Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Time For Some New Reading Material

Recently I've been going back and forth between reading about two subjects that are near and dear to me; Evolution and Near Earth Objects. In doing so I've been running across the familiar faces I admire who are involved in the debate about these subjects such as Richard Dawkins or Christopher Hitchens in terms of evolution, and Rusty Schweickart and David Morrison on the NEO side.

But there's this other guy that keeps showing up in these debates, and the funny part (for me anyways) is that he shows up with regularity as a recognized and respected perspective in both debates.

His name is Neil deGrasse Tyson. He is an astrophysicist and, since 1996, the Frederick P. Rose Director of the Hayden Planetarium at the American Museum of Natural History. You may also recognize him from PBS's educational TV show NOVA scienceNOW.

I was reading the following Gizmodo.com report of a recent public lecture by Rusty Schweickart about the B612 Foundation and I came across this video of Mr. Tyson discussing Apophis, the asteroid scheduled to buzz the earth in about 30 years.

And here he is discussing what the B612 Foundation and others have been working on to resolve the deflection "problem"-

Great stuff. Mr. Tyson breaks it down in layman's terms effortlessly. I've seen him on other shows before, but this was a neat explanation of the facts behind NEO's like Apophis and what is currently being done about it.

I have also been following the recent intellectual purging that Charles Johnson has been subjecting his audience to over at Little Green Footballs. He's been taking on each and every last idiotic and ignorant stance on creationism/intelligent design and flailing it mercilessly in to a beaten stump of denial, and in doing so getting the full wrath from the usual suspects. It's been refreshing for me to watch this happen as his stances on politics are similar to mine, yet the audience that has made his site one of the most visited on the web had a reputation for being knuckle-dragging creationist-conservatives. His posts on evolution have cleared any misconceptions about what the owner of the site believes.

As I was thumbing through some of the more recent discussions in the evolution debate , I came across, well, Neil Tyson again.

And in this following video from the Beyond Belief 2006 Forum , Mr. Tyson takes the evolution debate and sort of turns it on its head by taking some angles that I bet you haven't heard of before. For instance (about 8:45 in) he talks about how Sir Isaac Newton himself could be considered a proponent of intelligent design and still be wrong, so maybe that's what we need to be teaching in science class. He also brings up 9/11 (he lives four blocks from ground zero) to make a point about Arabic culture and creationism that should be a lesson for humanity.

Next step for me was to order his recent book, Death by Black Hole: And Other Cosmic Quandaries, and now I basically have to ignore the web because I don't want to spoil the book.

Thank you video poker. I'll post a review when I finish the book.

Update:.....so I found this video of Tyson on the Daily Show......so sue me, alright?

Daily Show - Neil Degrasse Tyson Pt 1 Comedy Video via Noolmusic.com

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