Meh, what an obnoxious essay! Perhaps it could also just be called "Why Neil deGrasse Tyson is still just middle class and not upper class"! lol
I just think that Tyson realizes that his present lifetime is finite, so he focuses on the subjects which he personally finds the most interesting and important, and he prefers to speak plainly. I don't think he needs to apologize for anything. Could he be more broadly educated regarding to philosophy? Sure, but it might not bring him much benefit.
And I don't think that it does much damage if he tells people not to study philosophy. If any of his listeners are truly interested in philosophy, they will probably just study it anyway. Lots of people like Tyson's speeches, but I don't think that they regard him as some sort of supreme guru for all of life's issues.
I don't know about that. Most of my friends are materialist/atheist leaners, and they sound about like I do when talking about Buddhist thinkers when they talk about people like Degrasse -Tyson, or Harris, or Dawkins..or whoever is seen as a ort of luminary of "science as a philosophy". Whether my friends want to admit it or not, to some degree these people are
I don't think there's anything wrong with that, and I think that all these people have made a valuable contribution to human thought, and are worth listening to - after all, I went to go see him speak (I even had walking pneumonia btw lol), and enjoyed a lot of what he had to say.
That said, the materialist/atheist leaning friends of mine are also really way too credulous with regard to the shortfalls of viewing science as a philosophy of life, and tend to dismiss big, open questions about this worldview with a response that is similar to Tyson's - questioning the usefulness of asking questions in the first place (usually, things that are the most glaring questions which materialists can't yet answer - nature of mind, value etc.). Or worse, they use a tactic you commonly see (on these forums too) of painting anyone willing to question materialist assumptions as being a religious zealot or anti-science crusader.
I would think that -to a Buddhist at least- the usefulness of asking "big" questions (at least the right questions) isn't really debatable.
Despite how smart these guys are, their stuff turns pretty provincial when certain questions get asked...that said, again, I don't wish to diminish their impact, and if I were forced to choose between Degrasse Tyson and the guy who runs the Creationist Museum..I know who i'd choose in a heartbeat lol, I just hope that we can live in a world where those aren't the only two choices.
"Just as a lotus does not grow out of a well-levelled soil but from the mire, in the same way the awakening mind
is not born in the hearts of disciples in whom the moisture of attachment has dried up. It grows instead in the hearts of ordinary sentient beings who possess in full the fetters of bondage." -Se Chilbu Choki Gyaltsen