Neil deGrasse Tyson Answers the Big Enchilada Question, “Does the Universe Have a Purpose?”

Neil deGrasse Tyson was asked by the Templeton Foundation to answer the unanswerable question “Does the Universe Have a Purpose?” He read his answer aloud, and Minute Physics helped animate it. If you head to the Templeton Foundation web site, you can find replies by other leading intellectuals, including Lawrence Krauss, Jane Goodall, and Elie Wiesel.

For more pearls of wisdom from Tyson, check out the following:

Neil deGrasse Tyson Lists 8 (Free) Books Every Intelligent Person Should Read

Neil deGrasse Tyson Delivers the Greatest Science Sermon Ever

Stephen Colbert Talks Science with Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson



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  1. Poyâ Pâkzâd says . . . | November 28, 2012 / 3:07 pm

    Elie Wiesel is a “leading intellectual” in windbaggery.

  2. Robert Diehl says . . . | December 20, 2012 / 7:30 am

    Dr. Tyson presents an amusing, materialistic view: classical physics at its worst. He neglects quantum physics.

    I prefer Dr. Robert Lanza’s BIOCENTRISM: How Life and Consciousness are the Keys to Understanding the True Nature of the Universe.

    Dr. Lanza has this to say about classic science’s answers to basic questions, pp. 155-156:

    How did the Big Bang happen?
    Unknown.

    What was the Big Bang?
    Unknown.

    What, if anything, existed before the Big Bang?
    Unknown.

    What is the nature of dark energy, the dominant entity of the cosmos?
    Unknown.

    What is the nature of dark matter, the second most prevalent entity?
    Unknown.

    How did life arise?
    Unknown.

    How did consciousness arise?
    Unknown.

    What is the nature of consciousness?
    Unknown.

    What is the fate of the universe; for example, will it keep expanding?
    Unknown.

    Why are the constants the way they are?
    Unknown.

    Why are there exactly four forces?
    Unknown.

    Is life further experienced after one’s body dies?
    Unknown.

    Which book provides the best answers?
    There is no single book.

    Sorry, Dr. Tyson . . . try again, please . . . . Your chicanery fooled no one. Nevertheless, I suppose God — the guy with the white beard way up in the clouds — had a good chuckle!

    In conclusion, I have always liked this quote by Robert Farrer Capon:
    We are so impressed by scientific clank that we feel we ought not to say that the sunflower turns because it knows where the sun is. It is almost second nature to us to prefer explanations . . . with a large vocabulary. We are much more comfortable when we are assured that the sunflower turns because it is heliotropic. The trouble with that kind of talk is it tempts us to think that we know what the sunflower is up to. But we don’t. The sunflower is a mystery, just as every single thing in the universe is.

  3. Mike Lizzi says . . . | March 12, 2013 / 5:37 am

    Well done, Dr Tyson. You presented a straightforward, compassionate, scientific answer to a loaded philosophical question. As for the comment by Robert Diehl, I wouldn’t even waste my time responding to his anti-science agenda.

  4. thefink says . . . | February 1, 2014 / 3:22 pm

    How does your message reach the deaf?

  5. thefink says . . . | February 1, 2014 / 3:23 pm

    Why to people write comments? Why not just submit a video comment?

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