The Templeton Foundation asked some heavy-hitter thinkers to answer the question, “Does the Universe Have a Purpose”. Some said “Yes” and “Certainly.” Others concluded “Unlikely” and “No.” Neil deGrasse Tyson — astrophysicist, director of the Hayden Planetarium, and popularizer of science — gave an answer that falls technically in the “Not Certain” camp.
Above, you can watch a video where Tyson reads his answer aloud, and the makers of Minute Physics provide the rudimentary animation. One thing astrophysicists have is a knack for putting things into a deeper context, often making “big” human questions look remarkably small (if not somewhat absurd). Carl Sagan did it remarkably well in his famous ‘The Pale Blue Dot’ speech. And Tyson picks up right where Sagan left off.
We still live in a world where, despite Copernicus, we think the world revolves essentially around us. And, to the extent that that’s true, some will find Tyson’s data points disorienting. Others might wonder whether we should angst so much about the questions we perennially ask in the first place. I guess I am kind of there today.