Off Topic > Beyond Belief

Tyson, Dawkins, and religion

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--- Quote from: raven on January 13, 2013, 04:31:40 PM ---Plus, he knows Superman.;D
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Wow, I hadn't heard that. I'm a big fan of Tyson, and as a few people in the comments say, he has finally filled Carl Sagan's empty shoes as a popularizer of science. If anything, I think Tyson does a better job. (And I say that as a Cornell graduate who saw a lot of Sagan in his prime.)

It was also interesting to see the discussion on the NPR site about Tyson vs Dawkins. I'm among those who think their tactics are complementary, but anyone who thinks Tyson can't get as hard-edged as Dawkins when he wants hasn't seen him in action. Tyson gives an entertaining and passionate talk about how religious fundamentalism destroyed a once-flourishing Islamic scientific community, and how it's now destroying us. I saw him give it in Las Vegas in 2011 at the JREF convention. His talk alone made the trip worthwhile.

Maybe it's just me and my upbringing, (growing up in a Christian home of young earth creationists who at the same time encouraged my scientific curiosity) but Dawkins comes across as, well, an asshole. :-[
Dr. Tyson is great at encouraging the wonder and enthusiasm of science, the majesty and marvel of creation, like a more grand and mature Bill Nye, or, yes, Sagan.


--- Quote from: raven on January 13, 2013, 07:40:22 PM ---Maybe it's just me and my upbringing,...but Dawkins comes across as, well, an asshole.
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No it is not just you.  Dawkins is a scientific genius but is also very politically anti-religious and his judgmental nature comes across clearly.

Look for videos of Tyson's talk. He's given variations of it for some time, and you'll find some of them on Youtube.

Maybe he was unusually blunt because the JREF conference where I saw him was attended largely by atheists, but he wasn't at all accommodating to religion.

In fact, he reminded me much of Dawkins in the way that he dissected the "God of the Gaps" argument. He cited examples of how even Isaac Newton, who he felt was not only the greatest scientist but also the smartest human who ever lived (and he's probably right), fell for the God of the Gaps when discussing something he didn't understand yet scientifically -- but which we do now.

Sure, one is an astronomer while the other is a biologist, and they have different personal styles, but they often say the very same things.


--- Quote from: gillianren on January 13, 2013, 07:43:27 PM ---he's solely preaching to the choir.
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And, uh, we're not?  ;)


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