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Old 12th July 2017, 06:28 PM   #81
Peregrinus
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Originally Posted by HopDavid View Post
[Tysonesque rant snipped . . .] Without the church there would have been no Galileo. Even to this day Catholic schools are known for their academic excellence. [Which excellence by our lights did not exist in Galileo's time.]
Do try to stay on topic.
Whilst out on a limb speculating yourself into the pot & kettle fallacy.
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Old 14th July 2017, 02:52 PM   #82
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Originally Posted by Nay_Sayer View Post
So Hop, Tell me how you really feel thou.

Also.



What color is the Scotsman's kilt?
Depends on who kilt him!!!!!
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Old 15th July 2017, 12:44 PM   #83
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Originally Posted by acbytesla View Post
I don't get this entire thread. There seems to be a hate-on for Tyson that is inexplicable to me. Is. I'm a science fan, not a scientist. The difference is very important. Tyson is attempting to convey the overall story to laymen not specific details to grad school physics students.

I want to understand why Einstein and Newton are so revered and why The Principia Mathematica and the Theory of Relativity are amazing and important. Sure, Tyson could get bogged down into the minutiae that would lose his audience (Me). But what purpose would that serve? I generally understand the subject now so Tyson did his job.

I think sometimes that skepticism ruins all the fun, in real life day to day.

Sometimes I find myself (or others do) over-analyzing things that really aren't important. Knowing when to shut up is part of being a skeptic, at least to me. Nobody wants to hang around the know-it-all at a party, for instance. Cliff Claven sydrome.

I think this picking of Tyson is mostly that. We have our skeptic hats on too tight.

About the racial thing, it never occurred to me.

I think Tyson is great. I like his approach much better than Bill Nye's. I saw Nye's new show on Netflix and I think he comes across a bit too condescending and elitist.

ETA:
To the OP: Tyson a liability? Are you crazy?

Last edited by mgidm86; 15th July 2017 at 12:46 PM.
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Old 15th July 2017, 02:43 PM   #84
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I find Tyson entertaining and engaging in terms of popularizing science, but I don't think of him highly as a thinker, generally speaking. At all. And some of the things stated in the OP don't surprise me.

Originally Posted by Sean Carroll
"There's a long venerable tradition of physicists. I'm a physicist. Physicist like - especially at a certain age - to look around the intellectual landscape and see other fields of inquiry that are not physics and go 'I could do that' better than they can. I'm a physicist! How hard could it be?"
Exactly.
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Old 15th July 2017, 02:59 PM   #85
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Originally Posted by Dani View Post
I find Tyson entertaining and engaging in terms of popularizing science, but I don't think of him highly as a thinker, generally speaking. ...


What do you base that on? Just because Tyson, like Carl Sagan, moved into the field of popularizing cosmology doesn't mean he didn't earn his position. He has a doctorate in astrophysics for heaven's sake.

From Wiki: Tyson's research publications
Quote:
Twarog, Bruce A.; Tyson, Neil D. (1985). "UVBY Photometry of Blue Stragglers in NGC 7789". Astronomical Journal 90: 1247. doi:10.1086/113833.

Tyson, Neil D.; Scalo, John M. (1988). "Bursting Dwarf Galaxies: Implications for Luminosity Function, Space Density, and Cosmological Mass Density". Astrophysical Journal 329: 618. doi:10.1086/166408.

Tyson, Neil D. (1988). "On the possibility of Gas-Rich Dwarf Galaxies in the Lyman-alpha Forest". Astrophysical Journal (Letters) 329: L57. doi:10.1086/185176.

Tyson, Neil D.; Rich, Michael (1991). "Radial Velocity Distribution and Line Strengths of 33 Carbon Stars in the Galactic Bulge". Astrophysical Journal 367: 547. doi:10.1086/169651.

Tyson, Neil D.; Gal, Roy R. (1993). "An Exposure Guide for Taking Twilight Flatfields with Large Format CCDs". Astronomical Journal 105: 1206. doi:10.1086/116505.

Tyson, Neil D.; Richmond, Michael W.; Woodhams, Michael; Ciotti, Luca (1993). "On the Possibility of a Major Impact on Uranus in the Past Century". Astronomy & Astrophysics (Research Notes) 275: 630.

Schmidt, B. P., et al. (1994). "The Expanding Photosphere Method Applied to SN1992am at cz = 14600 km/s". Astronomical Journal 107: 1444.

Wells, L. A. et al. (1994). "The Type Ia Supernova 1989B in NGC3627 (M66)". Astronomical Journal 108: 2233. doi:10.1086/117236.

Hamuy, M. et al. (1996). "BVRI Light Curves For 29 Type Ia Supernovae". Astronomical Journal 112: 2408. doi:10.1086/118192.

Lira, P. et al. (1998). "Optical light curves of the Type IA supernovae SN 1990N and 1991T". Astronomical Journal 116: 1006. doi:10.1086/300175.
Scoville, N. et al. (2007). "The Cosmic Evolution Survey (COSMOS): Overview". Astrophysical Journal Supplement 172: 1. doi:10.1086/516585.

Scoville, N. et al. (2007). "COSMOS: Hubble Space Telescope Observations". Astrophysical Journal Supplement 172: 38. doi:10.1086/516580
.
Liu, C. T.; Capak, P.; Mobasher, B.; Paglione, T. A. D.; Scoville, N. Z.; Tribiano, S. M.; Tyson, N. D. (2008). "The Faint-End Slopes of Galaxy Luminosity Functions in the COSMOS Field". Astrophysical Journal Letters 672: 198. doi:10.1086/522361.
Think he got where he is now based on his looks and public speaking? Affirmative action?

Do you even know anything about this man?
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Old 15th July 2017, 03:37 PM   #86
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Originally Posted by Skeptic Ginger View Post


What do you base that on? Just because Tyson, like Carl Sagan, moved into the field of popularizing cosmology doesn't mean he didn't earn his position. He has a doctorate in astrophysics for heaven's sake.

From Wiki: Tyson's research publications
Think he got where he is now based on his looks and public speaking? Affirmative action?

Do you even know anything about this man?
Well said sir. The man has his **** together.
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Old 15th July 2017, 07:12 PM   #87
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Some people aren't happy unless they have something to complain about or someone to find real or imagined faults in. Just happens it's Tyson's turn in the barrel.
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Old 15th July 2017, 07:38 PM   #88
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Originally Posted by Peregrinus View Post
Some people aren't happy unless they have something to complain about or someone to find real or imagined faults in. Just happens it's Tyson's turn in the barrel.
Well, he does make an easy target, with his confabulations.

And his work as a physicist is a red herring. Nobody is criticizing him on that basis.

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Old 15th July 2017, 09:18 PM   #89
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
Well, he does make an easy target, with his confabulations.

And his work as a physicist is a red herring. Nobody is criticizing him on that basis.

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Nope, he is not an easy target: he is not only an excellent scientist but a superb explainer of science and of the value of science to the general public. Which is what makes him a target of conservatives who find scientifically derived facts inconvenient. Evolution? Goes against fundamentalist religion. Global climate change? Goes against the Koch brothers desire to sell more coal and oil. The importance of government funded research? Goes against the simplistic ideas of purely private enterprise. etc.

And an individual questioning, or worse still, providing facts that might convince others to question the current far-right Republican agenda means that the individual must be attacked and their credibility underminded. The way to do it is by innuendo: subtly suggest, using incorrect, wrong, distorted information, that the individual is not to be trusted. Use rumors. Use hyperbola. Focus on the meaningless. Eventually, even in the absence of any proof, people will develop a subconscious buy in to these lies. "Oh Tyson? I heard you can't trust him... I don't quite remember why, but you can't. So if he says there is global climate change there probably isn't"

I've seen this applied to other prominent individuals n the past and I sense this being applied to Tyson now. This strategy works even more readily against Tyson because of the subconcious racism that cause some people to be unable to admit that a black person might be smarter than they are, and that they might actually learn a lot from that person.
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Old 15th July 2017, 09:20 PM   #90
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Originally Posted by Giordano View Post
Nope, he is not an easy target: he is not only an excellent scientist but a superb explainer of science and of the value of science to the general public. Which is what makes him a target of conservatives who find scientifically derived facts inconvenient. ...
I think this whole thread is just that, someone whose god beliefs are the real issue.
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Old 15th July 2017, 09:30 PM   #91
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Originally Posted by Skeptic Ginger View Post
I think this whole thread is just that, someone whose god beliefs are the real issue.
I'm with you Ginger. It's either that or some deep seeded subconscious racism. I think Tyson is great. I have no issues with him at all. But that doesn't mean he's perfect. But then again I don't expect him or understand why anyone would else would expect him to be.
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Old 15th July 2017, 10:45 PM   #92
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Originally Posted by acbytesla View Post
But that doesn't mean he's perfect. But then again I don't expect him or understand why anyone would else would expect him to be.
We don't expect him to be perfect, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't point it out when he's wrong. And recognise it when others do so.
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Old 15th July 2017, 10:58 PM   #93
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Originally Posted by Roboramma View Post
We don't expect him to be perfect, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't point it out when he's wrong. And recognise it when others do so.
There seems to be an issue of degree here. Trashing someone's entire accomplishments because they didn't note things like specifically one penguin species that lives on the equator has a few members that live in the northern hemisphere?

Seriously, that's your nitpick?
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Old 15th July 2017, 11:38 PM   #94
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Originally Posted by Skeptic Ginger View Post
There seems to be an issue of degree here. Trashing someone's entire accomplishments because they didn't note things like specifically one penguin species that lives on the equator has a few members that live in the northern hemisphere?

Seriously, that's your nitpick?
Yeah, that sounds pretty silly.

I agree that sometimes people have been giving NDT a hard time about ridiculous things. Marplots' criticism of the apple analogy springs to mind (sorry marplots). I read the OP and some of the things in there seemed to be reasonable criticisms, but I also don't know how accurate it was.

I generally like NDT, but sometimes he does say things that bother me, as I mentioned I find his take on dark matter misleading.
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Old 16th July 2017, 06:14 AM   #95
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I think that Skeptic Ginger and Roboramma's posts highlight a crucial point: along with them I have no problem with criticism of what NDGT says: all scientists and science presenters should be subject to this form of correction. And as does everyone, NDGT does make minor mistakes or creates some over-simplifications in explaining science to the general public. This is pretty inherent in the genre- the science presenter provides overviews of fields that are not their own that they must explain using analogies and a non-scientific vocabulary to people with little appropriate background. Criticisms of flawed examples of this tightrope walk are valid, although imo the criticisms should recognize the nature of the genre: NDGT failing to note that Golden delicious apples may have ratios of peel to overall radius that stray 2 fold from that of the earth's atmosphere to radius is severely missing the point.

However, what I note in the OP, and in much of the right wing/religious criticisms of NDGT, is not so much an attempt to debate the specific points he makes, but an attempt to undermine and demean him overall. Rather than openly and directly debate him on global climate change or on evolution, points which he would obviously win, the goal as I see it is to attack him and his legitimacy personally using distortions, nitpicking, quotes out of context, etc. That way one can undercut him as a voice revealing the dangers of climate change without ever having to debate him on climate change. One can undercut him as an advocate of evolution without ever debating him on evolution. This may sound paranoid, but I've observed this inuenda/attack the individual strategy used against others who have opposed fundamentalist or right wing agendas.

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Old 16th July 2017, 06:25 AM   #96
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Originally Posted by Giordano View Post
.... The way to do it is by...
The method perfected by David Brower as head of the Sierra Club in the '60's had four basic points:

Use sweeping generalities with little or no support from empirical data.
Appeal to emotion rather than reason.
Use carefully selected, often out-of-context quotations and provide highly problematic interpretations of those quotations.
When the above does not suffice, lie.

Along with massive feely-touchy funding, Brower turned the Sierra Club into a force to be dealt with from coast to coast but he was eventually tossed by his own board of directors. Even though they "had had enough," that same technique is used by myriad groups in myriad venues to this day.
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Old 16th July 2017, 06:44 AM   #97
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Originally Posted by welshdean View Post


I'm not sure what NDGT does, but interestingly, I did learn that the skin of an apple is proportionately similar to the earth's atmosphere. I thought that was a marvelous fact, one to tell the children and their children too.
Astrophysics.
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Old 16th July 2017, 07:06 AM   #98
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Originally Posted by Peregrinus View Post
Some people aren't happy unless they have something to complain about or someone to find real or imagined faults in. Just happens it's Tyson's turn in the barrel.
It's easier to tear someone else down than to lift ourselves up.

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Old 16th July 2017, 07:58 AM   #99
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Originally Posted by Giordano View Post
Nope, he is not an easy target: he is not only an excellent scientist but a superb explainer of science and of the value of science to the general public. Which is what makes him a target of conservatives who find scientifically derived facts inconvenient. Evolution? Goes against fundamentalist religion. Global climate change? Goes against the Koch brothers desire to sell more coal and oil. The importance of government funded research? Goes against the simplistic ideas of purely private enterprise. etc.

And an individual questioning, or worse still, providing facts that might convince others to question the current far-right Republican agenda means that the individual must be attacked and their credibility underminded. The way to do it is by innuendo: subtly suggest, using incorrect, wrong, distorted information, that the individual is not to be trusted. Use rumors. Use hyperbola. Focus on the meaningless. Eventually, even in the absence of any proof, people will develop a subconscious buy in to these lies. "Oh Tyson? I heard you can't trust him... I don't quite remember why, but you can't. So if he says there is global climate change there probably isn't"

I've seen this applied to other prominent individuals n the past and I sense this being applied to Tyson now. This strategy works even more readily against Tyson because of the subconcious racism that cause some people to be unable to admit that a black person might be smarter than they are, and that they might actually learn a lot from that person.
NDT is a vital threat to the same narrative that Barack Obama and Jackie Robinson are/were. Counterexamples frustrating proper intolerance simply cannot be tolerated.
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Old 16th July 2017, 09:35 PM   #100
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Originally Posted by HopDavid View Post
My look at TAM6 is broken into small, digestible sections.

Tyson's fans seem to have a short attention span.
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Old 17th July 2017, 05:47 AM   #101
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Originally Posted by EHocking View Post
TL: DR
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Old 17th July 2017, 05:49 AM   #102
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Originally Posted by EHocking View Post
TL: DR
Nominated for pith.
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Old 17th July 2017, 09:26 AM   #103
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Originally Posted by HopDavid View Post

When Tyson tells you gravity falls exponentially with distance, he certainly isn't teaching you Newtonian mechanics. For orbits to follow the paths of conic sections, gravity needs to fall with inverse square of distance.
Really? falling with the inverse square of distance is a special case of falling exponentially with distance. There's not a damn thing wrong with that statement.
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Old 17th July 2017, 12:11 PM   #104
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Originally Posted by Skeptic Ginger View Post
I think this whole thread is just that, someone whose god beliefs are the real issue.
Obviously. That is why the OP put it in the Religion section, as opposed to Science.
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Old 17th July 2017, 01:24 PM   #105
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Who is Tyson a liability for?

He gets people engaged in science. He gets the interest of those who were uninterested. He gets appreciation for those who do the actual work. He gets important developments into the news. He gives pedants nits to pick at. There is something for everyone. Even bad ties!

And lets be clear, I took the apple skin/atmosphere thing with a grain of salt until marplots went to the trouble to show how *********** accurate it actually is. NDGT promoting science and skepticism!

Among car guys he is oft cited for neglecting aero effect in estimating max corning speed on a race track. He was catastrophically wrong. In a tweet. It was fantastic. Everyone came out of the woodworks to explain the awesome power of aero effects on race cars and I learned a lot about stuff I thought I already knew a lot about.

So again, what is the liability?
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Old 17th July 2017, 03:39 PM   #106
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Originally Posted by CORed View Post
Really? falling with the inverse square of distance is a special case of falling exponentially with distance. There's not a damn thing wrong with that statement.
Eh? Where did you get this from? If you want to defend Tyson better do it with valid arguments.

Hint: Inverse square law -> there is -2 in the exponent. Exponential -> there is x in the exponent.
This makes for a really huge difference.
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Old 17th July 2017, 03:59 PM   #107
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Originally Posted by TheGnome View Post
Eh? Where did you get this from? If you want to defend Tyson better do it with valid arguments.

Hint: Inverse square law -> there is -2 in the exponent. Exponential -> there is x in the exponent.
This makes for a really huge difference.
But read the actual statement. Decreasing (falling) with the square of distance (which is exponential, yes?) is exactly how gravitational force behaves. That is what NDGT was pointing out. This is the same as stating the gravitational force between two objects is related to the inverse square of distance.
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Old 17th July 2017, 06:42 PM   #108
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Originally Posted by Giordano View Post
But read the actual statement. Decreasing (falling) with the square of distance (which is exponential, yes?) is exactly how gravitational force behaves. That is what NDGT was pointing out. This is the same as stating the gravitational force between two objects is related to the inverse square of distance.
Inverse square law is polynomial, not exponential. They behave quite differently.

I'm quite sure Tyson just misspoke. Still I find it a little bit surprising that a scientist in a field that is heavily rooted in math could confuse the two.

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Old 17th July 2017, 11:00 PM   #109
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Originally Posted by fuelair View Post
Originally Posted by Argumemnon View Post
Nominated for pith.
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Old 18th July 2017, 12:22 AM   #110
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Originally Posted by TheGnome View Post
Inverse square law is polynomial, not exponential. They behave quite differently.

I'm quite sure Tyson just misspoke. Still I find it a little bit surprising that a scientist in a field that is heavily rooted in math could confuse the two.
On the subject of misspeaking:
Here I should have said rational

But at least polynomial and rational functions are closely related, the first being a subset of the second
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Old 18th July 2017, 03:19 PM   #111
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Originally Posted by TheGnome View Post
Hint: Inverse square law -> there is -2 in the exponent. Exponential -> there is x in the exponent.
This makes for a really huge difference.
Question: is the difference really huge if x = -2?
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Old 18th July 2017, 05:12 PM   #112
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Originally Posted by Dr. Keith View Post
Question: is the difference really huge if x = -2?
r-2 and -2r are very different, even though both give the same value when r = -2.

Similarly a broken clock is very different from a working one, even though it's still right twice a day.
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Old 18th July 2017, 05:34 PM   #113
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Originally Posted by HopDavid View Post
Snip... I believe Tyson is making the populace even dumber... Snip
You did catch a few mistakes or exaggerations, and I suggest that everything he says must be absolute witchcraft.

He is, in fact, a liability.

Neil deGrasse Tyson is clearly the enemy of rationality. Let's definitely start waging the war for critical thinking by crucifying him. I can't think of anyone else who is more responsible for compromising the coalition for reason than he is.
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Old 18th July 2017, 08:00 PM   #114
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Originally Posted by Roboramma View Post
r-2 and -2r are very different, even though both give the same value when r = -2.

Similarly a broken clock is very different from a working one, even though it's still right twice a day.
NdGT stated (what- once, several times ?) that gravity falls off exponentially with distance, which is actually true for this special case. He did not state that the equation was itself an exponential one. I would say that he slipped too closely into the vernacular use of exponential to incorrectly include power series. Which is none the less quite common usage, particularly for when the base is 2. Relatively few among the general public would understand the distinction.

A missed learning opportunity? Yes, but I certainly doubt he as an astrophysicist lacks this understanding himself...

And he is no broken clock.
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Old 19th July 2017, 04:18 AM   #115
TheGnome
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Originally Posted by Giordano View Post
NdGT stated (what- once, several times ?) that gravity falls off exponentially with distance, which is actually true for this special case. He did not state that the equation was itself an exponential one. I would say that he slipped too closely into the vernacular use of exponential to incorrectly include power series. Which is none the less quite common usage, particularly for when the base is 2. Relatively few among the general public would understand the distinction.

A missed learning opportunity? Yes, but I certainly doubt he as an astrophysicist lacks this understanding himself...

And he is no broken clock.
I don't quite understand your insistence on calling the usage of exponential in this case as correct because I think it definitely is not.

You wouldn't call a parabel to grow exponentialy, would you?

Look I don't think this was a huge mistake by Tyson but it did convey a wrong picture. Celestial mechanics would look very different if gravity would fall off exponentialy with distance.
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Old 19th July 2017, 08:24 AM   #116
Dr. Keith
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Originally Posted by Roboramma View Post
r-2 and -2r are very different,
Yes, but as someone who has a bit of familiarity with math I would say they are both exponential relationships as opposed to linear. I think that is the important distinction that many lay audiences are not familiar with: as you go twice as far from a body the gravity is not just halved.

He could have been more accurate, but in simplifying for a lay audience I think he was accurate enough to make his point. If you think he was trying to misrepresent the formula for calculating gravitational forces or that he doesn't understand that formula, then I think you have a burden to support that claim.

I deal with a very narrow aspect of the law on a regular basis. How I discuss it with my friends, clients, and colleagues are three completely different vocabularies. This was also true when I was an engineer who had a fairly narrow specialty. I tend to assume it is true of most subjects. Even astrophysics.
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Old 19th July 2017, 08:27 AM   #117
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Originally Posted by TheGnome View Post
I don't quite understand your insistence on calling the usage of exponential in this case as correct because I think it definitely is not.

You wouldn't call a parabel to grow exponentialy, would you?

Look I don't think this was a huge mistake by Tyson but it did convey a wrong picture. Celestial mechanics would look very different if gravity would fall off exponentialy with distance.
I like this argument. Yes, for those who could even form that picture in their head completely and accurately, in other words, those intimately familiar with the subject, they would be mislead by his inaccurate terminology? Surely you jest.
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Old 19th July 2017, 08:39 AM   #118
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Originally Posted by HopDavid View Post
Tyson is a B.S. artist. Not as influential as Trump but a B.S. artist regardless. Both Trump and Tyson rose to prominence on the wave of an ignorant populace that values entertainment over rigor and accuracy.

Fareed Zakaria talks about Trump as a B.S. artist. Zakaria quotes Harry Frankfort: “Focus is panoramic rather than particular... with more spacious opportunities for improvisation, color and imaginative play. This is less a matter of craft than of art. Hence the familiar notion of the ”Bull **** artist”. Later in the clip Fareed further quotes Frankfort: “Liars and truth tellers are acutely aware of facts and truth. The B.S. artist, however, has lost all connection with reality. By virture of this, bull **** is a greater enemy of truth than lies are.”

Neil deGrasse Tyson will study a topic with half his attention and then build a story around it. Which is usally entertaining but often wrong. I don’t believe it’s his intention to convey misinformatiom. It comes from combining his flamboyance with sloppy scholarship. And his fantasies are often colored by his preconceptions and prejudices.

What is telling is the acceptance of Tyson’s bull. Most of Tyso’s fans are self proclaimed skeptics. But if his misinformation seems to support their prejudices, they will swallow it without scrutiny. In their own way these self proclaimed skeptics are as credulous as Trump’s birthers.

Paying lip service to skepticism is not sufficient. A true skeptic must question all assumptions whether or not they find the message pleasing.

TAM6

The James Randi Educational Foundation (JREF) used to hold an annual conference stylized as The Amazing Meeting or TAM for short. At TAM6 Tyson gave a presentation. I’ll look at different segments of this presentation.

Terminal Cancer

16 minutes 36 seconds into his presentation Tyson talks about terminal cancer. He argues surviving terminal cancer doesn’t demonstrate divine intervention. Which is fine.

But then he launches into a rant against idiot doctors, the American Medical Association and pre-med students.

The problem with this rant is Tyson’s ignorance on how a prognosis is delivered. A doctor doesn’t tell a patient “You got six months.” Rather a patient is given statistics. Does someone living longer than expected mean the three doctors were idiots? No. It demonstrates there are statistical outliers on a bell curve.

It is ... astonishing. Astonishing Tyson and the Physics 101 prof aren’t familiar with freshmen level statistics and probability. It is also astonishing that they think someone who flunked physics 101 would make it to med school. There are idiot physicists, I assure you.

Dr. Novella called Tyson out on this (scroll to Those Darn Physicists). Tyson’s response to Dr. Novella? Tyson writes:



and Tyson goes on to say:



Well, astrophysicists also resort to giving probabilities when data is incomplete. For example, the probability of asteroid impacts. Tyson likes to talk about the potential destruction of the asteroid Apophis. We can look at the history of Apophis impact estimates. In 2004 chances were in 1 in 233. In 2013 the possibility of a 2036 impact were ruled out. By Tyson’s lights the folks who came up with the 2004 estimate were incompetent idiots.

About Tyson’s TAM6 presentation Dr. Novella writes:



Except for the the part Dr. Novella didn’t like. Dr. Novella evidently wasn’t paying close attention to the rest of the lecture.

Two Thousand Milligrams of Cocaine

A little further into his TAM6 lecture Tyson talks about his jury duty. He takes a judge to task for calling a quantity of cocaine two thousand milligrams. Tyson, not being aware a normal cocaine dose is 150 milligrams, seems to think two grams of coke is a trivial amount.

LSD doses are measured in micrograms. A gram is a million micrograms. Does Tyson think a gram of LSD is a small dosage?

Maybe that is how Tyson managed to conflate 9-11 with the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster.

George Bush and Star Names

https://3.bp.blogspot.com/-HW9rB1dQO...son%2BBush.jpg

Fifty minutes into the TAM6 lecture Tyson gives an account of President Bush’s response to the 9-11.

9-11 was a very emotional time. There was a lot of anger directed at Arabs in general. Tyson has Bush responding with a speech “attempting to distinguish we from they.” Sowing division during that time of turmoil would have been reprehensible.

But Bush’s actual speech was a call for inclusion and tolerance. Bush was exactly the opposite of the xenophobic demagogue from Tyson’s fantasy world.

Moreover, Bush and his administration have repeatedly condemned anti-Muslim rhetoric. Colin Powell helped Corporal Kareem Kahn’s sacrifice to wide attention. Tyson’s shallow stereotype might fit some Republicans. But not all.

It turns out Tyson conflated Bush's 9-11 speech with his eulogy for the Space Shuttle Columbia astronauts. Bush did quote scripture in that eulogy. But he wasn't attempting to distinguish Christians from Muslims.

The Bush and Star Names fiction was part of Tyson’s routine starting in 2006, perhaps earlier. He stopped telling this story in September of 2014 after Sean Davis ran his exposé. How on earth did the self proclaimed skeptics swallow this story for eight years without question? It is because it is an unflattering portrait of a Christian president. Just like Trump’s birthers, they are happy to accept falsehoods if it supports their prejudices.

With some arm twisting Tyson admitted the story was wrong. Not only wrong time but wrong context and wrong intent. There was no Arab baiting in Bush’s eulogy for the Space Shuttle Columbia astronauts.

Hamid al Ghazali Single Handedly Ended the Islamic Golden Age

About 55 minutes into his TAM6 lecture, Tyson Blames Hamid al Ghazali for ending the Islamic Golden Age. According to Tyson, Ghazali’s writings contain the statement that manipulating numbers is the work of the devil. Which is odd since Ghazali praised the disciplines of math and science saying they are necessary for a prosperous society.

When challenged, Tyson back pedals and changes the goal posts:



I think we can safely say there is no Ghazali text containing the assertion that math is the work of the devil. Except maybe in the same fantasy world where Bush was bashing Arabs in the wake of 9-11.

Did Islamic innovation in math and science come to a dead stop with Hamid al Ghazali (1058-1111)? Absolutely not. There were Islamic mathematicians and scholars up until the 1600s. The father of symbolic algegra, Abul al-Husan, lived from 1412 to 1482. The “Golden Age” ended more when the mideast ceased to be a trading hub where diverse cultures would meet and trade ideas.

Tyson will point to the 1.3 billion Muslims presently alive and ask why aren’t they getting as many Nobel prizes as the 15 million Jewish people? It’s Ghazali’s fault! Well, the people of India also number about 1.3 billion. How many people living in India have earned a Nobel prize in science? One - C. V. Raman in Physics. Citizens of China is another group of about 1.3 billion. How many Chinese have earned Nobel prizes in science? Three. About a dozen if you include Chinese people not living in China. And both India and China have also enjoyed periods of creativity in math and science. In fact it was the Indians who invented the so called Arabic decimal system, not the Arabs as Tyson falsely claims.

So Tyson’s numbers don’t demonstrate exceptionally bad performance on the part of Muslims. Rather they demonstrate the spectacular success of people coming from Judeo Christian backgrounds. Jewish Nobel prize winners. And Christian Nobel prize winners.

Rising Religiosity is Destroying American Scientific Curiosity

About 57 minutes minutes into his TAM6 talk [url=https://youtu.be/8vfOpZD4Sm8?t=3438]Tyson shows an anti Big Bang Theory bill board as an example of Christian stupidity. He seems unaware that it was a Catholic priest, Georges Lemaître, who formulated the Big Bang theory.

Tyson often nostalgically looks back to the Apollo era. But more people were going to church when we were putting men on the moon. It is hard to make rising religiosity the scapegoat for our declining competence. Religiosity has also been on the decline.

Newton Invented Calculus On A Dare

About an hour into his TAM6 lecture, Tyson portrays Newton as a super human saying Newton invented calculus on a dare.

Well, no.

Two thousand years before Newton Eudoxus was slicing stuff into small bits to get more accurate approximations of volume and area. His methods were well known when Descartes invented analytic geometry (also known as graph paper with an x and y axis). With Descartes’ invention y=x^2 became a parabola. x^2 + y^2 = 1 became a circle with radius one. Descartes’ way of looking at things enabled us to scrutinize conic sections and other curves with symbolic algebra.

After Descartes invented analytic geometry, it was only a matter of time before someone used Eudoxus like methods to get good approximations of the slope of a curve or the area under a curve. Which was done by Fermat among others. Fermat was the father of calculus. After Fermat the discoveries of Newton were inevitable as evidenced that Leibniz made them at the same time.

Rick Stryker paints a more accurate picture -- The development of calculus was the collaborative effort of many.

After thinking he had established Newton’s super powers Tyson flatly asserts Newton could have knocked out perturbation theory in an afternoon. “You know this!” Tyson shouts to his enthusiastic audience. Well, no. I don’t. And neither does Tyson or his credulous audience.

Euler took a crack at perturbation theory and n-body mechanics. As did Lagrange. Both these men were giants in their own right but did not make satisfactory models. 100 years after Newton, Laplace built on the work of Euler, Lagrange and Newton. To say Newton could have done it in an afternoon is disrespecting Laplace, Euler and Lagrange. It is also profoundly ignorant.

In Tyson’s alternate history Newton would have easily done Laplace’s n-body work had he not been stopped by his belief in the “God of The Gaps”. Tyson states this as a flat out fact. But an alternate history is not a testable hypothesis. We can’t rewind history and see what happens with different parameters.

I’ll offer my alternate history. An agnostic Newton would have been a normal young man who spent his spare time in taverns chasing women. No splitting of light, no laws of motion, and no contributions to calculus. His accomplishments would have been zip, zero, nada. Like Tyson’s alternate history this is nothing more than idle speculation. But you won’t see me shouting the absolute certainty of this fantasy to a roomful of so called skeptics.

In Summary

On the stage of TAM6 Tyson pushed out one steaming pile after another. And his fans ate it up.

Tyson demonstrates the self proclaimed skeptics are actually credulous. The JREF folks should be deeply embarrassed.

I expect Tyson to be increasingly used as an instrument to discredit the skeptic community much like Anthony Weiner was used to discredit Democrats. He is a serious liability.
Soo..... what exactly are you saying?....
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Old 19th July 2017, 10:15 AM   #119
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Originally Posted by Dr. Keith View Post
I like this argument. Yes, for those who could even form that picture in their head completely and accurately, in other words, those intimately familiar with the subject, they would be mislead by his inaccurate terminology? Surely you jest.
So he's using the Lie-to-childrenWP method to engage with people who may otherwise switch off the "boring science stuff". What's the problem again?
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Old 19th July 2017, 03:27 PM   #120
TheGnome
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Originally Posted by Dr. Keith View Post
I like this argument. Yes, for those who could even form that picture in their head completely and accurately, in other words, those intimately familiar with the subject, they would be mislead by his inaccurate terminology? Surely you jest.
I guess I just don't understand you guys.

Or maybe you just don't understand the difference between a power law and an exponential law?

I mean every time we read of an exponential growth rate in the news paper (and we do from time to time, though it is quite often misapplied), it could just mean a square law, right?

And this has not much to do with a complete and accurate understanding of the underlying issues.
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