Thursday, May 08, 2014

Neil deGrasse Tyson Promotes Anti-intellectualism: Don't Study Philosophy and Don't Ask Too Many Questions

Damon Linker at TheWeek.com:
Neil deGrasse Tyson may be a gifted popularizer of science, but when it comes to humanistic learning more generally, he is a philistine. Some of us suspected this on the basis of the historically and theologically inept portrayal of Giordano Bruno in the opening episode of Tyson's reboot of Carl Sagan's Cosmos.

But now it's been definitively demonstrated by a recent interview in which Tyson sweepingly dismisses the entire history of philosophy. Actually, he doesn't just dismiss it. He goes much further — to argue that undergraduates should actively avoid studying philosophy at all. Because, apparently, asking too many questions "can really mess you up.

Yes, he really did say that. Go ahead, listen for yourself, beginning at 20:19 — and behold the spectacle of an otherwise intelligent man and gifted teacher sounding every bit as anti-intellectual as a corporate middle manager or used-car salesman. He proudly proclaims his irritation with "asking deep questions" that lead to a "pointless delay in your progress" in tackling "this whole big world of unknowns out there." When a scientist encounters someone inclined to think philosophically, his response should be to say, "I'm moving on, I'm leaving you behind, and you can't even cross the street because you're distracted by deep questions you've asked of yourself. I don't have time for that.

"I don't have time for that."

Daniel Dennett knows how foolish this is:

But there is no such thing as philosophy-free science, there is only science whose philosophical baggage is taken on board without examination.

Everyone can see Tyson's philosophical baggage except him.

Labels: ,

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

<< Home