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The Map of Critical Thinking and Modern Science

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  • by Drakkenmensch (1255800) on Tuesday August 31, 2010 @11:49AM (#33426022)
    He's on the unseen part of the map where angry emotional outburst meets paranoid fear.
  • by IndustrialComplex (975015) on Tuesday August 31, 2010 @12:05PM (#33426216)

    I zoomed in on a random portion of the map, and it lost a lot of it's charm when it listed Phil Plait, heading up 21st century Astronomy along the same line as Carl Sagan.

    I don't want to knock what Phil has done, and I DO read his BadAstronomy blog fairly regularly. However, I think that including him in this map is highly premature. He is well educated, and can put together a somewhat interesting article, but I'm thinking it's a bit more pop-celebrity and reaching to find a 'current' astronomer that put him on there.

    Not that in 15-20 years I would be surprised to see him on a later version of this map, but it just feels like a rush to make it more relevant. No offence Phil, if you read this, but I'm sure you can agree that there are likely a great number of more influential Astronomers who may better deserve the 'inheritance'.

    There will probably be a few other 'gripes', and if the creator of this map had ended it a little earlier we might have been able to avoid statements like mine. It becomes an easy debate topic like a top 100 list.

    Perhaps some metrics to show why the latest people were placed there?

    Back to reading Phil's posts on Fark...

  • by Shihar (153932) on Tuesday August 31, 2010 @12:07PM (#33426256)

    True, but that in large part is because where you put the period at the end of this map has a massive influence on where you begin, especially philosophically. That isn't to suggest that there were not some parallels elsewhere in the world, but due to the great leaps the West made over the East from 16th century on up until the dawn of the 21st, those parallels became dead ends.

    China was ahead of the West for a very long time. Right up into and even during the early part of the colonial age China was pretty far ahead of the West in terms of technology and culture. If China had maintained that path we might be in exactly the same place we are today in terms of technology, but instead of being able to trace back philosophical lines from Europe, to Roman, to Greece, you might trace it back from Japan, to Korea, to China with a set of Eastern philosophers to match. Hell, if you were to simply draw the map in the 1500s of where the major technologies trace their schools of thought from you would have two maps, on Eastern and one Western, and the Eastern one would be further ahead.

    This isn't even to suggest that the West made its advancements in a vacuum. Lots of technology and thought crossed both ways across Eurasia, but when an idea travels a few thousand miles in the ancient world and suffers a dozen translations you pretty much lose all traceability. Hell, just jumping from an Islamic Empire to a Christian Empire is a pretty sure way to ensure that traceability is lost. It isn't like a Christian scholar in 1,200 AD influenced by an Islamic Arab scholar is going to cite his inspiration. The only reason why we remember those ancient Greek scholars at all is because the empires that came after worship the empires that came before, and were happy to cite them as influences.

    Starting the map in the 1500s and working up to today means it is going to be a Western map because that was the period of time when the West dominated world thinking. Draw this map from 2000 BC to 1500 AD, or from 600 AD to 1200 AD, or from many other two points and you would see totally different maps. Hell, I bet the map from 2000 AD to 2500 AD is going to be a wild one with lines crossing all over the world like never before.

  • by Kristian T. (3958) on Tuesday August 31, 2010 @12:09PM (#33426268)

    Women always seem to say they can do anything as well as the men - so I guess women always have, and still are, choosing to not be good at science. What troubles me the most, is that even in the current generation, where the girls are fare much better in our school systems - none of that intellectual potential goes into moving the frontiers of the hard sciences.

  • by Drakkenmensch (1255800) on Tuesday August 31, 2010 @12:14PM (#33426348)
    Have you seen Glenn start crying live on the air as he was denouncing the families of 9/11 victims as selfish profiteers trying to exploit the victims for their own profit? I think Beck is way out there already.
  • No. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by blair1q (305137) on Tuesday August 31, 2010 @12:55PM (#33426894) Journal

    Any map that puts Neil DeGrasse Tyson and Brian Cox at antipodes is bollocks.

    Astronomy and physics are more intimately related than most sciences, and should come out at almost the same point, not carry unsuspecting travellers to opposite ends of the map.

    Looking at the rest of it, graphically it's confusing and randomly connected rather than insightfully linked.

    Someone had a spreadsheet full of names in columns by college major and sorted by date, and they hung it on a colorful template. Which didn't fit so they wrapped the data around in a spiral, just like a ...subway system....?

    Weren't we just discussing the fact that PowerPoint makes you stupid [slashdot.org]?

  • by radtea (464814) on Tuesday August 31, 2010 @01:50PM (#33427620)

    This map at first glance appears to be decidedly western individuals only.

    Glance again. You'll see Bose and Yukawa, at least, and a few others as well.

    But I agree that the non-Westerners who invented calculus and laid down the foundations of physics, chemistry, natural history, evolutionary biology, relativity, cosmology and quantum mechanics do seem to be missing.

  • by IndustrialComplex (975015) on Tuesday August 31, 2010 @01:53PM (#33427650)

    Sagan's dead and Phil has launched a pilot for hopefully a new series on Discovery channel. Eventually someone's got to take up the torch Sagan left behind.

    My point is that it's on the same 'line' as Christian Huygens, Isaac Newton, Johanes Kepler, Edwin Hubble, Galileo Galilei, and Copernicus.

    The creator of this map has some serious 'scale' issues. Perhaps if he split the Astronomer line to cover 'Astronomy-cheerleader'/got-a-show-on-Discovery. And I'm not saying that isn't important, but it's far too pop-culture for me.

    If we are going to include people like that, then I'd like to see Don Herbert (Mr. Wizard) up on the list, because a hell of a lot more people can point to him as a science role model than Phil Plait.

  • by c0d3g33k (102699) on Tuesday August 31, 2010 @02:25PM (#33428064)

    Please refer to the rest of the parent thread where you will find your refutation. The cultural bias you are carrying around might be limiting how much of the larger scientific world you have been exposed to, both in the present and historically. Your view may be even more limited if you actually aren't trained in or actively practicing science, since your knowledge would only extend to what the popular media in your country presents as notable. "I haven't heard of them" does not equate to "not notable".

  • by 0xdeadbeef (28836) on Tuesday August 31, 2010 @02:50PM (#33428360) Homepage Journal

    I'm well aware of the language bias, I had also added up around 400 scientists from six European countries but removed it because it detracted from the real point. You're so wrapped up in the perception of Western chauvinism that you deny reality, and that reality is that modern science was born in Europe and has been lead by Europe and later the United States for almost all of its existence. Yes, Japan, China, and India are now contributing in a big way, and yes, Islamic and Chinese scholars were making progress while Europe stared at its navel for a thousand years, but it hardly compares to the explosion of innovation and discovery that began in 16th century Europe.

  • by 0xdeadbeef (28836) on Tuesday August 31, 2010 @04:10PM (#33429296) Homepage Journal

    "I haven't heard of them" does not equate to "not notable".

    No, that pretty much is the definition of not notable. But please, assuming my layman ignorance, list those non-Western scientists that this diagram unfairly excludes. Show us that cultural chauvinism.

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