Friday, May 4, 2012

Science Is Interesting - Neil deGrasse Tyson "Rebukes" Richard Dawkins

Last night I was chatting with Mike Z. and April on Xbox Live when Mike mentioned a certain exchange between Richard Dawkins and Neil deGrasse Tyson. Not a negative exchange, but definitely one with a point to it.

And I agree with NdT, there needs to be persuasion in education. Simply presenting facts just isn't enough, especially when it can be overwhelming or, worse yet, intimidating to the person hearing. I'm not criticizing Dawkins: honestly, I've only read his books and not heard or seen him speak. And while I appreciate (and to a degree reflect) his cynicism I do feel that it's not the smoothest road to educating people.

The way to look at it is like this: ignorance is appealing. Why is it appealing? Because it makes someone feel comfortable. It's comforting to think there's an invisible skydaddy who watches over you. it's comforting to think that after you die there's ANOTHER chance to live, and this time forever.

And it's FRIGHTENING to think realize how ignorant we are of so much in reality.

And when someone is frightened they withdraw to the things that provide them comfort, even if it's not the truth. So we can't bring those who are ignorant, willfully or otherwise, into the world of rational truth while triggering their flight response back to their comfort in ignorance.  We have to show them that reality, truth and science are better than ignorance. We have to give them the tools to understand and learn, and then show them the way.

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