A vital reminder from the fifth episode of Neil deGrasse Tyson's Cosmos series.
Perhaps Bertrand Russell put it best in his 10 commandments of learning, where he admonished:
Have no respect for the authority of others, for there are always contrary authorities to be found.
Pair with Carl Sagan’s toolkit for critical thinking.
For good measure, complement with Maurice Sendak’s little-known and lovely posters on the joy of reading.
The human talent for pattern-recognition is a two-edged sword: We’re especially good at finding patterns, even when they aren’t really there — something known as false pattern-recognition.
We hunger for significance — for signs that our personal existence is of special meaning to the universe. To that end, we’re all too eager to deceive ourselves and others.
The idea that science is just some luxury that you’ll get around to if you can afford it is regressive to any future a country might dream for itself. Innovations in science and technology are the engines of the 21st-century economy; if you care about the wealth and health of your nation tomorrow, then you’d better rethink how you allocate taxes to fund science. The federal budget needs to recognize this.
It seems like right now, we’re leaning on the private sector to pick up that slack, with for-profit companies like SpaceX, for example. The private sector requires quarterly reports and annual returns on the investors’ capital. It’s not a 20-year baseline. It’s not even a five-year baseline.
If you really want to invest in the long-term health of a nation, the government needs to step in for the long-term returns on those investments.
Imagination alone is not enough, because the reality of nature is far more wondrous than anything we can imagine.
This adventure is made possible by generations of searchers strictly adhering to a simple set of rules: Test ideas by experiment and observation; build on those ideas that pass the test; reject the ones that fail; follow the evidence, wherever it leads; and question everything.
Accept these terms, and the cosmos is yours.
Neil deGrasse Tyson talks to Bill Moyers about science, religion, and the universe – the best thing since Jane Goodall’s conversation with Moyers on the same subject.
Simply sublime: In this teaser for the American Museum of Natural History’s Dark Universe show, Neil deGrasse Tyson recites Walt Whitman’s "When I Heard the Learn’d Astronomer." Pair with Tyson on the most astounding fact about the universe, the art of the soundbite, the secret of genius, and Carl Sagan’s legacy.
Who are we, if not measured by our impact on others? That’s who we are! We’re not who we say we are, we’re not who we want to be — we are the sum of the influence and impact that we have, in our lives, on others.
At a recent Library of Congress event celebrating Carl Sagan, Neil deGrasse Tyson captures, in his signature eloquence, the heart of Sagan’s legacy.