Neil deGrasse Tyson (astrophysicist)

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Re: Neil deGrasse Tyson (astrophysicist)

Postby Jinzang » Wed May 14, 2014 9:24 pm

kirtu wrote:What contributions has philosophy made to mankind, particularly over the last century (excluding logic and metamathematics, neither of which I view as philosophy anyway)?


To name a few:

The Gettier problem

The trolley problem

Austin's theory of speech acts

Searle's Chinese Room argument

Thomas Kuhn's The Structure of Scientific Revolutions

Susanne Langer's Philosophy in a New Key

George Lakoff's Women, Fire, and Dangerous Things

Saul Kripke's Naming and Necessity
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Re: Neil deGrasse Tyson (astrophysicist)

Postby kirtu » Wed May 14, 2014 10:28 pm

Jinzang wrote:
kirtu wrote:What contributions has philosophy made to mankind, particularly over the last century (excluding logic and metamathematics, neither of which I view as philosophy anyway)?


To name a few:
...


Nice llist, not what I expected.

However Kripke is logic which I already acknowledged. Much of the rest of the list is also logic from my POV (computer science, knowledge representation, natural language programming) so linguistics in a larger sense I have acknowledged as a contribution so that covers speech acts, etc.

Searle is a general rant against AI and seems to be to be largely flawed as he seems to require some atomic thing that can be identified as a mind (he explicitly rejects the mind as a compounded, functional thing). Although Searle is a philosopher I don't see the theory of mind stuff from that perspective but I must admit that others do. So this is a point for philosophy.

Much of the remainder of the list is information theoretic and thus mathermatics and I already acknowledged that where philosophy can be seen as touching philosophy, that I have acknowledged as useful (I guess I wasn't clear enough with the metamathematics inclusion).

What on your list falls outside of logic, general metamathematics, information theory, the theory of mind, cognitive science and lingustics ? All of this is math and real science. Kuhn is science /history of science.

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Re: Neil deGrasse Tyson (astrophysicist)

Postby kirtu » Wed May 14, 2014 10:52 pm

Jinzang wrote:The trolley problem


hmmmm .... ethics ... ethics hardly seems like philosophy after the river of blood called the 20th century. Ethics is more a piratical, daily concern. But I'll buy it.



Seems more like semiotics and thus cognitive science.



I haven't checked this out but Lakoff is generally associated with cognitive science, linguistics, semantics.

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Re: Neil deGrasse Tyson (astrophysicist)

Postby Jikan » Thu May 15, 2014 1:28 am

Hi Kirt,

Semiotics historically and to the present has more to do with linguistics than with cognitive science. cf the semantics program at Indiana University, long directed by Umberto Eco... philosopher and novelist.

Logic is among the branches of inquiry philosophy has, historically and to the present, claimed for its own. It's not accidental that Aristotle has a book called Logic, Hegel wrote lengthy books on logic, certain of Plato's dialogues describe geometry... &c. Along with aesthetics and politics (political theory), ethics is at the core of what philosophy sets out to do and how it defines the scope of its own effort. Here's a useful article on the topic of logic's location within the discipline of philosophy, which, along the way, rebuts another of your claims--that philosophy has little to contribute to the present.

https://cas.umkc.edu/philosophy/vade-mecum/whylogic.htm

Granted, the 20th century was a bloody one. But how are philosophers responsible for that bloodshed? How is that claim warranted?
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Re: Neil deGrasse Tyson (astrophysicist)

Postby mikenz66 » Thu May 15, 2014 1:39 am

More discussion here: http://io9.com/neil-degrasse-tyson-slam ... socialflow" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Personally, I wish clever people would stick to their area of expertise. I recall showing some of Richard Feynman's comments about philosophy to an actual philosopher a few years ago, and it was clear to me from the ensuing conversation that Feynman (one of the most brilliant physicists of last century) really didn't have a clue about what he was talking about (in that case)... Since then I've a very jaundiced view of scientists commenting on philosophy (or religion, as in Dawkins etc...)

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Re: Neil deGrasse Tyson (astrophysicist)

Postby Johnny Dangerous » Thu May 15, 2014 2:55 am

mikenz66 wrote:More discussion here: http://io9.com/neil-degrasse-tyson-slam ... socialflow" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Personally, I wish clever people would stick to their area of expertise. I recall showing some of Richard Feynman's comments about philosophy to an actual philosopher a few years ago, and it was clear to me from the ensuing conversation that Feynman (one of the most brilliant physicists of last century) really didn't have a clue about what he was talking about (in that case)... Since then I've a very jaundiced view of scientists commenting on philosophy (or religion, as in Dawkins etc...)

:anjali:
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Re: Neil deGrasse Tyson (astrophysicist)

Postby Rokushu » Thu May 15, 2014 3:58 am

Love him. Because science is science, whether you like it or not or believe in it or not.
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Re: Neil deGrasse Tyson (astrophysicist)

Postby kirtu » Thu May 15, 2014 8:10 pm

Jikan wrote:Hi Kirt,

Semiotics historically and to the present has more to do with linguistics than with cognitive science. cf the semantics program at Indiana University, long directed by Umberto Eco... philosopher and novelist.


I understand but it can be linguistics itself could be subsumed into cognitive science. Linguists would object ....

I believe I said that semiotics was more properly classified under linguistics anyway (perhaps I didn't).

Logic is among the branches of inquiry philosophy has, historically and to the present, claimed for its own.


Of course, but logic is really mathematics.

Along with aesthetics and politics (political theory),


I really thought that what I would originally get as a response was political theory (the nonsense that helped create the river of blood called the 20th century) and aesthetics. Aesthetics may have some value as a contribution to science (theories should maximize beauty) and mathematics.

ethics is at the core of what philosophy sets out to do and how it defines the scope of its own effort.


Then philosophy failed over the last century. Inquiries into ethics has not created a humane system of ethics with value for people's lives.

Here's a useful article on the topic of logic's location within the discipline of philosophy, which, along the way, rebuts another of your claims--that philosophy has little to contribute to the present.


I will examine it.

Granted, the 20th century was a bloody one. But how are philosophers responsible for that bloodshed? How is that claim warranted?


Perhaps you missed the hijacking and gross misinterpretation of Nietzsche that helps justify the central horror of the 20th century, the inability of philosophy to formulate an intellectual response to wide-spread and aggressive anti-intellectualism in the US and much of the rest of the world, the rise of hyper-utilitarianism, the failure to formulate a cogent defense against rampant warfare and even the use of philosophy to justify war (Russell, first strike doctrine) and sometimes genocide (going bask at least to Plato). Then we have more recently a female, Russian author who imagined herself to be a philosopher, staring a pseudo-intellectual cult whose half-baked ideas dominate the halls of Congress (part of the rise of hyper-utilitarianism) against which so-called real philosophers have not mounted a general refutation (so how public to make this refutation? Think of Black intellectuals doing battle with Schokley on PBS [pre-PBS] circa 1968 (here's one from 1974)).

Philosophers have not been contributing to the welfare of humanity. There is a massive amount of dysfunction with no response to it at all from philosophy. Thus we have a vacuum, at least in the English speaking world, filled by a linguist, two astrophysicists (one dead since around 1996), and two biologists (one dead from circa 2000). This may be a slight exaggeration but not by much (this is a better situation than in Germany though where a single literary critic, recently deceased, survivor of Auschwitz, was in effect the only public intellectual, outside of poets and other writers and some actors in the entire German speaking world). We are not being served well.

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Re: Neil deGrasse Tyson (astrophysicist)

Postby steveb1 » Fri May 16, 2014 6:53 am

Not a fan. Tyson examines the universe and its mindless cycles of force which sicken, age, and kill us - and he waxes as enthusiastic about this samsaric world as does any evangelist when glorifying Jesus. Worse, he conveys his mentor Sagan, with all of the late science popularizer's misconceptions about religion, spirituality and "ufos and the paranormal". With the span of time between Tyson's current series and Sagan's original, one would think that Sagan's ideas and claims would be put under meticulous scrutiny. Perhaps Tyson did not consider doing so, or perhaps he was sufficiently naive to uncritically accept Sagan's gospel?
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Re: Neil deGrasse Tyson (astrophysicist)

Postby Jetavan » Fri May 16, 2014 2:52 pm

steveb1 wrote:Not a fan. Tyson examines the universe and its mindless cycles of force which sicken, age, and kill us - and he waxes as enthusiastic about this samsaric world as does any evangelist when glorifying Jesus.


On the contrary, Tyson is quite aware of the universe's propensity to kill us:

Turns out that some celestial bodies give off more light in the invisible bands of the spectrum than in the visible. And the invisible light picked up by the new telescopes showed that mayhem abounds in the cosmos: monstrous gamma-ray bursts, deadly pulsars, matter-crushing gravitational fields, matter-hungry black holes that flay their bloated stellar neighbors, newborn stars igniting within pockets of collapsing gas. And as our ordinary, optical telescopes got bigger and better, more mayhem emerged: galaxies that collide and cannibalize each other, explosions of supermassive stars, chaotic stellar and planetary orbits. Our own cosmic neighborhood—the inner solar system—turned out to be a shooting gallery, full of rogue asteroids and comets that collide with planets from time to time. Occasionally they've even wiped out stupendous masses of Earth's flora and fauna. The evidence all points to the fact that we occupy not a well-mannered clockwork universe, but a destructive, violent, and hostile zoo.

Of course, Earth can be bad for your health too. On land, grizzly bears want to maul you; in the oceans, sharks want to eat you. Snowdrifts can freeze you, deserts dehydrate you, earthquakes bury you, volcanoes incinerate you. Viruses can infect you, parasites suck your vital fluids, cancers take over your body, congenital diseases force an early death. And even if you have the good luck to be healthy, a swarm of locusts could devour your crops, a tsunami could wash away your family, or a hurricane could blow apart your town.
....
How about the silent killers? High blood pressure, colon cancer, and diabetes each cause tens of thousands of deaths in the U.S. every year, but it's possible not to know you're afflicted until your coroner tells you so. Wouldn't it be nice if we had built-in biogauges to warn us of such dangers well in advance? Even cheap cars, after all, have engine gauges.

And what comedian designer configured the region between our legs—an entertainment complex built around a sewage system?

Sounds like a chapter out of the Visuddhimagga.
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Re: Neil deGrasse Tyson (astrophysicist)

Postby steveb1 » Fri May 16, 2014 9:11 pm

Here he's playing two sides. When he wants to demolish ID/Creationism, he invokes the imagery in the quote you cited, in order to show up the notion that the cosmos is ruled by a beneficent force. But when he's speaking from his own viewpoint, he goes the opposite direction, his cosmos piety matching that of some of the ancient Greeks as well as Sagan's. At base, he gives the impression that "it's all pretty cool, isn't it". If he didn't think so, he probaly wouldn't be doing the series, and he would not be making digs at religion, spirituality, "ufos and the paranormal", etc., and wouldn't be a generalizing science educator.
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Re: Neil deGrasse Tyson (astrophysicist)

Postby Luke » Sat May 17, 2014 6:38 pm

steveb1 wrote:Not a fan. Tyson examines the universe and its mindless cycles of force which sicken, age, and kill us - and he waxes as enthusiastic about this samsaric world as does any evangelist when glorifying Jesus. Worse, he conveys his mentor Sagan, with all of the late science popularizer's misconceptions about religion, spirituality and "ufos and the paranormal".

I would like to point out that if UFOs and paranormal powers exist, then they would still just be part of samsara, as well. You seem to be talking as if UFOs and paranormal powers are a few levels more "pure" and "spiritual" than ordinary phenomena in the universe, but Buddhism doesn't put these things up on a pedestal.

steveb1 wrote:At base, he gives the impression that "it's all pretty cool, isn't it". If he didn't think so, he probaly wouldn't be doing the series, and he would not be making digs at religion, spirituality, "ufos and the paranormal", etc., and wouldn't be a generalizing science educator.

Sure, he thinks that the natural world is pretty cool and interesting. That's why he has the job he has. Is it any different than a man who loves race cars being a Formula-1 driver? Everybody prefers to work in the field they love.
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Re: Neil deGrasse Tyson (astrophysicist)

Postby steveb1 » Sat May 17, 2014 9:23 pm

I don't put spirituality, ufos and the parnormal on a pure pedestal. Tyson unfairly tosses them into a garbage bin, based on his own lazy lack of research and personal bias.
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Re: Neil deGrasse Tyson (astrophysicist)

Postby Luke » Sat May 17, 2014 11:09 pm

steveb1 wrote:I don't put spirituality, ufos and the parnormal on a pure pedestal. Tyson unfairly tosses them into a garbage bin, based on his own lazy lack of research and personal bias.

Okay, now I'm curious: What do you think is excellent evidence that the earth has been visited by extraterrestrial UFOs (which you believe that Tyson is unfairly ignoring)?


And Tyson does believe in the possibility of intelligent life being on other planets. He just doesn't think that there is evidence of a high enough quality to believe that extraterrestrial UFOs have visited the Earth.

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Re: Neil deGrasse Tyson (astrophysicist)

Postby steveb1 » Sun May 18, 2014 1:56 am

Nothing personal, but please, when you read my posts, do me the favor of reading my posts.

First you said that I put spirituality, ufos, paranormal on a pure pedestal, "above" samsara (of course, Buddhisg spirituality does claim to be "above" samsara) an untrue claim that I corrected. You never acknowledged that your claims about my views were mistaken.

Now you are saying that I claimed that ufos are extraterrestrial spaceships visiting Earth, an untrue claim that I am now correcting by informing you that ufos are undidentified anomalies, and therefore cannot be identified definitively as one thing or another. One of the greatest ufo researchers, Jacques Vallee (still alive and kicking, though elderly), has claimed for decades that ufos virtually cannot be alien spacecraft, and I am in agreement with Vallee, some of whose theories are to be found here:

http://www.ufoevidence.org/documents/doc608.htm" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

As to the issue of you "inviting" or challenging me to prove ufo reality to you in this thread - again, nothing personal, but such an expectation is just a tad impractical, for reasons which should be obvious. My posts in this thread concern Tyson's frequent and unfortunate evangelical enthusiasm for samsara, and his contempt for fields excluded by his parochial personal biases. If it's really ufo data that you seek, I would be happy to provide you with some links, but "proving ufo reality" is far beyond the scope of this thread, and is probably far beyond the limits set by this forum.
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Re: Neil deGrasse Tyson (astrophysicist)

Postby Luke » Sun May 18, 2014 8:53 pm

steveb1 wrote:Nothing personal, but please, when you read my posts, do me the favor of reading my posts.

First you said that I put spirituality, ufos, paranormal on a pure pedestal, "above" samsara (of course, Buddhisg spirituality does claim to be "above" samsara) an untrue claim that I corrected.

No, I did not. I merely pointed out the fact that Buddhism does not put these things on a pedestal. Whether you thought that way or not was something I wasn't sure of at the time; this is why I used the word "seem." You should read my posts more carefully, as well.

steveb1 wrote:Now you are saying that I claimed that ufos are extraterrestrial spaceships visiting Earth, an untrue claim that I am now correcting by informing you that ufos are undidentified anomalies, and therefore cannot be identified definitively as one thing or another.

No, I freely admit that I can't read your mind. I was just guessing what I thought was the most likely possibility.

Anyway, if you don't believe that UFOs are extraterrestrial, why are you so against Tyson? He clearly emphasizes the unidentified nature of UFOs.

I don't have time to read your link right now , but thanks for the info. Perhaps I will check it out in a few days. But just after glancing it over quickly, I admit that the ideas you support are more unusual and complicated than I expected.
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Re: Neil deGrasse Tyson (astrophysicist)

Postby steveb1 » Sun May 18, 2014 10:05 pm

Thank you for your courteous reply, and I hope I wasn't rude to you ... I think that the 5%-7% of documented and truly anomalous ufo cases represent something unknown. Beyond the claim that they are really anomalous, I can't put any certitude on what they are, although of course, speculation runs rampant. Paranormalist the late John Keel said to the effect, "The unknown tends to remain unknown" ... If he was correct, then no matter how many data points we accumulate on ufos, chances are they might be just too foreign for us to classify. Another interesting thing that Vallee said was that science might not be the only or best approach, a potentially better approach being that of intelligence (as in the intelligence community, cracking codes, etc.), because the phenomenon seems to have a built-in element not just of unknowability, but absurdity. Not that Vallee is equating ufo absurdity with nonsense or non-existence, but rather, taken as a whole, in other aspects besides real objects tracked by radar, the "ufo scenario" quickly provokes bafflement and cognitive dissonance. It's almost as if the intelligence behind the phenomenon is a classic Jungian Trickster figure whose main motivation is game-playing with the human psyche. IF the phenomenon is real, and IF there is a non-human intelligence operating it.

And as you said, ufos are probably just another aspect of the samsaric universe ... unless, as some Tibetan Buddhists claim, some ufos are solidified thought forms of advanced meditators, or possibly helpful "nudges" from some Buddha realm ... thus does speculation run rampant!
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Re: Neil deGrasse Tyson (astrophysicist)

Postby duckfiasco » Mon May 19, 2014 12:15 am

Rokushu wrote:Love him. Because science is science, whether you like it or not or believe in it or not.

The issue is rarely the scientific method itself, but the tendency to lose track of the worldviews specific to our upbringing, culture, time, and understanding, and to accept these as simply how things are for everyone everywhere. Basically, the assumption that what we know is not only accurate, but what there is to know. That's where we can run into problems.

Any number of -isms are popular today, and each is as provisional as the last: materialism, scientific realism, objectivism, naturalism, physicalism. It may seem like a lot, but personally as an American living in the US right now, a lot of this is inculcated in society as how the world just is, influencing every part of life. It lends science authority in matters that it simply does not have.

I don't want to read too much into your post, but "whether you like it or not" reminded me strongly of scientific realism.

You'll find a much livelier and more intelligent discussion than I could provide about the matter in many threads on DW:

viewtopic.php?f=36&t=16156" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
viewtopic.php?f=66&t=16491" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
viewtopic.php?f=66&t=8393" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
viewtopic.php?f=102&t=11589" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
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Re: Neil deGrasse Tyson (astrophysicist)

Postby smcj » Sat May 24, 2014 1:43 pm

A human being has his limits. And thus, in every conceivable way, with every possible means, he tries to make the teaching enter into his own limits. ChNN
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Re: Neil deGrasse Tyson (astrophysicist)

Postby Crazywisdom » Sat May 24, 2014 3:11 pm

Science and philosophy are basically irrelevant to a Buddhism. Buddhism goes much farther. Chulen and rainbow body will never be explained by science or philosophy. These are real nonetheless and wholly owned by the Triple Gem.
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