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R.A.F.
2013-Sep-10, 08:17 PM
20 years ago today, Bill Nye the Science Guy premiered on TV. (http://www.geekosystem.com/20-years-of-nye/)

R.A.F.
2013-Sep-10, 08:43 PM
Here (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=raXmgpFetas) is a deleted clip from Bill's guest appearance on Stargate which I had not seen before.

I like the way he "uses" the scifi of Stargate as a teaching moment.

Gillianren
2013-Sep-10, 09:18 PM
He's a former Boeing engineer, you know--which means I recognize more than a few of the locations of the show, because they filmed it in Seattle.

Trebuchet
2013-Sep-10, 09:44 PM
He's a former Boeing engineer, you know--which means I recognize more than a few of the locations of the show, because they filmed it in Seattle.

He was actually in my group at Boeing, before I was there. I saw him visiting in the office one time.

R.A.F.
2013-Sep-10, 09:49 PM
He's a former Boeing engineer, you know...

Seems like something I should have known, but no...I didn't know.

Noclevername
2013-Sep-10, 11:06 PM
The guy from Beakman's World is a former puppeteer. Not to contrast them or anything.

publiusr
2013-Sep-15, 08:43 PM
Bill, at least according to the wiki, invented the 747's hydraulic pressure resonance suppressor. The only thing he got wrong was a blurb or two about atomic power:

"Nye erroneously stated that cesium is used to "slow and control" the nuclear reaction. In reality, cesium (specifically cesium-137) is a nuclear fission product, not a control rod material. Nye also erroneously stated that the nuclear reactor involved in the Three Mile Island incident is still running and that the use of boron to slow the nuclear chain reaction is uncommon, when in fact boron-10 is commonly used in control rods, and is circulated in the coolant of reactors in the United States, as well as stored on site as a method of emergency shutdown."

wd40
2014-Feb-05, 02:35 AM
What's the informed opinion of how Nye performed in today's debate with Ham?
http://debatelive.org/

Gillianren
2014-Feb-05, 08:00 AM
The informed opinion so far as I am concerned is that he shouldn't have wasted his time.

Trebuchet
2014-Feb-05, 03:38 PM
What's the informed opinion of how Nye performed in today's debate with Ham?
http://debatelive.org/

Here (http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2014/02/04/live-blogging-the-nye-ham-spectacle/) is P.Z. Myers' take on it. In another post, he links to a poll at a Christian website showing Nye winning 91% to 9%. That was yesterday, of course, and it's an internet poll so the results are meaningless.

ETA: Here (http://www.christiantoday.com/article/bill.nye.vs.ken.ham.debate.live.stream.free.watch. online.creation.vs.evolution.debate.here.start.tim e/35688.htm) is the site with the poll, which is now running 92% to 8% with about 25,000 votes. It would surprise me not at all if you could find other poll with the opposite results. Note also that that site uses something (probably Flash) which slowed my archaic computer to a crawl.

Noclevername
2014-Feb-06, 08:01 PM
Bad Astronomer on the debate (http://www.slate.com/blogs/bad_astronomy/2014/02/05/creationism_debate_should_we_engage_anti_science.h tml).



So evolution is not anti-religion in general. But is it atheistic? No. Evolution takes no stand on the existence or lack thereof of a god or gods. Whether you think life originated out of ever-more complex chemical reactions occurring on an ancient Earth, or was breathed into existence by God, evolution would take over after that moment. It’s a bit like the Big Bang; we don’t know how the Universe came into existence at that moment, but starting a tiny fraction of a second after that event our science does a pretty fair job of explanation.

I can’t stress this enough. The conflict over the teaching of evolution is based on the false assumption that evolution is antagonistic to religion.

Cougar
2014-Feb-07, 06:19 PM
The guy from Beakman's World is a former puppeteer. Not to contrast them or anything.

I used to work on that show. Beakman was great, but Josie was fantastic. Unfortunately, she left and went on to bigger and better things....

SkepticJ
2014-Feb-07, 11:00 PM
One of my [skeptical] friends posted on Ham's Facebook page, so I got to see one of Ham's posts. He believes he won the debate, what a deluded wiener. It was . . . interesting reading the comments from people who believe Ham stomped Nye; I couldn't make it through too many, though--it felt like my IQ was dropping.

Van Rijn
2014-Feb-08, 01:35 AM
One of my [skeptical] friends posted on Ham's Facebook page, so I got to see one of Ham's posts. He believes he won the debate [...]

That doesn't surprise me. In order to believe the Earth is only a few thousand years old in the face of overwhelming evidence requires fingers to be placed firmly in ears, with much repeating of "La La La, I'm not listening!" I wouldn't expect this debate to change that.

There were a few things I would have liked Nye to cover a bit differenty, and he clearly was unfamiliar with a couple of standard YEC claims. When Ham went on and on about scientists and engineers that are YECs, and how they did good work in their field, I would have liked to see some emphasis on the point that this isn't an argument about mental agility but misplaced and detrimental beliefs. I would have liked to see some questions about how well YEC scientists do on subjects that are directly contradicted by their beliefs. A YEC astronomer may well do good work in some specialties of astronomy, but how well does he do on work that requires he acknowledge conventional timescales? How often does a YEC astronomer develop an original insight that would go directly against their beliefs?

publiusr
2014-Feb-08, 07:24 PM
When Ham went on and on about scientists and engineers that are YECs...

Then you say that there are always cranks in any field. Now imagine if a biologist tried to tell an electrical engineer his business, and came up with incorrect circuit boards, etc.

Not a smart thing to do. Same with cranks trying to tell evolutionary biologists their business.

Trebuchet
2014-Feb-09, 01:20 AM
Then you say that there are always cranks in any field. Now imagine if a biologist tried to tell an electrical engineer his business, and came up with incorrect circuit boards, etc.

Not a smart thing to do. Same with cranks trying to tell evolutionary biologists their business.

Yup. In a forty year engineering career, I met an simply amazing number of creationist engineers, AGW-denier engineers, and other assorted completely-wrong engineers. Including, most recently, one who thought the Navy shot down TWA 800, despite working for the company that built the plane and figured out what happened. All of these folks were entirely competent - some even brilliant - in their own field.

Van Rijn
2014-Feb-09, 05:55 AM
Then you say that there are always cranks in any field.


In a debate like that, I'd avoid the word "crank." That just gives a word your opponent can use to argue about and may turn part of the audience against you. I'd put it on the other side: Acknowledge that YECs can be fine scientists or engineers - as long as they don't need to do anything that confronts their beliefs. Ham brought up a professional YEC astronomer, which no doubt is possible, but a YEC astronomer would have to do some very careful tiptoeing to avoid the science that contradicts their beliefs. I'd ask for a list of YEC scientists who introduced original findings that were contradictory to their beliefs, excluding those who gave up their YEC beliefs based on what they found. I suspect that would be a very short list.

publiusr
2014-Feb-09, 07:52 PM
And Nye could have talked about Old Earthers, and the ugly way YEC folks go after them. I think it is harder for skeptics these days. In the past it was all about Sunday school, go burn your D&D manuals. Now I see more YEC'ers and the electric-universe folks and cryptid hunters all rubbing off on each other. If the Earth was only 6,000 years old, then a plesiosaur might have survived in Loch Ness, Bigfoot are "Nephilim," and so were the Greek Gods--so its ALL real...Nessie, UFOs (not aliens they're all demons of course :) )

That's how you get on Coast-To-Coast. The Woo try not to contradict each other too much and accommodate each other's tales if they can--so its all very chummy.

But that isn't how science works. We reveal truth with conflict, peer review--not by accommodation. You don't teach the controversy, you teach what is.

It is just that "what is" can be very depressing. You won't meet passed loved ones, there will likely be no field effect starships, humans didn't ride dinos as on the Flintstones, bigfoot is a myth....bummer!

The universe is older and more majestic, yes, but it seems a less fun place to live.

And even I'm guilty. I keep going to Nextbigfuture hoping to see some breakthrough, something that will give humanity at least a taste of what we see on Saturday morning--even though I should know better.

This is why we need programs like Cosmos to give us new things to hold onto, just in case.

I think the one thing that makes people doubt evolution is the old memory of the warm pond model where something just kind of happens, when what you really see are impact theory, extremophiles and smokers, the alembics of the deep--nature as Hermes Trismegistus. Or to oil men, you might call smokers biological cracking stations of a sort. This more dynamic model is far better than the warm pond which is what Ken thinks Evolution can be reduced to. It's a lot richer than that. And that is cool too.

This is why we need men like Bill Nye, to bring the cool factor back to science.

SkepticJ
2014-Feb-10, 03:41 AM
Now I see more YEC'ers and the electric-universe folks and cryptid hunters all rubbing off on each other.

Ewww.


The universe is older and more majestic, yes, but it seems a less fun place to live.

And even I'm guilty. I keep going to Nextbigfuture hoping to see some breakthrough, something that will give humanity at least a taste of what we see on Saturday morning--even though I should know better.

Millions of people fly through the skies, inside giant metal birds, several times faster than an arrow flies, each year . . .

We landed on the Moon over 40 years ago. We have a robot on Mars that is still working after 10 years of operation . . .

We power entire cities by splitting the nuclei of a heavy metal. We build mechanical whales, and moving islands of steel, that only need to eat once every twenty years.

We communicate with one another using technology that would have seemed like sorcery (what you're reading this on), and would have gotten us executed as witches, in the 16th Century.

Our entire modern existence is Clarke's Third Law territory, we're just used to it.


I think the one thing that makes people doubt evolution is the old memory of the warm pond model where something just kind of happens, when what you really see are impact theory, extremophiles and smokers, the alembics of the deep--nature as Hermes Trismegistus. Or to oil men, you might call smokers biological cracking stations of a sort. This more dynamic model is far better than the warm pond which is what Ken thinks Evolution can be reduced to. It's a lot richer than that. And that is cool too.

That's not it, at all. I can't explain, because of the no religious discussion rule, but it boils down to a teaching that rhymes with "boriginal rin".

danscope
2014-Feb-10, 04:34 AM
" The trouble is that these people watch the Flinstones like it was a documentary." Lewis Black

NEOWatcher
2014-Feb-10, 04:22 PM
Millions of people fly through the skies, inside giant metal birds, several times faster than an arrow flies, each year . . .
We landed on the Moon over 40 years ago. We have a robot on Mars that is still working after 10 years of operation . . .
We power entire cities by splitting the nuclei of a heavy metal. We build mechanical whales, and moving islands of steel, that only need to eat once every twenty years.
We communicate with one another using technology that would have seemed like sorcery (what you're reading this on), and would have gotten us executed as witches, in the 16th Century.
Our entire modern existence is Clarke's Third Law territory, we're just used to it.
But all of that can be explained away by a YEC as us developing it in the last 6000 years since there is no direct relying on the past.
But; there is one thing in there that is hard to dismiss.

Our harnessing of the atom can not be explained away. It takes precise knowledge of the decay rate of these atoms and isotopes, and that precise knowledge points to Earth based material that is far longer than 6000 years old.

Although; like anything else a YEC can handwave that away too. In fact, they need to. It's the basis for carbon dating.

Chuck
2014-Feb-10, 07:51 PM
I think Ken Ham's story is that Noah's flood was so catastrophic that it changed things like tree ring formation, sediment deposit rates, fossilization, and heavy element decay.

Chuck
2014-Feb-10, 08:59 PM
But it's not the laws of physics that change. It's the conditions under which they're operating that are different now.

SkepticJ
2014-Feb-10, 10:42 PM
But all of that can be explained away by a YEC as us developing it in the last 6000 years since there is no direct relying on the past.
But; there is one thing in there that is hard to dismiss.

You've completely missed the point of what I was saying.

By way of interpretation, publiusr said that he wishes that we lived in a world where amazing things happen. We do.

If we did coexist with dinosaurs, that would quickly become mundane, just like giant metal birds that roar through the skies are now.

NEOWatcher
2014-Feb-11, 01:41 PM
You've completely missed the point of what I was saying.
I really didn't know what exactly you were saying.
I missed the connection between the wonder and majesty related by Publiusr combined with my own opinion that YECs probably don't care about that anyway.
Maybe I don't understand the emotional veiw of a YEC and only understand their basis is.

SkepticJ
2014-Feb-11, 07:18 PM
Maybe I don't understand the emotional veiw of a YEC and only understand their basis is.

Extreme ego*, and the aforementioned sand that it throws into their theology.

It's not, in my experience, about maintaining wonder.

One has to be at least somewhat humble to accept evolution.

*"I'm not related to a monkey! I'm the pinnacle of Creation."

Buttercup
2014-Feb-11, 07:24 PM
Extreme ego*...

*"I'm not related to a monkey! I'm the pinnacle of Creation."

Well to be really honest, I am not thrilled to be related to monkeys.

SkepticJ
2014-Feb-11, 07:29 PM
Why? Monkeys are cool.

NEOWatcher
2014-Feb-11, 07:32 PM
Well to be really honest, I am not thrilled to be related to monkeys.
Would it make you feel better to know we are more closely related to chimpanzees than monkeys?

Buttercup
2014-Feb-11, 07:34 PM
No and no.

SkepticJ
2014-Feb-11, 07:38 PM
But our chimp-like ancestors evolved from some sort of monkey. Primates are far older than the great apes.

Of course if you go back 530 million years, or so, our ancestors looked like this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pikaia

There's a Charles Darwin quote that I really like about this:

"For my own part I would as soon be descended from that heroic little monkey, who braved his dreaded enemy in order to save the life of his keeper; or from that old baboon, who, descending from the mountains, carried away in triumph his young comrade from a crowd of astonished dogs—as from a savage who delights to torture his enemies, offers up bloody sacrifices, practices infanticide without remorse, treats his wives like slaves, knows no decency, and is haunted by the grossest superstitions."

I'd rather be related to a crap-thrower than some people, like those on "reality TV".

Buttercup
2014-Feb-11, 07:41 PM
:) To each their own.

(hint: I much prefer Vulcans to Klingons)

Buttercup
2014-Feb-11, 07:51 PM
I'm just now recalling a little song from childhood:

I'm no kin to the monkey, no no no;
the monkey's no kin to me, yeah yeah yeah.
I don't know about his ancestors,
but mine didn't swing from a tree!

:lol:

And yes, I am on the side of science/evolution! But I still don't like the thought of...ugh (flea pickers).

Chuck
2014-Feb-11, 09:42 PM
We're also related to crabgrass, rats, and dung beetles.

Noclevername
2014-Feb-11, 11:55 PM
We're also related to crabgrass, rats, and dung beetles.

And fleas.

SkepticJ
2014-Feb-12, 04:02 AM
We're also related to crabgrass, rats, and dung beetles.

Yeah, but they're not ancestors, but multi-billionth (and trillionth . . .) cousins.

Again, all those preferable to some people.

I've got no beef with dung beetles; they don't even let crap go to waste.

Trebuchet
2014-Feb-12, 03:34 PM
Tiktaalik! (Note to self: get back to reading Your Inner Fish.)

Noclevername
2014-Feb-12, 06:56 PM
"For my own part I would as soon be descended from that heroic little monkey, who braved his dreaded enemy in order to save the life of his keeper; or from that old baboon, who, descending from the mountains, carried away in triumph his young comrade from a crowd of astonished dogs—as from a savage who delights to torture his enemies, offers up bloody sacrifices, practices infanticide without remorse, treats his wives like slaves, knows no decency, and is haunted by the grossest superstitions."

I'd rather be related to a crap-thrower than some people, like those on "reality TV".

Sadly, we're related to both. And far more closely to the people than to the animals. You can't choose your relatives, unfortunately.