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My friend is insufferable and thinks astro is a waste of time

  1. Jul 16, 2012 #1
    my friend is insufferable and thinks astro is "a waste of time"

    As the title suggests, I have a friend who is insufferable, loves arguing and is convinced that astronomy/astrophysics is "a waste of time". I will admit that I am a journalist by trade, have barely a layperson understanding of physics myself and am usually left listening to his rants without being able to defend my own opinion that astrophysics seems Pretty Darn Awesome, so I have made this thread in an attempt to rile some far more intelligent folks to post some lengthy examples of why astro is both incredibly useful and important to the overall future of physics.

    I get the feeling my friend has no idea what he's talking about. Basically his argument comes down to "students in school get mesmerized by the sheer scale of astrophysics, the black holes and galaxy clusters and cool graphics, when really the work going on at CERN is far more important, and the most interesting physics happens on a very small scale, and happened right after the big bang, and working on this primal stuff would explain the larger formations that followed." And he has some side-rants where he gets all Ray Kurzweil on me and talks about how really we all should just be focused on increasing computer processing power and how this is paramount because it would "likely lead to technologies/AI that could solve some of these astro problems much quicker than 21st century humans could" XD, and then ties this into how astro is indulgent science and not applicable to the engineering needs of the next 50 years, which I personally think is bull because obviously astronomers have helped develop some pretty amazing engineering in the last century, and I try to make a point of basically the sub disciplines of physics are interconnected and reliant on each other and particle physicists need astrophysicists and visa versa, and he's still basically like "no it's all about high energy physics, computer engineering and also chemistry is really important, but astro is a waste of time."

    Please pretend you are talking to this individual and lay into them with unmitigated force.
     
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  3. Jul 16, 2012 #2

    Evo

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    Re: my friend is insufferable and thinks astro is "a waste of time"

    Is this a joke?
     
  4. Jul 16, 2012 #3
    Re: my friend is insufferable and thinks astro is "a waste of time"

    No it is not, and I am not a troll. I just want to be able to show this thread to my friend so he can finally STFU about why astro is "less important than the other disciplines", which for the record I think is a completely stupid premise. Not that I can base this on any knowledge of my own, because I possess none, but rather intuitive feeling.
     
  5. Jul 16, 2012 #4

    Evo

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    Re: my friend is insufferable and thinks astro is "a waste of time"

    Asking people to give a dissertation on such a broad category is asking a bit much. I've dicussed this with another mentor and I have agreed to move it and see what happens.
     
  6. Jul 16, 2012 #5

    phinds

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    Re: my friend is insufferable and thinks astro is "a waste of time"

    1) If he is insufferable, why is he your friend?
    2) Why care what insufferable people think? Make new friends.
     
  7. Jul 16, 2012 #6
    Re: my friend is insufferable and thinks astro is "a waste of time"

    Sorry for posting this in the wrong section.

    I understand how ridiculous this must seem to those of you who know all about this stuff. Imagine for a second the frustration you would feel if you wanted desperately to defend something in a discussion, but lacked the intellectual capacity to do so. I want to defend astro from my friend' idiotic musings, but I can't because I don't possess the knowledge necessary to do so, hence this odd thread.
     
  8. Jul 16, 2012 #7
    Re: my friend is insufferable and thinks astro is "a waste of time"

    But, I believe it's idiotic to argue for something that you don't understand.
     
  9. Jul 16, 2012 #8
    Re: my friend is insufferable and thinks astro is "a waste of time"

    phinds - He's a good guy he's just really opinionated and I think maybe has aspergers? He's the type of person willing to detonate a conversation and make everyone leave the room to prove a point of some sort. Anyway we've been friends since we were very young and I'd hate to stop hanging out with him because of one disagreement.
     
  10. Jul 16, 2012 #9

    Evo

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    Re: my friend is insufferable and thinks astro is "a waste of time"

    That's not a problem, learning is what we're about. It's just that it is very broad, but let's see what happens.
     
  11. Jul 16, 2012 #10
    Re: my friend is insufferable and thinks astro is "a waste of time"

    I never really have because I can't! Basically the other night we were watching TV and Niel DeGrasse Tyson was on doing his thing and my friend was like "God astrophysics is such a waste of time why don't they focus on something more relevant like particle physics or biochemistry or something" and I just sort of turned to him and was like "Come on man thats ridiculous it can't be a complete waste of time" and then he went on his rant. I had no rebuttal because I know nothing about the subject of the importance of various disciplines.

    Would it have been less idiotic of me to go along with him and agreed?

    I am almost (okay not almost) embarassed by the lameness of this thread but I really would like some ammunition. I know he's wrong and I'd like to discuss it more with him with some knowledge to back up my feeling of astro being pretty awesome. Again I obviously know nothing about this stuff and you are all much smarter than I am. Please help? :P
     
  12. Jul 16, 2012 #11

    Evo

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    Re: my friend is insufferable and thinks astro is "a waste of time"

    Remember though, he seems absolutely clueless. :smile: What does he know? He's not made a case.

    Remember the onus of proof is on the person making the claim. It is he that needs to defend his point of view.
     
  13. Jul 16, 2012 #12
    Re: my friend is insufferable and thinks astro is "a waste of time"

    Personally, I just shut my ears off. It's just too annoying when someone reads something on wiki and argues about a field that he/she not even remotely related too.
    Hope you get your ammunition :smile:
     
  14. Jul 16, 2012 #13
    Re: my friend is insufferable and thinks astro is "a waste of time"

    This is a very good point.

    Thank you!

    Edit: It's weird my left header reads that I have 0 posts. :P
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 16, 2012
  15. Jul 16, 2012 #14

    micromass

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    Re: my friend is insufferable and thinks astro is "a waste of time"

    No, posts in the lounge don't count towards the number of your posts.

    Anyway, if you hardly understand astronomy, then arguing about it is just a waste of time. Just let your friend talk and have his opinions. Astronomy isn't going to suffer because he thinks it is useless.

    If you really want to debate the issue, then you have to study it thoroughly.
     
  16. Jul 16, 2012 #15

    russ_watters

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    Re: my friend is insufferable and thinks astro is "a waste of time"

    Being aware of my Pretty Darn Awesomeness means I know I'm just Too Darn Awesome to bother explaining the magnitude of my Awesomeness to people of an Inferior Awesomeness to my own.
     
  17. Jul 16, 2012 #16
    Re: my friend is insufferable and thinks astro is "a waste of time"

    :smile:
     
  18. Jul 17, 2012 #17
    Re: my friend is insufferable and thinks astro is "a waste of time"

    Particle physics studies processes that take place at high energies. It makes predictions about how the universe evolved from the moments after the big bang, a time when high energy processes were prevalent. These predictions can be investigated by astronomers. Therefore, a study of astronomy provides experimental evidence for or against theories in particle physics. I think most books on particle physics written for the nonscientific community mention this relationship.
     
  19. Jul 17, 2012 #18

    Dembadon

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    Re: my friend is insufferable and thinks astro is "a waste of time"

    Your friend cannot infer the uselessness of an entire field of science based on subjective classifications of those who study it. He also has no way of proving that astrophysics will not produce anything of value in the future; the reasons he's given thus far are incredibly weak, unfounded, and are not the product of a critical thinker. Asserting that other fields are more useful does NOT prove that astrophysics is useless.

    That said, I believe arguing with him IS a waste of time. :wink:
     
  20. Jul 17, 2012 #19

    phinds

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    Re: my friend is insufferable and thinks astro is "a waste of time"

    This whole discussion about science is pointless, as others here have pointed out.

    If he really is a friend, then you would be FAR more useful in having a heart-to-heart talk with him trying to get him to see that his behavior is not helpful to himself or anyone else.
     
  21. Jul 17, 2012 #20
    If astro is pointless, then so is every other attempt to understand reality. Seems selfish to say that a field of study must produce useful "things" etc. The argument is just kind of sad...
     
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