Listen in as Neil deGrasse Tyson explains why he has no patience for philosophy (~20:19-23:10:).
Hint: Because it’s not science.
A little sample:
"My concern there is that the philosopher believes they’re actually asking deep questions about nature and to the scientist it’s ‘What are you doing? Why are you wasting your time? Why are you concerning yourself with the meaning of meaning?’ … If you are distracted by your questions so that you cannot move forward, you’re not being a productive contributor to our understanding of the natural world."
He then proceeds to equate the study of philosophy with continually asking questions like “What is the sound of one hand clapping?”
I know that millions and millions of people view Neil deGrasse Tyson as the Way, the Truth, and the Light, and that’s why I find this simple-minded dismissal of philosophy (and asking questions about meaning) as so troubling. Tyson is effectively saying, “Science is great at telling us things about the way the natural world works, but philosophy is terrible at doing that so philosophy is pointless and possibly dangerous.” That’s like saying, “This hammer is great for banging nails into the wall, but my face is terrible at that so what the hell is wrong with my face?!”
When people as smart as Tyson, and with his platform, take cheapshots at other academic disciplines that they seem to be willfully misrepresenting or misunderstanding, those people decline considerably in my estimation.