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Chapter 2: Science and hope 
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 Chapter 2: Science and hope
Chapter 2: Science and hope

Please discuss Chapter 2: Science and hope here in this thread.



Tue Jan 13, 2015 6:06 pm
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Post Re: Chapter 2: Science and hope
Have carefully perused this chapter this afternoon and was particularly moved by the paragraph which begins: 'But there's another reason:'

He describes his forboding of what is to become of America.....Is it to become a service and information economy; when nearly all the key manufacturing industries have slipped away to other countries.....lowest common denominator programming, credulous presentations on pseudoscience and superstition, but especially a kind of celebration of ignorance.

This is exactly what my husband is always banging on about in the UK. And....I might add...one of the reasons why we harbour our dislike (understatement) of Margaret Thatcher. She closed down our manufacturing industry, she put our utility industries, electricity board, water board into private hands (America hadn't done this at the time of Carl Sagan's writing, but she has now, I believe) our electricity industry, in the UK, is largely owned by the Japanese. Mrs. Thatcher announced that there was no such thing as community, sharing and looking after the needy.....she advocated 'the trickle down effect' whereby the wealthy made more and more money (and I would point out that her cabinet all became millionaires) and those in the lower (less wealthy) stratas of society benefitted (theoretically).....with those at the very bottom of society suffering abject poverty..... Just like in Victorian times.....(read Robert Tressall - The Ragged Trousered Philanthropist.).

Sagan, in this paragraph, also decrys the celebration of ignorance and the popularity of the film 'Dumb and Dumber' and the TV show, Beavis and Butthead. I think that modern humour, or what passes as humour, is often very cruel and it is often shock that makes us laugh with a sort of embarrassment, rather than a sense of the absurd. Although, I suppose there is no science of humour. We cannot really diagnose what it is that makes us laugh. I remember when my son (now aged 31) was a little boy, looking appalled at the sitcom 'Mr Bean' played by Rowan Atkinson. I was laughing, I admit....when he said....'What's the matter with that man? We shouldn't laugh at people like that'. Out of the mouths of babes.

The next paragraph which struck me powerfully was the one beginning, 'Notice how Einstein's paper begins by trying to make sense...' He gives a list of what was once obvious....before science disproved it. The one that says 'that heavy bodies fall faster than light ones was once obvious'......well, I still have difficulty with this one, since my own eyes seem to tell me that a feather falls more slowly than a brick....but OK....I'll believe you. :wink:

The final paragraph of the chapter is absolutely inspiring and enthuses me to read on.


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He was born with the gift of laughter and a sense that the world is mad....

Rafael Sabatini


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Sat Jan 17, 2015 1:50 pm
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Post Re: Chapter 2: Science and hope
I like Dumb &Dumber and I actually believe there's nothing new about them; they're classic clowns, as in I bet they would have had crazy guys whooping it up for laughs back in Egyptian times. But I won't go to war with CS about his take on DD. Bear with me, but I like CS for the same reason that I like Frank Sinatra and Bob Dylan. There are better trained singers around, but Frank's and Bob Dylan's personalities shine through their work and captivate me. CS's personality shines through his work. (Something I'm noticing while concurrently reading his and Ann's book about human beings being apes (forget the title)). Therefore, I can love reading CS, and I can learn so much from him, even though he occasionally says what seems like dumb things to me, eg, the Chapter 1 comment about Maggie Thatcher. (Penelope rightly mentioned about MT's failure to control CFCs etc.) Or his dislike for DD and B Butthead. Yes, Carl was a awesome scientist, but, yes also, he was an awesome personalty. Science comes and goes. Honestly, I think his books will live on because of his personalty - he makes for interesting reading, fun reading, illuminative reading. I'll keep reading him, even if he doesn't have the same tastes in comedy as me.



Last edited by JJ_Co on Thu Jan 22, 2015 5:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.



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Thu Jan 22, 2015 5:06 pm
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Post Re: Chapter 2: Science and hope
Quote:
Sagan, in this paragraph, also decrys the celebration of ignorance and the popularity of the film 'Dumb and Dumber' and the TV show, Beavis and Butthead. I think that modern humour, or what passes as humour, is often very cruel and it is often shock that makes us laugh with a sort of embarrassment, rather than a sense of the absurd. Although, I suppose there is no science of humour. We cannot really diagnose what it is that makes us laugh


I agree with a lot of what you say here about the humor our day. A "science of humor" can only go so far. I think I read that humor releases nervous built-up energy and has significant health benefits. But I won't be doing any google searches about it.

Tastes are entirely subjective, of course. And Sagan seems to be telling us what he personally detests (and his concerns) about certain humor.
Simpleton slapstick comedy has been around for quite some time now. I think each generation appeals to its particular clowns of the day.

Did The 3 Stooges dumb down the culture of WWII?
I don't think they did. Quite frankly, they may have given millions of people something to laugh at during some very difficult times.

What I find totally distasteful about today's humor is the common theme that consistently portrays men as over-grown boys that act like adolescents, chastised by their frustrated female companions. I think it sends a bad message to young men of today.
But that's just my opinion. I haven't owned a TV for over 17 years now. And I certainly wouldn't waste my time going to the movies to see the common comedy of today.



Sun Jan 25, 2015 11:43 am
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Post Re: Chapter 2: Science and hope
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What kind if society could we create if, instead, we drummed into them science and a sense of hope?
- Sagan, C

Not trying to be the pessimist here, but we would probably have a very similar society as we have today.

If society suddenly valued science above any other human construct, it does not follow that the "hope" Sagan wishes for humanity would immediately follow.

Here is the definition of hope:


a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen.
"he looked through her belongings in the hope of coming across some information"
synonyms: aspiration, desire, wish, expectation, ambition, aim, goal, plan, design; More

a person or thing that may help or save someone.
"their only hope is surgery"

grounds for believing that something good may happen.
"he does see some hope for the future"



Science does not guarantee good expectations and desires.

Science does not guarantee saving ourselves from each other.

Science/technology does not guarantee a good future. Considering that global warming may have been accelerated by our technological advancements, said advancements of yesterday in fact did not guarantee a good future.


Although I can appreciate some of what Sagan desires for mankind, his expression seems more like he is promoting science as mankind's true savior of sorts.
That to me is the error of scientism.



Sun Jan 25, 2015 1:09 pm
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Post Re: Chapter 2: Science and hope
Quote:
Ant wrote: What I find totally distasteful about today's humor is the common theme that consistently portrays men as over-grown boys that act like adolescents, chastised by their frustrated female companions. I think it sends a bad message to young men of today.
But that's just my opinion. I haven't owned a TV for over 17 years now. And I certainly wouldn't waste my time going to the movies to see the common comedy of today.



I think this theme goes back quite a long way. 'Men Behaving Badly' (1990's) is a British one which springs to mind. When I was young there was one sitcom which portrayed the opposite.....A sensible husband with a ditzy scatterbrained wife - 'I Love Lucy'?

I don't know that this form of humour is particularly sexist. A long suffering sensible one and a silly one - Laurel and Hardy? Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis?

I do admit though, that the general train seems to be the battle between the scientific/rational male and the artistic/intuitive female.

The female brain is reputed to be more intuitive than the male.

The battle of the sexes is always good for a laugh:

“Men, however, shouldn't despair. They are excellent at identifying and imitating animal sounds, which would have been a significant advantage for the ancient hunter. Sadly, that's not quite as much use today.”

― Barbara Pease, Why Men Don't Listen & Women Can't Read Maps: How We're Different and What to Do about It


Under pressure, men drink alcohol and invade other countries; women eat chocolate and go shopping.”
― Allan Pease, Why Men Don't Listen and Women Can't Read Maps: How We're Different and What to Do About It


“Most people have difficulty thinking of themselves as just another animal. They refuse to face the fact that 96% of what can be found in their bodies can also be found inside a pig or a horse or that our DNA is 97. 5% identical to that of a gorilla and 98. 4% to that of a chimpanzee. The only thing that makes us different from other animals is our ability to think and make forward plans.”
― Allan Pease Barbara Pease, Why Men Don't Listen and Women Can't Read Maps: How We're Different and What to Do About It


My favourite quote of all though:

Quote:
“The information contained in an English sentence or computer software does not derive from the chemistry of the ink or the physics of magnetism, but from a source extrinsic to physics and chemistry altogether. Indeed, in both cases, the message transcends the properties of the medium. The information in DNA also transcends the properties of its material medium.

― Stephen C. Meyer, Darwinism, Design and Public Education


Fills me with 'Hope'.


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Only those become weary of angling who bring nothing to it but the idea of catching fish.

He was born with the gift of laughter and a sense that the world is mad....

Rafael Sabatini


Sun Jan 25, 2015 2:16 pm
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Post Re: Chapter 2: Science and hope
Reexamining the final paragraph of chapter 2, the flaw of reasoning I see is CS's age bias, by his use of the word "children" He is clustering a lot of disparate young people together. The youth group is as diverse as a country gets. CS is overly optimistic of media intentions also. Advertising revenue is all that matters to the various media he lists, "Children" like adults will change the "channel" as soon as boredom sets in. For example I watched CS's "Cosmos" and thought it was not only great entertainment, but enlightening as well, But the drollery of the everyday process of the science, is not likely a reliable source of successful corporate media's profit. His use of the word "drummed" is everyway appropriate, as in humdrum. In this paragraph if he pointed his finger where blame belongs, he would have hardly sold a single book.



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Post Re: Chapter 2: Science and hope
http://www.en.Wikipedia.org/wiki/Comedic_genres

Where do you all place yourselves on the list of comic genres?

Me; I'm everywhere, I love to laugh, I have laughed till something came out my nose.

We as a people are not dumb, were just impatient.



Last edited by Taylor on Sun Jan 25, 2015 7:32 pm, edited 2 times in total.



Sun Jan 25, 2015 7:18 pm
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Post Re: Chapter 2: Science and hope
Quote:
Taylor asked:

Where do you all place yourselves on the list of comic genres?


I am a great giggler, but more especially if I am at a funeral or a wedding, where I'm not supposed to giggle. The more I try to stifle my laughter, the more the tears of mirth role down my face.

I think I laugh mostly at myself and my own absurdity when it is pointed out to me. This is the last item that made me laugh for two days because it describes me exactly:-

Some days, especially in winter, sweatpants and T-shirt are just too depressing, even for my grimy jobs. that is when some of us need the ragged brocades and broken sequin, the ancient eveningwear and patchwork waistcoats, the forgotten neon beachrobes and turbans, the Moroccan slippers with collapsed toes. Sometimes you want to be both ragged AND spectacular - a secret, mad hippy doing messy jobs dressed upas if for a very low-budget production of Aladdin. Well, I do anyway.

Libby Purves


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Only those become weary of angling who bring nothing to it but the idea of catching fish.

He was born with the gift of laughter and a sense that the world is mad....

Rafael Sabatini


Mon Jan 26, 2015 10:41 am
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Post Re: Chapter 2: Science and hope
This is worth remembering when chat time comes around.
Quote:
Science, Ann Druyan notes, is forever whispering in our ears, "Remember, you're very new at this. You might be mistaken. You've been wrong before."
p. 34-35



Wed Jan 28, 2015 3:40 pm
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Post Re: Chapter 2: Science and hope
In Chapter 2, Carl bravely states that spirituality is just matter, it can all be explained by science. I suppose that is true in a sense as humans can only experience things in the material world. I also know that Carl Saga is beyond asking now, but perhaps one of his fans can explain how the following story is explainable by science.

This is a true story. I know Jim, have known him for decades. He told the story to me personally.

Jim was a missionary with a major denomination in the United States. His primary focus was on mainland China. Churches, Christianity, Bibles, missionaries have been proscribed by that government for decades. The degree of difficulty Christians experience varies according to the communist official in charge in the particular area. Jim would visit the mainland for extended periods once each year. During one visit he planned to visit an area notorious for the iron fisted official. Jim and the local Christians had been praying for months in anticipation of the visit. Within hours of arriving in the area the official confronted Jim on a street corner and told him he and the Church members with him were under arrest. And that he planned to root-out all the Christians in his district by getting their names from the arrestees by whatever means necessary. Then, nothing happened. Absolutely nothing. Jim kept waiting for the official to order the police with him to take them into custody but he didn't say anything. Jim realized the official wasn't moving. The men with the official noticed it too and started asking for instructions but the official said nothing. They tapped him, nothing. Nothing they did got any response, verbal or physical. Finally the police wandered away and Jim and his friends left. The official stood frozen in place for over 24 hours. Birds landed on him and did what birds do to statues. The locals, who all feared him, came and laughed at him. After more than 24 hours the official unfroze and left the area.

Explain this.


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Post Re: Chapter 2: Science and hope
Stahrwe wrote:
This is a true story. I know Jim, have known him for decades. He told the story to me personally.


Therefore it's true! Did this happen before the age of video cameras?


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Post Re: Chapter 2: Science and hope
Quote:
Explain this.


:-D it's the power of God

the Holy Spirit obviously froze those guys to protect His blessed children doing the Lord's work.

of course he allowed a heap of other christians to be tortured to death so obviously their faith was weak or they had sin in their lives :adore:

or perhaps God just moves or doesn't move in mysterious ways :)



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Post Re: Chapter 2: Science and hope
The last post was strictly for the purpose of ridicule.

It's trolling.



Fri Jan 30, 2015 6:58 pm
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Post Re: Chapter 2: Science and hope
I've got it.


_________________
n=Infinity
Sum n = -1/12
n=1

where n are natural numbers.


Fri Jan 30, 2015 7:40 pm
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