Cosmos - With Neil deGrasse Tyson

Discussion in 'TV & Media' started by Ancient Mariner, Jul 23, 2013.

  1. gturner

    gturner Admiral

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    Sorry, but that's just part of American culture. It's sort of like rap culture but with better aim. Nothing in science contradict that basic truth of it, and stripped of teleological arguments science would confirm that if you shoot your neighbor dead, your neighbor will quit causing you problems. This has been experimentally confirmed countless times.

    And there lies a problem with Cosmos. Science isn't meant to become a religion (though the writer preaches that we should worship in Planetariums), because good science doesn't produce values, it only has the values we bring to it. The Nazi twin and Tuskegee experiments were good scientific experiments, as far as science goes. Our reaction to them was that they violated basic human decency to an extreme degree.

    If you think you side with science, and then think that it has intrinsic values and so doesn't need your little input, then you are dooming people to suffering and hell because you're not saying "No. You can't experiment on children. You can't experiment on Jews. You can't experiment on blacks. You can't experiment on convicts, no matter what great scientific leaps will be made."

    In Obama's first election speech, he preached that no longer will science be held back by primitive religious beliefs, then in an amazing lack of self-awareness said that human cloning was wrong, because it was wrong. Why is cloning wrong? It would be the biggest boon to science since the last big boon to science.

    He was trying to stand above morality yet be the promulgator of it, which doesn't work at all. The Nazis tried that, and they are wildly condemned for it. The same gut feelings that tell us what is wrong and right are used by us to tell scientists what is wrong and right, and used by science and medical ethicists to tell researchers and doctors what is and is not permitted, because science is stubbornly silent on the issue. We have to decide what is acceptable. Science can't do that for us, and attempts to let science do that have led to some of the worst abuses in history, because bad men are always willing to cloak their actions in respectability, and what is more respectable than science?
     
  2. Ancient Mariner

    Ancient Mariner Vice Admiral Admiral

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  3. gturner

    gturner Admiral

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    So let's vastly improve the estimates of lifetime cancer risks by giving volunteers high doses of suspected carcinogens. :)

    Science has done things much worse than that. Heck, in the 60's researchers in New York infected retarded children with hepatitis just to investigate gamma globulin.

    There are an amazing number of advances we could make if the medical ethics people would just allow us to implant experiments inside human brains, conduct live brain tissue sampling to see what genes are turned on, separate twins to raise them in controlled environments to get a better idea of nature versus nurture, and closely track or control the development of human embryos to see which genes are getting switched on, and why. Heck, imagine the advances we could make in understanding human sexuality if we could just try altering the brains of homosexuals, or fetuses, in a carefully controlled study the tries a host of different hormones, genes, and growth factors.

    Scientists sometimes step over the line, and sometimes where they step is what makes us realize that there should have been a line when one didn't already exist. The groundbreaking Nazi experiments are why the world adopted rules of medical research ethics and gave them the force of law. Scientists who are convinced they are saving humanity are among the worst offenders, because saving humanity can justify just about anything. Heck, a recent climate change paper was yanked because it grossly violated the standards and ethics of numerous psychological organizations. Those standards were of course put in place because of previous unethical studies.
     
  4. Hober Mallow

    Hober Mallow Commodore Commodore

    Values may be included as part of a religion or mythology, but the instilling of values is not religion's purpose. The purpose of religion and mythology is to open one up to a sense of his or her mystery and to put that person in psychological accord with his society, the world, (as it really is understood by the science of the day, not by the science of millennia ago) and the inevitable realities of life. This experience (not mere "belief") is rendered through a language of images and metaphors which communicate a truth beyond mere literal truth. When religious text becomes not mythologically but historically interpreted, those symbols lose their power and the religion is dead. The symbols of the Bible came out of another culture in another part of the world a long time ago, and the symbols which once readily clicked with a culture have become impotent in our own. The Bible has thus been reduced to the role of rulebook, instilling "values" because it's lost its actual religion. The same is true of Judaism and Islam.

    It wouldn't take much a google search to find immoral activity committed by so-called "moral" religious people as well, therefore I'm not sure what your point is.
     
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2014
  5. Ancient Mariner

    Ancient Mariner Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I'll kindly ask that you not continue to use that term to describe people with irregular neurological, psychological or physiological conditions. Not only is it offensive, it's clumsy, overly generalized, and does nothing to properly describe the conditions and issues many people face.

    Furthermore, the remainder of your comments on "teh evuls" of scientific experiments on humans are wildly nonsensical (conflating Obama and Nazis) and even contradictory (arguing for and against unfettered experimentation), and are, therefore, irrelevant to any rational discourse about Cosmos - which, thus far, hasn't advocated such experiments on humans.
     
  6. Jedi_Master

    Jedi_Master Admiral Admiral

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    Just wait till NEXT season. :devil:
     
  7. tighr

    tighr Commodore Commodore

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    Naw, that verse is proof that the ancients had cars. Not knowing how to properly describe them comes from having never encountered one before.

    ;)
     
  8. Hober Mallow

    Hober Mallow Commodore Commodore

    Next you'll tell me angels don't actually descend from heaven by climbing down a ladder.
     
  9. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    It's nonsense to say that Cosmos is advocating that science should become a religion. It's simply pointing out that scientific thought is not inimical to religious thought in the way that Creationists dishonestly claim it is. The main reason there's so much resistance in America to teaching basic, competent science in our schools is because of that gross misconception that science is the enemy of religion. In fact, science is neither an attack on religion nor an endorsement of religion. It's not about religion any more than dance is about baking. Science is about science.
     
  10. gturner

    gturner Admiral

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    Actually the writer of Cosmos, Carl Sagan's wife, has written quite eloquently that science should become just that, replacing the function of religion by becoming something that inspires humanity's religious sensibilities, sense of awe, and all that.
     
  11. Hober Mallow

    Hober Mallow Commodore Commodore

    If there's one religion that managed to nail those vast stretches and cycles of time described by science it's Hinduism.
     
  12. RAMA

    RAMA Admiral Admiral

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    My impressions/thoughts of the show so far(I missed the last 2, DVR later!):

    1. The running time is 20 minutes less than the original, they seem short. There just isn't much time to express complete ideas.

    2. The shows isn't bad but it lacks the wonder of the original. I remember being carried off by Sagan's words many times, while that rarely happens here.

    3. As much as I find creation ideas repulsive, the show doesn't need to continually have direct refutation of their ideas. The science should speak for itself.

    4. The SOTI is gorgeous. The FX are good, but no better than some of I've seen on other science channel or PBS shows.

    5. I love Ann Druyan. She's really cool where ever I see her. She cares more about the world than any of us I think. I'd hug her.

    6. The average viewership across all channels is 10 million a week!! That's pretty good for 2014 TV shows.

    7. I've seen Neil DeGrasse Tyson in multiple videos on Youtube and I like him better at interviews and speeches than I do as host of the show.
     
  13. Hober Mallow

    Hober Mallow Commodore Commodore

    When you have a sizeable group of scientifically illiterate Americans pushing for creationism to be taught in schools, and when scientifically illiterate adults are in charge of the world making scientific policy based on science dating to the third millennium B.C., then, yes, I think science needs to come right out and refute idiocy.

    It's a great effect, and yet... somehow I prefer the original shitty effect. The new one looks too realistic for a ship of the imagination.

    Yeah, he's much better and more inspiring when he's off-the-cuff than when he's scripted. The thing about Sagan is that even when he was scripted, he still came off as off-the-cuff. Still, I like Tyson and think he's a worthy successor.
     
  14. tighr

    tighr Commodore Commodore

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    Not only is "mental retardation" still a correct medical term, but it actually denotes more specificity than generalized terms such as "neurological condition". Additionally, in the 60's when whatever study gturner is referencing, it would have been not only the appropriate term used but also a term that had already been sanitized from previous "slur" connotations (words like "idiot", "imbecile", and "feeble" being the previous medical terms in the 1900s). But sure, today it's generally fallen into disuse because people have strong negative reactions to it.

    The word "retard" has actually been around almost as long as the English language, and is a verb that quite literally means "to slow".

    TL;DR: It's only offensive because people choose to be offended. In the next 20 years, "special" and "challenged" will probably also be considered slurs, and new terms will replace them.
     
  15. Robert Maxwell

    Robert Maxwell so far this is a dumb future Premium Member

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    So things are offensive only because people find them offensive? Glad you cleared that up for us.
     
  16. davejames

    davejames Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I don't think she's trying to argue that the purpose of science should be to inspire and provoke wonder, only that those are things that can be derived from science if one is interested in looking for them.

    And I don't see any conflict or contradiction at all with having feelings of wonder and spirituality that are grounded in a solid, physical world that can be measured and objectively analyzed. That's far different from religion, which asks us to ground them on nothing but... ancient texts, primal beliefs, and wishful thinking.
     
  17. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Our sense of wonder at the universe is what inspires us to seek answers about it. Religion used to be the only way to do that, both where its physical nature and its spiritual meaning were concerned, but it wasn't very good at the former. Once the scientific method was formulated, it turned out to do a much better job at addressing the questions about the physical nature of the universe, so religion has been free to specialize in addressing the spiritual questions, and thus the two disciplines now complement each other rather than competing. The only people who see them as being in competition are those who don't understand their respective emphases.

    Personally, I've never found it necessary to believe in anything spiritual or supernatural to have a sense of wonder about the universe. To me, a universe where incredibly complex and amazing things can happen spontaneously by the operation of simple, inbuilt laws is far more wondrous than a universe where nothing amazing ever happens unless a conscious being decides it will. So it's wrong to assume that religion has a monopoly on inspiring awe and wonder.
     
  18. Ancient Mariner

    Ancient Mariner Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I wasn't suggesting replacing one word with another generalized term. I was pointing out that the word in question is too vague because it covers a whole range of conditions and I was suggesting replacing that one (generalized and offensive) word with the specific condition - such as cerebral palsy, autism, Down Syndrome, etc. The vast majority of people seriously working in the field - from psychologists to educators, do not use the term. As such, usage of the term results in statements that are too lazy to specify the actual condition of the person in question, as well as statements that are too obtuse to acknowledge the inherent offensiveness of the term. If you're still in need of generalized catch-all phrase, Intellectual Disability (ID) is now the accepted term.

    But that's not how it was used above. And its use, in reference to humans, is outdated, lazy and offensive.

    Welcome to the evolution of language. Enjoy your stay. :techman:
     
  19. tighr

    tighr Commodore Commodore

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    Well yeah, that's only part of it. The other part is obviously how it's said, but in the case of how gturner used it, he wasn't being disparaging towards those children, they actually do have a condition. I'm not saying I use the word in general practice (like I said, it's fallen into disuse due to it's stigma) but I don't think his intention was offensive.
     
  20. Serveaux

    Serveaux The Wind Premium Member

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    Religion is not a discipline.