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naturalplastic
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24 Jun 2011, 10:57 am

ruveyn wrote:
naturalplastic wrote:
Was alive in the seventies and saw his original "Cosmos" series on TV.
Easy to make fun of his mannerisms, but I dont remember anything truly dislikeable about him.
Kind of geek's geek. Whats not to like?
experienced him books, a Q and A column in the paper, and on Johnny Carson, as well.


Carl Sagan made me laugh. Every time he said "stuhr stuff" or "billyuns and billyuns" I had a good laugh. Also I shared his favorable impression of the Dutch and the were in the days of Huygens.

I found his simpering over the Library of Alexandria quite comical. He admired the Hellenes and the Ancient Greeks quite a bit. Unfortunately he overlooked their bad habits --- like slavery .

ruveyn



I remember that fine episode. Aparently you did not pay very close attention to it.
He praised the Greeks for their learning but he inserted the damning critique that "the books in the alexandria library were full of commentaries on the cosmos but not comentaries on the justice of slavery-and thats part of why the civilization fell"...something to that effect. In that very episode Sagan DID what you are saying he didnt do.



Philologos
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24 Jun 2011, 11:42 am

If conscience makes cowards of us all, memory makes fools of us all. I likely saw the episode but it to my memory might never have happened.



simon_says
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24 Jun 2011, 12:04 pm

The world needs skilled science popularizers. He was very good at that.

OTOH, we have more than our fair share of shills for faith. Any convict can emerge from prison as a newly minted preacher.



Philologos
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24 Jun 2011, 12:14 pm

simon_says wrote:
The world needs skilled science popularizers. .


Agreed we got preachers of this and that aplenty. That is another issue I will leave for now.

But - WHY does the world need science popularizers?

We need the Tinker/Thinkers and the sciences, but of course.

But I am a firm believer in the Scots {likely others too, but I first heard it from a Scot] line "What's for you won't go by you."

My father found his way to HIS great love-subject not through a popularizer, but through a high scool class and its teacher. I found my way to MY love-subjewct not through a popularizer but through hours in a library - languages took. My best friend got into Linguistics because of her English teacher.

Sagan said himself watching science exhibits at the World's Fair turned him on.



simon_says
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24 Jun 2011, 12:35 pm

Without popularization no one could keep track of the latest news in all of the disciplines and sub-disciplines of science.
And the accumulation of knowledge continues.

It's not about fostering special interests for most people, it's about having informed citizens. Americans rank poorly in science comprehension. That feeds stupid ideas like creationism.



naturalplastic
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24 Jun 2011, 2:48 pm

What simon says says.
And those teachers you had in school were also "populizers" on a small scale.
The authors of the books on linguistics that inspired you werent all technical tomes- many were aimed at -either kids -or at non-professional adults. So the authors of those books in the library that inspired you to take up linguistics were - populizers!

So I dont see what the issue is.



TallyMan
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24 Jun 2011, 3:44 pm

simon_says wrote:
Without popularization no one could keep track of the latest news in all of the disciplines and sub-disciplines of science.
And the accumulation of knowledge continues.

It's not about fostering special interests for most people, it's about having informed citizens. Americans rank poorly in science comprehension. That feeds stupid ideas like creationism.


It was people like Carl Sagan, Patrick Moore, James Burke, Magnus Pike and popular science programs like Horizon and Tomorrow's World that stimulated my interest in science as a kid and prompted me to study the sciences at higher education and subsequently at university. I bet a lot of kids are introduced to science in a positive way by such popularisers and subsequently enter that field professionally.

School science curricula aren't necessarily the best for stimulating an interest and passion for the subject. People like Carl Sagan made me think "Wow! That's fascinating! Must find out more."


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Sand
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24 Jun 2011, 6:16 pm

Philologos wrote:
simon_says wrote:
The world needs skilled science popularizers. .


Agreed we got preachers of this and that aplenty. That is another issue I will leave for now.

But - WHY does the world need science popularizers?

We need the Tinker/Thinkers and the sciences, but of course.

But I am a firm believer in the Scots {likely others too, but I first heard it from a Scot] line "What's for you won't go by you."

My father found his way to HIS great love-subject not through a popularizer, but through a high scool class and its teacher. I found my way to MY love-subjewct not through a popularizer but through hours in a library - languages took. My best friend got into Linguistics because of her English teacher.

Sagan said himself watching science exhibits at the World's Fair turned him on.


I wonder at the fierce venom expressed at Sagan for his personal style. There is the faint but definite odor of the disdainful aristocratic elite here for the ordinary guy who might possibly be hooked into getting interested in what the science world is accomplishing and how it might enlarge an appreciation for larger interests. The assault on Sagan is somehow related to the mispronunciations of words by immigrants or children as a way to underhandedly tease and assault their standing as humans who should be accorded basic human social respect. There is no way to demean Sagan as an accepted scientist so some rather nasty underhanded petty childish attack is put into action since nothing else will arm this basic idiocy. If anything it nicely labels the accusers for their incoherent and unjustified incivility.



Philologos
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24 Jun 2011, 8:28 pm

fierce venom - pecans
assault on Sagan - filberts
mispronunciations of words by immigrants or children - Unsinn
incoherent and unjustified incivility.- sop < sap

bitl StVi
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syaa ObIn

quod erat demonstratum



Sand
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24 Jun 2011, 8:32 pm

Philologos wrote:
fierce venom - pecans
assault on Sagan - filberts
mispronunciations of words by immigrants or children - Unsinn
incoherent and unjustified incivility.- sop < sap

bitl StVi
raml StSn
syaa ObIn

quod erat demonstratum


There you go again tumbling into that chasm of incoherence.



Philologos
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24 Jun 2011, 8:47 pm

Sand wrote:

There you go again tumbling into that chasm of incoherence.


Thumper. I was raised by humans.

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Sand
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24 Jun 2011, 9:04 pm

Philologos wrote:
Sand wrote:

There you go again tumbling into that chasm of incoherence.


Thumper. I was raised by humans.

bitl StVi
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syaa ObIn


Raising has ambiguous connotations. Humans raise pigs to make sausages. From your abilities to convey meaning with language I suspect you would do better as a string of sausages.



Philologos
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24 Jun 2011, 9:24 pm

The British sausage is well nigh dead, though pork pies are great.

Don't know French sausages.

The Germans, now - hours in that shop.

Ik wet en zo voort.

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ruveyn
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24 Jun 2011, 9:54 pm

naturalplastic wrote:
He praised the Greeks for their learning but he inserted the damning critique that "the books in the alexandria library were full of commentaries on the cosmos but not comentaries on the justice of slavery-and thats part of why the civilization fell"...something to that effect. In that very episode Sagan DID what you are saying he didnt do.


The Greeks had plenty to say (and write) about enslaving non Greek folk. Almost all of it favorable. Aristotle, for example, believed that some people are only fit to be slaves to their betters.

And Sagan did simper and gush over the library at Alexandria. It just occurred to me that if the Library had survived our science would be a thousand years behind where it is now. Most of what the Greeks thought about physical reality (with very few exceptions) was flat out wrong. Also their mathematics was lacking is several respects. For example, even Archimedes and Eudoxus, the greatest mathematicians of ancient times, did not have the zero.

ruveyn

ruveyn



Philologos
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24 Jun 2011, 10:34 pm

ruveyn wrote:
It just occurred to me that if the Library had survived our science would be a thousand years behind where it is now. Most of what the Greeks thought about physical reality (with very few exceptions) was flat out wrong.

ruveyn


You are forgetting the Edison "5000 ways that do not work". A problem with the scientific endeavor is that though we HAVE libraries and decades of journal runs many of us will not look at work published more than a few years ago.

The result is we waste time rediscovering what our teachers knew and retesting what our teachers' teachers tried and rejected.

Sure, much of what they knew was wrong. And much of what we know is wrong. Science is proving yourself wrong again and again. The libraries that have burned have all been losses - but we will keep filling new ones. Not all of them burn.