Neil deGrasse Tyson Says His New Video May Contain His "Most Important Words" Yet 

On the eve of the March for Science this coming weekend Neil deGrasse Tyson has released a short, timely video.  My purpose in posting this is not to educate the people of AtheistNexus who likely don't need this message, but to share something important that you yourselves can provide to others who may benefit.  

Here's the link to the article with the video:

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A great video, to be sure, but it is very problematic for the same reason we are decrying so many other unfortunate developments on this planet.  Again ... people are LAZY more than they are curious.  They find the discoveries made by others daunting to their limited intelligence, so they let others handle it and choose to ignore the mechanisms and the details of progress rather than invest the time and EFFORT needed to more fully grasp them.

The entitlement mindset plays to this as well.  If you've been passed from grade to grade with mediocre performance or if you've learned that you're entitled to rewards that you haven't earned, why bother stepping up to the plate now?  Past behavior IS supposed to be indicative of future performance, so what's the big deal?

The average American citizen has become indifferent, jaded, and self-involved.  He's more interested in what's going on on Facebook than with what Neil deGrasse Tyson may be trying to wave under his nose, and while he may not be informed about those issues which may seriously impact his life or may herald new developments for the human race, he still thinks he's competent to evaluate whether to vote for or against those issues.  If we are going to realize the kind of dreams Tyson talks about, the first thing we have to do is shake America out of its torpor and let it know that the intellectual free ride is OVER.

We must disenthrall ourselves, and then we shall save our country.
-- Abraham Lincoln

I agree and a case in point Loren. This week I gave a quiz via computer polling in my non-majors biology class. For some reason I looked around the podium and right in front of me, first row, was a young woman using an open note book to cheat the quiz. As you might imagine, I went off. Later, in my office, her excuse and reason as to why I shouldn't have her bounced out of the university was, quote: " I was worried about my grade and wanted to earn all the points I could get". Unabashedly, unapologetically and with attitude towards me for calling her on the carpet. Entitled? She acted like it was my faulty for catching the lying little bitch at cheating, evil old professor that I am. Unfortunately her attitude is prevalent among the 150 students enrolled in that lecture. Over 25% of them are scoring 25-30 points on 4 answer multiple choice exams. That is the same score one should achieve by closing their eyes and randomly filling in the dots never having been in the class.And yet, though all this proves they have done absolutely nothing towards learning and understanding the course material, the majority are surly and feel entitled to "good grades" because they were "good students in high school". They don't like it much when I tell them all that likely means is that they didn't commit a felony.Americans are stewing in their own self-important, self gratification and ignorance with no interest in putting any effort towards grasping the world as it is or could be as in Tyson's video.To steal a quote from my daughter, "they all are special little snowflakes". each from the system and families that coddle them and ensure that everyone gets an award. There needs to be a stronger word than entitled. the majority  are far beyond that. 

I think the term you're looking for is, to borrow from Bill Maher, "whiny little bitch," John.  Either that or "spoiled brat!"  I mean, I'll be the first to admit to the old saw that "life is open-book," but either you know the basics of how something works or you don't.

This is made more interesting for me with a trip I'm about to make week after next, when I will work on a piece of equipment I haven't laid hands on in over 10 years.  I literally "wrote the book" on it, but an 11-year separation from direct experience has dulled my recall on some of its subtleties.  Thankfully, I still have that book to draw from and refresh my memory!  Mostly, I think it'll go pretty well, though! [grin!]

I wonder if getting back into the technology is anything like successfully riding a bike after 10 years of not riding? I have a feeling you will recall things you have not thought about in a long time. "May the force of your mind be with you!"

Speaking of old technology I always get a good laugh from the "ditto paper scene" in the movie Fast Times at Ridgemont High.  I lived it, baby!

Remember Ditto from Teachers?

That looks vaguely familiar.  I'm sure I've seen it but it's been decades.  Good cast.

Oh, for the days when the school nurse could smoke in the classroom.


I thought this very dilemma was quite niftily encapsulated by Tom Nichols in The Death of Expertise:

The failures of the modern university are fueling attacks on the very knowledge those same institutions have worked for centuries to create and to teach to future generations. Intellectual discipline and maturation have fallen by the wayside. The transmission of important cultural learning--including everything from how to construct a logical argument to the foundational DNA of American civilization--is no longer the mission of the customer-service university.

We should be scared. We should be very scared.

I am scared, very scared, Bertold! At the same time, "the customer-service university" continues to need intellectual discipline and mature minds. We have a voice and a vision; silence serves no one. 

I'm not scared. I'll deal with the problem when it arrives.

The expression a day late and a dollar short comes to mind.




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