Pop Culture Scientists

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Pop Culture Scientists

Postby wolfhnd on June 29th, 2018, 5:25 pm 

Everyone should have a right to speak on any subject they choose. Using your scientific credentials to promote political points of view or pontificate on subjects outside of your area of expertise will garner displeasure from scholars on those subjects.

Sam Harris, Steven Pinker, Jared Diamond, and Jordan Peterson are examples of scientists who have used their credentials to promote their ideas well beyond their own expertise.

Should these individuals be taken more seriously than other pundits because of their scientific credentials?

Many people will be unable to follow critiques by actually experts for technical reasons, lack of time and intellectual ability. I have fact checked the popular writing of the individuals mentioned above and find they draw conclusions well beyond what can be empirically demonstrated, quote outdated or misleading research, make philosophical mistakes, and occasionally present flawed data. On the other hand there are ideas that the public needs to be exposed to that scholars in various fields will not publicly discuss.
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Re: Pop Culture Scientists

Postby someguy1 on June 29th, 2018, 11:09 pm 

wolfhnd » June 29th, 2018, 3:25 pm wrote:
Should these individuals be taken more seriously than other pundits because of their scientific credentials?



Even worse, Hollywood actors who've made millions and lead lavish glamorous lifestyles based on looking good while saying words other people wrote for them, wake up one day and start announcing their political views. And millions give a shit! It's unbelievably stupid. And, of course, human. Stupid is what we do.

Celebrities have opinions and every right to express them. And if the public eats up celebrity opinion and eagerly turns it into received wisdom? Well that's the history of the human race. It's part of our nature.

That's one reason, by the way, that I think true general AI is farther off than people think. No AI could be as ILLOGICAL as humans. We are really not logical at all. We have logic and we use it to build civilization. But we make most life and death decisions quite irrationally, as individuals and as a species.

It's the very irrationality and illogical-ness of humans that we don't understand.
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Re: Pop Culture Scientists

Postby BadgerJelly on June 30th, 2018, 12:44 am 

I am not sure if those mentioned above have gone beyond their expertise? As far as I know the names mentioned have spend the better part of their careers studying a specific area.

The more intellectual debate in the public the better.

There is always the danger of oversimplifying the ideas and giving the geneal public the wrong impression. Practically all people veer off their well defined tracks a little because that is how we learn.

“Popular” doesn’t necessarily mean frivulous. Einstein was a “pop-star” in his time, as was Feynmann (to some degree.) Theremhas to be a voice for each area of science and because of this people will disagree due to differences of approach and differences in how they explicate the theories and ideas them deem important.
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Re: Pop Culture Scientists

Postby BadgerJelly on June 30th, 2018, 2:21 am 

To add, and many may disagree. I am happy about Peterson’s popularity simply because I think more people will be inclined to read Jung. There is the issue of people reading Jung bit part and not taking his concepts as anything other than sketchy approximations. If enough people do read Jung though enough will understand his ideas - that is what is important to me.

My whole scheme of interest on this forum, pretty much from the start, has been to explicate a subjective experience that metaphorically blew the top of my head off. Jung cuts deeper than anyone else I’ve read in terms of giving me some means to communicate my experience.

As far as I know none of thr above are leaders in their respective field of interest? That doesn’t matter. I have discussed this elsewhere (other forum) and agreed with the analysis that these people will be footnotes, at best, in their fields of interest. They will not be, and are not, footnotes in the area of pop science though.

I think it makes sense to listen to them, but not without looking back 10-20 years minimum and assessing their work alongside others in the field who are already considered as major players.

One thing I do find curious is the lack of philosophers. I guess the idea of popular philosophical works is contrary as intense study is needed - that said it appears philosophical ideas bleed throuh well enough via psychology, linguistics and, law and political theory.

Pop science books are merely stepping stones for the curious. If they are written well enough then people open their minds and expand beyond the words of one particular author.

I don’t know about anyone else, but when I read/listen/watch anything I try and make myself obstinate and purposefully disagree rather than hear what I want to hear - with mixed results. If I come away thinking either “everything they said was correct,” or “everything they said was wrong” then I know I’ve done a bad job and not paid close enough attention.

This is making me think about a book I saw called “How to Read a Book.” Which, yet again (I say with sigh dusting off my old broken record) bring me to my answer to all the ills of thr world ... education. The ability to read words doesn’t mean you can read well (I am terrible at reading compared to some.)
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Re: Pop Culture Scientists

Postby Forest_Dump on June 30th, 2018, 10:22 am 

Since I am constantly trying to beware of "appeals to authority", I try to use the reputations of authorities and "pop culture scientists" only to decide what to read (since I find there is far too much out there I want to read but don't have the time). Once that decision is made, however, and usually in the decision of preferring to read works or authors with a better reputation, I then try to read more critically. And the better the reputation of the author or work, the more harshly and unforgivably I read if the goal is to inform myself. In short, I have higher standards and expect more from "my team" and will let the other team be more sloppy and stupid, etc. If you want to bring me to your side, you better bring your best to the table and be prepared to let me try to rip it to shreds as only the best will do.
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