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Thread: What do you think of Neil degrasse Tyson?

  1. #61
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    To me, the inaccuracies when he wanders out of astrophysics and into something else like medicine or history are a specific part of a bigger general thing what keeps me from being a fan. He wouldn't create the opportunity for inaccuracy if he wouldn't meander around like that in the first place. And when he does meander, just as a matter of style, I don't like how long & slow it is or how much the point seems to be about how he feels or expects the audience to feel about the story he's telling.

    This is based on short interviews, Startalk clips, and auditorium speeches. It might be different if I had seen his long-form TV documentaries.
    Last edited by Delvo; 2019-Jan-07 at 10:43 PM.

  2. #62
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Backroad Astronomer View Post
    Over here most places require you to get a full undergrad to go into medicine ...
    Yeah, I know. I worked and taught at McMaster in Ontario for a while. The North American model of a premed degree is a deep mystery in the rest of the world, but it still commonly involves a "track" that's supposed to prepare a person for learning medicine - it just takes forever to get through.
    My point about pre-med physics applies to either the North American or UK model, though. If you want to learn physics, learn physics. If you want to learn medicine, learn a targeted amount of foundational physics, and don't tolerate any crap from physics professors. Much of the nonsense American and Canadian premed students have to put up with is driven by the competition to enter medical school, rather than a sensible educational trajectory.

    Grant Hutchison
    Last edited by grant hutchison; 2019-Jan-07 at 10:51 PM.

  3. #63
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Backroad Astronomer View Post
    Maybe Tyson heard it was all on a dare from a professor when he was in school.
    I rather doubt it. I give many examples of Tyson misremembering stuff and filling in the gaps with his imagination.

    He wildly exaggerates Newton's accomplishments. See Thony Christie's The Wrong Question and Why Doesn't He Just Shut Up?.

    Which would be merely annoying if he didn't use this to make one of his political points. Supposedly an agnostic Newton could have done Laplace's perturbation theory in an afternoon. After all Newton is the super human guy who invented calculus in two months. On a dare. But supposedly Newton didn't bother because he was satisified with the explanation that God keeps the solar system stable.

    I don't mind criticizing religion if it's fact based. But Tyson's cautionary tales against religion are based on bad history. He should be called out.

    Tyson is a source of misinformation.

  4. #64
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    Quote Originally Posted by Delvo View Post
    To me, the inaccuracies when he wanders out of astrophysics and into something else like medicine or history are a specific part of a bigger general thing what keeps me from being a fan.
    He makes mistakes in basic physics as well.

    For example his calling out the spin gravity in 2001 A Space Odyssey's rotating space station. According to Tyson the station spins three times too fast and so someone would weigh triple what they do on earth. Two things wrong with that.

    1) Do the math for a 150 meter radius station making a revolution each 61 seconds and you will get 1/6 g. Which is what Clarke and Kubrick intended since the station was a stop on the way to the moon.

    2) Also spin grav is ω2 r. So if the station spun three times too fast, you would weigh nine times too much. This is freshman physics.

    There are other examples. This one is especially annoying to me since Clarke and Kubrick were sticklers for accuracy. And I'm a huge fan of Clarke.

  5. #65
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    Yikes, I was willing to ignore the allegations against him, but the fact that he seems to get his physics wrong is hard to forgive.

  6. #66
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    Just FYI these are the tweets from the lady who has accused him of rape. I'll leave you to judge. (Warning: NSFW language)

    https://ibb.co/n3VXBkC

  7. #67
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    And this is the photo from one of the allegations. He was merely looking for the tattoo of Pluto on her shoulder. (Picture is safe for work).

    https://wp-media.patheos.com/blogs/s...dKatelyn-1.png

    Please tell me why he deserves to have his career and reputation damaged because of something that is at worst a minor faux pas to be fixed by an apology.

    I think that the #metoo movement is doing themselves a disservice by implying things like this deserve the same level of outage as actual sexual assaults. It destroys the credibility of the movement and is counter protective to real cases of illegal abuse.

  8. #68
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    Quote Originally Posted by The_Radiation_Specialist View Post
    Just FYI these are the tweets from the lady who has accused him of rape. I'll leave you to judge. (Warning: NSFW language)
    Hmmm. Earlier on this thread:
    Quote Originally Posted by The_Radiation_Specialist View Post
    ... I'm awaiting judgement until a proper legal process investigates the allegations while you seem to imply we should jump into judging someone's character before the due process is conducted. Can you see how your line of reasoning can be problematic?
    What happened there?

    Grant Hutchison

  9. #69
    I just went to his website and checked when he was last published with research and it has been about 20 years. Maybe he is just rusty because he has spent most of that time as an admin at the Hayden Planetarium and science spokes man.
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  10. #70
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    Quote Originally Posted by The_Radiation_Specialist View Post
    And this is the photo from one of the allegations. He was merely looking for the tattoo of Pluto on her shoulder. (Picture is safe for work).

    https://wp-media.patheos.com/blogs/s...dKatelyn-1.png

    Please tell me why he deserves to have his career and reputation damaged because of something that is at worst a minor faux pas to be fixed by an apology.
    Is that picture the basis of the groping claim? (I don't know, I'm asking). I thought the claim was that his hand roved under her clothes, and if so, there may or may not be photos or other witnesses.

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  11. #71
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    Quote Originally Posted by The_Radiation_Specialist View Post
    Just FYI these are the tweets from the lady who has accused him of rape. I'll leave you to judge. (Warning: NSFW language)

    https://ibb.co/n3VXBkC
    Those appear to be tweets collected by someone else I suspect to have an agenda, and generally my response to it is "okay, so what?"

    I did see a bit from this woman when her claim was mentioned on the Patheos site, and she does seem to say some things that strike me as a bit strange, but then that's a very common experience for me - I have close relatives where I could say the same. It isn't something I'd want to base an opinion on in regards to the rape allegation, and I think it was a poor idea (from a public relations standpoint at least) for Tyson to allude to it in his statement.

    I'm going to need to see something more significant to come to any conclusion on this issue. The most I will say is that I'm not going to assume his guilt because there are allegations. I will need to see something substantial.

    "The problem with quotes on the Internet is that it is hard to verify their authenticity." — Abraham Lincoln

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  12. #72
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    Quote Originally Posted by Van Rijn View Post
    Is that picture the basis of the groping claim? (I don't know, I'm asking). I thought the claim was that his hand roved under her clothes, and if so, there may or may not be photos or other witnesses.
    The picture is not the basis for the groping claim. The offending actions allegedly took place after the photo was taken. Allers gave a phone interview to a journalist who quotes her as saying:
    After we had taken the picture, he noticed my tattoo and kind of grabbed me to look at it, and was really obsessed about whether I had Pluto on this tattoo or not… and then he looked for Pluto, and followed the tattoo into my dress.
    My experience with him is he’s not someone who has great respect for female bodily autonomy
    There are more reflections on the reported experience, by Allers and others, at the end of my link.

    Grant Hutchison
    Last edited by grant hutchison; 2019-Jan-08 at 01:41 AM.

  13. #73
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    Ah, interesting. Thanks Grant.

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  14. #74
    I wonder what would happen if he saw a tattoo on a guy he liked what he would do?

    The only astronomy spokes man that hasn't gotten into trouble is Phil. I guess that is the advantage of living most of the time on a ranch with goats and horses, their not going to say anything.
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  15. #75
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    Quote Originally Posted by The_Radiation_Specialist View Post
    Yikes, I was willing to ignore the allegations against him, but the fact that he seems to get his physics wrong is hard to forgive.
    Well actually... botching basic math and physics is pretty embarrassing if you're supposedly the face of science.

    And trying to rewrite history is a serious offense. More serious than putting the moves on one of your subordinates, in my opinion. Although Amet's rape allegations would trump that if they were true.

  16. #76
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Backroad Astronomer View Post
    I wonder what would happen if he saw a tattoo on a guy he liked what he would do?

    The only astronomy spokes man that hasn't gotten into trouble is Phil. I guess that is the advantage of living most of the time on a ranch with goats and horses, their not going to say anything.
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  17. #77
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    Folks, let's try to keep the discussion around science ... how Tyson presents it. This forum is not a good place to discuss - and definitely not to litigate - the misconduct allegations against him.
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  18. #78
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Backroad Astronomer View Post
    The only astronomy spokes man that hasn't gotten into trouble is Phil. I guess that is the advantage of living most of the time on a ranch with goats and horses, their not going to say anything.
    Pop science celebrities are growing cliques like IFLS. They are making America even dumber.

    Has anyone else seen Phil's TV show? There was a segment where Phil was saying it's tough to endure sustained acceleration and that's why we haven't sent more humans to the moon or Mars. If memory serves, Phil was saying it would take 3 or 4 days at 3 g's to reach the moon. I am hoping to make a You Tube vid on this.

    I did a critique on one of Fraser Cain's pieces awhile back.

    Carl Sagan's critics were wary of pop science. They were anxious that the need to entertain would take precedence over rigor and accuracy. Their fears have been realized.

  19. #79
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Backroad Astronomer View Post
    I wonder what would happen if he saw a tattoo on a guy he liked what he would do?

    The only astronomy spokes man that hasn't gotten into trouble is Phil. I guess that is the advantage of living most of the time on a ranch with goats and horses, their not going to say anything.
    You realize that Phil has only moved to a ranch comparatively recently? Prior to that, he lived in Virginia and California. And I don't know that he's the only astronomy spokesman that hasn't gotten into trouble. Fraser Cain springs to mind and there are others.

    More to the point of this thread (beyond the accusations), I always found Tyson's demeanor on camera to be pretentious. Some of the statements he's made outside of astronomy, particularly on Twitter, have been questionable (though maybe just simplified for the medium sometimes). When he has been wrong, it always bothered me that he didn't seem to admit it or even address it. That seems a little arrogant to me.

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  20. #80
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hop_David View Post
    Has anyone else seen Phil's TV show? There was a segment where Phil was saying it's tough to endure sustained acceleration and that's why we haven't sent more humans to the moon or Mars. If memory serves, Phil was saying it would take 3 or 4 days at 3 g's to reach the moon.
    Not sure I have. To which show and episode are you referring?



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  21. #81
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    Quote Originally Posted by CJSF View Post
    More to the point of this thread (beyond the accusations), I always found Tyson's demeanor on camera to be pretentious.
    That's what renders him unwatchable for me - I had to turn Cosmos off after 20 minutes (though I wasn't feeling engaged by the content and visual presentation, either).
    His manner seems to be different, in the way Delvo describes, when he's making a public appearance. The clip I linked to, from his address at TAM6, shows a sort of strange rambling going on, which I find equally annoying, even if he were talking about something I found interesting or defensible.

    Grant Hutchison

  22. #82
    Schlaugh, he is referring to Bad Universe, I think the claim Hop David was talking about was dealt with right after the episode aired about 9 years ago.

    Hop David.
    I don't like IFLS I think they are one of worst click baity sites out there. Whether or not the fans of that site likes I, Carly or not does not mean I thing. (One of our long time posters has a daughter that auditioned for the show. )

    The people who did not like Carl Sagan popularizing science because they were being a bunch of stuck up, arrogant, self righteous [can't say one forums].

    You seem intelligent but angry. I don't know why you are angry but deal with it.

    CSJF
    Have a sense humor. There are a lot more science communicators out there then just Phil and Tyson.
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  23. #83
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Backroad Astronomer View Post
    Schlaugh, he is referring to Bad Universe, I think the claim Hop David was talking about was dealt with right after the episode aired about 9 years ago.

    Hop David.
    I don't like IFLS I think they are one of worst click baity sites out there. Whether or not the fans of that site likes I, Carly or not does not mean I thing. (One of our long time posters has a daughter that auditioned for the show. )

    The people who did not like Carl Sagan popularizing science because they were being a bunch of stuck up, arrogant, self righteous [can't say one forums].

    You seem intelligent but angry. I don't know why you are angry but deal with it.

    CSJF
    Have a sense humor. There are a lot more science communicators out there then just Phil and Tyson.
    The Backroad Astronomer

    You seem to be the one who is inappropriately angry. Do not accuse other members of anger issues or lacking a sense of humor.
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  24. #84
    Sorry didn't mean to come across as angry.
    I meant to CJSF I know Phil moved to Colorado over a decade ago and I was just joking.

    To Hop David
    I think it is just more than just a few errors that is driving his issues with Tyson.
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  25. #85
    I think I will back down on this topic for 24 hours.
    From the wilderness to the cosmos.
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  26. 2019-Jan-09, 07:54 PM
    Reason
    Duplicate created in editing

  27. #86
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Backroad Astronomer View Post
    The people who did not like Carl Sagan popularizing science because they were being a bunch of stuck up, arrogant, self righteous [can't say one forums].
    Not being entirely fair to people like Harold Urey, there.
    These folk had legitimate concerns, which are still legitimate concerns today with people like Tyson and Cox - that an unbalanced view is presented, with "Wow!" being favoured over any real presentation of the issues, and with ideas not just being over-simplified, but the fact that they are being oversimplified being concealed. (And there were real concerns that Sagan was doing this in his professional life as well as his "Sagan Circus" presentations.)

    How many times have you encountered someone who excitedly conveyed some AMAZING thing they'd learned from a popular science thread on television, and found yourself saying, "Well, that's not the whole story, really."

    I'm not convinced that television "science popularizers" actually popularize science at all. They popularize something adjacent to science which looks a bit like science.

    Grant Hutchison
    Last edited by grant hutchison; 2019-Jan-09 at 08:15 PM.

  28. #87
    The thing is that the person who pays for most science is the tax payer. It is a bit unfair to pay for something and not understand what you are paying for. Plus if you want new scientist, engineers and doctors you need to get people excited about early in life.
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  29. #88
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Backroad Astronomer View Post
    The thing is that the person who pays for most science is the tax payer. It is a bit unfair to pay for something and not understand what you are paying for. Plus if you want new scientist, engineers and doctors you need to get people excited about early in life.
    So the story goes. But does the current trend in TV science programming actually deliver on that? Or are we simply delivering science-themed entertainment? That's the serious question people have been asking ever since Urey commented adversely on the Sagan Circus.
    And people were getting excited about science (real science) long before there were TV shows and celebrity science presenters. No-one ever said, "Oh, there's a terrible lack of interest in science - what we need are some television programmes to fix that." We have no cohort study comparing interest in science in children with and without exposure to TV science shows - we just have a narrative in which science graduates fondly remember the science shows of their childhood, and then make the (grossly unscientific) assumption that therefore science shows must increase interest in science; whereas the arrow of causation might point in the opposite direction, there might be a confounding factor, or in fact there might be no correlation at all and the whole idea may have arisen because of all the biases that retrospection is heir to.

    Grant Hutchison

  30. #89
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Backroad Astronomer View Post
    The thing is that the person who pays for most science is the tax payer. It is a bit unfair to pay for something and not understand what you are paying for. Plus if you want new scientist, engineers and doctors you need to get people excited about early in life.
    Sorry for getting a little off topic, but I dispute your first sentence.

    wikipedia

    Most research funding comes from two major sources, corporations (through research and development departments) and government (primarily carried out through universities and specialized government agencies; often known as research councils). Some small amounts of scientific research are carried out (or funded) by charitable foundations, especially in relation to developing cures for diseases such as cancer, malaria and AIDS.[citation needed]

    According to OECD, more than 60% of research and development in scientific and technical fields is carried out by industries, and 20% and 10% respectively by universities and government.[1]
    I'm not disagreeing that it is worthwhile to educate the general public about science. Nor am I saying that we shouldn't encourage public funding of science. But I don't think the "I'm paying for it" argument really stands for all of science.
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  31. #90
    Since there wasn't any science outreach in area when I was kid and I watched a lot of PBS and other educational programs I would be a solid TV influenced my interest in science. I learned about evolution from a late night 15 minute bit on PBS. (I was sleeping in the living room and woke up.) I did read a lot of science magazines as a teenager.
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