science education

Neil deGrasse Tyson responds to the “God voice”

The New Yorker profiles Neil deGrasse Tyson (behind paywall):

“Tyson refuses to take explicit political positions in public, or to criticize elected officials, even those who reject evolution; he would rather invest his energies in creating a more enlightened electorate.”

This seems much better than the Bill Nye approach.  Arguing with creationists is a losing game.

He also gives us a glimpse into the childhood visit to the Hayden Planetarium that turned him onto astronomy:

“After that one session with the deep voice of the planetarium director – the God voice – resonating in the cavity of the dome, looking at the universe.  That is some pretty impactful life experience.”

Share this post

Finding confirmation bias in famous experiments – the Robert Millikan edition

In the NYT, political scientist Michael Suk-Young Chwe recalls his Caltech physics professor showing students Robert Millikan’s lab notes from his famous oil-drop experiments that established the electrical charge of the electron:

“The notebooks showed many fits and starts and many “results” that were obviously wrong, but as they progressed, the results got cleaner, and Millikan could not help but include comments such as “Best yet — Beauty — Publish.” In other words, Millikan excluded the data that seemed erroneous and included data that he liked, embracing his own confirmation bias.”

He also suggests – less credibly – that science take a lesson from literary criticism, a field that – in his view – has “real standards of scholarly validity.”

Share this post

Start typing and press Enter to search

Shopping Cart