[2012-Jun-27] The Neil DeGrasse Tyson argument

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[2012-Jun-27] The Neil DeGrasse Tyson argument

Postby ReasonablyDoubtful » Wed Jun 27, 2012 4:00 pm

Oh boy. Another religion comic.

I've always had a problem with this argument that comes from a point raised by (of all people) Michael Shermer: Scientists can't just count the hits, they have to count the misses. This argument against religion doesn't even count hits. It counts potential hits that might occur sometime in the undefined (maybe not undefined, but we'll not go into that) future.
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Re: [2012 June 27] The Neil DeGrasse Tyson argument

Postby Salacious Schoolmate » Wed Jun 27, 2012 4:21 pm

If an alien species read the most recent SMBCs to learn what humour is they would want nothing to do with us.
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Re: [2012 June 27] The Neil DeGrasse Tyson argument

Postby MTGradwell » Wed Jun 27, 2012 6:01 pm

If there's something reealllly trying to kill us, it's spectacularly unsuccessful. I mean, we all die eventually, but that's not due to any effort on the something's part, and I personally do not know of anyone killed by the vacuum of space, or by a high speed asteroid, or by a gamma-ray burst. Not one.

I would postulate that the something isn't trying to kill us. Instead it is trying to save everything else from us, by making it extremely uneconomical for us to engage in a wild killing spree across the universe. It's a strategy that's obviously ultimately destined for failure, but still I suppose it's the thought that counts.

I like Neil DeGrasse Tyson, and I usually find him highly entertaining, but if he's putting forward the supposed hostile nature of the universe as an argument against a creator then he's definitely slipping.
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Re: [2012 June 27] The Neil DeGrasse Tyson argument

Postby smiley_cow » Wed Jun 27, 2012 6:13 pm

What did Neil Degrasse Tyson say? I thought this was a reference to Lawrence Krauss and his book 'Why There is Something instead of Nothing.' And who is generally a lot more arrogant about religion and science the Neil Degrasse Tyson tends to be.
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Re: [2012 June 27] The Neil DeGrasse Tyson argument

Postby ReasonablyDoubtful » Wed Jun 27, 2012 7:55 pm

smiley_cow wrote:What did Neil Degrasse Tyson say? I thought this was a reference to Lawrence Krauss and his book 'Why There is Something instead of Nothing.' And who is generally a lot more arrogant about religion and science the Neil Degrasse Tyson tends to be.


He said that he's atheist because of... well, pretty much this. That there's so much out there that seems intent on killing us. That was my understanding of his reasoning, anyway.

Edit: Though I'm willing to admit that it could be another openly atheist physicist... but I can't recall any others whose reasonings I can't match to them for certain.

Edit2: Nope. It was Neil deGrasse Tyson: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=pl ... 4-I0#t=52s but he does make the point that scientist =/= atheist, though he also misses the importance of culture.

Edit3: This is aside from the non-benevolent religions, but that's aside from the point.
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Re: [2012 June 27] The Neil DeGrasse Tyson argument

Postby Kaharz » Wed Jun 27, 2012 8:00 pm

Salacious Schoolmate wrote:If an alien species read the most recent SMBCs to learn what humour is they would want nothing to do with us.


You've discovered Zach's plan to save humanity from hostile extraterrestrial sentient species. Now they will know it is a ruse and gambit. Fortunately, they should find most of the content on the internet even more dissuasive.
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Re: [2012 June 27] The Neil DeGrasse Tyson argument

Postby Anon21 » Wed Jun 27, 2012 8:59 pm

It does seem like he might have been able to work a punchline in there somewhere. Maybe in the last panel or something?
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Re: [2012 June 27] The Neil DeGrasse Tyson argument

Postby Willa » Wed Jun 27, 2012 9:03 pm

"Why is there something and nothing, and the something reealllly seems like it's trying to kill us?"
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Re: [2012 June 27] The Neil DeGrasse Tyson argument

Postby completely_clueless » Wed Jun 27, 2012 10:51 pm

Mishneh Torah, madda yosefta, yesodey ha-torah, chapter 1, halacha 11: "He is not found within time, so that He would possess a beginning, an end, or age. He does not change, for there is nothing that can cause Him to change."

To say that creation was from "a certain point in time" is to miss the point. I always found this idea incredibly cool. It's also been around and ignored for a long time, though Einstein sort of acknowledged it.
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Re: [2012 June 27] The Neil DeGrasse Tyson argument

Postby Kaharz » Wed Jun 27, 2012 11:09 pm

MTGradwell wrote:If there's something reealllly trying to kill us, it's spectacularly unsuccessful. I mean, we all die eventually, but that's not due to any effort on the something's part, and I personally do not know of anyone killed by the vacuum of space, or by a high speed asteroid, or by a gamma-ray burst. Not one.

I would postulate that the something isn't trying to kill us. Instead it is trying to save everything else from us, by making it extremely uneconomical for us to engage in a wild killing spree across the universe. It's a strategy that's obviously ultimately destined for failure, but still I suppose it's the thought that counts.

I like Neil DeGrasse Tyson, and I usually find him highly entertaining, but if he's putting forward the supposed hostile nature of the universe as an argument against a creator then he's definitely slipping.


The varied hazards of the universe are not trying to kill us. They aren't sentient beings with intentional will. I believe the point is that most of the universe presents an incredibly hostile environment for life, including humans. The rationale is probably something along the lines of, "If God created the universe for us, why would trying to live in most of it kill us?" I'm not saying it is a good argument. I personally think scientists or atheists / agnostics should just completely ignore the subject of the existence of a god or other supernatural phenomenon for the most part. Just as I think creationists should stop trying to discuss evolution. Leave theology to the theologians and science to the scientists.

The reason not many people have been killed by any of the things you've listed is because we avoid them. Mostly by staying on the inhabitable parts of Earth where we are really safe from the hazards of the universe at large.
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Re: [2012 June 27] The Neil DeGrasse Tyson argument

Postby Salacious Schoolmate » Wed Jun 27, 2012 11:29 pm

the thing is right, the question after
"why is there something?"
"god made it"
is
"Why is there god?"
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Re: [2012 June 27] The Neil DeGrasse Tyson argument

Postby Dr. Guestman » Wed Jun 27, 2012 11:49 pm

Tyson's point about the universe being so dangerous was a counter to the argument "God must exist, because why else is the world so perfectly hospitable to life?"
In response, he goes on to say that the world, and the universe in general, are very dangerous and inhospitable to life; in other words, that argument is fundamentally flawed.
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Re: [2012 June 27] The Neil DeGrasse Tyson argument

Postby DonRetrasado » Thu Jun 28, 2012 12:24 am

Kaharz wrote:The reason not many people have been killed by any of the things you've listed is because we avoid them. Mostly by staying on the inhabitable parts of Earth where we are really safe from the hazards of the universe at large.

It's also worth noting the corollary that anyone who didn't avoid them or was placed in front of them got deaded.
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Re: [2012 June 27] The Neil DeGrasse Tyson argument

Postby ChaoticBrain » Thu Jun 28, 2012 2:25 am

Dr. Guestman wrote:the argument "God must exist, because why else is the world so perfectly hospitable to life?"


I really am amazed by the fact that people can regularly achieve the sheer amount of combined stupidity and sheltered living necessary to believe that the Earth is perfectly hospitable to life. Doubly so when they replace "life" with "human life".
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Re: [2012 June 27] The Neil DeGrasse Tyson argument

Postby DonRetrasado » Thu Jun 28, 2012 2:58 am

Compared to a lot of planets, it is.
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