arrogant astronomers

It seems likely astronomers are the most arrogant of academia!

Yay us!

See there is this weird discussion in the current American Physical Society News about an out of context quote about the arrogance of scientists.

The whole thing is a misreading of what some journalists said, but the essence of it is that if you google phrases like "arrogant biologists" (73) and "modest biologists" (19) you get a measure of public perception of the attitude scientists present [the numbers are different from those mentioned in the letters, I used the "repeat search for similar results omitted"]

That's funny, I thought, nobody checked for arrogant astronomers.

Voila there are only 7 "modest astronomers" and 6 of those refer to attendees of the very immodest MODEST meetings. There are 6 singular "modest astronomer", 2 of which are actually MODEST and 2 of which are from a parody of Gilber & Sullivan.

But there are 73 "arrogant astronomers" (mostly Pluto demoters) and 44 "arrogant astronomer" (mostly Airy or other Astronomers Royal, strangely).

That's about 10:1 - compared to the pitiful 2:1 or 1:1 ratio for the lesser sciences.

Bwa ha ha!

Should we worry that there are 3180 "arrogant artist" individuals and 529 "arrogant artists"? About the same as the number for lawyers! But there are proportionately very few modest lawyers. Oh dear.

Unfortunately there are 14,200 "arrogant politicians" and only 47 "modest politicians"

It seems only poets and workers are more modest than arrogant...


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Hey, you get to stare at the stars and deal in billions of kilometres and years, the speed of light, and Man's place in the universe. AND, you get to play with some really cool tools - giant telescopes in the Chilean Andes, Ariane V-LCA rockets, SETI, Hubble, Cassini..

It's the geek thrills of experimentalism WITH the uberbrain status of theoretical physics - how could you not be arrogant?

Still, I'm tempted to put the line about poets and workers on my blog as a motto.

Yeah, well, imagine being accused of arrogance by someone who claims to converse daily with the Creator of the universe:

RICK WARREN: I talk to God every day. He talks to me.
SAM HARRIS: It is quite possible for most people to be wrong - as are most Americans who think that evolution didn't occur.
WARREN: That's an arrogant statement.

By Mustafa Mond, FCD (not verified) on 03 Apr 2007 #permalink