The tale of the (Zimmerman) tape: Dennis Oberbye (no relation) went off the deep end this week, metaphysically and metaphorically speaking.
Once in a while, Science Times lets Overbye do this:
OVERBYE (7/2/13): Niels Bohr, the Danish physicist and philosopher-king of quantum theory, once said that a great truth is a statement whose opposite is also a great truth. This pretty much captured the spirit of those elusive rules that govern the subatomic world, where light can be a wave—no, a particle—well, actually, whatever you need it to be for your particular experiment.According to Oberbye, Smolin reopened a debate about whether time is an illusion. That said, do you have any idea what that question means?
It also seems to me to sum up much of the history of science and philosophy, in which the learned consensus keeps swinging between the yin-and-yang theories of existence: free will and fate, change and eternity, atomicity and continuity.
These bipolar themes have been on my mind lately. This spring the theoretical physicist Lee Smolin published a new book, “Time Reborn,” reopening a debate supposedly settled by Einstein and his acolytes a century ago: whether time is real or an illusion.
Theoretically, Overbye ought to explain it. By the end of his discussion, we’ll say that he pretty much hasn’t.
Such articles tend to serve an entertainment function. In truth, the reader has no earthly idea what the writer is talking about. Nor is it entirely clear that the writer knows.
That said, people find it fun to pretend to discuss such topics. In the past week, it has been fun to talk on cable about George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin.
Do the various people discussing this case know what they’re talking about? Some of the pundits are legal professionals. They know much more about courtroom practice that most viewers do.
But some of the people are rubes like us. Given the stakes involved in this case, we’ve been struck by the number of people who are willing to discuss its nuances despite th3e clear indication that they don’t have any real idea what they’re talking about.
Please understand—such people will often know which scripts are favored on their particular channel. But sometimes, we get the impression that this is all they know.
We’ve spent chunks of the past two days transcribing the panel discussion on Monday evening’s All In program. Chris Hayes assembled a three-member panel, one of whom was a criminal defense attorney and a “legal analyst.”
The legal expert seemed to display genuine knowledge at various points. We’d have to say that Hayes himself, and his other two guests, may have been winging it a bit.
The discussion covered two segments, totaling twelve minutes. In many ways, this was the most intriguing discussion of this case we’ve watched in the past two weeks.
We may post our thoughts about this discussion as early as tomorrow. Tomorrow, though, is a holiday—the Fourth of July, which is being observed on July 4 this year.
You might want to watch this twelve-minute discussion. Do these people know what they’re talking about? Or are they handing you a script, driven along by the new showmanship Hayes admits he is crafting?
Given the stakes involved in this case, we’ve been surprised by a great deal of what we’ve seen on cable. We’ve been amazed by Marcia Clark and by both Lisa Blooms.
If you care about the evolution of our new liberal media, we think the Hayes panel is well worth watching. To watch the first segment, just click here.
For segment two, click this.
Yes, you heard that correctly: Yes, you heard that correctly! At one point in the first segment, Professor Dyson complains that Zimmerman “switches to a Hitchcockian Vertigo” in a discussion with the police, which means that he “switched genres.”
We're not saying he didn't do that. All in all, we're just saying!