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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Comments (5)
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  • Elie Wiesel is a “lead­ing intel­lec­tu­al” in wind­bag­gery.

  • Robert Diehl says:

    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?

    What was the Big Bang?

    What, if any­thing, exist­ed before the Big Bang?

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

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

    How did life arise?

    How did con­scious­ness arise?

    What is the nature of con­scious­ness?

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

    Why are the con­stants the way they are?

    Why are there exact­ly four forces?

    Is life fur­ther expe­ri­enced after one’s body dies?

    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.

  • Mike Lizzi says:

    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.

  • thefink says:

    How does your mes­sage reach the deaf?

  • thefink says:

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

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