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DaystarEld270 karma

He's rambling a bit, but the answer is there:

I think that reading to children will help inspire that interest in aerospace, and many other supporting career fields. Not everyone can be an astronaut and go into space... However, stories, videos that come from the space station, and other people, are a great inspiration to young people for an exciting career field.

DaystarEld88 karma

Well, here's an honest question that I'm not really expecting an answer to: do you guys regret (or have changed your minds on) any episodes you've made? Specifically, have your minds changed about equating the "faith" people have in science and the "faith" in religion, as you did in this episode?

Normally I find the blend of insider knowledge and expert analysis of video games in your show thoroughly enjoyable and educational, and have recommended it to all my friends. However, this topic bothered me not just because you were expressing an assertion that I disagree with, but the way you you treated it showed none of the care and informed approach you seem to usually take in your episodes. You would be pissed if some non-game designer started talking authoritatively about game design, and yet you seem fully willing to make assertions about the nature of science and scientific belief without consulting any actual scientists.

I know you made the clarification episode in response to all the backlash you received. However, this clarification simply reiterated the basic point that you made in the first one, and despite assuring viewers that you are "huge fans" of and "love" science, you showed no further understanding of why people were upset.

With an apology for length, here's my attempt to explain it:

If you broaden the definition of "faith" to simply mean "belief in things," with or without evidence, then we readily see a word that more accurately describes acceptance in scientific findings: namely, "confidence." There's a reason scientists don't often say we "prove" something 100%: all prevailing scientific knowledge are merely the theories we have the "most confidence" in, based on evidence, observation, and predictions.

But even if we accept that using one word, "faith," to apply to two completely different things is common parlance, here's the difference between "faith" in science and "faith" in religion: You cannot demonstrate the reasons for your faith in religion. It is ultimately within yourself. I can't observe it, I can't measure it. We can't peer review your feelings. The basis for faith in religion is INTERNAL.

The scientific method only works on observations, measurements, predictions, peer review, etc. They are EXTERNAL from ourselves. Thus our "faith" in science is the result of those external factors.

Example: Those belonging to a religion may have faith in angels. They may even say they have met an angel, or were helped by an angel. But they cannot demonstrate this feeling or experience. They can't show someone else why they believe they are correct: we have to just trust them.

But people who understand science do not have "faith" in atoms. We may never have seen an atom ourselves, but we can still demonstrate why we believe they exist. Anyone can learn to understand HOW we know they exist. We can TEACH others how to verify their existence. And most of all, the evidence for their existence is found in the things we create and interact with. Nuclear power plants don't work on faith: they work because very smart people understand atoms and how matter relates to energy.

To claim that someone has "faith" in science, and then assert that your definition of "faith" between science and religion is equivalent, is ignoring the fact that nuclear power works. Unless you believe that all the scientists and engineers at a nuclear power plant are faking it, you have to provide an equivalent on religion's side to show that "faith" in it is as grounded on facts and evidence as "faith," or as I call it, "confidence," in science. Or else using the same word to apply to both just causes confusion, because it's an utterly false equivalence.

Of course there are some people who have "faith" in science or scientists. They just take things people in white lab coats say on authority. But those with even the smallest measure of understanding in the scientific method know that "faith" has nothing to do with it. I no more have "faith" in science than I have "faith" that my car will start tomorrow. I have "confidence," based on my experiences and an understanding that someone, somewhere, knows enough about mechanics and engineering to have built it in the first place, and have it work.

Thanks for your time, and I'd really appreciate an answer if you can spare one :) Either way, keep doing what you're doing!

DaystarEld87 karma

Has the explosion of mobile texting helped significantly in communicating with your parents? What was the introduction of that like?

DaystarEld51 karma

Dubner already did a whole thing about this:


DaystarEld49 karma

Yep. The myth of the "informed and rational consumer" is what makes me view libertarian politics as just as idealistic as communism. It's nice to imagine that everything would work out best if we just let markets sort things out without government, or let government sort things out without markets, but there's a reason every truly successful country in the world is neither libertarian nor communist: because you need the strengths of both market efficiency and smart regulation.

The trick is in finding the right balance, and fighting corruption in both. But nah, let's keep fighting over pure ideology! Hooray tribalism!