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Jon Stewart Doesn’t Understand How Science Works Even a Little Bit - Comments

Akaei's Avatar Comment 1 by Akaei

It is painful to watch an exchange wherein the questions presuppose a range of answers that exclude realistic answers.

"Who's right?" We should not expect anyone to be "right." We should instead ask who's information is least wrong and how do we know that.

Wed, 18 Apr 2012 01:11:04 UTC | #935361

Fujikoma's Avatar Comment 2 by Fujikoma

I'd personally cut Stewart some slack. People will make mistakes and if he actually had a astro-physicist on to do a segment about dark matter, I'm sure he'd re-align his thinking. It's unfortunate that he hosts a comedy show because he's probably one of the best interviewers I've seen in ages and he hosts some of the most interesting people and topics. I don't think I've ever seen a show of his where one side had to raise their voice to try and prove a point. I really think it's a shame that his intelligence is wasted on television.

Wed, 18 Apr 2012 01:38:02 UTC | #935366

Achamian's Avatar Comment 3 by Achamian

Oh that was painful. It started out mildly ok, but just got progressively worse. I face-palmed when Stewart said "the more you dive into science the more it appears to rely on faith." I don't think I need to even comment on that.

I used to be more sympathetic to this kind of message ("Let's all hold hands and get along"). The more I hear it from self-stylized "moderates" though, the more annoyed I get. There's this notion that the best solution to any problem of question or controversy is to choose the middle route that tacitly accepts "both sides." It's easy to see why this is insane. Just rewind the clock 500 years: should we burn the heretics at the stake or merely enslave them? The best answer is not in the middle. It's not even between those two positions.

Along with this squishy postmodern worldview comes "your truth" and "my truth" that leads to everyone living in their own solipsistic bubble. Bah, what nonsense!

Wed, 18 Apr 2012 01:39:01 UTC | #935367

Neodarwinian's Avatar Comment 4 by Neodarwinian

I love science, but........... And " The many great scientists " argument.

Where is the antimatter? I think we know Stewart.

Why are so many of our putative allies clay footed?

Wed, 18 Apr 2012 01:47:11 UTC | #935368

Austin K's Avatar Comment 5 by Austin K

Can we get a transcript of the interview, or at least the key points? The content isn't viewable in some countries.

Wed, 18 Apr 2012 02:06:35 UTC | #935375

Quine's Avatar Comment 6 by Quine

I am sorry that Jon does not understand the basic philosophy of science. However, he is a professional comedian, not a doctor, ah, I mean, scientist. I cut him a great deal of slack because he has spent so much air time blowing holes in the hypocrisy we see every day. Nonetheless, he needs to get some more education on this subject. I intend to write to him on the subject, and ask that ALL of you do so as well. It is what YOU can do to make things better.

Wed, 18 Apr 2012 02:14:16 UTC | #935377

i_am_user's Avatar Comment 7 by i_am_user

He may not be a physicist and that may give him a pass to not know the exact details of dark matter, but to think that these theories are based purely on faith with no physical evidence shows that he has, as the title suggests, a lack of understanding of science in general.

Wed, 18 Apr 2012 02:22:52 UTC | #935380

The Jersey Devil's Avatar Comment 8 by The Jersey Devil

Meh.

I used to have the same blindness about the so-called 'faith' of science till I saw a a theory map to reality by my own observation.

Wed, 18 Apr 2012 02:27:52 UTC | #935381

scarecroe's Avatar Comment 9 by scarecroe

It's for moments like this that I stopped watching The Daily Show about a year ago. He's just too tolerant of nonsense.

Wed, 18 Apr 2012 02:57:14 UTC | #935384

Sample's Avatar Comment 10 by Sample

Perhaps he was drunk.

I know I would have to be to interview that author. Not to excuse him, but perhaps he doesn't mean what we construe when he mentions the faith and science point. What I hope is that he's mistaken for poor communication rather than not knowing that there actually is a difference between faith and probability scales.

Mike

Wed, 18 Apr 2012 03:18:26 UTC | #935385

Akaei's Avatar Comment 11 by Akaei

Keep in mind that this video is pretty old: July 8, 2010.

I too love Jon. This clip doesn't change that. So much do I admire him that I have to reconsider my feelings about the perspectives he presents in this clip. But it's more than a feeling (que Boston). Where he falls down it is clearly because he is under-informed on the subject.

I'm a little uncomfortable with our embrace vs. understanding of dark matter and dark energy (I'm pretty sure that's what he meant by anti-matter) but I know the concepts are based on observable phenomena... not faith.

If you want to see something cognitively and emotionally painful watch this TED talk by a brain researcher talk about her stroke experience. She clearly has a good grasp of brain function. And yet, as she goes on she manages to slip from scientist to new-age spiritualist. Prepare to become uncomfortable: Jill Bolte Taylor's stroke of insight (18 min, 42 sec)

Wed, 18 Apr 2012 03:25:36 UTC | #935386

Rich Wilson's Avatar Comment 12 by Rich Wilson

The amount of cheering at the end really jarred me.

Wed, 18 Apr 2012 03:50:56 UTC | #935387

Thayer79's Avatar Comment 13 by Thayer79

What the...?

Hopefully by now he understands that science is NOT based on any faith. His example of "anti-matter" (I assume he meant dark matter) is especially ill-informed. There are LOTS of things we don't about it, but we CAN see it's effects like gravitational lensing of light and study them.

There are NO observable effects of ANY deity within our universe. Which is not proof they don't exist, but is a REALLY good justification for not believing they do.

Wed, 18 Apr 2012 05:47:17 UTC | #935395

Neil5150's Avatar Comment 14 by Neil5150

"Jon Stewart Doesn’t Understand How Science Works Even a Little Bit" gotta call BS on that one...

There's a reason they didn't name it The science/atheists show. His job is to make people laugh, not convert.

Why would you bother to post about a 4 min clip from 2 years ago...

Wed, 18 Apr 2012 05:58:41 UTC | #935397

susanlatimer's Avatar Comment 15 by susanlatimer

Comment 8 by The Jersey Devil

Meh.

I used to have the same blindness about the so-called 'faith' of science till I saw a a theory map to reality by my own observation.

Clutch? I love that example. Clutch against evidence. It sheds a lot of light.

Wed, 18 Apr 2012 07:10:13 UTC | #935402

SheerReason's Avatar Comment 16 by SheerReason

In defense of the article's title. I'd just like to point out that Jon Stewart who has no background in science that I'm aware of, proceeded to discredit theoretical physics by comparing assertions made by physicists to those made by woo merchants. In effect, he was essentially saying that much of what astrophysicists are learning about the universe is as silly as the claim "Gawd did it".

As has been pointed out time and time again, science, unlike religion is constantly changing based on new data. Religion stays the same in that men with beards, robes, funny hats or a mixture of the three tell you how to live your life and explain away everything with "Gawd did it", "Gawd works in mysterious ways", "It's all a part of Gawd's plan" etc.

I like Jon Stewart and enjoy his show as well as the Colbert Report. However, I have no problems with what the article is saying and I think the criticism was warranted. Especially considering that we're bombarded with pseudoscience which is passed on as real science on a daily basis in the media.

Wed, 18 Apr 2012 07:14:10 UTC | #935403

susanlatimer's Avatar Comment 17 by susanlatimer

I love Jon Stewart, too. I remember seeing that episode years ago, which is lucky, as I can't get Comedy Network clips here in Canada when they're posted.

I was very frustrated with how weak his interview was. Faith? Where does that come from?

I agree though that he's probably not up on science. He's a comic and most of his focus is on American politics.

Quine's approach is the best one. Write to him. Everyone should, even though the episode is a couple of years old.

Everyone should know how science works. Everyone should be made aware of the process. Bad science is not science. Faith has nothing to do with how science is done.

Jon Stewart should be given the chance to understand how he missed the point entirely in that interview. It's a classic example of how the message mostly doesn't make it through, even to people who care about evidence and what is true in a given situation.

The importance of how science is done is not well communicated through the white noise.

Wed, 18 Apr 2012 07:19:41 UTC | #935404

PERSON's Avatar Comment 18 by PERSON

Neil5150. What?

Are you saying Jon Stewart does understand how science works? What do you base this on? Your impression of his character, perhaps?

Why does it bother you when people try to avoid misunderstanding of science, in a humorous context or otherwise? Comedy isn't a free pass to do or say anything unchallenged, though I appreciate some right wingers treat it that way: "Black men are coming for your white women!" ... "Only joking! Ha ha."

Wed, 18 Apr 2012 07:26:55 UTC | #935405

PERSON's Avatar Comment 19 by PERSON

Comment 12 by Rich Wilson :

The amount of cheering at the end really jarred me.

Most people "just want to get along" or to "play nice" with everyone else. Sadly that's not possible; it takes effort to develop the understanding required for coexistence and the discernment to the reject the genuinely immoral. The religious rely on the latter not being developed so that people will say "that's crazy but harmless". Disconnection from literal reality is very often useful. However, there must be some kind of relationship with the underlying reality, the state of the physical world. Religion creates complete disconnects, and these are inherently harmful.

Wed, 18 Apr 2012 07:36:32 UTC | #935407

Stafford Gordon's Avatar Comment 20 by Stafford Gordon

Sean Carroll, is, I take it, a physicist, because otherwise how is it that he understands physics but has to rely on experts to explain biology?

Surely the former is more difficult to comprehend than the latter; even I have a shaky grasp of biology, but I find physics completely beyond me.

Annoyingly, the video doesn't play in our area, but perhaps it would be even more annoying to watch.

Wed, 18 Apr 2012 07:56:20 UTC | #935414

Eyerish's Avatar Comment 21 by Eyerish

It is possible that he took it easy on her because the network is possibly involved in the publishing or sale of the book. It was a bit of a plug for the book overall.

Wed, 18 Apr 2012 08:56:28 UTC | #935429

Duff's Avatar Comment 22 by Duff

He's a comedian, for "heaven" sake. Lets cut him some slack. We are very lucky to have him in this world, He is on our side.

Wed, 18 Apr 2012 11:11:08 UTC | #935454

Tyler Durden's Avatar Comment 23 by Tyler Durden

Comment 22 by Duff :

He's a comedian, for "heaven" sake. Lets cut him some slack. We are very lucky to have him in this world, He is on our side.

I demand MIT strip him of his Ph.D in theoretical physics forthwith, if not sooner.

Wed, 18 Apr 2012 11:55:33 UTC | #935462

mjwemdee's Avatar Comment 24 by mjwemdee

It's a subjective opinion, of course, but I've always wondered if he's even a comedian.

Wed, 18 Apr 2012 14:18:11 UTC | #935479

El Bastardo's Avatar Comment 25 by El Bastardo

Is this what we do now?

Hey, here's a 2 year old interview from a comedy show where the host says something un-scientific to pander to his guest. Let's pillory him for it as we thought he was one of us.

Very reasonable.

Wed, 18 Apr 2012 14:59:13 UTC | #935484

shirk's Avatar Comment 26 by shirk

Comment 5 by Austin K

Can we get a transcript of the interview, or at least the key points? The content isn't viewable in some countries.

If you wish to view blocked content from the US there is a free ( donations are welcome) and simple add-on for Firefox browser users called " anonymox" . To get it open Firefox browser, click on tools/add-on/get more add-ons, this will take you to the add-ons web page, search for "anonymox", download and install. After Firefox restarts you will see the anonymox icon at the bottom of your browser, click on it and set your country to US, you will now have an IP address in the US and be able to view any previously blocked content.

Wed, 18 Apr 2012 15:33:37 UTC | #935490

Shawn Beaulieu's Avatar Comment 27 by Shawn Beaulieu

Comment 22 by Duff :

He's a comedian, for "heaven" sake. Lets cut him some slack. We are very lucky to have him in this world, He is on our side.

What reason do we have to be so forgiving? Him being a comedian does not excuse him for perpetuating nonsense (particularly in this case, where he was being perfectly genuine). Less persuasive is the idea that he should be given a pass because his social, economic, and political sensibilities are more or less agreeable. I don't care about his previous work in this context; I care about his gross misrepresentation of science.

I still, however, find The Daily Show wildly entertaining. Here is a somewhat redeeming segment from October.

Wed, 18 Apr 2012 15:36:13 UTC | #935493

drumdaddy's Avatar Comment 28 by drumdaddy

He's a well-paid clown, expect little more.

Wed, 18 Apr 2012 16:11:49 UTC | #935499

Neil5150's Avatar Comment 29 by Neil5150

Sean Carroll Doesn’t Understand How Science Works Even a Little Bit.

On the Colbert Nation show in 2010 Sean says "If science had all the answers we would stop".

http://www.colbertnation.com/the-colbert-report-videos/267142/march-10-2010/sean-carroll

Just shows you how ignorant Sean is of science, we will never know ALL the answers. No wonder he was denied tenure at the University of Chicago.

Then he states in a alternate universe the Colbert Nation show might be on more often, this guy just has no clue whatsoever with anything to do with the scientific method.

Wed, 18 Apr 2012 16:23:54 UTC | #935504

Tyler Durden's Avatar Comment 30 by Tyler Durden

Comment 29 by Neil5150 :

                 Sean Carroll Doesn’t Understand How Science Works Even a Little Bit.

On the Colbert Nation show in 2010 Sean says "If science had all the answers we would stop".

I think this is a line borrowed from comedian (and amateur astronomer) Dara O'Briain (1:56) in his hilarious "Get in the feckin' sack" sketch.

Wed, 18 Apr 2012 16:42:39 UTC | #935508