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General Astronomy >> General Observing and Astronomy

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Tony Flanders
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Reged: 05/18/06

Loc: Cambridge, MA, USA
Re: unlearning the constellations new [Re: drollere]
      #5501654 - 11/02/12 10:06 PM

Quote:

Tony, i have to thank you for expressing with flair the point of view i called out in my point #3 above. the point of view that: the constellations are how we do things, they are the only way to do things, they are the only way we have ever done things, there is no other fruitful or useful way to do things ... so shut up.




No, that's not what I said at all. What I said is that the constellations aren't going to go away, and if you think they are, you're deluding yourself.

You're welcome to smash your head against this particular brick wall, but it's your head that's going to suffer, not the wall.

This is largely because of human nature; we are a very conservative species. But the reasons go deeper than that.

Stepping back a bit and looking at the underlying reality, it's a fact that we're stuck with the 2-dimensional appearance of the celestial sphere. That is our direct perception; everything else is deduction. It is largely (not entirely!) accidental, but it's an accident of nature, not culture.

You can argue all you want that people ought to think of stars and deep-sky objects as existing in three dimensions -- which I entirely agree with. But you're still stuck with your eyes and your visual cortex, and they will see the stars as a celestial sphere whether you like it or not.

And a good thing, too! Remember, the celestial sphere is something you can explore first-hand. Distances to celestial objects you have to take on faith. How many amateurs are actually going to measure the parallax of individual stars?

I don't want anybody to learn science at the cost of losing his or her direct perception. When you see an ant, you should see an ant, not think of it entirely as a chemical factory, an element of a superorganism, or a collection of cells or molecules -- though it is all those things, too.

In order to talk about the celestial sphere, we need shapes and categories. The constellations may be arbitrary, but so will any other shapes and categories used for this purpose.

There is a reason that you don't have a concrete proposal for what to put in place of the constellations -- because there exists no rational and objective way to do the job that they do.

So in many ways doing away with constellations is even less plausible than spelling reform. It is in theory possible to invent a rational spelling system for English; this has in fact been done for other languages, such as Russian (long ago) and Turkish (very recently). The obstacles to this eminently desirable reform are social, not fundamental.

However, there is no rational way to organize the perceived celestial sphere, because it is in fact accidental and arbitrary.

So there's absolutely no benefit to abandoning the current system. Yes, it's irrational, but at least everybody agrees on it. The alternative is Babel -- 7 billion mutually incomprehensible irrational systems.


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jrbarnett
Eyepiece Hooligan
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Reged: 02/28/06

Loc: Petaluma, CA
Re: unlearning the constellations new [Re: drollere]
      #5501705 - 11/02/12 10:32 PM

bruce, have you played around with Stellarium (open source planetarium program)? There is a setting that allows you to choose different culture's starlore/mythology. It's interesting, for example, to see how the pre-Christian Scandinavians and Polynesians imagined the patterns in the stars. Not exactly on point, but nonetheless I think you'd enjoy playing around with it.

Regards,

Jim


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Kfrank
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 12/20/08

Loc: Northern Colorado
Re: unlearning the constellations new [Re: drollere]
      #5501717 - 11/02/12 10:37 PM

Drollere,

I'll break with those to whom this an interesting thread and say, that to me, your whole thesis is one of the finest examples of sophistry that I have ever seen on Cloudy Nights.

Poster after poster has tried to rationally take issue with you and many of these have made very cogent arguments. Your response has always been to reply that you are misunderstood. Perhaps you might consider that if so many misunderstand you, you're not stating your case clearly, or perhaps that your case has no merit.

I'll go on record as saying that I might be able respond to you appropriately if I were able to understand your intent - which, I'm beginning to suspect is simply to provoke controversy. We call that "trolling" on the 'net.

Some of your points are well taken but you are arguing against the conventional and accepted way of things. IMO you are tilting at windmills. Others have granted the validity of (some) of your points yet you seem determined not to acknowledge this.


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auriga
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 03/02/06

Re: unlearning the constellations new [Re: Tony Flanders]
      #5501891 - 11/03/12 01:15 AM

Tony,
This is a truly intelligent and clarifying post. Thank you.
Bill


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auriga
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 03/02/06

Re: unlearning the constellations new [Re: Crossen]
      #5501904 - 11/03/12 01:30 AM

Hi, Craig,
Remarkable insight about the meaning of the Mesopotamian constellations. An entirely new idea to me, quite stimulating and eye-opening.
I look forward to your forthcoming book on Mesopotamian archeology, which I suspect will deal with some of these astronomical issues?
Regards,
Bill


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auriga
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 03/02/06

Re: unlearning the constellations new [Re: jrbarnett]
      #5501916 - 11/03/12 01:46 AM

Tony,
Another truly excellent post. Your point about the celestial sphere being inherent in the way we see is a very good one. And I am fairly sure that a perceptual psychologist would say that it is somehow inherent to connect adjacent dots, hence constellation figures are likely to emerge.

An underlying problem I think is derogation of the cultural and of the humanities.

This derogation may be a result of the kind of education (and adulation) many technical people seem to receive.

I find technique fascinating and elegant and useful but not to the exclusion of history, culture, the humanities and the social sciences.

I urge people to take a look at Jacques Ellul's book, La Technique (the title is mistranslated as The Technological Society, doubtless for purposes of marketing).

Bill


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Crossen
super member
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Reged: 07/14/08

Loc: Vienna
Re: unlearning the constellations new [Re: auriga]
      #5502079 - 11/03/12 08:59 AM

Quote:


An underlying problem I think is derogation of the cultural and of the humanities.

This derogation may be a result of the kind of education (and adulation) many technical people seem to receive.

I find technique fascinating and elegant and useful but not to the exclusion of history, culture, the humanities and the social sciences.




The problem is not only that many people in the hard sciences tend to associate the constellations with mythology and religion and other aspects of the humanities, but that they associate it with astrology. They are correct: the constellations were/are associated with astrology. But they must remember that chemistry and physics grew out of alchemy: even the sainted Newton practised alchemy. One must not judge a line of study by its parents or by the company it kept in its youth.

The purpose of my post about the Sumerian star-lists was to show that even in the 3rd millennium BC there were some very serious and unsuperstitious minds using the constellations they had inherited from their ancestors to see the heavens in a disciplined, organized fashion. Those lists are the beginning of true scientific astronomy. The second step was also taken in the 3rd millennium BC: Sumerian astronomers (they deserve to be called such) divided the sky into northern, equatorial, and southern bands. They called these bands the Stars of Enlil, the Stars of Anu, and the Stars of Enki after the weather-god, the sky-god, and the water-god respectively--but those were just names reflecting earlier traditions that associated some constellations in those areas of the sky with those particular deities. The bands were so precise that early German assyriologists argued to within a half-degree of exactly where the borders between the bands were.

Like you, I see in the present culture a tendency to denigrate the arts and literature. I also see in it a tendency to denigrate the ancients. Just because they didn't know as many facts as we do, doesn't mean that they were stupid and their writings and art and science should be disregarded. How many people today--even teachers of history--know that Phoenician mariners circumnavigated Africa before 600 BC, or that the Babylonians used the Pythagorean Theorem before 1800 BC?

The constellations are a link not only with the literary and cultural past of the human race, but also with its scientific past. One cannot claim to understand the history of astronomy without knowing the role the constellations played in that history. And this knowledge is relevant to the practice of modern astronomy because the methods and patterns of intellectual inquiry are constants. The ancients may not be able to teach us anything about the local spiral structure of our Galaxy, but they can still teach us how to think and how to research so we can learn more about that spiral structure.

Craig Crossen


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drollere
Pooh-Bah
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Reged: 02/02/10

Loc: sebastopol, california
Re: unlearning the constellations new [Re: Crossen]
      #5503716 - 11/04/12 10:45 AM

two "rebuttals":

Quote:

You can argue all you want that people ought to think of stars and deep-sky objects as existing in three dimensions -- which I entirely agree with. But you're still stuck with your eyes and your visual cortex, and they will see the stars as a celestial sphere whether you like it or not. ... There is a reason that you don't have a concrete proposal for what to put in place of the constellations -- because there exists no rational and objective way to do the job that they do. ... There is no rational way to organize the perceived celestial sphere, because it is in fact accidental and arbitrary. So there's absolutely no benefit to abandoning the current system. Yes, it's irrational, but at least everybody agrees on it. The alternative is Babel -- 7 billion mutually incomprehensible irrational systems.



i recall the point in spinoza where he states that, as "direct perception", the sun appears to be about 30 feet above our head. certainly there is nothing about the moon, as a "direct perception", that indicates its true dimension, which, after all, is going to be exactly the same dimension as the sun, since "direct perception" during an eclipse demonstrates that they are exactly the same diameter. and after all, based on "direct perception", didn't people believe for centuries that comets were an atmospheric phenomenon? -- until kepler disproved it? and, where does "direct perception" lead us but to the ptolemaic system, or the sun as somehow a large sphere of burning coal?

the whole argument based on "direct perception" is nakedly specious.

"no rational way to do the job that they do"? what "job" is that, exactly? the celestial coordinate system locates objects, scientific analysis defines their size and distance (within an order of magnitude), catalogs list their visual and physical attributes. none of that implicates "constellations" as an organizing principle. where is "constellation" in NGC, or WDS? the organizing principle, such as it is, consists of an IAU fiat implicitly organized around bright stars as markers of visual space.

my proposal is that the sky should be organized, intuitively and as a mental map, so that our place in the *galactic landscape* is readily understood.

the claim that "sagittarius is a centaur in a traditional region of the sky" and "the teapot pours hot water on the center of the Galaxy" are equally arbitrary, or equally uninformative, is a patently illogical dictat.

when it comes to dictat, i point to your use of "deluding yourself", "it's a fact", "you're still stuck," "whether you like it or not", "we need", "there exists no" and similar unilateral declarations of fact and tradition as a clear demonstration of my point #3 above.

Quote:

The constellations are a link not only with the literary and cultural past of the human race, but also with its scientific past. One cannot claim to understand the history of astronomy without knowing the role the constellations played in that history. And this knowledge is relevant to the practice of modern astronomy because the methods and patterns of intellectual inquiry are constants. The ancients may not be able to teach us anything about the local spiral structure of our Galaxy, but they can still teach us how to think and how to research so we can learn more about that spiral structure.



certainly, the study of the past, commonly denoted history or historical studies, is a laudable pursuit and a very interesting and culturally important domain of knowledge. it's just not astronomy.

or much of the history of astronomy: if you read hoyle (Astronomy), pannehoek (A History of Astronomy), or couper & henbest (The History of Astronomy), you'll find little reference to, or information about, "constellations". the pannehoek and h&b indexes do not even list the word, and hoyle gives the concept two pages -- one entire page as a tabulation of names and abbreviations. but according to crossan, these people "cannot claim to understand the history of astronomy"!

as for science itself: the first problem in astronomy, after marking time and direction, was predicting the location in the sky of the sun and moon, and the correlated problem of the timing of eclipses. pannehoek spends quite a lot of time on it, because those two problems are fundamental right up to the 19th century refinement of celestial dynamics. in those problems, single bright stars, not constellations, served as the measurement points for the trigonometric calculations necessary to measure right ascension in the long era before reliable clocks. individual stars, not constellations, accompany the first to latest steps in the science of astronomy. (if you believe my proposals arise from ignorance, you delude yourself.)

one does not denigrate the ancients if the ancients are not relevant to the purpose. and, as both a painter and a musician, no disparagement of the arts has any relevance here, except as an ad hominem.

front to back, false arguments are used to support opinion pronounced with the rhetoric of dictat and defended on the principle that "we've always done it this way."


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drollere
Pooh-Bah
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Reged: 02/02/10

Loc: sebastopol, california
Re: unlearning the constellations new [Re: drollere]
      #5503845 - 11/04/12 12:18 PM

having clarified the false premises that underlie "objections" to my proposals, (which will nicely serve as grist for the first chapter of my forthcoming book, Unlearning the Constellations) ... let's address substantive content.

1. the sky, as visual data, can be organized to mark, reveal and hold in memory our place in the galactic landscape. this is the fundamental principle that guides concept formation and rejects irrelevant content.

2. we introduce basic concepts of galactic structure -- distance, dimension, gravity, rotation, spiral arm, stars, interstellar matter. the first objective is to locate ourselves within this "static" landscape.

3. for the sole purpose of location, we observe that the area of the sky is traditionally divided into ancient, completely arbitrary, jerrymandered and egregiously unequal tracts called constellations, by way of showing that they are inappropriate for further use to orientate, demarcate, or locate. so we "unlearn" them.

3. we use bright stars, the canonical points in the sky since ancient times, as our framework for orientation, demarcation and location. we adopt a subset of the 58 bright NAVIGATION STARS as the useful framework; we prefer the term "toward" as the locating preposition ("toward Arcturus") rather than "in" ("in Bootes").

4. we describe this selection of historically significant and visually useful bright stars in terms of distance, mass, spectral type and temperature, we note that mass is destiny in the domain of stars, and we note that these stars are all quite close to us, as galactic distance goes. we call the sphere that contains them all the Solar Neighborhood.

5. we locate by the expedient of giving each bright star its share of sky. boundaries are defined simply at the halfway point between two neighbor bright stars. everything closer to arcturus than to vega, or to arcturus than to denebola, is "toward arcturus". we locate bright stars, in turn, through the use of compact and easily recognized asterisms, open clusters and seasonal associations -- if it's winter, that must be sirius.

6. we observe that the sky is divided into three zones: a continuous band of light known as the Galaxy, and two very large dark areas, the North Window and the South Window. we correlate these apparent features with the disk structure and rotation of the Galaxy and our location within it.

7. we map the sky using galactic coordinates, where the disk defines an equator that is really a horizon. for visual orientation we present the sky within this framework, using a stereographic projection for charting purposes, and we draw the bright star regions within stereographic charts. the north pole is at the boundary toward denebola and arcturus, the south pole is toward diphda.

8. we briefly describe content as signs of structure: the galaxy is the most dense concentration of stars and interstellar medium, and therefore visually obscuring but also visually the direction of most bright stars. the windows are relatively free of obscuring matter and allow a view of the universe beyond the galaxy. we note that certain objects -- nebulae, open clusters, associations -- are concentrated within the galaxy zone, while other objects -- galaxies and galaxy clusters -- are confined to the windows. we introduce the concept of halo and disk stars, and the peculiar nature and status of globular clusters.

9. we note that, for the mechanical purposes of pointing and tracking from the surface of the earth, we must adopt a framework that is anchored in the Earth's rotation. we introduce the system of equatorial coordinates, and use it to indicate the inclination of the earth to the galactic disk. we note that this system is highly practical for mechanical purposes, and otherwise empty of content. finally we introduce the system of ecliptical coordinates, and use it to indicate the inclination of the solar system to the galactic disk. we use both systems to anchor the concept of a coordinate system in the fact of rotation or revolution, and underline the relationship of the galactic system to galactic dynamics.

10. we return to the solar neighborhood and identify the solar apex (toward vega), the differences between proper motion, radial motion and spatial motion, the spatial motion of the bright stars (speed, direction and variety), the effects of galactic rotation on their measured movement in relation to the sun.

11. we again use the bright stars (by repeating their study, we lead them into memory) to develop the concepts of absolute and visual magnitude, distance and brightness, distance and parallax, parallax and brightness (distance modulus). we develop the relationships of arcsecond, astronomical unit, year, parsec and absolute magnitude as a consistent set of concepts similar to the metric system. (we downplay use of the "light time" as a metric.) we explain the measurement of motion using aberration, doppler shift, astrometry, and parallax.

12. we expand from the solar neighborhood to explore the visible galaxy in detail. we identify the galactic center and its location to the teapot asterism. we define the local arm and its extent from deneb to sirius. we indicate the far arm as extending from altair to regor, and the outer arm from regor to sirius.

(the wife beckons to brunch and frolic. more shortly.)


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auriga
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 03/02/06

Re: unlearning the constellations new [Re: Tony Flanders]
      #5504001 - 11/04/12 02:15 PM

Quote:

Quote:

I knew I should stay away from this. Starting with the title, "unlearning the constellations".




The title is probably unnecessarily combative. I think "Beyond the Constellations" would be more accurate.

For me, the greatest glory of astronomy is that there are so many different ways to approach it. There had better be! It is, after all, the study of the universe -- literally, everything that is, has been, or ever will be. I find the aesthetic approach, the historical approach, the study of individual objects and stars, and the study of how they fit together, all equally interesting.




Tony,
Here again I agree with you entirely. DJ is on to something when he suggests we observers should devote more attention to the organization of our galaxy, but his proposal to junk the constellations is needlessly provocative. What is needed is an additional way of observing and understanding , not a substitution for all other perspectives.

Blll


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auriga
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 03/02/06

Re: unlearning the constellations new [Re: drollere]
      #5504060 - 11/04/12 02:59 PM

Bruce,
In my humble opinion your website shows you to be erudite and to have a really fine mind. Your writing shows a wry sense of humor in addition, in my opinion.

I look forward to your book , where you can spin out your ideas in more detail.

But I believe your book will get a better reception and be more influential if you avoid needlessly provocative formulations, and speak of changing our emphasis rather than junking the past entirely.

A problem for me is that I find your writing style in these posts to be highly aphoristic, and therefore enigmatic. For example, what do you mean by "dictat?" How do you know something is a dictat rather than an opinion or an assertion? In the book you will doubtless have more time to make clear what you mean by these aphorisms.

Your idea of science as disembodied from culture is for me an underlying problem. In my view science arises from culture and is best appreciated if one understands the culture that gives rise to science. For example, Karl Popper's ideas of "falsifiability" (disconfirmability), which are essential to modern scientific inquiry, arose from a particular historical and cultural and philosophical background. Richard Feynman's skeptical, playful and inquisitive approach to doing science arose from his personal and cultural background. Atul Gawande's methods of improving surgical practice arose from a particular historical and cultural context, as his books demonstrate.

I wish you best of success with your book,
Bill


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drollere
Pooh-Bah
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Reged: 02/02/10

Loc: sebastopol, california
Re: unlearning the constellations new [Re: drollere]
      #5504065 - 11/04/12 03:01 PM

13. we recall the practice of some south american cultures of naming and narrating the dark features of the Galaxy, which points to a clearer description of the Galaxy features and the obstacles to observing them. using wide field photography, we survey the Galaxy in panorama, noting the bright star markers for galactic coordinate "compass points". the survey also brings into focus several "marker objects" in the galactic plane.

14. we review the basic methods of radio, infrared and xray astronomy, the concept of marker objects -- molecular clouds, star forming regions, HII regions, galactic clusters, OB stars, globular clusters, and their spatial motions -- and the evidence they provide for galactic structure and our location within it.

15. we return to the Galaxy, now armed with a structural picture, and parse the visible Galaxy in terms of near and far features, obscuring clouds and long views, spiral arms and the spaces between them.

16. we address the Galaxy as process, again returning to the system of bright stars, and use them to narrate the development (not evolution) of stellar objects.

17. we expand process to include star formation and collapse, linking together molecular clouds, star forming regions, HII regions, galactic clusters, OB stars and associations, and planetary nebulae within the dimensions of time, mass and space. all traditional messier, galactic NGC target objects are located within this single sequence, and attributed an age. in particular, we explain the use of the HR diagram to "age" clusters.

18. we digress from this expanding grand view to consider mass segregation, mass biasing and mass luminosity, once again to return to the bright stars in the solar neighborhood, this time to look at the initial mass function, stellar populations, and planetary systems. we update the drake equation to demonstrate that "intelligent life" as a technical civilization is most likely quite rare -- probably no more than half a dozen across the entire Galaxy.

19. we turn next to the north and south windows, explain how the stellar population there differs from stars in the galactic zone, and in particular how this region is populated with low metallicity stars and globular clusters. we link these facts to galactic formation and evolution, the capture of "dwarf" systems such as the magellanic clouds, and the process of element formation.

20. we conclude with the far view available through the windows, and the structures that appear there. we note the galaxy clusters that appear toward denebola, toward the dipper, toward spica, and toward diphda, fomalhaut, ankaa and achernar. we note the microwave anisotropy, our near galaxy neighbors (toward mirach and canopus), and outline galaxy superclusters.

Epilogue. we make a few general observations about astronomy and the great physical processes it reveals to us. we summarize the major themes of question and inquiry that have shaped the development of astronomy, and the importance of these to the Enlightenment and the formulation of scientific practice today.

we end with a problem: light pollution and the vast blotting out of the sky that is a fundamental feature of modern civilization. and a question: how has that problem arisen, and what does it signify about our technology? we discover that the remote places that reveal the sky, and the lore that clarifies its significance, both suggest that change is needed in how we look at the sky, and how we live on the Earth.

###

these posts provide an off the cuff outline; i'll return to each "chapter" in more detail as i have time available.


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Glen A W
sage


Reged: 07/04/08

Loc: WEST VIRGINIA USA
Re: unlearning the constellations new [Re: drollere]
      #5504088 - 11/04/12 03:20 PM

I have been at astronomy for 25 years and I consciously did not learn constellations until about 2008..... because I thought they were a contrivance. After I became almost a "full time amateur" for a while, I did learn them, but I realize now I have installed something artificial into my mind, though it is not unpleasant to study the mythology behind constellations.

I liked your pictures you posted.

GW


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drollere
Pooh-Bah
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Reged: 02/02/10

Loc: sebastopol, california
Re: unlearning the constellations new [Re: auriga]
      #5504122 - 11/04/12 03:35 PM

Quote:

A problem for me is that I find your writing style in these posts to be highly aphoristic, and therefore enigmatic. For example, what do you mean by "dictat?" How do you know something is a dictat rather than an opinion or an assertion?



though possibly considered unusual, dictat is by no means obscure, since journalists (!) seem to favor it: see here ...

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/comment/james-quinn/9261801/Europes-dictat...

and HERE.

i briefly collected (above) some of the "dictating" phrases tony seems to use without blushing, but if you carefully read his post you can discern his premise that "i'm telling you how it is (you're stuck with it), you're nuts if you contradict me (it ain't gonna change)."

Quote:

Your idea of science as disembodied from culture is for me an underlying problem. In my view science arises from culture and is best appreciated if one understands the culture that gives rise to science. For example, Karl Popper's ideas of "falsifiability" (disconfirmability), which are essential to modern scientific inquiry, essential arose from a particular historical and cultural and philosophical background. Richard Feynman's skeptical, playful and inquisitive approach to doing science arose from his personal and cultural background. Atul Gawande's methods of improving surgical practice arose from a particular historical and cultural context, as his books demonstrate.



bill, if you have missed the point that i want to create a system of astronomical description that makes very clear the underlying facts of astronomy, and by that process brings science more clearly into the common sense and commonplace knowledge of astronomers, then please help me edit my posts to make that objective very clear, since it is at the heart of my motivation.

to say, as crossan does, that we should preserve the lore of three millennia previous because it is science, or shows how science is done today, is factually false. of course i could reply that science as practiced today requires (among other things) material causes, replicable demonstration and peer review, when the babylonians worked from spiritual causes, cookbook methods and priestly secrecy -- but crossan's premise is emotional and nostalgic, and bringing facts against it is pointless.

to your view that "science arises from culture," i'd rather say that it is actually "science" that has been jeopardized by a focus on the past, and by "cultural" abuses related to the defense of personal prejudices, corporate interests, academic status, political gain and religious beliefs. it's really science that is being derided and denigrated in our culture, while the "arts" of music, theater, painting, film, comedy, rhetoric, grooming fashion and investing that are cultivated and celebrated -- often as lucrative markets and shaped by profit motive.


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Kfrank
Carpal Tunnel


Reged: 12/20/08

Loc: Northern Colorado
Re: unlearning the constellations new [Re: Glen A W]
      #5504136 - 11/04/12 03:45 PM

Yes, the constellations are an artificial contrivance. But, they represent a reasonable and accepted way to order the night sky. The ancients did indeed view the night sky as a ball on the inside of which the stars were "mounted". I don't think there are any folks here that conceptualize the skies in that way.

And yet, the system we use today for locating celestial objects (RA and Declination) is simply a grid, drawn on the inside of the ball that the ancients believed in. We keep it because it works.

I could make a reasonable case that, if we scrapped the notion of man-made boundaries on the planet Earth and eliminated the notion of Nation-States we would open ourselves to a better understanding of the nature of our planet and of humanity. But, 'tain't going to happen any more than we're going to abandon the constellations as a map to learning the sky. I have no problem with "abandoning" the concept of constellations as mythical figures in the sky but there's no way you'll convince me that one cannot use the constellations as points of reference while also appreciating the complexity of the universe and working toward a better understanding of the true nature of the cosmos.


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auriga
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 03/02/06

Re: unlearning the constellations new [Re: Glen A W]
      #5504543 - 11/04/12 08:48 PM

Bruce,
Your 20 points are very clarifying. It might be good to start with them in your book.
Bill


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auriga
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 03/02/06

Re: unlearning the constellations new [Re: drollere]
      #5504584 - 11/04/12 09:18 PM



to your view that "science arises from culture," i'd rather say that it is actually "science" that has been jeopardized by a focus on the past, and by "cultural" abuses related to the defense of personal prejudices, corporate interests, academic status, political gain and religious beliefs. it's really science that is being derided and denigrated in our culture, while the "arts" of music, theater, painting, film, comedy, rhetoric, grooming fashion and investing that are cultivated and celebrated -- often as lucrative markets and shaped by profit motive.





Bruce,
Have you thought of reformulating the above as follows: There is certainly a denigration of science in our society if we discount vague praise and pay attention to scarcity of funding for scientific research and for the teaching of science on the primary, secondary and university levels.

There is also a denigration of the cultural, the humanities, and the social sciences, measured by funding and by stinginess of salaries of teachers in those areas.

The source of the denigration is our exaltation of materialism, our greed, our winner-take-all approach to corporate compensation, and our substitution of infantile music and vulgar reality television for the arts and literature.

I do think it impairs your presentation to conflate the humanities and the social sciences with greed and vulgar materialism, and I think distinguishing the two would greatly help your argument. You would then have obviated Tony and Craig's quite well-founded objections.

I look forward to your book. it obviously will be quite original, thoughtful, and probably erudite as well. I empathize a bit with your position since I have just completed an unorthodox book manuscript --perhaps not as erudite and original as yours-- in my case in the social sciences, and I am looking for a credulous publisher. Like you, I may get quite a bit of flak for my book.

Regards,
Bill


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Dennis_S253
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 11/22/11

Loc: West Central Florida
Re: unlearning the constellations new [Re: auriga]
      #5504632 - 11/04/12 09:40 PM

I wish you luck on your book also. Just don't expect me to buy it. We speak a different language. You don't understand me and I don't understand you. Clear skies...

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Glen A W
sage


Reged: 07/04/08

Loc: WEST VIRGINIA USA
Re: unlearning the constellations new [Re: Dennis_S253]
      #5505105 - 11/05/12 08:57 AM

Quote:

We speak a different language. You don't understand me and I don't understand you. Clear skies...




All the more reason why you should buy it! GW


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ohioalfa64
sage


Reged: 08/16/12

Loc: Ohio (NW)
Re: unlearning the constellations new [Re: Glen A W]
      #5505890 - 11/05/12 07:50 PM

Bruce,
Is there really a book in development, or is this an online essay in its final form?


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