Before you think I call people names, this comes from the title of a piece about smart people who just don’t get philosophy: “Why are so many smart people such idiots about philosophy?” This needs to be said more often and loudly, even if we don’t use such charged words as idiot and the like. It’s become a cottage industry in our scientism saturated culture for specialists in one branch of science, to think they’re experts on everything, especially when it comes to the deeper things of life, like meaning and knowing and being, philosophical issues all. The authority we give to “scientists” today borders on the religious, which is why their ignorant pontificating can be so dangerous. In this instance, Nye showed his ignorance about philosophy:
There’s no doubt that Bill Nye “the Science Guy” is extremely intelligent. But it seems that, when it comes to philosophy, he’s completely in the dark. The beloved American science educator and TV personality posted a video last week where he responded to a question from a philosophy undergrad about whether philosophy is a “meaningless topic.”
The video, which made the entire US philosophy community collectively choke on its morning espresso, is hard to watch, because most of Nye’s statements are wrong. Not just kinda wrong, but deeply, ludicrously wrong. He merges together questions of consciousness and reality as though they’re one and the same topic, and completely misconstrues Descartes’ argument “I think, therefore I am”—to mention just two of many examples.
As the piece points out, Nye isn’t the only popular scientist to dis philosophy. The author mentions Neil DeGrasse Tyson and Stephen Hawking who are I am sure just a few among many more. Scientism, which ironically is a philosophical construct, asserts that all knowledge is limited to the empirical and what science can tell us. Thus Nye, et al. are using philosophy to discredit philosophy! Science is a powerful and beneficial blessing for humanity, but as a basis for knowledge and how we come to know what we know it is extremely limited. This is patently obvious, obviously, to all but the very smartest among us.