Neil deGrasse Tyson tilts back towards atheism, touts a purposeless universe

According to MinutePhysics, the Templeton Foundation asked astronomer Neil deGrasse Tyson to answer the question, “Does the universe has a purpose?” Now I’m not sure whether they paid him to answer (taking such money would, in my view, be offensive), but I don’t think they’ll like Tyson’s answer given in the short video below. (It’s illustrated with MinutePhysics’ drawings.) Tyson’s a wee bit on-the-fencey, but definitely suggests that creatures make their own purpose.

Give this a listen; it’s only 2.5 minutes long. And his answer, toward the end of the video, is pretty clear:

“So while I cannot claim to know for sure whether or not the universe has a purpose, the case against it is strong—and visible to anybody who sees the universe as it is, rather than as they wish it to be.”

If that’s not an explicit rejection of religion, I don’t know what is.

Tyson has risen again in my esteem, so long as he wasn’t paid by Templeton for this (and Templeton usually does pay for such answers).

h/t: Greg Mayer

86 Comments

  1. Gordon Hill
    Posted November 29, 2012 at 10:19 am | Permalink

    Important question. Anticipating answers. sub.

    • jimroberts
      Posted November 29, 2012 at 10:30 am | Permalink

      sub

  2. gbjames
    Posted November 29, 2012 at 10:20 am | Permalink

    Just don’t call him one of those shrill and strident atheists!

  3. Posted November 29, 2012 at 10:24 am | Permalink

    I don’t understand the “tilts back” part. Tyson’s view, as expressed here, is consistent with what he has been saying in everything that I have seen from him.

    • Posted November 29, 2012 at 10:27 am | Permalink

      I thought it was just me. =^_^=

    • Marella
      Posted November 29, 2012 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

      He is an atheist, he just doesn’t like the word because it is too confrontational, this seems to be his position. He certainly doesn’t believe in god, so he’s an atheist, he just doesn’t want to be called an atheist. It’s just being wishy-washy and cowardly though it pains me to say it. Maybe he worries that his ability to educate children about the universe will be compromised if he accepts the word ‘atheism’ as a label. Too many parents won’t like it. It is disappointing though.

      • eric
        Posted November 29, 2012 at 12:39 pm | Permalink

        He is an atheist, he just doesn’t like the word because it is too confrontational, this seems to be his position.

        Makes as much sense as insisting your website not be called a blog. [/pokefun]

      • Alex T
        Posted November 29, 2012 at 12:39 pm | Permalink

        I agree. He may not like the label and it may not be how he self-identifies, but he won’t even acknowledge that it’s a fact about him.

        I don’t self-identify as “right handed” yet I clearly am and I won’t deny it. Tyson has said he’s repeatedly tried to edit his Wikipedia entry to remove the line that he’s an atheist because he says he prefers “agnostic”.

        • eric
          Posted November 29, 2012 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

          That seems a pretty lousy move on the part of the Wikipedia editors. At least let the guy put a line on his own page saying “…though he prefers the term agnostic and does not refer to himself as atheist.”

          • Posted November 29, 2012 at 4:31 pm | Permalink

            There is nos such thing as a body of “Wikipedia editors”. As soon as you can find a source quoting Tyson’s preference for the label “agnostist”, you can go ahead and edit the page yourself, with the reference included.

            • Posted November 29, 2012 at 4:31 pm | Permalink

              *”agnostic”

            • eric
              Posted November 30, 2012 at 8:32 am | Permalink

              Thanks for the info, but a second-hand change seems to be exactly the sort of thing that caused the problem in the first place.

              I was going off what Alex said. If Alex is correct and you are correct, then why are Dr. Typson’s own changes getting removed?

              • Alex T
                Posted November 30, 2012 at 8:40 am | Permalink

                There have been several news articles about similar cases. It’s actually a fundamental issue with how Wikipedia works. There are no trusted editors and no experts, which means that when Tyson says that he edited his own page, what the Wiki group sees is someone with a user name similar to Tyson’s is changing the page and not supplying any sources for these changes.

                Wikipedia works by relying on other groups – news papers, journals, etc – to handle authentication and Wikipedia defers to them. So if Tyson really really wanted this change, he’d have to find a reliable source which published something saying that Tyson is an agnostic, then he could just cite that.

                Regardless, I don’t know how well that would fly. As others have said, agnosticism and atheism aren’t mutually exclusive and agnostics are, for all practical purposes, a subset of atheists. He seems to be saying “I’m not an atheist, I just don’t know if there is a god.”

        • Jim Sweeney
          Posted November 30, 2012 at 12:31 am | Permalink

          “Agnostic” has a proud pedigree. It was coined by a scientist to describe a scientific attitude towards questions of faith. It’s what Bertrand Russell called himself.

          It no longer communicates its original disdain for philosophical quibbles, instead implying a wishy-washy attitude, but it retains the loyalty of traditionalists. Most agnostics are what we consider atheists.

      • Posted November 29, 2012 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

        He accepts the content of atheism, but not the polemics. There’s nothing wishy-washy about that.

        • Explicit Atheist
          Posted November 29, 2012 at 4:20 pm | Permalink

          Atheism is defined by content, not by polemics, so that would be a washy-washy justification. Failing to acknowledge a conclusion that is favored by the evidence and adopting a conclusion that is disfavored by the evidence are BOTH EQUALLY mistaken. By insisting on labeling himself an agnostic he is guilty of the first of these two mistakes.

      • nesha
        Posted April 4, 2013 at 6:46 am | Permalink

        agnosticism is the correct term. that’s why we have a particular word to describe those who don’t defend God or put him down, they just don’t have the hardcore evidence to beleive in him so no athirst is not what he is, he has said so plenty of times before.

    • jose
      Posted November 29, 2012 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

      I think it’s because he doesn’t want to dedicate time to be an atheist but a scientist, with everything that entails – he wants to give talks about science, not atheism; teach science, do science outreach, etc. In short he may be an atheist but he doesn’t want to do the stuff atheists do, he prefers to spend his public appearances on science.

      For example we don’t know if Carl Zimmer is an atheist or not, but even if he is, that’s not his thing. Likewise Tyson wants astrophysics to be his thing, not atheism.

      However, this video looks a lot like the stuff public atheists do. Hence the tilting.

  4. Pete Cockerell
    Posted November 29, 2012 at 10:24 am | Permalink

    Not sure what’s so offensive about being paid for saying what you think. That happens all the time on TV and radio. I know the TF has a clear agenda, but your stance makes it seem as though you feel it’s impossible to take their money and stay true to your beliefs and principles, even in a 2:30 segment. This would be quite offensive to someone like Neil deGrasse Tyson, I’d imagine.

    • Gordon Hill
      Posted November 29, 2012 at 10:38 am | Permalink

      I did for fifteen years and won’t return any of the money… spent it… most of it… ;-)

    • Marella
      Posted November 29, 2012 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

      I agree, suck the bastards dry; so long as you don’t compromise your principles to get their money take all you can.

    • eric
      Posted November 29, 2012 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

      Well, the slippery slope problem is actually a real problem in this case. There have been a bunch of recent studies that show that funding source does influence scientific results. Not necessarily consciously, and not necessarily on any direct basis. But statistically, the bias is detectable – the totality of results in such meta-studies is most easily explained by bias, even if there is no detectable bias in any specific research paper used in such meta-studies.

      So, I doubt we can impugn Tyson for this bit of work. However, continued work for them will likely at least subconsciously influence his attitude toward their goals. It can reasonably be expected to erode his actual objectivity, and in any event will likely erode his perceived objectivity among his peers.

    • Posted November 29, 2012 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

      If I wuz Neil, I simply ask the Pimpledumb folks to split the check, sending equal parts directly to the Freedom from Religion Foundation, the Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science, American Atheists, and Atheist Alliance International.

      Oh yeah, and I’d ask for receipts.

      • Mark Joseph
        Posted November 29, 2012 at 8:26 pm | Permalink

        +1!

  5. the Siliconopolitan
    Posted November 29, 2012 at 10:31 am | Permalink

    “Does the universe has a purpose?”

    It’s even more amusing if that is really what the Templetons asked.

    • HaggisForBrains
      Posted November 29, 2012 at 11:03 am | Permalink

      Shouldn’t that be “haz”?

      • Pray Hard
        Posted November 29, 2012 at 8:16 pm | Permalink

        You beat me to it, but I didn’t read yours first.

    • Posted November 29, 2012 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

      I can haz universal porpoise nao?

      (and thanks for all the fish)

  6. Posted November 29, 2012 at 10:37 am | Permalink

    Actually, I almost hope that Templeton did pay him to put this up. For once, their money would have been put to good use!

    b&

    • HaggisForBrains
      Posted November 29, 2012 at 11:07 am | Permalink

      +1

    • Dr. J
      Posted November 29, 2012 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

      That’s what I wanted to post. More money going to NDGT is money not going to some blathering idiot.

    • abrotherhoodofman
      Posted November 29, 2012 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

      Plus, Dr. Tyson could always donate the Templeton cash to charity.

      I do luvs me some Neil Tyson!

  7. Posted November 29, 2012 at 10:38 am | Permalink

    Reblogged this on An atheist, a secularist, an agnostic. and commented:
    Neil deGrasse Tyson, my secret soulmate.

  8. rodgerma
    Posted November 29, 2012 at 10:46 am | Permalink

    I’ve seenw this a couple of times.
    Very well made, and makes nothing but sense.
    It’s crammed with arguments, so I have to go back and make notes.
    I’ve always loved Neil DeGrasse Tyson, and I understand/accept his resistance to label himself.
    Neil DeGrasse Tyson seems to be more “words and actions” rather than “a labeled personality”.
    He succeeds greatly in this.
    But it takes someone like Neil DeGrasse Tyson to achieve this.
    I lack his skills and knowledge, so I have to settle for labeling myself.
    Kudos to Neil DeGrasse Tyson!

  9. Chad
    Posted November 29, 2012 at 10:50 am | Permalink

    Pretty much as true and succinct as the answer can be.

  10. Posted November 29, 2012 at 10:52 am | Permalink

    As linked in the description of the (most excellent and awesome) video, apparently Tyson wasn’t the only person asked this question: http://www.templeton.org/purpose/

    Lawrence Krauss is on this page as well as Peter Atkins and Jane Goodall. John Haught is also on this page, and guess what his answer was?

    • HaggisForBrains
      Posted November 29, 2012 at 11:13 am | Permalink

      Having read her effort, I’m disappointed in Jane Goodall.

      • Posted November 29, 2012 at 11:34 am | Permalink

        As was I. She started out strong, but then melted into a gooey argument-from-cathedral-and-music. Two sources of experience, I might add, that resulted from human intention and purpose. To equate her experience with a grander purpose required a very distinct and telling deficit of thought. The very definition of wishful thinking.

    • ltunmer
      Posted November 29, 2012 at 11:19 am | Permalink

      Wow, I enjoyed Peter Atkins’s response: he pulled no punches. A definitive “No” must be assumed in the absence of any evidence.

      It is also somewhat disingenuous of the TF to label Tyson’s response as “Not sure”. To me a better tag would be “Very unlikely”, or even “99.9999% unlikely” to re-use a theme from his response.

      • Torbjörn Larsson, OM
        Posted November 29, 2012 at 7:13 pm | Permalink

        Which likelihood makes it so much more aggravating when he accepts theological agnostic pleading, as demonstrated in his to not “claim to know for sure”.

        I really, really don’t understand the theological circularity of, say, belief in belief, especially when the observations breaking it is everywhere.

      • Torbjörn Larsson, OM
        Posted November 29, 2012 at 7:14 pm | Permalink

        And I forgot to point out that it is special pleading, of the usual religious kind, to boot.

      • Dr. J
        Posted November 29, 2012 at 8:06 pm | Permalink

        Reminds me of the movie Dumb and Dumber…one in a million, so you’re saying I have a chance!

        Agreed it is a very nice packaging for them of a response that basically says it’s 99.9999% BS.

  11. Alex T
    Posted November 29, 2012 at 10:52 am | Permalink

    I’ve been listening to a couple of his recent podcast episodes and one thing he said really stood out. He said that he never offers an opinion, but rather he says things like “if these are the facts then it implies this”. He added that this was intentional, saying that it means that people can’t attack him but rather must attack the facts.

    That explains a lot. And while I kind of see his point, this sort of spongey passivity really rubs me the wrong way. It also explains his occasionally round-about, convoluted way of answering, and it also explains why he seems so allergic to the label “atheist” since it means that he’s actually expressing his own opinion rather than being an invisible, squooshy mush with no opinions of his own.

    • suwise3
      Posted November 29, 2012 at 4:41 pm | Permalink

      As a Tyson supporter, I don’t see him as “an invisible, squooshy mush with no opinions of his own.”

      And I don’t understand why *The Atheist Community* seems to think that all those who find god… irrelevant, meed speak and act the same way.

      • Adrian
        Posted November 29, 2012 at 6:42 pm | Permalink

        Don’t get me wrong, I am also a Tyson supporter. I love what he’s done to popularize science and I think he is doing a very good job of conveying a sense of wonder and excitement. He does a great job of showing people how fun science can be.

        However, I find it troubling when he intentionally tries to act as if he isn’t a part of the process, as if he isn’t a player. Of course he is, it’s his personality which is so engaging, yet he tries to keep this artificial wall around himself as if it will prevent his own opinions from escaping. In some places I can see how this would be a good thing – argue with the facts, not “beliefs” – but it’s absurd to act as if his opinions don’t matter or that he doesn’t have opinions at all.

        I’m not going all anti-Tyson, I’m just saying I find this one (pervasive) aspect of his persona to be troubling.

        • Alex T
          Posted November 29, 2012 at 6:44 pm | Permalink

          Sorry – shared PC. Didn’t mean to look like a schizophrenic or a sock puppet.

  12. Posted November 29, 2012 at 11:15 am | Permalink

    I’d say it’s logically impossible for the universe, construed as the totality of what exists, to have an ultimate purpose or goal attached to it – it must exist, strangely enough, for no reason.

    Suppose we found evidence that we are indeed artifacts of some super-being’s intentional design (see the last page of Carl Sagan’s novel Contact for a scenario in which it’s discovered that the expansion of pi contains a message from the Cosmic Architect). Immediately, questions would arise about the characteristics and origins of this being (God if you like), and were we lucky enough to interview It, we could sensibly ask “Why are *you* here?”. Even if It had something in mind in creating us, the question of ultimate meaning still arises for It and the larger universe of which we and It are a part. It turns out, then, there is no possibility of discovering a final goal or teleology to the universe, precisely because we can always legitimately conceive of it as *including* any presumptive creator.

    As much as we are driven to discern or impute purposes, to ask the teleological question “why?,” we will always find that question unanswerable when applied to the largest scale of things, to the totality.

    http://www.naturalism.org/spiritua1.htm#Naturalism

    • Posted November 29, 2012 at 11:40 am | Permalink

      I like it: the infinite regress of purpose, or, how a 4 year old won’t stop asking “Why?” Ultimately forcing the stop gap of “It’s a mystery!”

      • Posted November 29, 2012 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

        Yes, if one honestly and curiously persists in questioning, like the child, then the great inscrutability of Being reveals itself, a much more satisfying existential position to be in than inhabiting a tame universe scripted by God. Such would be true even if it turns out, as some suggest, that we’re computer simulations. Here’s to the wild universe!

  13. Posted November 29, 2012 at 11:57 am | Permalink

    I’d like Jerry to point out where Tyson has ’tilted the other way’. I’ve not seen it myself.

  14. jesuszamorabonilla
    Posted November 29, 2012 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

    Nice answer. It reminds me the definition of atheism I have suggested and that is quoted in the WikiPortal: ” the term ‘atheist’ should not be defined as ‘someone believing that God does not exist’, but as ‘someone suspecting that God does not exist'”
    I invite all of you to share this definition.

    • gbjames
      Posted November 29, 2012 at 1:15 pm | Permalink

      No. “Someone who doesn’t believe that any gods exist” is correct.

      • Hempenstein
        Posted November 29, 2012 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

        Or, “Someone who has yet to find any convincing evidence in favor of the proposition.”

        • Posted November 29, 2012 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

          How about: “One who accepts and/or understands that there is no evidence that God or gods exist.”

      • BillyJoe
        Posted November 29, 2012 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

        Correct. “Someone who does not believe that gods exist”. Because there is no evidence that gods exist.

        • Gary W
          Posted November 30, 2012 at 5:35 pm | Permalink

          Then what word do you propose to use to refer to people who do not believe that gods exist for some other reason?

    • Gary W
      Posted November 29, 2012 at 4:13 pm | Permalink

      In the broad sense that I think is the most useful, atheism simply means “without theism.” That is, lacking a belief in a god or gods. It is not necessary to believe that God does not exist to be an atheist. And it is not necessary to lack a belief in God due to lack of evidence or for any other specific reason. If you lack a belief in God you’re an atheist, regardless of the reason for your lack of belief.

      • Ichthyic
        Posted November 30, 2012 at 1:20 am | Permalink

        this is a milquetoast definition of atheism that does nothing to explain what it really means to anyone.

        it’s actually not useful at all.

        • BillyJoe
          Posted November 30, 2012 at 3:51 am | Permalink

          Yes, a useless definition. Even someone who has never come across the god concept is an atheist by this definition. All newborns ae atheists.

        • Gary W
          Posted November 30, 2012 at 5:13 pm | Permalink

          You seriously think the phrase “lacking a belief in a god or gods” doesn’t really mean anything, do you?

        • Old Rasputin
          Posted November 30, 2012 at 6:47 pm | Permalink

          While I would word my definition a bit more carefully, I think it’s a bit of a semantic low blow to criticize a definition just because it can be made to include cases that are clearly irrelevant to it, in this case newborns, dogs, xylophones, etc. Yes, strictly speaking, I suppose defining atheism as a simple absence of god-belief could encompass such uninvited guests, but I think a certain context is generally assumed just by using words like “gods” and “belief”, and people will not be confused.

          An example from another sphere: if I were asked to define “atonality”, I may say something like, “the absence of a tonal center.” Now, I’ll grant you, that would include nearly everything in the universe from Schoenberg’s music to his rotting corpse, but presumably if we are talking about tonality at all, the context is assumed to be music, or at least some pattern of organized (?) frequencies (definitions of “music” vary). Similarly, if we are talking about the presence or absence of a belief, I think it’s safe to assume that the context is a mind – one of sufficient complexity to maintain (or reject) beliefs. Perhaps dogs and newborns meet this criterion, but certainly not for belief in gods.

          The definition is only useless if you willfully misinterpret it.

          For what it’s worth, I prefer a definition stating that to be an atheist, one must be exposed to the “god hypothesis” and then fail to profess it. But I think it’s important to make the distinction between absence of belief and belief of absence, which, I assume, was Gary W’s main point.

          • Old Rasputin
            Posted November 30, 2012 at 6:51 pm | Permalink

            Oops – that was supposed to be a response to BillyJoe, but I don’t think Ichthyic’s position differs…

  15. Phoenix
    Posted November 29, 2012 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

    Does NASA have a purpose?
    Was there a purpose in sending Curiosity to Mars?
    Did those instruments so finely tuned presumably for analyzing soil, really have such a purpose?
    If so, it defies the materialist philosophy that everything happens through cause and effect and Curiosity was just the outcome of millions of years of physics and chemistry doing its random thing on such matter as happened to be available in this corner of the universe.
    How likely was it that these things would come together to accomplish that which would seem to have purpose.? The probability of chance events having so finely tuned Curiosity might be in the neighborhood of 1 in 10 to the 10 to the10 to the 10 to the 1000th power, but not actually zero.
    So, if materialist philosophy is to survive, as unlikely as this event was, and as purposeful as it seemed to be, we have to accept the non-zero chance that it happened without purpose having raised its ugly head.
    Materialism survives, purposelessness prevails.
    For the skeptic, always remember that the universe is some 14 billion years old with billions of galaxies, each with billions of stars, each with atoms almost without number. So there remains a place to hang your tattered hat!

  16. normw
    Posted November 29, 2012 at 4:15 pm | Permalink

    Isn’t Tyson essentially saying the same thing Stephen Hawking has theorized. That it is not necessary for there to have been a creator?.

  17. neil344
    Posted November 29, 2012 at 5:54 pm | Permalink

    Anytime an atheist can relieve Templeton of some of its money in exchange for giving a straight and true answer (which Tyson did), I’ve got no problem. I’m willing to do it myself.

    • BillyJoe
      Posted November 29, 2012 at 8:25 pm | Permalink

      They asked 12 to contribute.
      The have only 2 out of 12 saying “NO”.
      They have won.
      And Tyson contributed to that win.
      They have him as being “unsure”.
      That is the problem.

      • neil344
        Posted November 29, 2012 at 10:05 pm | Permalink

        Well, if the people who tell the truth refuse to answer, Templeton gets 12 out of 12, and wins. They’ve got the money and atheists are a minority, so Templeton is always going to win using your criteria. Even if only two out of twelve people tell the truth, and cash nice checks in the process, we are ahead. JAC was bragging earlier about how he opened the eyes of some evangelist. Who knows the words of those two truth-tellers won’t do that? To me, that is winning.

  18. Pray Hard
    Posted November 29, 2012 at 8:13 pm | Permalink

    “Does the universe has a purpose?”

    Does Ceiling Cat work for the Templeton Foundation?

  19. Posted November 29, 2012 at 10:08 pm | Permalink

    Like others, I don’t see the problem even if he was paid by Templeton for this video. That would mean that Templeton funding went towards a public argument against the idea of a purposeful universe, and ultimately against the likelihood of a deity. There are far worse uses for that money.

  20. Nom de Plume
    Posted November 29, 2012 at 10:59 pm | Permalink

    The man is attempting to host the new Cosmos for American audiences. Why don’t people understand that he can’t come out like Richard Dawkins and say “Fuck religion”?

    He’s going to become the biggest face for science since Carl Sagan, and he’s going to educate a lot of people who need educating. Stop demanding shit from him that he can’t reasonably fulfill.

    • Nom de Plume
      Posted November 29, 2012 at 11:00 pm | Permalink

      Adding that I intended this comment for some of the people demanding more from him, not for Jerry’s original post.

      • BillyJoe
        Posted November 30, 2012 at 4:09 am | Permalink

        Crazy man. He is 99.99999% certain that gods do not exists, but he’s not saying #v<|< religion?

    • Ichthyic
      Posted November 30, 2012 at 1:25 am | Permalink

      so, it’s unreasonable for him to qualify 99.999% no purpose as him being sure, instead of unsure?

      sorry, but scientific significance is achieved at 5%.

      He’s most definitely SURE the universe has no purpose, so for him to stop quibbling on the verbiage he uses is not an unreasonable thing to ask.

      seriously.

    • gbjames
      Posted November 30, 2012 at 6:03 am | Permalink

      OK. I was going to stay out of this but now I’m annoyed. What unfulfillable “shit” is being demanded?

      The problem some of us have with NDT is NOT that we don’t appreciate the great teaching he does. And it is NOT that he prefers to call himself an agnostic. We are not “demanding shit” unless it is that he not do as he has in the past, join the accomodationist crowd to disparage the rest of us atheists, hurling the old “shrill/strident/harsh” slur. (This is not particularly what is going on in this example, but look here for some background: http://whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com/2012/02/22/neil-degrasse-tyson-responds/ )

      When a man of Tyson’s stature graces the page of a Templeton “big questions” page, he offers credibility to an organization whose purpose is to undermine science and encourage religion. (Note how they summarize his near-certainty as “I dunno”.)

      I’m with Jerry on this. Scientists who climb into bed with Templeton are doing neither themselves nor the rest of us a favor.

  21. Posted November 30, 2012 at 1:52 am | Permalink

    This is a fine presentation that knits an explanation that even I can understand. (I think I may be an atheist.)

    • Ichthyic
      Posted November 30, 2012 at 2:13 am | Permalink

      grats!

  22. Georgia
    Posted November 30, 2012 at 6:01 am | Permalink

    Tyson’s evidence does not support the proposition that the universe has no purpose. It merely supports the proposition that any purpose the universe might be deemed to possibly have is unlikely to require a lengthy or happy human tenure on earth as we currently know it. I should think we could hear that sermon preached from a good many evangelical pulpits. I suppose he does make a case that it was extremely unlikely for humans to have evolved precisely as they did on our particular planet in our particular patch of spacetime, but I’m not sure that proposition advances atheism any better than theism. It is extremely unlikely to win the lottery, but the purpose of the game is still to create a winner. I don’t think the video says much of anything. I hope the check clears before the Templeton people get wise.

  23. Posted November 30, 2012 at 6:24 am | Permalink

    oh this is an awesome video

  24. Kevin
    Posted November 30, 2012 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

    “definitely suggests that creatures make their own purpose”

    Dang! Next he’ll be saying, “Crime can pay”.

    Give it up, coppers!

  25. Posted July 7, 2013 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

    How about we ask Tyson himself or at least listen to the many times he has stated his position about his views on atheism/agnosticism instead of speaking for him and placing one’s own personal views on the man. Fucking bullshit with people sometimes. Annoying.

    • gbjames
      Posted July 7, 2013 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

      You know what annoys me? When someone is quoted but then someone else says this is “speaking for him”.

      • Posted July 7, 2013 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

        I’m not referring to Dr. Coyne’s post but in regards to the bickering of the many comments made in regards to Dr. Tyson. Do you not follow the thread? Smh + fp.

        • gbjames
          Posted July 7, 2013 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

          I did follow the (rather old) thread. Your comment appeared to be a top-level comment. And it did not specify the target.

          • Posted July 7, 2013 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

            I see it at the bottom. Yet, I should’ve at least hinted at the target with more clarity than ambiguity. A tip of the hat to you good Sir.


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