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Desc:Neil deGrasse Tyson gives a lecture on creationism is, closes with how it can be dangerous
Category:Accidents & Explosions
Tags:ID, intelligent design, Neil deGrasse Tyson
Submitted:Frank Rizzo
Date:02/29/08
Views:3227
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Comment count is 56
MurgatroidMendelbaum
Ooh... so HE'S why creationists think we're unreasonable. Fascinating.
Udderdude
As unreasonable as a giant billboard claiming God laughs at science, which was written and put up there by men?

MurgatroidMendelbaum
You appear to have formed a false dichotomy, seeming to believe that if I am not in favor of Dr. Tyson's arguments, I must therefore support the people whom he opposes. This is an inaccurate observation of my statement.
For sake of clarification, let me simply state that his reasoning behind why the Jews have surpassed the Muslims in Nobel Prize nominations, then demanding to know why 15% of the National Academy doesn't "reject God", thereby making public interest a secondary concern.

kingarthur
Sentence fragments don't help when trying to clarify things.

kingarthur
Also you seem to have joined just for the sake of igniting this argument. Bravo.

MurgatroidMendelbaum
You got me there. Guess I just can't find the time to form a complete thought between my Mexican border-patrol duties and Anti-abortion rally backyard barbecues. So let's have you clarify for me instead.
What about this speech was so insightful, so awe-inspiring that you just had to leap to its defense? His implication that because we have disease, violence, and a faster metabolism than crocodiles means no God in his right mind could have put us together?

kingarthur
The examples you point out make his case for evolution. All organisms given in your example are competing and the logical phallacy he's pointing out is twofold. One, the God in question is a god of the gaps who will be receding further and further into uncharted territory. In short, if you don't know what's under your rug, it must be God. Two, wouldn't an omnipotent being, having created us all for harmony and his pleasure be one sick fucking demiurge as the Gnostics believed given the state of affairs in nature naturally. Therefore, the logical conclusion is there is no god, rather than a demiurge. Big g or little. It's all in your head. Give yourself some time, you'll get over it.

MurgatroidMendelbaum
So basically, anyone who isn't an Atheist is childlike and naive, and the best possible way to convince them of their wrongness is through pointing out how the existence of imperfection disproves the existence of God. Hm...
Now, don't get me wrong, I'm a firm believer in evolution and natural selection. What I don't believe in is using biology or theology as a means for disproving the other. Another thing I don't believe in is people standing at a pulpit and demanding that everyone in the room join THEIR religion (or lack thereof). This gentleman just so happens to do both within a time frame of ten minutes.

kingarthur
Yes, exactly. Anyone who isn't an athiest is, on various levels, childlike and naieve. And the way you get rid of superstitions is not through dogmatically proclaiming that everyone should be an athiest or else (as you keep insisting, wrongly, to be what's going on here), but through logic and education.

ChocFullOfFunk
Jesus Christ, did you come here fresh from graduating from talk-like-a-dick school? This here's the internet, hear?

MurgatroidMendelbaum
"To deny or erase the rich, colorful history of scientists and other thinkers who have invoked divinity in their work would be intellectually dishonest. Surely there's an appropriate place for intelligent design to live in the academic landscape. How about the history of religion? How about philosophy or psychology? The one place it doesn't belong is the science classroom." - Neil deGrasse Tyson, the Perimeter of Ignorance

I looked this article up to see more about his beliefs. Apparently, I don't disagree with him as badly as I thought. Still, though. I don't like his strong-armed approach to turning people toward his train of thought. It sets a bad example for all the knowledge-seeking young folk who look up to him.

Corman's Inferno
Neil deGrasse Tyson, please replace Christopher Hitchens as the face of anti-Intelligent Design.
SolRo
Man, I love this guy, his television appearances are always great.

Wish he could get away saying this on TV though.
Samisyosam
Aborted feces is right.
dancingshadow
Great. But I think talking about rejecting god at the end is a little harsh and confrontational. A change in ones definition of god would suffice.
MurgatroidMendelbaum
The whole thing is harsh and confrontational.
This guy is doubtlessly the most condescending, least charming speaker I've ever heard in favor of the random-events-ultimately-resulting-in-an-infinitely-unlikely-world theory. He's like the Crazy Christian Creationist version of anti-creationists. It simply blows my mind.

SolRo
Hey douche; The universe is a big place, and just because you have a hard time contemplating its size and complexity, doesn't mean this planet is impossible without the help of some bearded white guy in the clouds.

And he's usualy a calm speaker, I just think that he (along with a lot of other scientists) is getting tired of fucking yokels saying "god did it" every time their little brains have a hard time with a concept.


MurgatroidMendelbaum
I appreciate that you're able to spell "douche" correctly, but dude, seriously. God did it.

MurgatroidMendelbaum
Oh, and I don't object to the idea of natural selection, evolution, etc.
What I object to is how he tries to use things like natural distators and birth defect statistics to support his idea that "none of this is a sign that there's a benevolent anything out there."
Quite frankly, Richard Dawkins comes off as more eloquent and less prejudiced than this guy.

kingarthur
Looooves me some Tyson, especially when he's on The Daily Show.

I also appreciate your inability to spell "disasters" correctly, thereby ironically justifying our hatred of the willfully stupid, you dumb pie-in-the-sky fuck.

MurgatroidMendelbaum
Why is any criticism I provide this man being met with such animosity? Is every Atheist with a PHD and a PowerPoint slide show automatically qualified as A Voice of The People, warranting no critical observation of their views?
Also, by your intended meaning, the one letter you found wrong in my comment would actually have been the opposite of ironic. Just putting that out there.

kingarthur
Count with me now: d-i-s-t-a-t-o-r-s

Now try: d-i-s-a-s-t-e-r-s

Now can you say God of the gaps?

SolRo
1) do you have a PHD?

2) your "criticism" is nothing but idiocy, and you expect your idiocy to be taken seriously.

3) just because a person much, much, MUCH smarter than you speaks with a raised voice and some passion, doesn't mean they are wrong.

coprolalia
Have you seen or heard the creationists he's talking about?
Did you have to attend Ken Ham's presentations in grade school?
Shut the fuck up about "harsh and confrontational." These people are the enemies of civilization and they will NOT be placated by a tolerant, patrician attitude. Creationism needs to be ridiculed until nobody second-guesses throwing it out of the classrooms.

Seriously, it doesn't serve anyone to be polite about this. At best it just comes off as condescending.

EvilHomer
Look, Murgatroid. Just say "he's black and he's uppity" and get it over with.

His argument is a pretty good one. The closer we look at nature, physics, biology, the more it becomes apparent that the "wonderful design" evident in God's Work is really a poorly conceived, improperly implemented crapshoot, where old organs are often jury-rigged into new functions and pretty obvious tweaks and improvements are left out entirely... assuming things are being built from scratch or according to a clever plan, instead of slowly emerging over millions of years based on simple laws of probability and survival. Amazingly useful organs are riddled with design flaws that any engineering student, given the powers of a god, could have easily sidestepped... like our breathing tubes and eating tubes being located in the same oriface, or the fact that the eye (which is a favorite posterboy for creatonists) has a gaping hole in the retina where the optic nerves pass through. Squid's eyes don't have this problem; does that mean God got lazy when He made our eyes? Or maybe God's a squid?

In and of itself, these observations are not conclusive. But they do provide food for thought, and they neatly counter one of the ID crowds favorite avenue's of attack, namely that the world looks and acts exactly as it would if it were created by a wise and benevolent designer.

I agree that Richard Dawkins comes off as more eloquent, because Richard Dawkins is more eloquent, or at least less prone to hemming and hawing and losing his place every twenty seconds. But he's not as big a prick as Dawkins (from what I've seen of him), and come on! You can't deny he exudes a certain charisma! It might just be the hair and the moustache, but he sort of reminds me of a black version of Gould.

MurgatroidMendelbaum
I admit he has more education than you or I have. I admit that he's an experienced public speaker who makes many impressive points about how silly it is to invest so much time and money defending an unproven theory (ID) in light of the one created by the smartest people on Earth (Big Bang). I will also admit that the reason fundamentalist creationists look so crazy in the first place is because of their general intolerance for the other guys.
But I can't honestly say that his transition from "religious politics are silly" to "religion itself is silly" is any better than someone saying the same about science. I don't care if people are talking about creationism or cupcakes, saying anyone who doesn't follow THEIR train of thought is doing the world a disservice.

SolRo
So basicly, you're a dumbass...which has been my assumption from the start.

You agree with his points, you share the same view, but you've been programed into thinking that anyone making a point by being mean or blunt is somehow wrong.



ID is on the same exact level as scientoligy, it should be mocked and ridiculed until everyone associated with it is never taken seriously again.

MurgatroidMendelbaum
"Making a point by being mean or blunt" is the fastest way to get people to disagree with you, whether you're right or not. I actually prefer Richard Dawkins' approach to convincing people.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uYBFqse7tiU

In the hopper, by the way.

Black Napkins
Mendelbaum: Seriously, who pissed in your milk when you were (are) in first grade?

He's smart, charismatic, confrontational, has an acerbic view of religion. I think with the way things have been going with science in America these past few years, and the insane hatred of the ID people at us believers in evolution, he's got a right.

Your argument is one of religion. Because we accept some of what the man says, we have to accept everything about the man? We have to take the bad with the good.

Only literalists do that. You're being Kent Hovind. Do you really want to be Kent Hovind?



theSnake
I love this guy, he is the most eloquent atheist ever. If I have to defend my views I usually just go blank and shout LOL XTIANS and drool on myself.
Ranma X.
Less pointlessly strident than Dawkins... Less drunk than Hitchens... yeah this guy is cool.
Baldr
One of my possible futures involves teaching biology in an environment that isn't friendly towards evolution. So I've spent a lot of time looking at what evangelicals have to say, in order to better understand their point of view.

One thing I've noticed is that evangelicals have an uncanny ability to pick up on any popular or famous scientist who states that the logical conclusion of accepting science is atheism. They then go on to conclude that scientists have a pre-existing bias. In some cases, they even go so far as to say that modern science is just like religion, therefore it's claims should be met with skepticism.

People like Tyson and Dawkins piss me off because they incorrectly conclude that the God hypothesis is a scientific and not a philosophical question. In aggregate, I think they do more damage to evolution than good. For examples of people who don't suck at promoting evolution, look at the recent lectures from Ken Miller and Francis Collins.

By the way, the scornful self-righteous laughter you hear in this clip sounds exactly like the laughter of fundamentalists, upon being informed that atheists believe that the universe popped into existence out of nothing.
Mike Tyson?!
Except that fundamentalists are wrong and stupid.

Frank Rizzo
you're an ass, no one believes the universe popped out of nothing.

they only say that now because they dont yet know how it happend. One theory states that two branes (or something) collided creating all the matter in the universe and the "band". Or something to that effect...

so please, take your ignorance elsewhere. Read a book or something.

Thundercougarfalconbird
"biology in an environment that isn't friendly towards evolution."

5 stars for this comment.

Baldr
Given your rock-hard defense of a natural cause of the big bang, based upon phenomenon which we can't experience or test, and which you apparently don't even understand, I find that I must accept that atheism is true.

Wait a second, I wasn't even proposing that the big bang indicated that theism was true, I was only stating that a lot of theists think that the atheistic account of the universe doesn't make a lot of sense. I was also indirectly proposing that maybe you should get your shit in order before making fun of other people's nonsense.

By the way, Quentin Smith gives a fairly good defense of the idea that the Big Bang occurred without a cause in "The Improbability of God". So yes, some highly respected atheistic philosophers do believe that.
halon
You do not understand science, the scientific method, or fields in which it is correctly applied. The fact that you may become a teacher of science is something that I find impossibly depressing. Have you considered construction? You'd get to play with fun toys!

Baldr
What actually constitutes science or non-science is a bit of a fuzzy problem, known by philosophers of science as the problem of demarcation. As a general rule, I like the model of Karl Popper, who says that a statement isn't scientific unless it's falsifiable. My problem with a lot of the multiverse hypotheses, like the one mentioned above, is that they aren't falsifiable in the way that evolution is. So in these cases, the multiverse isn't a scientific question, but a metaphysical one.

My primary argument is that science and religion exist in different spheres of human experience, and need to be kept separate. This isn't a new concept, I'm actually getting it from Stephen J. Gould's model of non-overlapping magisteria. My issue with this clip is that, much like the ID wingnuts, it breaches the ground between these two worlds.

So, you can see that the foundation of my arguments are rooted in general principals established by one of the most respected philosophers of science, and one of the most famous evolutionary biologists of the last century. Fuck it, I'm taking up construction.


SolRo
It doesn't breach jack shit, idiot.

He's only mentioning religion in the way that religion is trying to effect science.


No matter how deluded you are into thinking he hates retired old christian ladies, he doesn't.

Baldr
"I want to put on the table, not why 85% of the national academy rejects God, I want to know why 15% don't. And that's really what we've got to address here, otherwise the public is secondary to this."

Did you even watch this?

EvilHomer
BALDR! What are you doing posting comments on poeTV? These I-beams aren't going to erect themselves, you know.

While I agree with you on the broad issues, particularly the question of falsifiability and whether The God Problem falls under the realm of science at all, I don't really see how this relates to Tyson's comments at the end. Yes, the broader questions about whether God exists and if so, what sort of beer does He like to drink, can't be answered just by smugly waving around your college physics textbook and going "nyah-nyah, dumbasses!" And maybe Dawkins and Tyson DO do more damage than good to the general public's view of science through their confrontational atheism. But Tyson's point at the end is a good one, and relates to a real, concrete, falsifiable problem that we can bat around.

Why is it that the Muslim community, which at one point was the heart of the scientific world, and which today is remarkable for being one of the last bastions of strident religious conformity in an otherwise increasingly secularized world, is making so few contributions to scientific progress? It might be because they're brown, and hey! Brown skinned people. But fun racism aside, that's more than a little absurd because, as mentioned, we know that they're more than capable of being clever gits when the conditions are right. It might be dumb luck, but again, there's far too large a gap in rates of per capita Noble winning research to ascribe to mere chance. There could be some kind of economic or postcolonial explanation, Muslims don't get Nobel Prizes just cuz The Man don't wanna give him none, but that would only be credible if we had lots of cutting edge Muslim research kicking around unnoticed, and we don't. Or it could have to do with Secularism and It's Disconents, a perfect illustration of the differences between what is produced by people who, while they might still BELIEVE in God, keep Him on the backburner when it comes time to work, and people who not only believe in God, but feel God should be present in all things in our lives.

THIS, I think, is what Tyson was on about at the end. You might be able to take that a step further and say "well, if secularism is preferable to the alternative, then maybe God's just a fairy tale", and I dare say that's probably the conclusion that both he and many people here on poeTV would like drawn, but that's a seperate issue.

Baldr
My union contract states that I get to spend fifteen minutes of every hour arguing with people on the internet about science and religion.

I do agree that his point about Islam is dead on, and I was originally going to give him a few stars for it, but I got carried away in the moment. The world would undoubtedly be a better place if Islam had experienced it's own enlightenment, in the way that Christianity did.

However, that's part of the reason why I advocate keeping science and religion separate. Atheists, Christians, and I all have to live in the same country together. Separating science from religion is part of what lets that happen. As a result, I see atheists who state that the natural endpoint of the scientific method is atheism, and IDers who consider the flagella to be proof of God, to be equally disruptive to the equilibrium we've found in our fragmented society. How can I tell students that accepting the cornerstone of biology doesn't lead to atheism, when people like Tyson keep saying that it does?

EvilHomer
Don't tell them. Just teach them the scientific method, touch on Popper and NOMA, and throw a few critical thinking skills their way and I'm sure they'll work it out for themselves. Or they won't, in which case they're probably too stupid to bother teaching in the first place.

Hooker
I don't understand this contempt towards Baldr. He not only seems to agree with you guys on a foundational level, he's also presenting his case fairly well.

Baldr
It's actually one of the things I really like about this place. You have to construct every sentence perfectly, and if you make the slightest mistake fifteen people will jump out and deliver a messageboard beatdown. For example, my last sentence above was overly dramatic, and EvilHomer called me on it. It's an interesting exercise in argumentation and maintaining calm while everyone is telling you that you're worthless piece of shit.

EvilHomer
I didn't think I was "calling" you on it, I was just pointing out that your best chances might lie in giving the students gentle prods and trusting in their good judgement. If you tell them "Hey, look guys, these atheists are full of shit, you can accept basic biology and still love The Big Guy", they may or may not listen to you. But if they think that they've worked this out on their own, and they have a solid, well-reasoned argument behind it, then they're far more likely not only to still buy "your" take on this issue ten years down the road, but also be willing and able to defend the reasoning behind it.

Unless you already knew this and the last sentence was just a rhetorical question?

Baldr
Sorry, I didn't mean to suggest that you were going after me; you've been remarkably polite by any standards.

It was partially a rhetorical question, but it's useful to discuss. I've been thinking a lot about how I would handle the situation of evangelical students. I've knew one guy back in college who was secretly irritated that he had to take the evolution and ecology class, but basically kept his mouth shut to avoid causing trouble. I've also heard of students who were openly disruptive at my university.

I think that Ken Miller is right when he says that the problem isn't lack of evidence, but that evolution is seen as linked to atheism, and is therefore an attack on theism. The problem for me is how and when I address this. Should I give a quick NOMA overview at the beginning of the semester, when evolution first pops up, or should I wait for someone to be disruptive?


Thundercougarfalconbird
Neil deGrasse Tyson= all types o' love.
bongoprophet
"feces.. uh, fetuses!"
StanleyPain
I like this guy but I'm amazed he had the nerve to try and call out Richard Dawkins for being dismissive and rude about his handling of the religion question. Dawkins never gets anywhere near as smarmy as Tyson unless provoked directly.
Still, though, I don't care. I think the time for being levelheaded and nice to creationists has well outstayed it's welcome especially considering the vast attack on science their kind is currently waging. if people want to believe that god did everything, that's fine and dandy, but the fact that they continually try to effect what is taught in schools and how science is conducted puts them in the category of people who deserve active derision.
kingarthur
Thank you

Gwago
"Thank you! I'm here all week! Try the veal!"
MurgatroidMendelbaum
I agree that religion should be kept out of the schools' curriculum. But this guy appears to want it kept out of peoples' lives altogether.
That just seems closed-minded to me.
SolRo
Dumbass, he's taking about religion and ID in the scientific field.

Now your ignorant ass is just trying to put words in his mouth.

MurgatroidMendelbaum
He said that not rejecting God meant putting public interest at risk.
It's one of the last lines in the video. I honestly don't see how you could've missed it.

FABIO2
Eh, three stars I guess for getting to see what kind of arguments are out there, but jesus this guy is awful. His reasoning is an endless parade of self defeating fallacies.

"A higher intelligence couldn't have been responsible for our design because the universe is hostile to life and our bodies could be more efficient."

How is this not the same creationist line of reasoning, "The odds of conditions being just right for life are so astronomical that we had to have been created by God" ?


And holy shit the muslims/jews/nobel prize argument. How does he does he explain the majority of prize winners being American (or doing their research in America) despite America making up only 5% of the world's population? It can't be because we're the most secular (not by a long shot), and it also can't be why jews proportionally win so many, unless you're actually suggesting that Judaism has the least dogmatic population (not by a long shot) .

Oh right, otherwise religious groups who value money the most will invest in science. I gotcha, Tyson. *wink*

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