Some inspiration from Neil deGrasse Tyson

Came across this in the Free Software sub-Reddit. Don’t watch many of Neil deGrasse’s shows (I have a hard time taking the dramatic tone that is very common in US shows seriously) but this is a succinct sound-byte of why the sharing of knowledge is important.


Suppose we physicists didn’t tell anyone how and why the laws of physics work.
We just performed them and we said it’s because we have powers.

If we did that, we would be running the world.
People would be genuflecting as they walk by us.
People would be bringing us chickens from their farms.
People would be begging that we don’t incinerate them with our antimatter device.

The fact is the people who are doing the research into magnetism, electromagnetism, more broadly… they tended to be educators, academicians, not charlatans.
And so only if you’re a charlatan will you not tell someone how something works, pretend you have the power and then you have the power over that person.

That is diabolical so it is incumbent upon the educated educators class, if you can call it that, to say exactly what it is we’re doing and why and then it’s not mysterious.

You could do it too.
You could be a physicist.
You could probe the operations of nature as we do.

I have powers and you don’t, but I explain them and therefore you don’t come running to me thinking I’m your your demigod for having these powers.
You say “what book did you learn this out of I want to be able to do that too.”

So yeah that we could have been magicians or charlatans.
That’s an education issue right there and rather than beat adults over the head because it’s not their fault they weren’t educated or wasn’t exposed or whatever, I think we just have to rethink K through 12 and what is taught - what science is how, and why it works.

For me, science is vaccine against charlatans.
It enables you to know when someone is full of shit and when they’re not.

And that’s power.
It’s power of protection for yourself so you will not be exploited by those who do not have your best interests in mind.