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TEDTuesday: Ideas Worth Spreading for the Week of 7/19

July 20th, 2010

Any time you get a chance to see NdGT work, you're constantly drawn to make plans to visit the Rose Center.

While most of the time I’m going to embed videos from TED lectures, sometimes I’ll go with non-TED videos that drive home a similar concept of pressing forth knowledge while providing entertainment.  In the field of science and astrophysics, in particular, there’s simply no one better than Neil de Grasse Tyson.

Tyson is the revered host of PBS’s NOVA magazine show and is the director of the Rose Center and Hayden Planetarium at New York’s Museum of Natural History.  He’s also one of the most engaging folks when it comes to conveying enthusiasm for the sciences.  Oh yeah, there’s also the whole Pluto thing (The Pluto Files: The Rise and Fall of America’s Favorite Planet).

I’ve linked a few videos for a reason, appearing after the jump.

God of the Gaps

The first video is a short snippet from a lecture NdGT gave a while back.  The part which really resonates with me are: a) the attempt to understand how an inability to understand leads to turning toward intelligent design and b) the anecdotes regarding the Islamic Golden Age of science.

With respect to the first point, it really seems quite interesting in that this is the first age where a people (notably Americans) have rejected scientific knowledge en masse to expand the god of the gaps, whereas history has shown science moving god as knowledge expanded.  But what is even more fascinating on that front is how territorial scientific rejection is.  A recent poll published this past week in Canada showed that the United States accepts evolution at a far lower rate than Brits and Canadians (35% in the United States to 68% and 61%, respectively).  Within the US, the regional breakdowns were, well, as you’d expect them.

One of NdGT’s big bugaboos is scientific illiteracy; however, in the below video he doesn’t indicate we should simply ignore the idea of Intelligent Design, at least from a historical perspective.

Greatest Sermon Ever

The second video is a more simple one.  It is entitled the “Greatest Sermon Ever” and is a reminder from NdGT about what is magical and calls to science… or at least what did for him.

Cosmic Quandaries with NdGT

This third video is a far longer and more in depth presentation, clocking in at a little more than an hour.  It is NdGT in a Q&A session with colleagues and audience members.  If you have the time, it really is a great hour with some great stories.

On Dawkins

And, as a toss in, there’s this short little ditty between NdGT and Richard Dawkins.  One of the things that has always rubbed many the wrong way about Dawkins is his biting tongue.  Well NdGT brings the issue to light in a manner that really reflects how his perception of their roles as educators differ.  Ironically, Growing Up In The Universe was very much so in the vein that NdGT practices.  Has Dawkins gone astray?

  1. July 22nd, 2010 at 05:45 | #1

    Thinking comes more easily if you have something to say.

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