.

Re: Is Neil Degrasse Tyson a bit of a cunt?
« Reply #82 on: September 10, 2019, 07:05:37 PM »
John Milbank - who to be fair before I praise him is a Blue Labour, traditionalist, and anti-sex weirdo in a lot of his work and had probably one of the worst academic twitter accounts ever - has done the best critique of the 'scientism'/atheism-as-ideology. His dialectical book with Zizek (an atheist) called The Monstrosity of Christ is a very interesting collection of essays. They tear strips off each other.

This interview, I think, contains some interesting lines.
https://theotherjournal.com/2008/06/04/three-questions-on-modern-atheism-an-interview-with-john-milbank/

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Atheism is bourgeois oppression. Atheism is the opium of the people—it claims to discover an ontology which precludes all hope. This is what someone like Žižek now openly says. We need now to celebrate instead the faithful legacy of peasants, learned, honorable and paternalist aristocrats, Christian warrior kings like Alfred the Great, yeomen farmers and scholars.

Not saying I agree with everything he says, and this is off the topic of 'is Neil Degrasse Tyson a bit of a cunt?' (no; he's just asked to account for phenomena he hasn't a real understanding of because he has shown deep wisdom in another field, because we lack for intellectual superstars and English language cultures are suspicious of abstract thinkers and see philosophers as sophists), but the view of religion as some kind of essential flaw in human thinking irks me beyond pills.

EDIT: in that interview he claims that it is secular identities that are in the process of collapsing and that people, and from what source he takes this I do not know, are returning to Christ.

Zetetic

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Re: Is Neil Degrasse Tyson a bit of a cunt?
« Reply #83 on: September 10, 2019, 07:08:23 PM »
Have we? Or is the word "professed" doing a lot of work for you here? … The problem seems to be that while people don't identify with the term religion, they do have beliefs (or at least behaviours) that many would class as religious.
Fair point about "professed". Professed or expressed.

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Something similar happens with the rise of people who say they are 'spiritual but not religious', which hardly suggests a decline in religious belief, except in a semantic way.
I'm not really convinced by this. It also suggests a decline in the way that actually involves belief translating into any action. But again I take the point about rituals amongst people with professed low religious belief.

If nothing else, clearly there's been quite a substantial change in religious behaviours, away from actual organised religions. (Hmm. That is a much weaker claim though, I admit.)

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In some places we might have seen a decline, but not in America.
Church attendance has taken a fairly decent hit since the '80s, hasn't it?

But the point that we've seen a great deal of variation, even within "the West" (which is what I had in mind), is an important one. And one that still probably points away from fundamental existential concerns as the major driver for religious belief in humans.

Re: Is Neil Degrasse Tyson a bit of a cunt?
« Reply #84 on: September 10, 2019, 07:30:40 PM »
Church attendance decreasing is a fair point, but part of the reason for that might be because people watch sermons on TV or online.

When it comes to the question of why religion exists (which is a massive one, obviously) part of it has to be because the way we've evolved has given us certain cognitive processes that make us inclined to think in religious ways. That doesn't mean religion is innate, of course, and culture has a huge role to play, but it may mean that we'll never be free of certain types of thinking (projecting consciousness where there isn't any, for instance) because of the way our minds have evolved to work. We might see the decline of certain religions, but if defined broadly enough, religion will probably never go away.

Of course, defining religion is another massive problem that isn't likely to be solved any time soon.

Zetetic

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Re: Is Neil Degrasse Tyson a bit of a cunt?
« Reply #85 on: September 10, 2019, 07:44:01 PM »
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we'll never be free of certain types of thinking (projecting consciousness where there isn't any, for instance)
Right, back to HADD. Although, of course that's not really a religious way of thinking in itself.

One of the obvious problems with HADD having much relevance to religious belief is that it's fundamentally concerned with the inference of agency to physical entities and overwhelmingly when people mistakenly attribute consciousness, they're not inventing a god in the process.

Zetetic

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Re: Is Neil Degrasse Tyson a bit of a cunt?
« Reply #86 on: September 10, 2019, 07:56:57 PM »
We might see the decline of certain religions, but if defined broadly enough, religion will probably never go away.

I can imagine that humans will always have numinous experiences and hold beliefs about transcendental entities.

But I think that is different from them being moderately stable beliefs, widely shared beliefs, and with substantial amounts of time and resources spent on activities relating to these beliefs.

And the nature of religion at least, with respect to those things, seems to have changed enormously in the last few hundred years in a few parts of the world.

touchingcloth

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Re: Is Neil Degrasse Tyson a bit of a cunt?
« Reply #87 on: September 10, 2019, 07:59:35 PM »
Slightly off topic, but do religious people have a good answer for why it took god more than 13 billion years between creating the universe and creating the first human?

Because I think it was probably because he was taking them all himself first.

Re: Is Neil Degrasse Tyson a bit of a cunt?
« Reply #88 on: September 10, 2019, 08:09:36 PM »
Why would I pay eight and a half grand to fuck Richard Dawkins?

It’s pretty complicated but it’s explained quite well here:

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sexual_selection

Re: Is Neil Degrasse Tyson a bit of a cunt?
« Reply #89 on: September 10, 2019, 08:12:56 PM »
Right, back to HADD. Although, of course that's not really a religious way of thinking in itself.

One of the obvious problems with HADD having much relevance to religious belief is that it's fundamentally concerned with the inference of agency to physical entities and overwhelmingly when people mistakenly attribute consciousness, they're not inventing a god in the process.


But the idea of a god-like figure doesn't need to be attributed to HADD alone. There's promiscuous teleology (which has been observed in infants), terror management, and so on. And it's not a huge leap from the memory of someone remaining with you after they've died to the idea that an incorporeal version of them might still be out there somewhere - especially as that's in a way what memory is. And from there the idea that these spirits are in some other realm and might have some mysterious powers isn't too great a leap either. Historically gods and ancestor worship do seem to be strongly linked, and the worship of ancestors does seem to fundamentally derive from an attempt to hold on to the memory of people who have died.

I can imagine that humans will always have numinous experiences and hold beliefs about transcendental entities.

But I think that is different from them being moderately stable beliefs, widely shared beliefs, and with substantial amounts of time and resources spent on activities relating to these beliefs.

And the nature of religion at least, with respect to those things, seems to have changed enormously in the last few hundred years in a few parts of the world.

It's at this point that we have to decide whether horoscopes, psychics, telepathy, alternative medicine and the like count as religious.

I do take your point that things have changed. But I don't accept the Weberian idea that religion will naturally fall away and die out. Also I can't help but feel you're projecting a stability onto the past that it didn't have. It wasn't like for thousands of years in Europe everyone was behaving like good middle class Victorian Protestants attending church every Sunday.