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Subject: What Is Happening with NdeGT? rss

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Stuart
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Neil deGrasse Tyson, that is,

https://youtu.be/Y-d4ROOfDGU

He seems to be trying to make some kind of point about how belief in God limits scientific acuity, but then provides an example of how some who believed in God excelled at scientific endeavors - he even references the fact that most stars have Arabic names as evidence of this. At the end he wraps it up rather strangely by pointing out 1/4 of Nobel prizes have been won by Jews - not really sure where he was going with that, since last time I checked, Judaism is a religion, too - and then implies 15% of the membership of the National Academy don't belong there because they believe in God. Is he trying to start a witch hunt? And what 's the difference between a Pakistani Muslim and a middle eastern one? NdeGT seems to think it's a significant one, in any case.

It has to be one of the strangest presentations I've seen in a while, even by a high caliber atheist, and he didn't actually get around to explaining how the Islamic Civilization fell. I mean, I know he was pumped, talking to a bunch of zealous fellow atheists, no doubt, but he did seem to be coming off the rails a bit at certain points.
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Robert Wesley
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Sammy Davis, Jr. WON many more 'entertaining' "awards", so, which WERE the BEST accordingly then, eh? whistle
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Rusty McFisticuffs
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gamesterinns wrote:
He seems to be trying to make some kind of point about how belief in God limits scientific acuity, but then provides an example of how some who believed in God excelled at scientific endeavors - he even references the fact that most stars have Arabic names as evidence of this.

I didn't watch the video, but bits of what you said sound like a talk I saw him give here, and his point was that Islam had a centuries-long tradition of scientific inquiry & discovery, until one specific leader or group took over (I don't remember who, and was not able to figure it out from skimming a couple wikipedia pages just now) and pushed the idea that "because God wills it" was the only answer a proper Muslim should need when faced with a question about the natural world. I think this was part of a larger bit about various cultural attitudes toward math & science.

Anyway, that's a rough paraphrasing of my vague recollection of what his actual point might have been.
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Moshe Callen
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As for Judaism, we have sadly some very intellectually repressive strains among us (the Jewish people) but for the most part Judaism teaches Jews to question and try to understand absolutely everything right from a very young age. As I've said, some go to the opposite extreme but in normative Orthodox Judaism questioning absolutely everything is what according to the generally accepted authorities one is supposed to be doing.
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Robert Stuart
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gamesterinns wrote:
Neil deGrasse Tyson, that is,

https://youtu.be/Y-d4ROOfDGU

He seems to be trying to make some kind of point about how belief in God limits scientific acuity, but then provides an example of how some who believed in God excelled at scientific endeavors - he even references the fact that most stars have Arabic names as evidence of this. At the end he wraps it up rather strangely by pointing out 1/4 of Nobel prizes have been won by Jews - not really sure where he was going with that, since last time I checked, Judaism is a religion, too - and then implies 15% of the membership of the National Academy don't belong there because they believe in God. Is he trying to start a witch hunt? And what 's the difference between a Pakistani Muslim and a middle eastern one? NdeGT seems to think it's a significant one, in any case.

It has to be one of the strangest presentations I've seen in a while, even by a high caliber atheist, and he didn't actually get around to explaining how the Islamic Civilization fell. I mean, I know he was pumped, talking to a bunch of zealous fellow atheists, no doubt, but he did seem to be coming off the rails a bit at certain points.


What's happening? Dr. Tyson is pointing out that religious obscurantism -- or one might say religious fundamentalism -- has the potential to destroy the pursuit of science among a people or nation.

He gives the example of Islam: for 300 years Islam led the world in science, but the development of religious obscurantism, led by the very prominent Muslim 'philosopher' al-Ghazali, led to the downfall of science in the world of Islam. And Islam is still suffering from that fateful decision made some thousand years ago to give his views credence in the Muslim world.

Tyson then goes on to say that religious fundamentalism could destroy the pursuit of science in America and America's current position in the world of scientific advancement.

He's entirely correct, and it serves as a dire warning.

What's missing in his talk is serious reflection on just why Islam led the world in science for some 300 years. What's missing as well is serious consideration that during the period of America's dramatic rise in science, America was probably the most religious among developed countries -- this was before fundamentalism began to gain the political and popular traction it now has in this country.

Gauch, in his landmark "Scientific Method in Practice", points out that science is based on a set of presuppositions which is accepted on faith. (Although many scientists might dispute that, since the presuppositions necessary for science can seem so obvious.) Gauch then points out that most worldviews, including the worldviews of the world's major religions, as well as those of atheism & agnosticism, are compatible with science's presuppositions. A few worldviews are not, most notably radical skepticism -- and I would add, religious obscurantism or fundamentalism.

What Gauch doesn't cover (entirely reasonable on his part, since his book is on science and not on religion) is the role of religion in scientific development. It's not necessary for a scientist to be religious to do great science. It is necessary, however, for him to have a love of truth, curiosity, tolerance, an iron integrity, an iron will and faith that nature is rational. Hence, science thrives when the society is religious without being fanatically so, because religion at its best teaches just these qualities. Nothing has the potential to create these qualities in the great mass of the population like religion. "Schools must first train the children in the principles of religion... but this in such a measure that it may not injure the children by resulting in ignorant fanaticism and bigotry."

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