Thursday, October 06, 2016

Happy Birthday, Neil

It's a day late, but belated happy birthday wishes to Neil deGrasse Tyson, astronomer and popularizer of science.

And because I know how hyped Tyson is on "teaching moments", here's one I saw on the American Humanist Association's Facebook page:

Of course, he mis-spoke, or perhaps more accurately, spoke in shorthand.

Way in the back of his mind, I'm sure Tyson remembers that science is a process... a method. It's not a fact that can be true or false. The conclusions of science are not only falsifiable (or else they're not scientific), but many of them have been found to be false over time and have been revised and/or replaced.

Now, "science"... the process which leads to that falsification, is always valid. But remember that we say that the scientific conclusions that were "falsified" by further scientific inquiry, we don't mean that they were made false; rather, they were discovered to be false all along.

So don't walk away believing that "science" is always true. It's not. It's the best method we have of formulating our best guess of the moment at how things work.

If you think what you know is always true, then what you have is a religion.

All that aside, Happy Birthday to Neil.

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