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Author Topic: AmeriPol thread  (Read 1473667 times)

Baffler

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Re: AmeriPol thread
« Reply #21570 on: July 10, 2018, 04:06:39 pm »

The problem is that scientists look down on 'laypeople' and think their opinion carries more weight on subjects that they don't study either simply because they're scientists. I work in a laboratory and I see that sort of smarmy condescension almost every day even from people who are otherwise fairly personable. It's extremely annoying, and the realization that knowing everything there is to know about membrane kinetics or whatever amounts to exactly zero expertise in microeconomics, or geophysics, or home repair, or any other subject you could name is depressingly rare.
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WealthyRadish

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Re: AmeriPol thread
« Reply #21571 on: July 10, 2018, 04:07:27 pm »

I alluded a bit to the essence of my objection by using the term "faith in science"; the word "laypeople" has its origin in the Catholic church, denoting any unannointed individual not capable of preaching the great mystery. That this specific term has kept currency in the sciences can be considered no more than a historical curiosity without significance in itself, but what's objectionable is if the attitude behind the term remains unchanged. It shouldn't be surprising to scientists that the public will reject them if scientists adopt a paternalistic outlook as a distinct social class with a monopoly on the dissemination of truth (whether the public is right for thinking that or not).
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Trekkin

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Re: AmeriPol thread
« Reply #21572 on: July 10, 2018, 04:15:26 pm »

The problem is that scientists look down on 'laypeople' and think their opinion carries more weight on subjects that they don't study either simply because they're scientists. I work in a laboratory and I see that sort of smarmy condescension almost every day even from people who are otherwise fairly personable. It's extremely annoying, and the realization that knowing everything there is to know about membrane kinetics or whatever amounts to exactly zero expertise in economics, or geophysics, or home repair, or any other subject you could name is depressingly rare.

There is a tiny grain of truth to that line of thinking, though, insofar as training in any form of hard science involves more statistical literacy than you might expect to find in a random member of the population. You don't need to be an epidemiologist to raise your eyebrows when 4 cases this year of a disease with 2 cases last year in a population of millions is billed as a 100% increase.

Unfortunately, we don't tend to hear from statistically literate nonscientists (of which there are many), because they aren't the ones claiming amethysts can cure autism or whatever -- and those are also the people most volubly interested in talking to scientists about it. That's not to say it's a sensible worldview, mind you, only that the problem is larger than snooty scientists.

It shouldn't be surprising to scientists that the public will reject them if scientists adopt a paternalistic outlook as a distinct social class with a monopoly on the dissemination of truth (whether the public is right for thinking that or not).

Did anyone say we're surprised?
« Last Edit: July 10, 2018, 04:18:35 pm by Trekkin »
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sluissa

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Re: AmeriPol thread
« Reply #21573 on: July 10, 2018, 04:25:35 pm »

And he was a treasure, but I think Neil Degrasse Tyson took up the mantle just fine, and modernized certain things.

Basically every person is a layman for specific disciplines, it's not supposed to be an insult.  I'm honestly (and bitterly) wondering if there's a better word.

Because if there is no permissible word for "someone who studies a subject" - if that concept is inherently conceited and bad - that is a problem.  It's literally the road to the movie Idiocracy.

Just to be the counter example. I really don't like Tyson. He's got a holier than thou attitude that Sagan more or less managed to avoid. Tyson is perfectly willing to talk at length to people who agree with him, but he has no patience for those who might not. Which is typical in this era, but it really is a distinct division between himself and Sagan. Sagan put in the effort to speak to those that might not agree. He was vicious against wrong ideas and opinions. But he never seemed to be vicious against the people who held them. Tyson doesn't seem to even bother with those who don't agree, preferring to stick to agreeable audiences and when he does have something to say to those who oppose him it's always condescending. Being unable to separate a person from their ideas is one of the most apt uses for the metaphor "throwing the baby out with the bathwater" I've ever come across.
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redwallzyl

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Re: AmeriPol thread
« Reply #21574 on: July 10, 2018, 04:30:35 pm »

.
« Last Edit: July 10, 2018, 04:55:16 pm by redwallzyl »
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sluissa

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Re: AmeriPol thread
« Reply #21575 on: July 10, 2018, 04:35:31 pm »

Pardon? Please re-read.
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Starver

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Re: AmeriPol thread
« Reply #21576 on: July 10, 2018, 04:39:40 pm »

Oh, you meant the standard conflation of science fiction tropes and movie references that laypeople try to 'envision' low-speed interstellar spacecraft out of. At least you didn't mention an Alcubierre drive, I guess.
Well, I actually cut that expansion out of whole cloth from the "how would I actually see it happening if, perchance, I had anything to do with putting together such a mission", not from mashing together SF sources from dead tree archive, small-screen, big-screen, etc.

Hence the lack of mentioning warp drives, wormholes, reactionless propulsion, stasis pods, etc.

If you see (apart from in my obvious quote, tagged onto the original) a similarity between a fictional setup and the one I suggest, it's more likely because it's real speculation seconded to that fiction's scenario by its creator than me pinching from them.


Which is a long way from US Politics, now, and this particular diversion is probably my fault in some proportion.

(And Sargon the Great seemed to do well enough. Everyone who called him an asshole, to his face, is now dead of course.)
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Lord Shonus

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Re: AmeriPol thread
« Reply #21577 on: July 10, 2018, 04:42:04 pm »

And he was a treasure, but I think Neil Degrasse Tyson took up the mantle just fine, and modernized certain things.

Basically every person is a layman for specific disciplines, it's not supposed to be an insult.  I'm honestly (and bitterly) wondering if there's a better word.

Because if there is no permissible word for "someone who studies a subject" - if that concept is inherently conceited and bad - that is a problem.  It's literally the road to the movie Idiocracy.

Just to be the counter example. I really don't like Tyson. He's got a holier than thou attitude that Sagan more or less managed to avoid. Tyson is perfectly willing to talk at length to people who agree with him, but he has no patience for those who might not. Which is typical in this era, but it really is a distinct division between himself and Sagan. Sagan put in the effort to speak to those that might not agree. He was vicious against wrong ideas and opinions. But he never seemed to be vicious against the people who held them. Tyson doesn't seem to even bother with those who don't agree, preferring to stick to agreeable audiences and when he does have something to say to those who oppose him it's always condescending. Being unable to separate a person from their ideas is one of the most apt uses for the metaphor "throwing the baby out with the bathwater" I've ever come across.

Everything I've seen of Tyson suggests he's the epitome of "I'm an expert in one field, that makes me an expert in EVERY field." I'm pretty sure I remember seeing an interview where he went on and on about how anthropologists will assign everything to religion out of laziness, and how the existence of "Manhattanhenge" proves that the alignment of Stonehenge is pure coincidence.
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redwallzyl

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Re: AmeriPol thread
« Reply #21578 on: July 10, 2018, 04:44:59 pm »

.
« Last Edit: July 10, 2018, 04:55:26 pm by redwallzyl »
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Re: AmeriPol thread
« Reply #21579 on: July 10, 2018, 04:46:59 pm »

Again. Re-read. He said Sagan. As in Carl Sagan. As in the guy people had already been talking about for some posts already.

Nobody except you brought up Sargon.
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Re: AmeriPol thread
« Reply #21580 on: July 10, 2018, 04:47:09 pm »

They're called "laypeople" because they can get laid. As opposed to the non-laypeople, who cannot.

I'm also not a huge fan of Tyson. Or, I should say, I'm not a huge fan of Tyson's public demeanor, as I really can't say anything about his scientific contributions and methodology in his field. I do think he's a prime example of why it's a bad thing when celebrity scientists become more celebrity than scientist, and also an example of why Twitter was generally a bad idea.


Pardon? Please re-read.
So that time he harassed a women is just ignored then.

Whuh

Maximum Spin

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Re: AmeriPol thread
« Reply #21581 on: July 10, 2018, 04:49:00 pm »

as I really can't say anything about his scientific contributions and methodology in his field.
we hate him
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Teneb

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Re: AmeriPol thread
« Reply #21582 on: July 10, 2018, 04:53:00 pm »

also an example of why Twitter was generally a bad idea.
Twitter is not a new idea, merely the transposition of messages written in public physical walls to messages written in public virtual walls. Except future archaeologists won't be able to as easily recover said messages for study millenia from now.
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redwallzyl

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Re: AmeriPol thread
« Reply #21583 on: July 10, 2018, 04:55:00 pm »

Oh sorry. I'm a bit tired.
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Re: AmeriPol thread
« Reply #21584 on: July 10, 2018, 04:56:01 pm »

This qualifies him as an anti-abortion zealot?
His history as a right-winger, and his nomination by trump (who has stated pretty damn bluntly what his judicial goal re: roe is), makes him a clear threat for abortion rights. On top of a host of other things. Not sure who, if anyone, is calling him an anti-abortion zealot, but it's to all appearances damn likely he'll rubber stamp fucking anything the GOP puts in front of him, and they're locked in fairly hard on that particular subject.

Don't need to be a zealot to be perfectly willing to break abortion rights in half, just beholden to zealots and/or uncaring enough on the subject to screw it.
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