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"From Karl Marx to Richard Dawkins in 60 seconds"
December 13, 2012 6:17 AM   Subscribe

Six Famous Thought Experiments, Animated in 60 Seconds Each; One-Minute Animated Primers on Major Theories of Religion
posted by the man of twists and turns (17 comments total) 45 users marked this as a favorite

 
These are great. It's good to see a couple of things people often misinterpret (ie "Religion is the opiate of the masses") explained in a quick form you can show somebody.
posted by mccarty.tim at 6:38 AM on December 13, 2012


The end of the Richard Dawkins clip is kind of an apples and oranges situation, IMO. The God Delusion did sell well, and did have a big impact. Looking on Wikipedia, it made a lot of best selling lists, and lingered there.

I'm not surprised if more people buy religious texts, but that's a different case. An atheist doesn't need to own a copy of the God Delusion to be a good atheist, but many churches are big on studying their texts. It's hard for me to find good numbers on how fast bibles sell on Amazon, as there's not just multiple translations, but also multiple printings of the bible from different publishers, so you can't just click a book and see its best-seller number.
posted by mccarty.tim at 6:49 AM on December 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


Is that David Mitchell narrating these? If not, I still approve.

I like the Hilbert's Hotel one. I spent more than 35 minutes trying to explain that to my students this semester. I'll just show them the 60-second video from now on.
posted by King Bee at 6:55 AM on December 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


1. Some of these were interesting, but I was consistently left feeling like the principle had been underexplained. Not enough detail, or of why these things are interesting. I think the 60-second format doesn't serve the material well.

2. If you clicked on the Amazon link at the bottom of the Thought Experiments page, it doesn't lead you to the book's detail view. Instead, the site insinuates the book into your Amazon shopping cart. RAGE INDUCING.
posted by JHarris at 7:05 AM on December 13, 2012


Not only underexplained; in most cases, completely misleading. These are not 60-second ideas.
posted by jet_manifesto at 7:10 AM on December 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


The schrodingers cat one actually manages to get right something that most explanations get wrong. Most of them say the cat is "both alive and dead" merely because we don't have any evidence for either state, which is nonsense. But the reality is (and this video makes semi-clear) that the cat is in a *superposition* of states, because the atom was. That's also nonsense, but on a whole nother level.
posted by DU at 7:33 AM on December 13, 2012


Not only underexplained; in most cases, completely misleading. These are not 60-second ideas.

Yeah. I looked at the Dawkins one to see what mccarty.tim was talking about and it doesn't really explain the concept of memes very well.

I wish the creators would drop the "goofy, fun" angle and just focus on making short, clear, basic primers. The attempts at humor hamper the results.
posted by Sangermaine at 8:05 AM on December 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


The "Thought Experiments" overall seem to stay focused on the experiment itself, while the religion ones seem more focused on the people who came up with the idea.
posted by RobotHero at 8:47 AM on December 13, 2012


I thought the "thought experiments" videos were pretty good, with the caveat that I only have a pretty shallow understanding of the subjects they covered. I thought that they generally did a good job of communicating the cores of some tricky ideas.

In the same style, the Open University have also made The History of English in 10 minutes and 60 second adventures in economics.
posted by metaBugs at 8:51 AM on December 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


Is that David Mitchell narrating these? If not, I still approve.
It's either him or someone doing a spookily good impression of him. I'm pretty sure that the "History of English" one that I linked just now is narrated by Alexander Armstrong.
posted by metaBugs at 8:54 AM on December 13, 2012


I looked at the Dawkins one to see what mccarty.tim was talking about and it doesn't really explain the concept of memes very well.

Has anyone ever? It's pseudoscientific gobbledygook.
posted by mr_roboto at 9:58 AM on December 13, 2012 [3 favorites]


I think you can only be pseudoscientific if you are purporting to be scientific. Dawkins made clear in Selfish Gene that memes were analogous and only proposed studying them, he did not actually claim that they (yet) had explanatory power.
posted by DU at 10:11 AM on December 13, 2012


Has anyone ever?

Easy, take semiotics. Strip out the most powerful insights of Pierce, Saussure and Eco. Try to shoehorn it into evolutionary theory in spite of the fact that signs violate many of the constraints of the Grand Synthesis. Continue to promote it after it's failed to demonstrate any superior predictive power over other approaches to human behavior and the journals have folded. Relax as it becomes debased as cute cat photos.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 10:12 AM on December 13, 2012 [5 favorites]


If I had to explain it, I'd do another thought experiment, where you propose two religions where one holds "spreading the word" as a virtue, the other favours staying home and eating Cheetos. All else being equal the former will become popular faster than the latter.

The animation very tangentially mentions some things like threat of punishment and offer of reward, but doesn't really follow through with the implications.

The grandfather paradox animation had the nice diagrams and stuff and showed how the paradox follows from the premises, and it didn't feel like the same focus was put into explaining the religious ideas. They seemed more interested in turning someone into a figurehead for the idea.
posted by RobotHero at 10:25 AM on December 13, 2012


This stuff is easy.

Get a room with an odd number/ Don't put your cat in the box. Try not to piss off the Cosmic Muffin.

Eat a lot of peaches, and say away from open tuning unless you can sing like Joni.

Now to get down to the gritty knitties: my grandson invented a time machine, but so did I. He was surprised when I stepped into the room--only the slightest poof of air displacement betrayed my arrival, but it was enough.

Ah, grandfather he said, hastily trying to cover the drawings, diagrams and equations on his desk, I was just thinking about you.

Yes, I told him, removing the revolver from its holster, I know.

The rest, as they say, is history. Or rather, it will be.
posted by mule98J at 10:56 AM on December 13, 2012 [3 favorites]


Several mefites went back in time to the previous discussion of 60 Second Adventures In Thought.
posted by ceribus peribus at 11:04 AM on December 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


MOAR TERRY GILLIAM!
posted by tspae at 2:53 PM on December 13, 2012


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