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Smarter than Thou: Neil deGrasse Tyson and America’s nerd problem
The National Review ^ | July 30, 2014 | Charles C. W. Cooke

Posted on 07/30/2014 8:24:22 AM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet

‘My great fear,” Neil deGrasse Tyson told MSNBC’s Chris Hayes in early June, “is that we’ve in fact been visited by intelligent aliens but they chose not to make contact, on the conclusion that there’s no sign of intelligent life on Earth.” In response to this rather standard little saw, Hayes laughed as if he had been trying marijuana for the first time.

All told, one suspects that Tyson was not including either himself or a fellow traveler such as Hayes as inhabitants of Earth, but was instead referring to everybody who is not in their coterie. That, alas, is his way. An astrophysicist and evangelist for science, Tyson currently plays three roles in our society: He is the director of the Hayden Planetarium at the New York Science Museum; the presenter of the hip new show Cosmos; and, most important of all perhaps — albeit through no distinct fault of his own — he is the fetish and totem of the extraordinarily puffed-up “nerd” culture that has of late started to bloom across the United States.

One part insecure hipsterism, one part unwarranted condescension, the two defining characteristics of self-professed nerds are (a) the belief that one can discover all of the secrets of human experience through differential equations and (b) the unlovely tendency to presume themselves to be smarter than everybody else in the world. Prominent examples include MSNBC’s Melissa Harris-Perry, Rachel Maddow, Steve Kornacki, and Chris Hayes; Vox’s Ezra Klein, Dylan Matthews, and Matt Yglesias; the sabermetrician Nate Silver; the economist Paul Krugman; the atheist Richard Dawkins; former vice president Al Gore; celebrity scientist Bill Nye; and, really, anybody who conforms to the Left’s social and moral precepts while wearing glasses and babbling about statistics.

The pose is, of course, little more than a ruse — our professional “nerds” being, like Mrs. Doubtfire, stereotypical facsimiles of the real thing. They have the patois but not the passion; the clothes but not the style; the posture but not the imprimatur. Theirs is the nerd-dom of Star Wars, not Star Trek; of Mario Kart and not World of Warcraft; of the latest X-Men movie rather than the comics themselves. A sketch from the TV show Portlandia, mocked up as a public-service announcement, makes this point brutally. After a gorgeous young woman explains at a bar that she doesn’t think her job as a model is “her thing” and instead identifies as “a nerd” who is “into video games and comic books and stuff,” a dorky-looking man gets up and confesses that he is, in fact, a “real” nerd — someone who wears glasses “to see,” who is “shy,” and who “isn’t wearing a nerd costume for Halloween” but is dressed how he lives. “I get sick with fear talking to people,” he says. “It sucks.”

A quick search of the Web reveals that Portlandia’s writers are not the only people to have noticed the trend. “Science and ‘geeky’ subjects,” the pop-culture writer Maddox observes, “are perceived as being hip, cool and intellectual.” And so people who are, or wish to be, hip, cool, and intellectual “glom onto these labels and call themselves ‘geeks’ or ‘nerds’ every chance they get.”

Which is to say that the nerds of MSNBC and beyond are not actually nerds — with scientific training and all that it entails — but the popular kids indulging in a fad. To a person, they are attractive, accomplished, well paid, and loved, listened to, and cited by a good portion of the general public. Most of them spend their time on television speaking fluently, debating with passion, and hanging out with celebrities. They attend dinner parties and glitzy social events, and are photographed and put into the glossy magazines. They are flown first class to university commencement speeches and late-night shows and book launches. There they pay lip service to the notion that they are not wildly privileged, and then go back to their hotels to drink $16 cocktails with Bill Maher.

In this manner has a word with a formerly useful meaning been turned into a transparent humblebrag: Look at me, I’m smart. Or, more important, perhaps, Look at me and let me tell you who I am not, which is southern, politically conservative, culturally traditional, religious in some sense, patriotic, driven by principle rather than the pivot tables of Microsoft Excel, and in any way attached to the past. “Nerd” has become a calling a card — a means of conveying membership of one group and denying affiliation with another. The movement’s king, Neil deGrasse Tyson, has formal scientific training, certainly, as do the handful of others who have become celebrated by the crowd. He is a smart man who has done some important work in popularizing science. But this is not why he is useful. Instead, he is useful because he can be deployed as a cudgel and an emblem in political argument — pointed to as the sort of person who wouldn’t vote for Ted Cruz.

“Ignorance,” a popular Tyson meme holds, “is a virus. Once it starts spreading, it can only be cured by reason. For the sake of humanity, we must be that cure.” This rather unspecific message is a call to arms, aimed at those who believe wholeheartedly they are included in the elect “we.” Thus do we see unexceptional liberal-arts students lecturing other people about things they don’t understand themselves and terming the dissenters “flat-earthers.” Thus do we see people who have never in their lives read a single academic paper clinging to the mantle of “science” as might Albert Einstein. Thus do we see residents of Brooklyn who are unable to tell you at what temperature water boils rolling their eyes at Bjørn Lomborg or Roger Pielke Jr. because he disagrees with Harry Reid on climate change. Really, the only thing in these people’s lives that is peer-reviewed are their opinions. Don’t have a Reddit account? Believe in God? Skeptical about the threat of overpopulation? Who are you, Sarah Palin?

First and foremost, then, “nerd” has become a political designation. It is no accident that the president has felt it necessary to inject himself into the game: That’s where the cool kids are. Answering a question about Obama’s cameo on Cosmos, Tyson was laconic. “That was their choice,” he told Grantland. “We didn’t ask them. We didn’t have anything to say about it. They asked us, ‘Do you mind if we intro your show?’ Can’t say no to the president. So he did.”

One wonders how easy it would have proved to say “No” to the president if he had been, say, Scott Walker. Either way, though, that Obama wished to associate himself with the project is instructive. He was launched into the limelight by precisely the sort of people who have DVR’d every episode of Cosmos and who, like the editors of Salon, see it primarily as a means by which they might tweak their ideological enemies; who, as apparently does Sean McElwee, see the world in terms of “Neil deGrasse Tyson vs. the Right (Cosmos, Christians, and the Battle for American Science)”; and who, like the folks at Vice, advise us all: “Don’t Get Neil deGrasse Tyson Started About the Un-Science-y Politicians Who Are Killing America’s Dreams.”

Obama knows this. Look back to his earlier backers and you will see a pattern. These are the people who insisted until they were blue in the face that George W. Bush was a “theocrat” eternally hostile toward “evidence,” and that, despite all information to the contrary, Attorney General Ashcroft had covered up the Spirit of Justice statue at the Department of Justice because he was a prude. These are the people who will explain to other human beings without any irony that they are part of the “reality-based community,” and who want you to know how aw-shucks excited they are to look through the new jobs numbers.

At no time is the juxtaposition between the claim and the reality more clear than during the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, which ritzy and opulent celebration of wealth, influence, and power the nation’s smarter progressive class has taken to labeling the “Nerd Prom.” It is clear why people who believe themselves to be providing a voice for the powerless and who routinely lecture the rest of us about the evils of income inequality would wish to reduce in stature a party that would have made Trimalchio blush: It is devastating to their image. Just as Hillary Clinton has noticed of late that her extraordinary wealth and ostentatious lifestyle conflict with her populist mien, the New Class recognizes the danger that its private behavior poses to its public credibility. There is, naturally, something a little off about selected members of the Fifth Estate yukking it up with those whom they have been charged with scrutinizing — all while rappers and movie stars enjoy castles of champagne and show off their million-dollar dresses. And so the optics must be addressed and the nomenclature of an uncelebrated group cynically appropriated. We’re not the ruling class, the message goes. We’re just geeks. We’re not the powerful; we’re the outcasts. This isn’t a big old shindig; it’s science. Look, Neil deGrasse Tyson is standing in the Roosevelt Room!

* * *

Ironically enough, what Tyson and his acolytes have ended up doing is blurring the lines between politics, scholarship, and culture — thereby damaging all three. Tyson himself has expressed bemusement that “entertainment reporters” have been so interested in him. “What does it mean,” he asked, “that Seth MacFarlane, who’s best known for his fart jokes — what does it mean that he’s executive producing” Cosmos? Well, what it means is that, professionally, Tyson has hit the jackpot. Actual science is slow, unsexy, and assiduously neutral — and it carries about it almost nothing that would interest either the hipsters of Ann Arbor or the Kardashian-soaked titillaters over at E!

Politics pretending to be science, on the other hand, is current, and it is chic.

It’s useful, too. For all of the hype, much of the fadlike fetishization of “Big Data” is merely the latest repackaging of old and tired progressive ideas about who in our society should enjoy the most political power. Outside of our laboratories, “it’s just science!” is typically a dodge — a bullying tactic designed to hide a crushingly boring orthodox progressivism behind the veil of dispassionate empiricism and to pretend that Hayek’s observation that even the smartest of central planners can never have the information they would need to centrally plan was obviated by the invention of the computer. If politics should be determined by pragmatism, and the pragmatists are all on the left . . . well, you do the math.

All over the Internet, Neil deGrasse Tyson’s face is presented next to words that he may or may not have spoken. “Other than being a scientist,” he says in one image, “I’m not any other kind of -ist. These -ists and -isms are philosophies; they’re philosophical portfolios that people attach themselves to and then the philosophy does the thinking for you instead of you doing the thinking yourself.” Translation: All of my political and moral judgments are original, unlike those of the rubes who subscribe to ideologies, philosophies, and religious frameworks. My worldview is driven only by the data.

This is nonsense. Progressives not only believe all sorts of unscientific things — that Medicaid, the VA, and Head Start work; that school choice does not; that abortion carries with it few important medical questions; that GM crops make the world worse; that one can attribute every hurricane, wildfire, and heat wave to “climate change”; that it’s feasible that renewable energy will take over from fossil fuels anytime soon — but also do their level best to block investigation into any area that they consider too delicate. You’ll note that the typical objections to the likes of Charles Murray and Paul McHugh aren’t scientific at all, but amount to asking lamely why anybody would say something so mean.

Still, even were they paragons of inquiry, the instinct would remain insidious. The scientific process is an incredible thing, but it provides us with information rather than with ready-made political or moral judgments. Anyone who privileges one value over another (liberty over security, property rights over redistribution) is by definition indulging an “-ism.” Anyone who believes that the Declaration of Independence contains “self-evident truths” is signing on to an “ideology.” Anyone who goes to bat for any form of legal or material equality is expressing the end results of a philosophy.

Perhaps the greatest trick the Left ever managed to play was to successfully sell the ancient and ubiquitous ideas of collectivism, lightly checked political power, and a permanent technocratic class as being “new,” and the radical notions of individual liberty, limited government, and distributed power as being “reactionary.” A century ago, Woodrow Wilson complained that the checks and balances instituted by the Founders were outdated because they had been contrived before the telephone was invented. Now, we are to be liberated by the microchip and the Large Hadron Collider, and we are to have our progress assured by ostensibly disinterested analysts. I would recommend that we not fall for it. Our technology may be sparkling and our scientists may be the best in the world, but our politics are as they ever were. Marie Antoinette is no more welcome in America if she dresses up in a Battlestar Galactica uniform and self-deprecatingly joins Tumblr. Sorry, America. Science is important. But these are not the nerds you’re looking for.


TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Culture/Society; Philosophy; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: collectivism; progressives; science; television
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1 posted on 07/30/2014 8:24:22 AM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

I love smart people but despise arrogant people.


2 posted on 07/30/2014 8:25:31 AM PDT by cripplecreek (Remember the River Raisin.)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
It's stupid to believe in God, but it's intelligent to believe in space aliens.

Got it.

3 posted on 07/30/2014 8:29:37 AM PDT by E. Pluribus Unum ("The man who damns money obtained it dishonorably; the man who respects it earned it." --Ayn Rand)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

This horse’s patoot should be the poster boy for values-free elitism. He would be the first one to pull the rope on the guillotine used to provide “The Final Solution” to faith in anything but the State.


4 posted on 07/30/2014 8:33:36 AM PDT by Dr. Thorne ("Don't be afraid. Just believe." - Mark 5:36)
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To: cripplecreek
I've found that people who need to tell you that they're smart, generally aren't.

They're about in the same category as people you tell you how honest they are, or how much integrity they have.

5 posted on 07/30/2014 8:34:08 AM PDT by wbill
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To: cripplecreek
I love smart people but despise arrogant people.

That's it right there. I would not classify Tyson as a nerd. I would classify him as a preachy and arrogant know-it-all.

6 posted on 07/30/2014 8:35:25 AM PDT by Leaning Right (Why am I holding this lantern? I am looking for the next Reagan.)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

I’ll never understand why any nerd or geek would identify with the Left.


7 posted on 07/30/2014 8:35:53 AM PDT by Zionist Conspirator (Throne and Altar! [In Jerusalem!!!])
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Neal who?? Seriously, I remember the old Cosmos program with Carl Sagan and loved it. Was looking forward to the new one with Tyson until the first episode when Obama did the intro for it and haven’t watched it since. Another example of the politicization of science for social reasons. If I’m wrong about the show now I’d be willing to listen if someone disagrees, but now, nope.


8 posted on 07/30/2014 8:36:48 AM PDT by Afterguard (Liberals will let you do anything you want, as long as it's mandatory.)
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To: Leaning Right

Neil is pretty decent compared to assholes like Bill Nye and his NPR ilk. Neil’s “Star talk” podcast is funny and educational, and pretty much devoid of political commentary (excluding his comedian co-host/sidekick, who often digresses, but is sometimes funny). Neil is a good dude, but he does support anthropogenic global warming bullshit for some reason.


9 posted on 07/30/2014 8:42:50 AM PDT by lefty-lie-spy (Stay metal. For the Horde \m/("_")\m/ - via iPhone from Tokyo.)
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To: cripplecreek

Well said.

I think too often though we confuse smart with arrogant. What happens is we’ve put up some really bad candidates who are, quite frankly, stupid. We dismiss the intelligent out of hand.

BUT ... as you infer, the smart/arrogant combination is nauseating.


10 posted on 07/30/2014 8:42:57 AM PDT by RIghtwardHo
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To: Leaning Right

I’ve always preferred to listen to Michio Kaku. He has some serious brain power but doesn’t ooze arrogance that way Tyson does.


11 posted on 07/30/2014 8:44:29 AM PDT by cripplecreek (Remember the River Raisin.)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

I despise hipsters. This is one of the funniest sites. The comments section is good, too. Language warning:

http://diehipster.wordpress.com/


12 posted on 07/30/2014 8:45:00 AM PDT by RushIsMyTeddyBear (Great vid by ShorelineMike! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KOZjJk6nbD4&feature=plcp)
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To: Zionist Conspirator
I’ll never understand why any nerd or geek would identify with the Left.

Because it's the radical chic thing, and for the nerd/geek, acceptance.

13 posted on 07/30/2014 8:45:55 AM PDT by Calvin Locke
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

14 posted on 07/30/2014 8:51:06 AM PDT by Slyfox (Satan's goal is to rub out the image of God he sees in the face of every human.)
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To: RIghtwardHo
I think too often though we confuse smart with arrogant.

Also true. Its one of the reasons I get irritated with some posters on science threads here at FR. Broad brush denunciations of science are just as ignorant as broad brush denunciations of Christianity.
15 posted on 07/30/2014 8:51:17 AM PDT by cripplecreek (Remember the River Raisin.)
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To: Calvin Locke
I’ll never understand why any nerd or geek would identify with the Left.

Because it's the radical chic thing, and for the nerd/geek, acceptance.

1)Why should any geek or nerd be tempted to be "radical chic?"
2)Once one gains acceptance, one is by definition no longer a nerd/geek . . . correct?

16 posted on 07/30/2014 8:51:29 AM PDT by Zionist Conspirator (Throne and Altar! [In Jerusalem!!!])
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To: Slyfox

Hashbrown selfie.


17 posted on 07/30/2014 8:52:15 AM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet (The most dangerous man to any government is the man who is able to think things out for himself.)
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To: lefty-lie-spy

I’ve read a couple of articles where Tyson mocks those who question global warming and evolution. I don’t mind Tyson taking positions different than mine. But I do mind the mocking. That is not a trait of a good scientist.

It seems to me that Tyson is trading scientific objectivity for hip popularity with the left.


18 posted on 07/30/2014 8:54:59 AM PDT by Leaning Right (Why am I holding this lantern? I am looking for the next Reagan.)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

‘My great fear,” Neil deGrasse Tyson told MSNBC’s Chris Hayes in early June, “is that we’ve in fact been visited by intelligent aliens but they chose not to make contact, on the conclusion that there’s no sign of intelligent life on Earth.”

HAHAHAHA, oh, Dr. Tyson, you are so funny and original.

“Beam me up, Scotty, there’s no intelligent life down here.” Bumper sticker from the early-1970s forward.


19 posted on 07/30/2014 8:57:48 AM PDT by cdcdawg
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Thanks for posting this! I find it very affirming.

A few weeks ago, I made a snide remark about Tyson and was called a Flat-Earther by another FReeper!

I did respond, but only to say that the new “Cosmos” was introduced by Obama.

I did not receive a reply.


20 posted on 07/30/2014 8:59:22 AM PDT by left that other site (You shall know the Truth, and The Truth Shall Set You Free.)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

This sounds rediculously stereotypical. I just know I am nerdy as all get out, but am between conservative and libertarian on the political spectrum.
I will give it to Tyson though, when interviewed with Bill Maher, he refused to call those who disagree with him racist.


21 posted on 07/30/2014 8:59:24 AM PDT by Morpheus2009
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To: Zionist Conspirator

Nope, but people don’t have perfect logic. It functions to a point, or is focused in a particular topic.


22 posted on 07/30/2014 9:00:37 AM PDT by Morpheus2009
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To: cripplecreek

+1 to that.


23 posted on 07/30/2014 9:01:28 AM PDT by Morpheus2009
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Bre Pettis of MakerBot fame has played the “Nerd” image schtick to the fullest. The media loves him and this has enabled him to sell his MakerBot to Stratasys for $403 million in stock, with an additional $201 million in performance-based earn-outs.

The MakerBot is not an exceptional example of a consumer grade 3D printer. My guess is that Stratasys bought MakerBot for all the free publicity attached to Bre Pettis’s “Nerd” image and press fawning.

Neither of the other MakerBot co-founders, Adam Mayer and Zach “Hoeken” Smith, projects the nerd image nearly as strong as Pettis.


24 posted on 07/30/2014 9:12:57 AM PDT by BwanaNdege ( "Our Emperor may have no clothes, but doesn't he have a wonderful tan" - MSM)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
You cannot be considered "intelligent" in liberal circles unless you wholeheartedly and eagerly express belief in every single item on the liberal platter of opinions. No substitutions allowed.

Neil DeGrasse Tyson would be instantly labeled "stupid" the moment he stated he was pro-life or expressed doubt about anthropological global warming or touted the benefits of the second amendment. If you can find one who still remembers him, ask a liberal his opinion about the intelligence of pro-life, but otherwise old school leftie intellectual, Nate Hentoff.

Because liberals judge intelligence based solely on one's adherence to a political agenda, they have become the antithesis of the intellectualism they claim to value above all else. In their myopic view, any questioning of a liberal shibboleth instantly reveals a person not only as uncultured but as intellectually deficient as well.

You can only be considered a super-intelligent liberal if you agree to stifle any intellectual rigor in the formation of your worldview and accept the platter of provided opinions without question.

25 posted on 07/30/2014 9:16:16 AM PDT by dead (I've got my eye out for Mullah Omar.)
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To: RushIsMyTeddyBear

Oh, boy. There went my lunch hour. Thanks for posting the link.


26 posted on 07/30/2014 9:16:24 AM PDT by cdcdawg
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To: Zionist Conspirator
1)Why should any geek or nerd be tempted to be "radical chic?"

The babes. I heard David Horowitz say that that was a recruit method, and in her Weather Underground days, Bernadine Dorhn was quite hot in boots.

Useful idiots that should know better than to join any "club" that would have them as members.

27 posted on 07/30/2014 9:21:34 AM PDT by Calvin Locke
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

The aliens landed in Hollywood and Washington, and left because they didn’t find any intelligent life.


28 posted on 07/30/2014 9:56:41 AM PDT by ExCTCitizen (I'm ExCTCitizen and I approve this reply. If it does offend Libs, I'm NOT sorry...)
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To: cripplecreek
I’ve always preferred to listen to Michio Kaku. He has some serious brain power but doesn’t ooze arrogance that way Tyson does.

Funny, I would say the exact opposite.

Either way, these two, plus Bill Nye seem to have the "brilliant scientist" gig locked up on TV.

I miss Mr. Wizard!

Watch Mr. WIzard

29 posted on 07/30/2014 10:11:55 AM PDT by BwanaNdege ( "Our Emperor may have no clothes, but doesn't he have a wonderful tan" - MSM)
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To: Oberon

ping for later.


30 posted on 07/30/2014 10:19:01 AM PDT by Oberon (John 12:5-6)
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To: cripplecreek
"...I’ve always preferred to listen to Michio Kaku..."

I agree. Michio Kaku seems to have a more approachable personality, and he seems genuinely enthusiastic about science. What I get from him is this vibe:

I'm having fun, you can have fun learning stuff too.
31 posted on 07/30/2014 10:24:29 AM PDT by Rebel_Ace (Tags?!? Tags?!? We don' neeeed no stinkin' Tags!)
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To: Calvin Locke

There is only a nerd chic because Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, founders of Oracle and other technical geniuses are billionaires.
The nerd chic is more a matter of aping the rich elite than actual raising of the average intelligence of the discourse. Sounding smart is like learning French in the 1700s or wearing fashions like Queen Victoria in the late 1800s.
IMO, there is not a true increased valuation of math, science and engineering. Otherwise we would not see the continued development of soft liberal arts majors but a renewed emphasis on teach kids true math (and ditching Common Core’s WTF questions). We would see more push back against NSA hacking of our networks on both the technical compromise of the internet as we do the invasion of privacy. We would see more emphasis of getting quality graduates into science and engineering, instead of saying we need diversity regardless of quality, AKA as many good engineers as possible instead of a few more black girls in the field. And there would be less emphasis on bringing in HB-1 visa holders and development of the local talent pool so we wouldn’t undercut our talent bases while risking those people going home to create competing products.
Instead, I see article on how to set up your own social network in the hope of getting rich and the technical merits of PHP versus Python for creating Wordpress plug-ins. Or “Look, I’m carrying a book on Ruby on Rails, I’m brilliant and a future Bill Gates, so date me!”


32 posted on 07/30/2014 10:30:13 AM PDT by tbw2
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To: dead

“You can only be considered a super-intelligent liberal if you agree to stifle any intellectual rigor in the formation of your worldview and accept the platter of provided opinions without question.”
Well put!


33 posted on 07/30/2014 10:32:07 AM PDT by spankalib ("I freed a thousand slaves. I could have freed a thousand more if only they knew they were slaves.")
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To: Zionist Conspirator
I’ll never understand why any nerd or geek would identify with the Left.

Funny, I just had this conversation at lunch. :-)

There are two types of engineers. There's the classic conservative nerdy-type balding white guy with glasses in a button-down shirt (me, mostly).

And, there's the liberal, fuzzy-headed, rarely-bathing, hippie-in-a-tiedye, deep thinker type who doesn't relate well to other people.

Truly, "The Odd Couple".

34 posted on 07/30/2014 11:20:07 AM PDT by wbill
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

If the aliens tuned in to MSNBC or CNN, they would be correct in their assumption of no intelligent life on earth.


35 posted on 07/30/2014 11:25:18 AM PDT by tips up (Living is easy with eyes closed, misunderstanding all you see.)
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To: RushIsMyTeddyBear

I love that site. But I have to admit those two videos on the most recent posts look like fun, despite the pretentiousness. I had a few years like that.


36 posted on 07/30/2014 11:35:30 AM PDT by To Hell With Poverty (Epesians 6:12 becomes more real to me with each news cycle.)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet

Smart is the new pretty.


37 posted on 07/30/2014 11:57:50 AM PDT by RaveOn ("No amount of logic can shatter a faith consciously based on a lie." Lamar Keene, "True Believers")
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To: Leaning Right

“That’s it right there. I would not classify Tyson as a nerd. I would classify him as a preachy and arrogant know-it-all.”

Not only that, but if you listen closely, almost everything he talks about ends with anti-human negativism or references to violence and destruction. He’s not wired right.


38 posted on 07/30/2014 12:01:14 PM PDT by RaveOn ("No amount of logic can shatter a faith consciously based on a lie." Lamar Keene, "True Believers")
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To: Calvin Locke

“I’ll never understand why any nerd or geek would identify with the Left.”

“Because it’s the radical chic thing, and for the nerd/geek, acceptance.”

Or as I overheard a remarkably bright young teenager tell his friend at an ice cream shop:

“Dude, you don’t get it. Nonconformity is the new conformity.”


39 posted on 07/30/2014 12:14:19 PM PDT by RaveOn ("No amount of logic can shatter a faith consciously based on a lie." Lamar Keene, "True Believers")
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To: Zionist Conspirator

“I’ll never understand why any nerd or geek would identify with the Left.”

It’s all about power hunger and the urge to control.

Geeks/nerds tend to suffer from these personality disorders just as badly as barack unstablebama does.


40 posted on 07/30/2014 12:19:27 PM PDT by Vision Thing (obama wants his suicidal worshipers to become suicidal bombers.)
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To: dead

“You can only be considered a super-intelligent liberal if you agree to stifle any intellectual rigor in the formation of your worldview and accept the platter of provided opinions without question.”

And when we counter attack this by telling them they are closed minded and intolerant, they’d either have no clue what we’re talking about or wallow in denial.


41 posted on 07/30/2014 12:30:24 PM PDT by Vision Thing (obama wants his suicidal worshipers to become suicidal bombers.)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet; Alamo-Girl; TXnMA; marron; hosepipe; metmom; MHGinTN; xzins; YHAOS
One part insecure hipsterism, one part unwarranted condescension, the two defining characteristics of self-professed nerds are (a) the belief that one can discover all of the secrets of human experience through differential equations and (b) the unlovely tendency to presume themselves to be smarter than everybody else in the world….

Ironically enough, what Tyson and his acolytes have ended up doing is blurring the lines between politics, scholarship, and culture — thereby damaging all three…. Politics pretending to be science … is current, and it is chic….

Perhaps the greatest trick the Left ever managed to play was to successfully sell the ancient and ubiquitous ideas of collectivism, lightly checked political power, and a permanent technocratic class as being “new,” and the radical notions of individual liberty, limited government, and distributed power as being “reactionary.” A century ago, Woodrow Wilson complained that the checks and balances instituted by the Founders were outdated because they had been contrived before the telephone was invented.

Thank you so very much, 2ndDivisionVet, for posting this article by Charles C. W. Cooke. I read it last week in NR’s print edition, and thought it splendid.

Some thoughts, FWTW:

It ought to be completely obvious to all reasonable persons that not every human problem can be solved by differential equations, let alone the scientific method. (Which nowadays is still mainly on the Newtonian model, despite the revolutionary breakthroughs of General Relativity and Quantum physics, regarding which exactly nothing in Newtonian mechanics, based as it is on presuppositions of causal locality and direct observation, can comprehend or deal with.)

As a student of history, what impresses me most is how little the universal questions regarding human nature and experience change over the millennia. The Neo-Darwinist account of “the evolution of species” neither anticipates, nor can answer, the following type of universally persistent human problems:

… [I]t is evident that the primarily nonsensory modes of experience address dimensions of human experience superior in rank and worth to those sensory perception does: experiences of the good, beautiful, and just, of love, friendship, and truth, or all human virtue and vice, and of divine reality…. Experience of “things” is modeled on the subject–object dichotomy of perception in which the consciousness intends the object of cognition. But such a model of experience and knowing is ultimately insufficient to explain the operations of consciousness with respect to the nonphenomenal reality that men approach in moral, aesthetic, and religious experiences. [Which happen to have phenomenal consequences, or effects.] Inasmuch as such nonsensory experiences are constitutive of what is distinctive about human existence itself — and of what is most precious to mankind — a purported science of man unable to take account of them is egregiously defective. — Ellis Sandoz

It should be obvious that the “nonphemonenal reality that men approach in moral, aesthetic, and religious experiences” is entirely beyond the reach of methodological science — whose reach extends only to phenomenal reality. What immediately comes to mind: (1) We have seven millennia [at least] of recorded human history that attest to the FACT that historical human beings, cross-culturally, that is to say universally, have ALWAYS been preoccupied by such questions. They happen to be the core questions of universal human experience/existence, in all cultures, at all times. [C.S. Lewis, in The Abolition of Man, referred to this more-or-less permanent configuration of human interest and experience as the Tao.] (2) It should also be clear that such understandings of human nature and the human condition cannot be reduced to the methods of scientific investigation, which depend on direct observation of objects selected/intended by a subjective consciousness. [See: the observer problem in quantum physics.] (3) WRT selective consciousness, Einstein remarked that, although the “inertial frames” of observers inevitably differ, ALL inertial frames are ultimately subject to the universal laws of physics.

Which leads to the core question: Is there such a thing as “human nature?” Or are the Darwinists right, that nothing in biological nature is fixed, but all is in a process of random, purposeless change. Yet that purposeless change is usually supposed to be “progressive” change; that is to say, Nature, and the Natural Selection “she” imposes — though it operates by purely random means — is always wise enough to see to it that things are always just getting “better.” Therefore, man does not have a given nature (let alone a divinely-endowed one), but is always just a “work-in-progress,” leading to — WHAT???

At this point I ask about this perplexing “WHAT”: Does it lead to devolution of the human to the level of beasts? Or to machines? Or to — perhaps — self-divinization?

The Tysons of this world are very coy in answering such questions: It’s beyond the scope of science, don’t you know….

But that doesn’t mean such questions go away. If you want them to go away, you have to kill, not only God, but all of human history first. (For the reason that human history is always and quite characteristically full of questions relating to man's relationship with the Divine.)

So the strategy of the “science-y types” — who Charles Cooke points out probably could not tell you the temperature at which water boils — somehow become ersatz “experts” in science because they believe what such folks as Neil deGrasse Tyson, or Richard Dawkins, or Richard Lewontin, et al., are spewing as “experts” in the scientific field. Such ignoramuses can just join up with the “nerd herd” and be just as fashionable and “hip” in their own way as Jay Z and Beyonce are in theirs….

And dontcha know, but “fashion” seems to be everything these days. Truth be damned if it gets in the way of “fashionable” points of view.

And that is the key insight that lies at the very heart of Left Progressivism: Finally, it is a cataclysmic revulsion against human nature and experience (history both personal and social).

Must close, but not before noting two additional things: (1) I am definitely a "reactionary." (2) There's nothing "new" about Left Progressivism. Models of this sort of thing date back at least to 500 B.C. — that's what's actually OLD. That model's been tried repeatedly in human history, and it has never worked.

Which brings me to Einstein's definition of insanity: To keep repeating what has been (unsuccessfully) done before on numerous occasions, expecting a new and different outcome from "the same old same old," THIS time....

Thanks again for posting this great article, 2ndDivisionVet.

42 posted on 08/01/2014 12:25:53 PM PDT by betty boop (Resistance to tyrants is obedience to God. —Thomas Jefferson)
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To: betty boop

True... most humans can’t seem to be able or willing even to get out of the box...

And if accidentally they peer out of the box... are afraid to come out..
the box is much too comfortable and “cozy”... and “safe”...


43 posted on 08/01/2014 12:52:09 PM PDT by hosepipe (This propaganda has been edited to include some fully orbed hyperbole..)
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To: lefty-lie-spy; Alamo-Girl; hosepipe; marron; TXnMA; xzins; MHGinTN; YHAOS; metmom
Neil is a good dude, but he does support anthropogenic global warming bullshit for some reason.

If he did otherwise, his professional career would be over. That's the miserable point: How corrupt "peer-reviewed science" has become. And obtaining money — research grants, etc. — is the compulsive cause.

44 posted on 08/05/2014 8:22:00 AM PDT by betty boop (Resistance to tyrants is obedience to God. —Thomas Jefferson)
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To: 2ndDivisionVet
One of the more brilliant faculty members I've ever encountered derails these conversations with this: "Television? You watch television?" Never saw a hipster deflate so fast.

All this shows is that certain science followers are not immune from the seductions of the Cult of Celebrity, just as popular singers, actors, athletes, authors, and pretty much everyone else sucked into the maw of popular culture. Serious people have more serious things to worry about.

45 posted on 08/05/2014 8:38:07 AM PDT by Billthedrill
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To: betty boop
Science has become political.. and has political officers..
Ideology enforcers... Concept hitmen.. Mental figment Goons..

"Witch burners" with nicer sounding titles..


46 posted on 08/05/2014 9:43:12 AM PDT by hosepipe (This propaganda has been edited to include some fully orbed hyperbole..)
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To: hosepipe; Alamo-Girl; TXnMA; MHGinTN; xzins; metmom; lefty-lie-spy; 2ndDivisionVet
Science has become political.. and has political officers.. Ideology enforcers... Concept hitmen.. Mental figment Goons..

Oh, I have no doubt that is true. The treatment a friend of mine received at The Journal of Theoretical Biology has removed all doubt. Among other things, the main "juror" evaluating my friend's submission was a "hired gun," a non-acedemic popular science writer who specializes in the promulgation of neo-Darwinst doctrine (arguably, as does this journal itself). On his recommendation, the submission was denied. [I actually got to read the rejection letter, which struck me as inane: The sender admitted he hadn't even read the work. Sigh....]

As if that were not bad enough, when my friend's rejected paper was eventually published elsewhere, this juror followed him. The format in which the paper appeared allowed for follow-up "dialogue" in order to accommodate dissent. So the "juror" appeared, to show that my friend's ideas were incompatible with the findings of current, state-of-the-art science. [The paper in question was about a mathematical issue, assessing the algorithmic complexity of biological systems. I don't know why such a question should be regarded as irrelevant to biological questions, straight out of the gate....]

An actual dialogue between the two of them ensued, and made the pages of the final book.

In the end, I thought my friend whupped the other guy. Much to my gratification....

HUGS dear 'pipe!

47 posted on 08/05/2014 10:28:39 AM PDT by betty boop (Resistance to tyrants is obedience to God. —Thomas Jefferson)
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To: betty boop
The political scene(in america) these days shows there are two poles of logic.. that “facts” are filtered thru..

The so-called conservative one and the so-called liberal one..
Been proved beyond doubt “liberals” could care less about facts..

Only ones that remotely care about facts are conservatives..
Conservatives arguing with liberals on some “fact” is merely a diversion.. they cannot win..

Many scientists are “liberals”.. therefore arguing with them is a gambit by them looking for advantage..
Conservatives can never “WIN” with them..

Sooo... my logic suggests a discussion on POLITICS is ALWAYS a prerequisite to a scientific discussion..
What are "THEY" politically first, scientifically second..

ELSE; the conservative IS A MORON!... set to fail.. out foxed..
"A man, MUST, know his limitations"- Dirty Harry..

48 posted on 08/05/2014 11:08:31 AM PDT by hosepipe (This propaganda has been edited to include some fully orbed hyperbole..)
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To: hosepipe

49 posted on 08/05/2014 11:19:30 AM PDT by hosepipe (This propaganda has been edited to include some fully orbed hyperbole..)
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To: hosepipe
A man, MUST, know his limitations" — Dirty Harry

Qualification of this statement: Only a sane man is capable of recognizing that he has limitations.

This qualification would definitely put our "sitting president" beyond the pale of sanity....

And NOBODY seems to know what to do about it.

50 posted on 08/05/2014 12:57:06 PM PDT by betty boop (Resistance to tyrants is obedience to God. —Thomas Jefferson)
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