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Chapter 16: When scientists know sin
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Author:  Chris OConnor [ Tue Jan 13, 2015 5:35 pm ]
Post subject:  Chapter 16: When scientists know sin

Chapter 16: When scientists know sin

This thread is for discussing Chapter 16: When scientists know sin.

Author:  ant [ Mon Feb 09, 2015 12:42 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Chapter 16: When scientists know sin

I like this chapter, particularly his discussion about Edward Teller and nuclear proliferation.

Here is a youtube video with Sagan discussing Nuclear Winter.
I deeply respect Sagan's position.


Author:  ant [ Mon Feb 09, 2015 2:53 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Chapter 16: When scientists know sin

I've been listening to the Sagan youtube video I provided above.

At about 39:15 Sagan asks a very odd question. One that I can't tell if he's joking pr not

Anyone else think he's simply being a hater? :P

Why do women in skimpy outfits follow athletes around and not scientists?
Sagan wants to know why. :P

Author:  Penelope [ Wed Feb 11, 2015 10:41 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Chapter 16: When scientists know sin

An interesting chapter where Sagan outlines the need for a moral conscience in our chosen profession and also demonstrates how power corrupts. The most dangerous lies being the ones we tell ourselves.

I was thinking whilst reading this that it is not thermonuclear war which is the threat to society now, it is the Economy. It is still power corrupting, when some individuals are so wealthy that they can wield power over Governments. What do we do when those individuals refuse to behave ethically?What can we do?

Today in our daily paper there is printed, excerpts from a book by Stephen Green, a banker who now finds himself at the centre of the current HSBC tax scandal leaks. The book is entitled 'Good Value - Reflection on money, morality and an uncertain world'.

In one chapter he notes:

There will always be those who have not merely more than others, Some people will have more than they could conceivably need. How can we deal with this morally?
T
then further on he says:

As individuals, we do not govern our behaviour simply by what is allowed by law or regulation. We have our own codes of conduct, and hold ourselves accountable. We take responsibility for our actions.

I have been reading another Forum on here talking about morals and this rather fits in with the dilemas being discussed there.

There is a need for trust and honesty between those in power and the general populace. There is none at the moment and its likelihood of being regained looks remote.

The 85 richest people in the world have as much wealth as the 3.5 billion poorest. But as my son pointed out in a dinner table discussion the other week. We in the developed world are part of the 1% richest people,(I've just come back to edit this, as I have been thinking about it, and I think we are part of the 10% richest, not 1% - statistics, who needs em?) us, ordinary citizens. Now, as Stephen Green attests:

We can simply shrug our shoulders, or we can hear the still, small voice of conscience which reminds us, if we listen, that something is owed by the affluent. And a debt not paid is a debtor who is guilty.

I know I am speaking about the power of wealth here, rather than the power granted to top scientists.......but it is true that power corrupts and there is such temptation to ignore our responsibilities.

Author:  Penelope [ Wed Feb 11, 2015 10:49 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Chapter 16: When scientists know sin

Quote:
ant wrote:

Why do women in skimpy outfits follow athletes around and not scientists?
Sagan wants to know why. :P


It might be because scientists are often physically quite weedy. 'Nerds' if you like; and women are programmed to seek out fit and healthy mates to pass on the necessary genes to their children to promote a healthy bloodline.

Fortunately, love steps in and takes us for a spin. I always wanted to marry a tall, dark handsom Italian who would sing to me like Mario Lanza. But I fell in love with a shortish ginger headed Lancashire lad who makes me laugh........Laughing is better than being sung to.

Author:  ant [ Wed Feb 11, 2015 11:31 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Chapter 16: When scientists know sin

Quote:
t might be because scientists are often physically quite weedy. 'Nerds' if you like; and women are programmed to seek out fit and healthy mates to pass on the necessary genes to their children to promote a healthy bloodline.


Yep. I agree

I know that. You know that. But apparently Sagan didn't have a clue :P

Author:  Penelope [ Wed Feb 11, 2015 11:38 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Chapter 16: When scientists know sin

Quote:
ant wrote:

ep. I agree

I know that. You know that. But apparently Sagan didn't have a clue :P


Although, you know, wealth and power is very sexy. I don't think it would attract the sort of 'camp follower' in skimpy clothing. I think it attracts, slinky women in designer knitwear. :wink:

Author:  Flann 5 [ Wed Feb 11, 2015 12:31 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Chapter 16: When scientists know sin

ant wrote:
Why do women in skimpy outfits follow athletes around and not scientists?
Sagan wants to know why. :P

Hi ant, I think Sagan's point was that physical athletes get a kind of kudos in popular culture that he thinks mental athletes should get in some way.
Football and baseball are predominantly followed by males so of course the organisers are pandering to this fact by including cheerleaders. You see the same kind of phenomenon with boxing for instance.
In any case there is a group of former and current cheerleaders who have formed an organisation called Science Cheerleaders.
They are also scientists themselves.
They appear at science conventions occasionally but their goal is to promote science rather than particular science celebs.
Whether there will ever be cheerleaders for celeb scientists remains to be seen. Gooooooooo Dawkins!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HtPGIzLubBVQ1 Bad link. It's Science cheerleaders.

Author:  ant [ Wed Feb 11, 2015 1:04 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Chapter 16: When scientists know sin

Welcome back :)

Some guys have all the luck :P

Author:  youkrst [ Wed Feb 11, 2015 6:58 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Chapter 16: When scientists know sin

many women can't abide a dumb man for an extended period of time, it drives them nuts.

you hear guys say the same sort of thing, "i was in love, till she opened her mouth."

Author:  Taylor [ Wed Mar 04, 2015 8:04 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Chapter 16: When scientists know sin

Quote:
Ant wrote:
I like this chapter, particularly his discussion about Edward Teller and nuclear proliferation.


I agree, Teller comes off as a real piece of work.

I'm putting this paragraph here because I think it has real value to the thread record.

"Teller advocated exploding nuclear weapons from Alaska to South Africa, to dredge harbors and canals, to obliterate troublesome mountains, to do heavy earth-moving. When he proposed such a scheme to Queen Frederika of Greece, she is said to have responded, "Thank you Dr. Teller, but Greece has enough quaint ruins already." Want to test Einstein's general relativity? Then explode a nuclear weapon on the far side of the Sun, Teller proposed. Want to understand the chemical composition of the moon? Then fly a hydrogen bomb to the Moon, explode it, and examine the spectrum of the flash and fireball. Also in the 1980's, Teller sold President Ronald Reagan the notion of Star Wars- called by them the "Strategic Defense Initiative," SDI. Reagan seems to have believed a highly imaginative story of Teller's that it was possible to build a desk-sized orbiting hydrogen-bomb-driven X-ray laser that would destroy 10,000 Soviet warheads in flight, and provide genuine protection for the citizens of the United States in case of global thermonuclear war."

This is the one area of the book so-far that I get a sense of CS being derisive, justly so, if my sense is correct.

Author:  Penelope [ Thu Mar 05, 2015 6:12 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Chapter 16: When scientists know sin

Teller does sound like quite a stereotype, Mad Scientist, desregarding humanity for the sake of scientific knowledge. Rather like the Gestapo carrying out all of those horrific medical experiments on the Jews in concentration camps.

Fortunately, not all scientists are single-minded wretches.

But Richard Feynman was a very lovable personality.....a bit naughty in his private life....but not sinful (unless you were a puritan)...and very joyous.


Stephen Hawking is a wondrous example of how ones mind can make you joyous in spite of the body's afflictions.

It looks like deep thinkers on philosophical matters end up as miserable old grumps who condemn themselves for their imperfections, and speculate on how we should perceive reality, but scientists forget themselves completely and find joy in learning through proof, not speculation.

I think it is as well to walk a middle road between the two.

Author:  ant [ Thu Mar 05, 2015 11:30 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Chapter 16: When scientists know sin

Quote:
But Richard Feynman was a very lovable personality.....a bit naughty in his private life....but not sinful (unless you were a puritan)...and very joyous.


Actually, he was more than a "bit naughty"
He sexually harassed women.

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