National Geographic Daily News

Dan Vergano

National Geographic

Published June 6, 2014

Nobody does it quite like Neil deGrasse Tyson. A star on the reimagined Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey and a keen defender of science, he's had a unique ascension as a celebrity scientist.

In an interview with National Geographic, Tyson opens up about the future, the pitfalls facing scientists who speak up outside the lab, and the challenges creationism presents scientists.

All with the thoughtful charm that has made him a star. Take a listen.

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15 comments
Jim May
Jim May

It's quite appropriate to call this a "re-imagined" program, but I fail to see how you can at the same time call Tyson a "defender of science" when there is so much imagining going on. I'll admit that Tyson et al have great imaginations!  Imagination is fine as long as it stays in the realm of hypothesis, but when imagination gets passed off as science, then we have a problem.


Tyson made lots of bold claims and statements in his program, but I wonder how much of it has real experimental evidence upon which to stand. Experimental evidence is a big problem for the historical sciences and this sets it apart from the tried and true sciences that rely upon the scientific method.


It's amazing how the skeptics suddenly become unskeptical when the imagination does not involve anything religious!  If God is part of the solution, it is automatic skepticism, but if it is simply a magic poof that brings everything out of nothing, or information and consciousness out of random blind meaningless chemicals, or software and designed  machines from amino acids, suddenly the skepticism is gone.  Their faith is as strong as any creationist's faith!

KENNETH LANE
KENNETH LANE

In the future the societies that embrace science and truth will prosper and those that embrace superstition and religion will become extinct---------it is just that simple.  Our American society's mixing of the two will not work--as so clearly demonstrated by our split political mess we find ourselves in.  We must devise a means of isolating the superstitious from the sane------

greg kaye
greg kaye

Nice job, that is the funny thing about facts & truth they are absolute until you can prove otherwise.

Miguel Rodriguez
Miguel Rodriguez

In the best and clear way possible, Neil deGrasse Tyson explains the consequences of mixing religion issues with science teaching. He also emphasizes that science is not only an assignment for kids at school or a matter of interest for scientists, but a very important tool for knowledge and development in general. His concepts are like a fresh breeze in a summer day. Carl Sagan would be proud and smiling... 

Glenn Koenig
Glenn Koenig

Dr. Tyson does it again by clearly conveying the difficult realities we face concerning science education in this country.  It is no wonder that the "scientific illiterate adults" are too busy heralding movie stars and sports figures as their heroes.  I am proud to say Dr. Tyson is one of my heroes.

Jim May
Jim May

@KENNETH LANE "In the future the societies that embrace science and truth will prosper and those that embrace superstition and religion will become extinct---------it is just that simple. "


Sounds like you are a member of the Scientism cult.  Do you have scientific evidence to support your belief?


Our American society was born out of religious belief. It worked fine for 200 plus years.  It provided a strong moral foundation for our country's growth and an impetus for science as well.  Our human rights derive from the fact that we are all equally created and have equal value as humans. 


You want us to teach Tyson's beliefs in school.  FIne. That is the way it has to be these days, but when you remove God from the picture, we are teaching our kids that life is an accident, that they are nothing more than big bags of chemicals with evolved ape ancestor brains whose only reason for existence is to leave as many descendants as possible.  There is no God, no future after death, no ultimate purpose to life outside of the fake one you make to enable yourself to keep going in the daily rat race, and no absolute morality meaning that everything is relative.  Kids are not stupid.  These are the direct deductions from your worldview and you think this kind of teaching will enable society to prosper?


How do you make value judgments anyway if there is no god?  And why are the value judgments of your evolved monkey brain any better than the value judgments of my evolved monkey brain?  Both are nothing more than the result of chemical reactions in our brains.  Why do either of them have any truth value?


Why is science better than religion?  If evolution evolved both brains to do science and brains to believe in God, there must be a reason.  Is religion really all bad?  How do you know what truth really is?  Philosophically speaking, science is not the arbiter of truth.  


Evolution cannot produce absolute morality.  And if morality is not absolute, we know that we don't really need to sacrifice to do what today's society thinks is right.  People might tell you that something is wrong, but that is just their opinion. It might even be the majority opinion, but so what?  It's their opinion vs my opinion.  Don't I have the right to live my life the way I want to live it?  What does it matter if I end up believing something that is not true for my whole life - as long as I am happy?  If it makes me happy and others happy, isn't that OK?  After all, you are believing what you want to believe in.  If evolution gave me my brain, then can I really help myself?  


Anyway Kenneth, I think you are a bit deluded into thinking that science is the answer for all of society's ills.  I think you will be in for a rude awakening.  Evolution has really not benefitted society at all since it's inception!  It has only eroded moral values and freed up people to ignore God and live life for themselves.  But it's a free country and that means you have the freedom to join the cult of Scientism like I have the freedom to believe in God.

Orestes Paz
Orestes Paz

@KENNETH LANE Actually there was a study that suggests that if our society is completely lacking any religious beliefs we'll all probably become exctinct. Simply because believing in something greater give an enormous boost in human potential or something like that.

Jim Criqui
Jim Criqui

@greg kaye  Nothing is Science is truly Absolutes, there are always measurements not yet discovered that throw out earlier Absolutes Ideas. We should always emphasize that such is a Theory, biased on available facts and measurements.

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