Interview with NASA's Blueshift podcast

By Phil Plait | September 28, 2012 10:56 am

My friend Sara Mitchell works at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center doing education and public outreach for the space agency. She and her partner, Maggie Masetti, interviewed me a while back for their podcast Blueshift, and the first part is now online.

We talked a bit about my history as a skeptic, and why we all need to keep asking, "Why?" There are three more segments to the interview that will go up in the next few weeks, so stay tuned to the Blueshift website and collect ‘em all!

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Cool stuff, NASA

Comments (3)

  1. VinceRN

    Good talk. Look forward to the rest.

  2. VinceRN

    Good talk. Look forward to the rest.

  3. Phil,

    “…..why we all need to keep asking, “Why?” ”

    I totally agree that this question is one of the most important, and maybe the question that science often answers with the least success. I believe one of the reasons for these non-answers, unintelligible answers, and wrong answers in science to these “why” questions, primarily stems from the failings of science to have a foundation of logic. The common answer to many of these “why” and “how” questions are dismissing statements such as: science cannot address such questions in that they belong in the domain of philosophy. I usually disagree with such answers in most cases.

    It is generally understood that some “why” questions may be logically flawed and could have no valid answer. Such questions might be: why is the universe here at all? and what caused it? Such a question first implies/assumes that it might be possible for the universe to not exist, and secondly it implies that it must have had a cause. Both of these questions, according to theory, may contain false premises in which case the questions themselves would be logically flawed and invalid.

    As your statement above implies, there are many other “why” questions which may be totally valid but totally unanswered by present-day theory. My examples of some of the biggest “why” questions would be: why do the laws of nature/ physics exist in the first place? or why are there “priori” forces in nature/ physics/ the universe at all? These are just a couple of the very numerous, I think appropriate, but unanswered questions concerning today’s theoretical inadequacies. It seems far too easy to dismiss such questions by the use of false but theoretically acceptable answers and assertions.

    I agree that we should never stop asking the ‘why’ and ‘how’ questions from theory, and not readily be put off by non or dismissive answers that do not seem logical or justifiable.

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