An Open Letter to Neil deGrasse Tyson
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30-04-2012, 06:22 AM
An Open Letter to Neil deGrasse Tyson
http://youtu.be/U6djDsTk_oU

Still my boy but I sure hope he someday embraces his atheism...

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30-04-2012, 07:21 AM
RE: An Open Letter to Neil deGrasse Tyson
I saw that Big Think video as well. I didn't really like when he said that he didn't want to be associated with the "conduct" of atheists. However, I still think he is a cool guy.
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30-04-2012, 07:29 AM
RE: An Open Letter to Neil deGrasse Tyson
Videos like this worry me.

I love me some NGT, he's awesome. Knowledgeable, affable, lucid, he's the shit.

There's just this current in this video that makes me leery. Sort of a Bush Doctrine, you're either with us undercurrent. It's nothing blatant, just that hot ember you see in the dry grass and wonder, is that going to start a fire?

Anyhoo, NGT is da bomb.

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt
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30-04-2012, 07:46 AM
RE: An Open Letter to Neil deGrasse Tyson
(30-04-2012 07:29 AM)Ghost Wrote:  Videos like this worry me.

I love me some NGT, he's awesome. Knowledgeable, affable, lucid, he's the shit.

There's just this current in this video that makes me leery. Sort of a Bush Doctrine, you're either with us undercurrent. It's nothing blatant, just that hot ember you see in the dry grass and wonder, is that going to start a fire?

Anyhoo, NGT is da bomb.

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt
Hey Matt. That's an interesting perspective. Is there anything in particular that gave you that undercurrent? To me, the main takeaway is that being a scientist (and skeptic) is much more important than whether you identify as an atheist. It would just be nice if he would use the influence he has to help make being an atheist more acceptable in mainstream society.

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30-04-2012, 10:49 AM
RE: An Open Letter to Neil deGrasse Tyson
Sup, Light?

Well the 'it's OK' is slightly condescending, like NGT needs this guy's permission or something. Felt kinda backhanded. He talks about people who ARE comfortable identifying as an Atheist, implying that, how do I say this, that if you do not, you're kinda shit. He demonises science and then "encourages" NGT to think about Theism's impact on "his first love" (they're comin for your children, maaaaaan). And, y'know, the giant blood red "IS DANGEROUS" was pretty brow beatie. On a personal level and please just take this as a personal point because if we get into it the threat will be consumed in unholy fire, I hate the shoving down of people's throat of this Agnositc=Knowledge and Atheist=Belief crap. It's one interpretation that is being presented as the only one and I've personally been steam rolled by this. And also, who the fuck is this guy to correct NGT? And he's like, I love you, man, but I hope you come to your senses one day. And he wants to recruit him into speaking out on behalf of Atheists because he's a public figure and a "thought leader" and it was kinda guilt trippie (Think of the children, maaaaaan). And then he was straight up like, you have the power: Use it. And just sort of an overall vibe kinda thing; like not just the individual parts, but the emergent property of the whole thing.

It just made me think of supremacy. I ain't calling him that, but when I get that feeling, it makes me uncomfortable. That's all.

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt
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30-04-2012, 11:13 AM
RE: An Open Letter to Neil deGrasse Tyson
(30-04-2012 07:46 AM)lightninlives Wrote:  
(30-04-2012 07:29 AM)Ghost Wrote:  Videos like this worry me.

I love me some NGT, he's awesome. Knowledgeable, affable, lucid, he's the shit.

There's just this current in this video that makes me leery. Sort of a Bush Doctrine, you're either with us undercurrent. It's nothing blatant, just that hot ember you see in the dry grass and wonder, is that going to start a fire?

Anyhoo, NGT is da bomb.

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt
Hey Matt. That's an interesting perspective. Is there anything in particular that gave you that undercurrent? To me, the main takeaway is that being a scientist (and skeptic) is much more important than whether you identify as an atheist. It would just be nice if he would use the influence he has to help make being an atheist more acceptable in mainstream society.
That is exactly what he said he didn't want to do.
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30-04-2012, 11:19 AM
RE: An Open Letter to Neil deGrasse Tyson
(30-04-2012 07:46 AM)lightninlives Wrote:  It would just be nice if he would use the influence he has to help make being an atheist more acceptable in mainstream society.

STFU, Wintery. Big Grin

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30-04-2012, 11:24 AM (This post was last modified: 30-04-2012 11:56 AM by NoahsFarce.)
RE: An Open Letter to Neil deGrasse Tyson
I don't like this video. Not because he is blaspheming against my God, NGT, but because he sounds as if he hasn't listened to enough NGT lectures (is there ever enough of those though? lol).

NGT quite regularly talks about the hindrance religion has on the progress of scientific knowledge. I posted a video in another thread where NGT lectures about how the majority of stars have Arabic names.

NGT does a great deal for the progress of scientific thought. As a consequence, this progress usually leads to agnosticism/atheism anyway. He just has a different approach. One that I would personally mirror if I was in the position he was. I also like Sam Harris for this reason.

When you examine the effectiveness of the "atheist message", they are most effective through education on particular points rather than on education of the term "atheist". Sadly, that label shuts a lot of doors before a foot can enter.

NGT does not shy away from the topic of religion. He just approaches it differently. I personally think if we can educate the world, we wouldn't need to associate ourselves with terms like "atheist".

I do acknowledge that labeling ourselves as such does have benefits though. Like this forum. Let's me know right away which group of people will be comfortable discussing topics I find interesting.
I forgot to add:

Of all the questions I have to ask NGT...

"What would happen if a black hole consumes a star in its death throes?"
"If the Universe is expanding, what do you suppose the sky looked like a million years ago?"
"In a binary system, is it possible that a planet would alternate its orbit between each star like maybe in a form of an infinity symbol?"

and more like those... not a single one would involve his view on atheism... Another major reason I dislike this video.

“We are all connected; To each other, biologically. To the earth, chemically. To the rest of the universe atomically.”

-Neil deGrasse Tyson
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30-04-2012, 01:08 PM (This post was last modified: 30-04-2012 01:11 PM by lightninlives.)
RE: An Open Letter to Neil deGrasse Tyson
(30-04-2012 10:49 AM)Ghost Wrote:  Sup, Light?

Well the 'it's OK' is slightly condescending, like NGT needs this guy's permission or something. Felt kinda backhanded. He talks about people who ARE comfortable identifying as an Atheist, implying that, how do I say this, that if you do not, you're kinda shit. He demonises science and then "encourages" NGT to think about Theism's impact on "his first love" (they're comin for your children, maaaaaan). And, y'know, the giant blood red "IS DANGEROUS" was pretty brow beatie. On a personal level and please just take this as a personal point because if we get into it the threat will be consumed in unholy fire, I hate the shoving down of people's throat of this Agnositc=Knowledge and Atheist=Belief crap. It's one interpretation that is being presented as the only one and I've personally been steam rolled by this. And also, who the fuck is this guy to correct NGT? And he's like, I love you, man, but I hope you come to your senses one day. And he wants to recruit him into speaking out on behalf of Atheists because he's a public figure and a "thought leader" and it was kinda guilt trippie (Think of the children, maaaaaan). And then he was straight up like, you have the power: Use it. And just sort of an overall vibe kinda thing; like not just the individual parts, but the emergent property of the whole thing.

It just made me think of supremacy. I ain't calling him that, but when I get that feeling, it makes me uncomfortable. That's all.

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt
That's fascinating that you read it this way.

I can tell you that the "ok" slide and narrative was not meant to be condescending. Good feedback, though, because it probably means that my voice inflection needs some serious work (it should have been crystal clear that I really meant what I was saying).

As for the part about people that don't identify as being atheists being "kinda shit." I definitely think that's your subjective interpretation. This was a very big deal in my own personal life (e.g. being able to finally accept my atheistic viewpoint) and so citing public figures that are comfortable (like Ricky Gervais) is an important contrast, in my opinion, but not a backhanded or condescending stance. It's just a way of saying that it's ok to do so (not that refraining from doing so makes you a piece of virtual feces).

Yeah, you're right about the potential for confusion or disagreement on the meaning of words like agnostic and theist/atheist. However, you seem to be overlooking the part where I state that I look forward to the day when all of these words are retired and rendered irrelevant. I'd actually prefer that over what we have right now (arguing whether or not an abstract idea is real or not).

As for the rest of your feedback, you're probably right. The truth of the matter is that as someone has had to be "closeted" and has experienced first-hand how oppressive religious doctrine can be, my thoughts are on the children. Namely, my two-year old.


Thanks for the feedback anyhow. Much appreciated. Always good to see things from other points of view.


(30-04-2012 11:24 AM)NoahsFarce Wrote:  I don't like this video. Not because he is blaspheming against my God, NGT, but because he sounds as if he hasn't listened to enough NGT lectures (is there ever enough of those though? lol).

NGT quite regularly talks about the hindrance religion has on the progress of scientific knowledge. I posted a video in another thread where NGT lectures about how the majority of stars have Arabic names.

NGT does a great deal for the progress of scientific thought. As a consequence, this progress usually leads to agnosticism/atheism anyway. He just has a different approach. One that I would personally mirror if I was in the position he was. I also like Sam Harris for this reason.

When you examine the effectiveness of the "atheist message", they are most effective through education on particular points rather than on education of the term "atheist". Sadly, that label shuts a lot of doors before a foot can enter.

NGT does not shy away from the topic of religion. He just approaches it differently. I personally think if we can educate the world, we wouldn't need to associate ourselves with terms like "atheist".

I do acknowledge that labeling ourselves as such does have benefits though. Like this forum. Let's me know right away which group of people will be comfortable discussing topics I find interesting.
I forgot to add:

Of all the questions I have to ask NGT...

"What would happen if a black hole consumes a star in its death throes?"
"If the Universe is expanding, what do you suppose the sky looked like a million years ago?"
"In a binary system, is it possible that a planet would alternate its orbit between each star like maybe in a form of an infinity symbol?"

and more like those... not a single one would involve his view on atheism... Another major reason I dislike this video.
I have listened to a lot of NGT's lectures and I know he's done a lot on this front. But that doesn't mean that he couldn't do more.

The fact of the matter is that there's nothing wrong with not believing in god, but in a lot of places on Earth, that's not only socially unacceptable; it's also can lead to death or imprisonment. It would be one thing if he simply said he didn't identify as an atheist. He actually took it a step further in that video by painting atheists in a somewhat negative light.

Thanks for the feedback, though. It's definitely interesting and worth thinking about.

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30-04-2012, 01:21 PM
RE: An Open Letter to Neil deGrasse Tyson
(30-04-2012 01:08 PM)lightninlives Wrote:  But that doesn't mean that he couldn't do more.

WTF, Wintery? You know, the villagers are gathering their torches, and if you keep flapping your gums about Tyson, they're gonna head off to your castle. Wink

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