BILL MOYERS:This week on Moyers & Company, Neil deGrasse Tyson on the new “Cosmos” and our dark universe.

NEIL deGRASSE TYSON: Science is an enterprise that should be cherished as an activity of the free human mind because it transforms who we are, how we live, and it gives us an understanding of our place in the universe.

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BILL MOYERS: Welcome. It's been almost 35 years since PBS premiered one of its most successful series of all time: Carl Sagan's “Cosmos.” Many of you may remember, as I do, his elegant exposition of the universe.

CARL SAGAN in “Cosmos: A Personal Voyage”: Some part of our being knows this is where we came from. We long to return. And we can, because the cosmos is also within us – we’re made of star stuff. We are a way for the cosmos to know itself.

BILL MOYERS: Over 600 hundred million people in more than 60 countries have now watched "Cosmos." But in the decades since, the universe has kept moving – literally, moving in every direction -- and so has science. And that’s why “Cosmos” is returning this spring, this time on National Geographic Channel and Fox TV.

NEIL DEGRASSE TYSON in “Cosmos: A Space-Time Odyssey:” It’s time to get going again.

BILL MOYERS: Our guide is the astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, America’s most popular scientist, the unabashed defender of knowledge over superstition and clearly the rightful heir to Carl Sagan's curiosity and charisma. So fasten your seatbelt for a whole new interstellar journey through tens of millions of years and hundreds of millions of miles to the farthest reaches of outer space.

Neil deGrasse Tyson is the Frederic P. Rose director of the Hayden Planetarium at the American Museum of Natural History here in New York, where he narrates a breathtaking new show titled “Dark Universe.” I took my 12-year-old grandson to see it over the holidays and we were mesmerized. Imagine: trillions of stars, a hundred billion galaxies and light traveling a hundred million years before reaching us here on earth.

That very planetarium, by the way, is where Neil deGrasse Tyson, a kid from the Bronx, age 9, first felt the universe subpoena him to become a scientist in thrall to the night sky. He’s written ten books including this memoir: “The Sky is Not the Limit” and this, his most recent: “Space Chronicles: Facing the Ultimate Frontier.” Oh, yes, I almost forgot – "People" Magazine once voted him the Sexiest Astrophysicist Alive! Welcome.

NEIL deGRASSE TYSON: That was a few years ago, actually.

BILL MOYERS: You only got it once.


BILL MOYERS: So no bragging rights, right? But you clearly got more of the star stuff that Carl Sagan said we're all made of. You just got more of it than we did.

NEIL deGRASSE TYSON: Well, yeah, I've been touched by the stars perhaps more frequently than others.

BILL MOYERS: But you were just nine?

NEIL deGRASSE TYSON: Nine, nine years old. A family trip. My parents, we were all native New Yorkers and my parents knew well the value of all of the cultural institutions of New York City. We went every weekend to one or another of these institutions, if not the zoo, the art museum, the many art museums, the Hall of Science.

And our first visit to the Hayden Planetarium for me-- by the way, I would ultimately go as a school trip. But for family, I go there and I sit back and I'm certain-- I love that where you said I was subpoenaed by the universe. I think I had no choice in the matter. I think the universe called me. Because when the lights dimmed and the stars came out when I was nine, I'd never seen a sky like that in my life.

BILL MOYERS: And you met Carl Sagan at 17, when you headed to the Cornell?

NEIL deGRASSE TYSON: Yeah, well, so I applied to colleges knowing full well that I was interested in the universe. My application to Cornell, unknown to me, was forwarded to Carl Sagan. He was a professor of astronomy there. And I was deciding what college to go to, he sent me a personal letter. Man, I'm just a seventeen-- he's already been on "The Tonight Show" and had best-selling books.

Here's a personal letter said, "I understand you're considering Cornell and you like the universe, as do I. So why don't you come by? I can give you a tour to help you decide whether this is where you'll ultimately attend." So I went up there, he met me outside the astronomy building and gave me a tour of the lab.

One of my favorite memories is he reaches back, didn't even look, just reached back, pulled out one of the books that he wrote, and then signed it to me and I said, "That is awesome." And I said to myself, "If I’m ever in a position of influence the way he is, then I will surely interact with students the way he has interacted with me, as a priority."

BILL MOYERS: Do you remember seeing "Cosmos" when it first aired?

NEIL deGRASSE TYSON: Yeah, but I was-- by then, I was in graduate school. So it was… it didn't influence me the way it influenced others, because I was already established. But what it did tell me was that there was an appetite out there for science, if it's delivered in a way that's compelling and that's warm, that's compassionate, that is as though the person who is bringing the science to you is sitting next to you on the living room couch. And I thought, "That bedside manner is something that more science expositors should be doing." And I’ve used it kind of as a model for me going forward.

BILL MOYERS: So what are we going to learn about the universe from your “Cosmos” that Carl Sagan couldn't have known about? Well, let me put it this way: if Sagan were around to see your series, what would he learn about the universe that was unknowable 30-some-odd years ago?

NEIL deGRASSE TYSON: Yeah, so that's a good question. So you need to think of "Cosmos" not as a documentary about science. By the way, since then, there have been many documentaries about science. And it's quite a fertile way of delivering the viewer to the frontier, or bringing the frontier to the viewer. So that's not the issue here. Because we all remember "Cosmos" and so many of these other documentaries maybe lived their moment, but then they fade.

Why did "Cosmos" not fade? It's not because it brought you the latest science. Although it also did that. It's because it displayed for you why science matters. Why science is an enterprise that should be cherished as an activity of the free human mind. Because it transforms who we are, how we live, and it gives us an understanding of our place in the universe. And it's these states of mind that you carry with you for the rest of your life.

So in the new “Cosmos,” that we are continuing this voyage. We're continuing this epic exploration of our place in the universe. We have other stories to tell beyond the ones that went on back then. Yes, right now, we are steeped in the ignorance of dark matter and dark energy.

At the time of the original series, there were no known planets outside of those orbiting the sun. We suspected they were there, but right now, we're rising through 1,000 planets happily orbiting stars that are not the sun. So these are not-- that's not simply new science. It’s new vistas of thought and imagination.

BILL MOYERS: That place in the universe you talk about, as you know, scares some people. Someone once told Sagan that they didn't like astronomy because it made them feel small and insignificant in comparison with the grandeur of the universe. It clearly didn't affect you that way.

NEIL deGRASSE TYSON: Well, it depends on what your ego is going into the conversation. If your ego starts out, "I am important, I am big, I am special," you're in for some disappointments when you look around at what we've discovered about the universe. No, you're not big. No, you're not. You're small in time and in space. And you have this frail vessel called the human body that's limited on Earth.

If you have no ego, if you just want to explore the world, look what happens. Here's-- the conversation goes differently. You learn, oh, the molecules and the atoms of those molecules in my body are traceable to stars across the galaxy that have lived their lives, manufactured these elements, exploded them into the universe from which new generations of star systems were formed. So I look up at the night sky, I don't feel small, I feel large. I feel connected to the universe. It's not just we here on Earth, and that's there. We are one. And that link for me is one of the most profound discoveries of modern astrophysics. And if that, that should not make you feel small, that should make you feel large.

BILL MOYERS: At your planetarium show, which I went to the other day just over the holidays, it-- I did feel small sitting there, looking up at a hundred million light years coming at us. But I also felt significant, the very fact that my grandson and I are here in this universe together is not insignificant.

NEIL deGRASSE TYSON: Not only that, if the human mind applying known laws of physics to the universe allows us to even come with an understanding of what's going on out there.

BILL MOYERS: Have we figured out our galaxy?

NEIL deGRASSE TYSON: So yes and no. All right, so the yes part is we've got some laws of gravity and optics and motion and yeah, we can use our knowledge of physics and our knowledge of the frontier science to land this probe on Mars within a few meters of the target spot. This is tens of millions of miles away, all right? There is no golf shot that's that accurate, all right?

Not even a hole-in-one is as accurate as what this shot is, okay? So what we do know that has been tested works. And that's quite a state of empowerment. But there's a saying where as your area of knowledge grows, so too does your perimeter of ignorance. Because this is the boundary between what you know and what you do not know outside of that area.

So we didn't even know to ask why is the universe accelerating against the efforts of gravity until we made the measurement that it was so. So before 1998, we couldn't even ask the question, we didn't even know to ask the question. So there's no sign that everything will ever be fully known, because this moving frontier continues to bring us more questions.

So can we measure how ignorant we are? Perhaps. We know that what we do know about the universe comprises 4 percent of everything that drives it. 96 percent of what's driving this universe in the form of dark matter and dark energy, we have no idea what--

BILL MOYERS: How do you know that it’s 4 percent? Because you haven't been able, have you, to measure what we don't know?

NEIL deGRASSE TYSON: No, that-- so that's a really cool question. In science, in astrophysics in particular, in all sciences, you have the capacity to measure something even if you don't know what it is.


NEIL deGRASSE TYSON: Well, so, for example, you could measure the fact that something is falling to the ground, but not know what it is or what's causing it or why. But you can measure it. You can measure the sun moving across the sky, build calendars based on that, and not even know that Earth goes around the sun. You can-- and once you find out Earth goes around the sun, that flips your point of view, but it doesn't invalidate the concept of a year.

You can make all manner of measurements and not know what's causing it. We measure this thing we're calling dark matter. We measure this phenomenon dark energy that's forcing the universe to accelerate. When you add up what we know with those two things about which we don't know what's driving it, we only know 4 percent of what's driving the universe.

So that's humbling. That's humbling. The humblest person in this world is the astrophysicist. Because we are face to face with our ignorance every single day.

BILL MOYERS: But here's what puzzles me among other things about you astrophysicists. The magnitude--

NEIL deGRASSE TYSON: I like the way you say that: "you astrophysicists."

BILL MOYERS: Yeah, well--


BILL MOYERS: Yeah, you guys. You're dealing, as I saw your planetarium show, you're dealing with trillions of stars, a hundred million or more galaxies. How do you even imagine? How do you comprehend? How do you get your mind around, to use the cliché, numbers of such magnitude?

NEIL deGRASSE TYSON: We start early. I was--


NEIL deGRASSE TYSON: Yeah, start them early. Think big early. In fact, calculus, as a branch of mathematics embraces the infinite. You sum an infinite series of numbers or expressions. You start thinking about large things early. And-- or a large enumeration of objects early.

The way I like to think of it is you can give analogies. So one of my favorites: do you remember when McDonald's actually kept count of how many hamburgers they sold?

BILL MOYERS: Like the national debt --

NEIL deGRASSE TYSON:Exactly. And they had an interesting sort of their own version of a Y2K problem. Because when they got to 99, there was not a slot for a third place. So there was no room enough to put one, zero, zero. So many of them just got stuck at 99 billion. So, I did the calculation for 100 billion hamburgers.

If you had-- if you laid them end to end, you could go around the Earth, like, 32 times. Around the Earth, end to end. And then with what's left over, after you've done that, you can stack them to the moon and back with your 100 billion hamburgers. And that's about how many stars there are in the universe.

BILL MOYERS: How much Pepto-Bismol would you need to deal with that?

NEIL deGRASSE TYSON: Didn't do the Pepto-Bismol calculation. So it's fun to think of large numbers in these other contexts. And of course, there are numbers larger than anything that enumeratable in the universe. The number of googol, back when googol was only a number, not also a corporation, googol is a one followed by hundred zeros. That number is larger than the account of particles in the observable universe.

So there's nothing in the universe that you can count that will add up to a googol. So what I did as a kid, you just have fun with numbers. And so when big numbers show up in the universe, I say, "Yeah, give me more." And what worries me is that when the debt goes to a trillion dollars, or possibly a quadrillion dollars, the national debt, I hope it's never a quadrillion, but when it gets there, do people really know how big that is? I don't think so.

BILL MOYERS: They don't.

NEIL deGRASSE TYSON: So we're handicapped by not knowing, not being able to think creatively about how large these numbers are.

BILL MOYERS: I think you make me realize what I was experiencing there in the planetarium. When you started, you said, "We're not going to focus on what we can see, stars and planets, moons and nebulae, we're going to focus on what we can't see." And it was-- it is?

NEIL deGRASSE TYSON: Dark matter. That's the audacity of the show. I don't know any other show that said, "We're going to make as the topic, as the central theme, something about which we know hardly anything." And that was not only a scripting challenge. The writer here was Timothy Ferris.

BILL MOYERS: Very informative, he did--

NEIL deGRASSE TYSON: I’m a fan of his work from way back. And so there's a scripting challenge, there's a visualization challenge. Our Director of Astrovisualization, which is a really cool title if you ever want one, I think, is Carter Emmart. These are people-- he's a scientifically-literate artist, a visualizer.

And so you bring this, and others, you bring this talent together. You say, "Here's something, we don't know what it is. But it affects other things. Let's see how the rest of what we know can proxy for that which we do not know." By the way, this is how we know a black hole is out there. You can't see a black hole. But you see what effect a black hole has on everything-- it wreaks havoc on its environment. So dark things have a way of manifesting themselves.

BILL MOYERS: Dark money as well. Dark energy, dark matter. How do they differ?

NEIL deGRASSE TYSON: Well, unfortunately, they have similar-sounding names. And since we really don't know what either of them is, they-- I don't think we should've named them. We should've given then fake names until we understood them. I've been voting for, Fred and Wilma. Something that doesn't give you any cosmic bias, all right? So I can tell you simply what dark matter is. But don't think of it as matter. I don't want to-- I’m concerned--

BILL MOYERS: Like this table.

NEIL deGRASSE TYSON: I don't-- we don't know what it is. So I don't even want to use those two words. If anything, it's dark gravity. Because we look in the universe, and we see the effects of gravity, and they say, "Let's add up all the stars and galaxies and planets and comets and black holes, everything we know about, to account for this gravity that we see."

We account for one-sixth of the forces of gravity we see in the universe. There is no known objects accounting for most of the effective gravity in the universe. Something is making stuff move that is not anything we have ever touched.

BILL MOYERS: And that something you call, for lack of a better term?

NEIL deGRASSE TYSON: Dark matter. But that even implies it's matter. What it truly is is dark gravity. Boom. That's a problem that's been around since the 1930s. It's the longest-standing, unsolved problem in astrophysics. So now, dark energy, we look out in the universe, and we expect to see the universe-- our universe is expanding. We've known this since Hubble, the man Hubble, there was a man called Hubble, before he became--

BILL MOYERS: An astronomer.

NEIL deGRASSE TYSON: Before he became a telescope back in the 1920s. And Edwin Hubble, he discovered not only that our galaxy is one of many, he discovered that galaxies are scattering apart from one another. This was the expanding universe in 1929. So when you reveal this, you say, "Okay, if we've been doing this for a while, all those gravities-- all those galaxies are going to feel each other and they're going to ultimately want to slow us down, in this expansion."

So you go out to measure that. And that act led to a measurement that no one believed. That, initially, that the universe is accelerating. It's not slowing down, it's speeding up. These measurements were made back in the 1980s-- back in the 1990s. A Nobel Prize has now been awarded for this discovery, just recently, a couple of years ago. The discovery papers were in 1998. So we don't know what’s going-- some mysterious pressure in the vacuum of space, acting opposite the force of gravity, we don't know what it is. But we can measure its effect.

BILL MOYERS: So you measure it by measuring its impact on something else?

NEIL deGRASSE TYSON: Precisely. An impact on the 4 percent that we can measure.

BILL MOYERS: So it's the pressure that's expanding the universe?

NEIL deGRASSE TYSON: Something, use the word pressure, something is making the universe accelerate again. We know why we got-- we had a big bang! Big Bang put everything into motion. I'm good with that. We're good. It's like me tossing a ball up into the air. It's moving upward even though it's slowing down, okay? Gravity is slowing down that upward motion. We expected gravity to be slowing down the expanding universe. The opposite is happening. We don't know what's causing it.

BILL MOYERS: What is the practical difference it makes, whether or not we find out what dark matter and dark energy are?

NEIL deGRASSE TYSON: If you were around in 1920, maybe you would've been saying, "What's the practical difference of measuring the behavior of atomic nuclei, or atoms? We can't see atoms. Why do I care? This is just wood. This is a wood table. I'm in a leather chair. I'm good to go. Why are you investing so much energy, so much brain energy on understanding what's in the middle of an atom? That seems like a waste of this brilliance.”

In the 1920s, in addition to discovering we're not the only galaxy in the universe, and that the universe is expanding, that's a watershed decade. Because in that decade, quantum physics was discovered. And perhaps if you were around asking me that similar question then, you would've questioned the whole enterprise. Yet today, a third of the GDP of the world is generated on the creation, storage, and retrieval of information.

And the entire IT revolution cannot exist without an understanding of what's going on inside the atom. It is a quantum physics phenomenon. So you ask me, "Of what value?" I have no idea what value. Come back in 50 years, we'll have this conversation, and you’ll pull up the tape, and I will show you asking me of what value is the knowledge of how that works.

BILL MOYERS: One thing I took away from your planetarium show is that dark energy, as you just said, is responsible for the increasing rate at which the universe is pulling itself apart, right?

NEIL deGRASSE TYSON: Yes. So I'd rather word that differently. I would say the universe is accelerating. We call that dark energy. So you're saying dark energy is responsible for that. There's something, whatever it is, we call it dark energy, that's what, that's our placeholder term, to describe what we observe, the acceleration of the universe.

BILL MOYERS: Well, I'm glad you explained that. Because--

NEIL deGRASSE TYSON: By the way, there's-- nothing known will stop this. So there's been some concern that maybe space does not have the flexibility necessary to allow such rapid expansion. And might space tear in some way previously unimagined, and what does that even mean? What-- does the question even have validity? BILL MOYERS:You mean the House of Representatives cannot pass an act that will stop this? As they would like to? No, seriously, I was going to ask you, because if the universe, that term-- if that phrase, if the universe is pulling itself apart, does it ultimately disintegrate? Does it ultimately collapse?

NEIL deGRASSE TYSON: No. There's no evidence to say that we will ever recycle ourselves. All evidence points to we're in a one-way trip to oblivion. So the universe expands, the temperature of the universe drops, all stars eventually will run out of fuel. So the stars, one by one, in the night sky will turn off. And in the extremely distant future, a quadrillion years into the future, there'll be no light coming to us in the day or night sky.

And, because all stars would have died. And all gas clouds would've made stars that would've--were going to make them, and there'd be no more new stars created. And so that the universe will end not with a bang, but with a whimper. And not in fire, but in ice.

BILL MOYERS:But don't worry; we will not leave you out in the cold. We'll be back, in fact, next time with Neil deGrasse Tyson to talk about whether scientists are discovering God in the dark matter that holds the universe together even as it hurtles ever outward from us.

And in the meantime, there’s much more at our website, I’ll see you there and I’ll see you here, next time.

Neil deGrasse Tyson on the New Cosmos

January 10, 2014

This week on Moyers & Company, Bill begins a new half-hour format with nothing short of the universe itself.

In a multi-part series with the popular astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, Bill explores a variety of topics, including the nature of an expanding, accelerating universe (and how it might end), the difference between “dark energy” and “dark matter,” the concept of God in cosmology and why science matters.

“Science is an enterprise that should be cherished as an activity of the free human mind,” Tyson tells Bill. “Because it transforms who we are, how we live, and it gives us an understanding of our place in the universe.”

Starting in March, Tyson will host a new, updated version of the hit PBS television series Cosmos, which made the late Carl Sagan a household name. This time the new series, Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey, comes courtesy of the National Geographic Channel and Fox TV.

Producer: Candace White. Segment Producer: Robert Booth. Editor:Sikay Tang.

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  • novenator

    Two legends

  • Anonymous

    tell you what, folks…it may not be in our generation or the next generation, but sooner or later humankind will inhabit the universe – Mars, Jupiter, and beyond, even to the stars. Unfortunately I wish I belonged to THAT generation…if only I could be re-borned and live in the next 2 or 3 generation…make that 4 or 5 generations from now…better yet, 8 or 9th generations from now (because that would have been the generation that would populate the Milkyway or distant stars, the earlier generations would only have reached say, Pluto and the like)…what do you think?

  • Leif Madsen

    actually (according to the eternal soul theory of existence) you will. Living in the same body for eternity (vampire existence) is a true curse – but migrating life-after-life – you get continuous spiritual growth – both as an individual & as a collective (human species) – we (humans) are in the high-school phase – trashing the planet we live on via greed / thoughtlessness but we will soon graduate. The Earth is cool with us even if we are behaving like a bad virus at the moment that the planet will heal itself from no matter what we do. Nature is kind of draconian in her solutions…

  • No_One_Special

    Thank YOU both! I so loved this show! As a child, my first ‘realization’ of G*d was while gazing up at the stars while camping. I felt so connected to everything. I’m really looking forward to the next segment.

  • billybam

    Unfortunately when (if) some future or alien archeologist finds the remains of human civilization, they’ll discover that we knew we were bringing about our own extinction, yet did nothing about it.

  • Susan Brewer

    At best, your comment calls to mind the writer Isaac Asimov’s Foundation novels which, as fiction, I celebrate. But what you describe (sooner or later humankind will inhabit the universe) is a flawed, romantic notion; remember, the promise of humanity’s ‘habitation’ potential glosses over the reality, part of which includes humanity’s colonialist tendancies, an incredibly destructive force. And the WHOLE universe? What about a small part? Is not a small part sufficient?

  • Charles Shaver

    I too have enjoyed and learned from Carl Sagan’s COSMOS, as with science and math classes in school and previously being an avid reader of science fiction. However, those were a lifetime ago and, as I previously attempted to alert Prof. Tyson and a few of his colleagues much more recently, I believe my perception of gravity as intermittent or pulsing lines of force supersedes Einstein’s “space-time” and provides a better explanation of “dark matter” or “dark gravity.” I believe too that my own non-commercial “1Gravity” video on YouTube demonstrates some of the subtleties of the differences I am attempting to introduce the masses, piecemeal, temporarily, in lieu of a future full length book.

    More specifically, gravity is neither radial or homogenous and circular motion in a field of angular gravity is the way to explain the other five-sixths of observed gravitational phenomenon. Taking a quantum leap forward to thoughts of populating the entire universe, first, I believe, humanity will have to evolve above and beyond greed and violence (minimally; myself, too, perhaps) to achieve what I currently label for myself as “The Intergalactic Imperative.” As for spiritual exploration of the universe, what are you waiting for; ever heard of meditation, or prayer?

  • Anonymous

    I remember the old COSMOS series fondly– learned so much as a kid from that show. It is rare to see such quality television. I am Very excited about the new series!

  • Carl Howard

    Not happy about having your broadcast time cut in half. PBS’ board of center-right, pro-Wall Street, pro-military, and pro-polluter executives have been unsupportive of Bill Moyers’ probing and fearless journalism for years.
    How long before they cut you to fifteen minutes in an effort to simply make you give up and go away?
    All I can suggest is, use your web exclusives wisely.

  • Jeo Ten

    The human story is far from over.

  • Anonymous

    Great, looking forward to it

  • Wes Chester

    Excellent as always, the finest mind in Astrophysics meets the greatest heart in broadcasting, with beautiful results.

  • MJA

    My ego is the Universe, the universe is me. The equation that unites me, unites the Universe is =. Einstein would be pleased. =

  • John Ackerman

    Charles brings up a good point, which I’d like to carry further. Nothing the astrophysicists expound today is more than hypothesis. My work on Cyclic Catastrophism shows that they are wrong about every planet in our own solar system. It is a shame that the 90% of ‘consensus science’, which the well-meaning Neil deGrasse Tyson will graciously enlighten the populace, is not true. For these same minds to go from a complete misunderstanding of our own solar system, to the universe beyond is ludicrous. The problems created by the naive assumption that all redshifts are due to velocities have been given names such as ‘inflation’, ‘dark matter’ and ‘dark energy’, and are now accepted as real facts. Politics, in the form of peer review, tenure and government grants has ruined science, preventing more innovative ideas such as Jerrold Thacker’s Reinventing the Universe and Charles Shaver’s 1Gravity, Halton Arp’s work on Quasars and my own from even being considered.

    Albert Einstein stated the problem the best:
    The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society (a science) that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift..

  • JonThomas

    Good questions.

    And it could simply be that the preconceptions that give the lexicon of knowledge is incomplete, or the pieces aren’t yet properly placed.

    For example, when viewed in a certain perspective, a seed could seem to ‘explode” in a big bang, but it’s growth will continue to accelerate after the initial start. But, that’s just an illustrative example.

    There could even be active forces outside of our known universe.

  • Anonymous

    as a child in rural wisconsin i often gazed at the stars with awe and wonderment. now as a mature adult when i look up i get this E.T. moment urging me to “phone home”, as i dissolve into the nether.

  • Anonymous

    i gave U a thumbs up but to reply to u’r comment bout. “science lures our greatest minds away from fixing social problems.” u’d be informed if you understood the corruption of TITLE IX and it’s political agenda that destroyed psychology, turning it from a scientific discipline to a corrupt special interest political agenda.

  • Anonymous

    good as moyers is, he ain’t great. he is one reason the criminal sociopath ayn rand still gets attention, without his ultra liberal wingnutness she’d be gone.

  • Anonymous

    i can’t quote the proof but i think there is proof using the doppler effect or the shift in light from the red to the blue and the reasons for the observed difference. google it, you’ll find the proof.

  • Jim L

    Bill, you’re our treasure, continually interacting with minds, illuminating them, expanding on and with their thoughts to explain the truth of what is happening in the Big Picture of our social, political (and now scientific) world today. Yours was the only regular hour we had of this exposure in mainstream TV today. As others have wondered (such as Ginny Goldsoul), why was your time suddenly cut to 1/2 hour? Here’s hoping that, in your usual fearless manner, you will not be afraid to bite the hand that feeds you (PBS and its corporate sponsors) and advise us, on the time you have left to you, exactly who has reduced the Nation’s Hour of Truth to half time, and why. Please let us know THIS truth. Thank you so much in advance. And for all in the past, too.

    Of course, we’ve not yet heard to full hour of thoughts from and with the remarkable Neil Tyson because you (and he) have been half-censored, half-silenced. There have been responses here to DanInJapan’s question about leftover expansion force of the Big Band that Neil could field flawlessly. I believe that not only is the expansion speeding up, but it also appears as if the rate of expansion has been changing over time, presumably (but perhaps not yet certain) two manifestations of a single phenomenon. Thus, not just an artifact of a single, “original” phenomenon. There’s also the counter-intuitive hyper-early phenomenon called “universal inflation” This is all something to be put in perspective by a physicist such as Dr. Tyson, not a layperson like myself. if not on Bill’s remaining time with him, then very possibly on his exciting, upcoming “Son of Cosmos”.

  • Anonymous

    as sacred i understand that to be from god. that totally destroys anything else you may have to say. thumpers run amok!

  • Patriot Actor

    Excellent. These two gentleman both bring light to the sky.

  • Daniela G. Rubin

    This is a remarkable thought when it comes to humane values. I have always felt this is so. There are such flaws in our political systems that allow evil multibillionaires like the Koch Bros. to destroy democracy and deny the science of climate crisis! We need some geniuses, and we need them right now, to alter our political systems in time to save our planet’s habitability at least long enough for our grandchildren to have a life that is endurable here on Earth! There is only about a decade left to save the life sustaining planet, and we’re moving much to slowly on that paramount issue of science because of flawed political systems that are contributing to our demise! We have all the technology and science we need to save life on Earth, but not the political ability!

  • Daniela G. Rubin

    True! Bill Moyers is the finest PBS affords us, and Tyson is an articulate astrophysicist! Wonderful combo!

  • MJA

    The truth of everything is less than one inch, it is only equal and the lion is One. One is free when the door is open, education is the key. =

  • Daniela G. Rubin

    We really wonder what pressures corporate overlords are putting upon PBS to shorten or stifle Moyers. Until PBS refuses funding from the evil, climate change denying David Koch, for one example, my family and friends are refusing to donate to Channel 13 here in New York! It’s a pity because we NEED more Bill Moyers , not less!

  • Daniela G. Rubin

    Yes, one wonders. I’d love for Tyson to address that possibility, or explain why it might or can’t be so!

  • Daniela G. Rubin

    This is important to voice! We need more Moyers, not less, and many are disgusted with the influence of David H.Koch and other corporate overlords upon PBS.

  • Jim Bush

    Amen to what you said. Time is of the essence when it comes to saving our only livable planet. All brilliant minds on deck! Now!

  • Patrik Malinowski

    Irony, lighting up the sky makes it impossible to see the stars. Try another metaphor.

  • Jack Jones

    Mr. Tyson is far more capable than I to suggest that perhaps there isn’t “such certainty about the correctness of gravity”. In fact, it is that uncertainty about everything that we look to science, as well as other disciplines, to continue to explore ~ not expecting that we will ever find ‘certainty’ ~ but, to dispel as much uncertainty as we are able, recognizing our absolute inability to ever fully complete the task.
    I would also suggest that instead of blaming science for ‘luring our greatest minds away from fixing social problems” ~ we would be far better advised (as well as being far more effective) in encouraging other great minds to focus on not only fixing social problems, but the myriads of other issues on which our survival as a species is absolutely dependent.
    If “Great Minds” is a zero sum endeavor ~ we are all doomed.

  • Anonymous

    But these ideas are not to be contained in a half hour. It was a real shock when the next program, news, came on and Bill Moyers program was gone. It was that entrancing to hear that Cosmos is alive again.

  • moderator

    Hi Lorraine

    To get a full understanding of why the show is going to a 30 min format, please check out Bill’s “A Special Announcement from Nov. 15th of last year.

    Sean @ Moyers

  • Anonymous

    Write to Public Broadcasting ask why his show is cut in half. To anyone whose address you can find, ombudsman is one,

    BBC news (scheduled before Bill Moyers tonite) is so like our own news, it could go away and no one would miss it, but no, Bill Moyers is cut in half. That is the money boy koch brothers influence throwing around their tainted dollars.

  • moderator

    Hi Pinionpiner:

    To get a full understanding of why the show is going to a 30 min format, please check out Bill’s “A Special Announcement from Nov. 15th of last year.

    Sean @ Moyers

  • jcaimbridge

    Not to say this was a bad program at all, but I kind of felt the “why we do it” answer Neil gave was largely incomplete. Scientists do not do science for utilitarian reasons (even if in many cases it must be justified under utilitarian reasons). To be succinct, we do science as a result of curiosity–there is nothing more fundamental than this. The utilitarian benefits are only supplementary, and even if the process of natural selection may have rewarded curiosity as a result of the utilitarian benefits (and in many other creatures, curiosity was NOT rewarded), that is something separate from the underlying motivation. So even if we had some way of knowing there would be no utilitarian benefit to science, and even if curiosity itself was an “accident” of the random processes of nature, we would still go on doing it. No further justification is necessary at the personal level (in a democracy, one has to of course weigh the desires of others)

    Too often the pursuit of science gets inextricably lumped together with the unsatisfiable material greed of humans. To the contrary, the most rewarding part of satisfying one’s curiosity is not when one has “solved the problem” or “made the discovery,” but when one is in the thick of it–the adventure itself is the most pleasurable aspect.

  • jcaimbridge

    But would the redirection of the minds of science to the democratic problems we face today necessary have any meaningful effect? Personally I think the issues America faces as a democracy are more of a social problem than something scientists can fix. In fact, many of the policy-based solutions to these issues have already been solved in America’s past or have been solved in, e.g., northern Europe (it’s just that, e.g., the influential members of our society have no interest in implementing them).

    For the most part I think America’s problem is more one of rousing and coordinating public action and getting the message out. There really aren’t that many people that take to the pursuits of curiosity from the start (at least in the US), and many of these people are not very good at doing the above or infuencing others in general (people like Neil deGrasse Tyson are rare exceptions of course).

    So personally I think this class of people should go on doing what they’re doing because they’ll probably have a more positive effect on society in their current state anyway. It’s sort of similar to cutting NASA in order to fund social programs when the military’s mindblowing budget is the elephant in the room.

  • Dean Libey

    Very enjoyable, Thank you both. Always time well spent here at Moyers & company.

  • Byron Gordon

    Thank you for interviewing Neil. We need more science education than ever before.

  • James

    Short answer: poor Bill is getting old, and wanted to retire, but we wouldn’t let him!

  • Anonymous

    deGrasse is a gas–brilliant mind, acerbic wit, homespun humor. I am very much interested in seeing the second half to see whether or not science has indeed discovered God.
    When Dr. Tyson spoke of the way all the stars will eventually go out, I was reminded of the scripture in the Bible which says, speaking of the redeemed in the company of God, that they will have no need of the sun, for God himself will be their light. That’s a long, long way into the future, sports fans! That’s a lot of time to have a lot of fun.

  • Anonymous

    I’m no scientist, but I think you are not entirely correct. When Neanderthals were at risk of extinction, there was probably some guy in the gang who had a scientific mind and devised a more efficient way to hunt, leaving more time for discovering a more efficient way to build a fire, construct a better shelter, etc. I am suggesting that scientists have always been with us and always curious about riddles, the answers to which advanced civilization. In other words, scientists have always been useful. These days there is far more time for scientists to explore far bigger mysteries. Maybe that first scientist just got tired of chasing Mammoths around and wondered whether or not there was a better way to do things, so he invented weaponry and tactics–the early science of war, which eventually led to the nuclear bomb, missiles, and space exploration et al.

  • Anonymous

    What if it’s all a humongous pool table with billions of balls and we just can’t see the eight ball because it’s black? What if the black holes are the pockets?

  • Anonymous

    Points well taken, but although the most brilliant minds maybe end up in science, they are not the most moral. Scientists have made the art of killing a science. Einstein and Oppenheimer expressed deep regret for the success of the Manhattan Project.

  • Anonymous

    Pip pip and all that!

  • Anonymous

    Well said and agreed.

  • Anonymous

    Yes, there will be insurmountable impediments. How will they survive Gamma Rays? How many colonialists will the ship carry? Who gets to go? Will all races be included? Will the mission be based on military dictatorship or civilian government? What kind of government? Will they believe in God? If so, which one? If not, why not? What values will they uphold? Who will be in charge? Why? Etc ad infinitum.

  • HonestJohn

    Neil is passionate, informed and enthusiastic, we are the exact same age and I visited the Hayden Planetarium when I was around 9 too…A few years ago I watched a lecture he gave on line, and emailed him to tell him how much I enjoyed it, he emailed me back within 5 minutes! He is one of the few people who could have followed in Carl Sagan’s footsteps, the other candidate in my opinion would have been Brian Cox, who is also just as informed and intelligent. I can’t wait for part 2…Thanks!

  • Steve Northrop

    Okay, I get the differences between Dark Matter and Dark Energy, or at least how the are measured and our lack of being able to explain what they truly are. Here is what I don’t have the math for, (understanding), Heat expands, Cold contracts, so, with runaway expansion, how is Heat Death possible? Or maybe that’s what we do not yet understand about Dark energy as it is in direct opposition of what is observable given what we know about Physics.

  • Steve Northrop

    You may have hit on my earlier question. One thing Tyson said I must agree with is the more we learn the more we know what we don’t know, Paraphrasing, kind of, but your suggestion addresses my lack of understanding of what we know about how heat (energy) affects expansion.

  • Kathleen

    Cold doesn’t always contract…water for instance.

  • Kathleen

    I think you meant Brian Greene?

  • Kathleen

    I don’t think the Biblical quote was referring to the expansion of our universe, entropy, and energy per cubic meter reduction. :)

  • Kathleen

    None of the business of science involves, as its purpose…even accidentally, the discovery of God. Whose God are you referring to anyway? :)

  • Kathleen

    I suggest reading some more science books since your perception of physics is far from a correct one, sorry (but true).

  • Anonymous

    “In the day that the Lord is revealed, the heavens will depart with a great noise and the elements, being on fire, will melt with a fervent heat. The earth and the works thereof will be burned up.” That occurs at the brightness of Christ’s coming.

    The fire at the end of Revelation is a final judgment, the lake of fire, ostensibly holy fire because the grave and death itself will be destroyed by it.

    In the interim, watch for a meteor the size of a mountain to strike the earth. There’s a smaller one on the way, called Apophis, due Friday 13th, April 2025. It is predicted to miss the earth, but if it hit Los Angeles, San Francisco would also be destroyed. There are millions of NEOs out there.

  • Anonymous

    Kathleen, you sound as though you have a science background or you are well read. There are a lot of interesting facts hidden in Biblical scripture. According to one ancient manuscript, Jewish scholars of the 12th century deduced that the universe was created suddenly from something incredibly small (Big Bang singularity) and they calculated the age of the universe to be 15.5 billion years old. They derived those ideas from studying the Torah (Old Testament). Science didn’t come up with the same ideas for another 800 years. The modern science method has only been around about 250 years, basically since the Industrial Age. 😉

  • Anonymous

    So very true, and even more intriguing is the triple-point of water.

  • Anonymous

    We’re in the dark about most of this stuff, which is job security for scientists.

  • Anonymous

    So true. Even more intriguing is the triple-point of water. :-)

  • Steve Northrop

    Water forms ice which is denser than it’s heated, gas state steam, so….

  • Steve Northrop

    Well you’ve got dark energy which is believed to be the fuel if you will of expansion. There really isn’t “nothing” in the vacuum or the space between stats & galaxies. Dark energy pushes on dark matter aiding this expansion, if I understand the scenario, I’m sure that’s an oversimplification, but I’ll use it for this purpose. Conventional wisdom had always been that because of the big bang eventually there would be a big crunch after the energy of the big bang reached it’s zenith. Now if what I’m hearing is correct, nothing will stop expansion because of dark energy, so heat death will not bring a big crunch because gravity (mass), (all matter) will cease to exist. Just having trouble wrapping my mind around no contraction from heat death.

  • Kathleen

    Methinks you forgot the liquid to solid state of water (which was what I was referring to), ay? :)

  • Steve Northrop

    When water gets colder it condenses (ice), when it gets hotter it expands (steam) all three states are strictly a result of temperature so…?

  • RonQuest1

    That is an interesting point. For if they can build theoretical space sailing vessels that would utilize the pressure of light, then why can’t the pressure of light be a factor contributing into this dark energy “push”.

  • Mike Baudistel

    No, Brian Cox is a physicist who hosts a lot of shows on the BBC.

  • Kathleen

    I quickly read some references to what the Bible states, in terms of the structure of our Universe, and though one can interpret the words to mean something akin to relatively recent discoveries one can easily, also, interpret the words to mean something quite different. My point is that it’s all in the interpretation, something done subjectively.

    My own opinion is that the references you may be referring to meant, at the time, something very different than what cosmological physicists refer to today.

    For instance, the prophet Isaiah who lived almost 3,000 years ago stated:
    “It is He that . . . stretches out the heavens as a curtain, and spreads them out as a tent to dwell in.” [40:22]

    One can believe that the above refers to a universe expansion but I think it to have, instead, a more literal meaning, that the sky stretches out ‘above’ us, like a tent. Its “stretching” is what one does when laying the tent to sleep or live in.

    Every quote I’ve read has this mechanism.

    Either way, our intuitions (comprised of hit or miss conclusions), can seem to have a resemblance to current scientific thought but these intuitions are not based on scientific inquiry, that is, data, predictive ability, the ability to falsify the conclusion(s), testing and so forth. They could be, simply, poetic forms of explaining what they observed during the time of the Bible writings.

    As such, at most, one can say that those who wrote the Bible did so based on intuitive thoughts (or, if you insist that the Bible are the words of God, though one may question why God, then, couldn’t be more specific, etc.), some of which may be interpreted as having uncanny similarity to current thought, and most not having this attribute.

    The law of averages can apply here (good guesses, but not actual discovery.

  • Kathleen

    The main difference between dark matter and dark energy is that dark matter exhibits gravitational qualities while dark energy opposes qravity, exhibiting expansional qualities.Dark matter, by definition, isn’t dark energy.

  • Jonakron

    It is so so sad that Moyers has been forced into a half hour format…. when there is so much garbage on TV.
    I weep.

  • Kathleen

    Though what you say may be true usually (in the case of matter whose mass exceeds zero), it isn’t true always. For instance, when it comes to electromagnetic acceleration, it’s instantaneous. That is, when you turn on your light the photons are released at the speed of light instantaneously. Since E=mc^2, and therefore energy is equivalent to matter, referring to an instantaneous acceleration of energy (light) undermines your statement.

  • Kathleen

    Airborne, sounds to me you’re referring to a meteor coming more than a Christ coming. :)

  • Anonymous

    You’re reasoning seems sound enough, but it is common to the point of being trite to argue that the Bible is just a matter of interpretation. I get that all the time. There is one truth, and the challenge is to find it. The Bible was written by men inspired by God and God is the source of truth.

    As far as science goes, I have already mentioned the fact that Jewish scholars in the 12th century knew that the universe was created suddenly out of something incredibly small, and they calculated the age of the universe to be 15.5 billion years old. Even Einstein thought the universe was eternal and static. Scientists are late to the game.

    Also, Moses, who wrote the Pentateuch (first 5 books of the Old Testament) was a general in the Egyptian army who was a brilliant tactician. He was also schooled in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, who built the pyramids. It takes the sciences of mathematics and astronomy at the very least to build them as they were. Modern science doesn’t know everything, it’s just great at technology. The great libraries of Rome and Alexandria were destroyed, taking with them a great treasure trove of ancient knowledge. It is commonly known that ancient civilizations knew wonderful secrets lost forever to mankind. We still don’t know how the pyramids were built. If you divide the base dimension by the height, you get pi. If you extend lines through the four corners around the earth, the lines divide the earth equally by weight. The pyramids have never sunk on their base after many centuries. Consider also the ruins of Machu Piccu. No one today could build them or the pyramids. Then there are the supernatural phenomena that are widely known, like the readings of Edgar Cayce. No, modern science doesn’t know everything. That’s a vanity. Now modern science is destroying life on the planet on a global scale. How smart is that?

  • Anonymous

    Yes, but the meteor is a portent. Many cataclysmic events follow. John spoke of his vision: “I saw as it were a mountain burning with fire cast into the sea.” The Bible is the only sacred text in the world that is unerringly prophetic. I have read them all. The re-establishment of the nation-state of Israel was foreshadowed to occur in the exact year of 1948. It is one of many prophetic warnings. The violent events of the Middle East involve all of the ancient enemies of Israel (including Iran–ancient Persia). Notice the fact that it is the single most dangerous hotspot in the world and that the United States cannot extricate itself from the region, try as it might. It’s caught like Br’er Rabbit in the tar baby.

  • Kathleen

    Trite doesn’t mean untrue, it’s just that the idea that the Bible’s words need to be interpreted is a common concept, and probably for good reason since it’s written in a foreign tongue with meanings that were different when written than they are today, there are many obviously poetic references, as well as vague ones, and there are notable and many contradictions in the Bible. When one is faced with that fact, interpretation is what one has remaining, yes? :)

    As for there being only one truth, I challenge you to prove, in any meaningful, coherent, and clear way, that statement. Tough to do, isn’t it?

    I’m not familiar with any Biblical scholars estimating the age of our Universe in the billions of years. What is your reference to that? Most references I’ve read calculate it in a far a shorter time interval.

    Though it isn’t absolutely certain how the Pyramids were built there are many competing theories, most of which contain very likely scenarios and explanations. These explanations take into account the technology at the time and, based on these ideas, frankly, the mystery isn’t as mysterious as you suppose, at least at this time.

    Science will never know everything and, perhaps, that’s a fool’s errand. Rather, science has helped us peel the onion over time and, in doing so, has the best track record to date in understanding our natural (as opposed to supernatural) world. I state “best” by the measurements of medicine, food production, use of energy, predictions of natural events and so forth. Perfect? No. Just best compared to other proposed methods.

    Modern science isn’t what’s destroying life on our planet, what is the cause is the age old struggle between those who care for others and those who lack care for others (greed/selfishness vs. love/care for others). Science can give us tools and understandings of the workings of nature, our ability to love life and appreciate (and define) real value, and conduct ourselves using the prescrips of rational cooperation will determine how we use this knowledge. My own feelings on this subject doesn’t give us much hope. It may be that technological civilization’s evolution depends highly on the ability of life to transit from survival through competition to survival via global scaled rational cooperation (a period we are currently going through) and most technological civilizations don’t survive that transition. Perhaps that’s why we haven’t seen evidence of any other technologically based civilization in our galaxy since, if they existed, they’d most likely be far more advanced than we are (perhaps at least millions of years, given the time scale of our technological age vs. the age of our galaxy) and our current abilities should have been able to detect them easily…but we haven’t.

  • Anonymous

    Okay, I will concede the fact that modern science has made it possible to destroy life on the planet on a global scale. Man has always been busy trying to annihilate other humans. Now science has given him to tools to do so on a massive scale. For the reasons you cited, there can be no reversal of these climatic events. The earth is way overpopulated because humans are breeding like rats and surviving factors that used to kill off the weak. The population will come down dramatically, though, either through the actions of man or nature or God. Take your pick, but it will be of Biblical proportion.

  • D.S.G.

    Water expands has it turns to ice. Ice is less dense than water in its liquid state, hence it floats.

  • Kathleen

    I’m not as sure of the future of mankind’s existence on this planet as you are but I feel that it’s fair to say that, given current observations concerning mankind’s ability to rationally cooperate on a global scale, it doesn’t look promising. And, given the history of periodic extinctions due to, mostly, asteroid/comet intrusions that will occur again, it seems inevitable, not certain, just likely. And one can add all the other assortments of global scaled extinction probabilities (disease, war, etc.).

    Our difference lies in the source of these feelings. Yours are sourced from Biblical statements, mine from observations about how the interplay of power, competition, choices, survival, etc. works with people.

    But, though we all know that we, as individuals, are going to die, it doesn’t stop us from living as best as we can. It’s what we do to make it “best” that makes the difference.

  • Kathleen

    It may be a “portent” and it may just be a meteor, with its fairly predictable results.

    Each person of a particular religious persuasion believes that their Bible, or something similar, is the “only sacred text in the world that is unerringly prophetic” And, to prove it they often take some rather wide berths in interpreting the already interpreted words. I noticed this clearly, not only with Biblical predictions, but with Nostradamus and others. It’s all left me fascinated with our ability to rationalize (by connecting some rather wide ranging dots)…and left me smiling too. People are amazing for many reasons, one being their need to connect dots that may be connected … or not.

  • Kathleen

    Incorrect. When liquid water freezes to ice, it expands. This is but one reason why damage occurs to roads, etc.
    When liquid water is cooled, it contracts like one would expect until a temperature of approximately 4 degrees Celsius is reached. After that, it expands slightly until it reaches the freezing point, and then when it freezes it expands by approximately 9%. This unusual behavior has its origin in the structure of the water molecule. There is a strong tendency to form a network of hydrogen bonds, where each hydrogen atom is in a line between two oxygen atoms. This hydrogen bonding tendency gets stronger as the temperature gets lower (because there is less thermal energy to shake the hydrogen bonds out of position). The ice structure is completely hydrogen bonded, and these bonds force the crystalline structure to be very “open”.

  • Steve Northrop

    Distance between molecules in water expands in steam, condenses in ice. Farther apart in steam, closer together in ice.

  • Kathleen

    I stand corrected, though Brian Greene may be a good candidate too, given the standing room only in his classes in NY, and his previous media success.

  • Kathleen

    OK, so you’re not convinced yet? Google the phrase, “water expands as it freezes”, without the quotes.

  • Anonymous

    I am persuaded from nearly 40 years of Biblical study that the species Homo Sapiens will become extinct sometime within the next 250 years.

  • Anonymous

    Nostradamus wasn’t religious. You are mistaken about all religions being prophetic. They are certainly adamant about being correct or the only ones to be correct, but you should read Hindu, Muslim, Buddhist, Taoist and other religious literature of the great religions of the world. Only the God of Israel declares that He knows the end from the beginning. He said that Israel would re-emerge on the world state in 1948 after 1878 years of not existing, and it did. No other nation has ever done that. Hebrew prophets prophesied about Jesus over the course of centuries, one after another. Jesus fulfilled all of the prophesies. A British mathematician calculated the odds of that happening and likened it to covering the entire state of Texas 2 feet deep in silver dollars, marking one silver dollar and tossing it into the pile, and then having a blindfolded man pick out the marked silver dollar on the first attempt. Jesus healed the sick, cleansed the leper, and raised the dead. Jesus raised himself from the dead. No other religion has a central figure who did those things.

  • Kathleen

    You may be right, maybe sooner, who knows? At least you didn’t say something like extinct on October 6th, like some Biblical studies have indicated to others! :)

  • Kathleen

    Without getting into a detailed discourse on other religions and so forth, and to keep it simple for now (but please note that predictions have been made by many other religious authorities besides the ones you stated), where exactly is it written in the Bible that Israel would become a state in 1948? Is that what you stated?

    I believe this “prediction” was based, again on an interpretation of Beshore who based his prediction on the prior suggestion that Jesus could return in 1988, i.e., within one Biblical generation (40 years) of the founding of Israel in 1948. Beshore argues that the prediction was correct, but that the definition of a Biblical generation was incorrect and was actually 70–80 years, Again, an interpretation, placing the Second Coming of Jesus between 2018 and 2028 and the Rapture by 2021 at the latest.

    Not very solid, or do you think otherwise?

  • Kathleen

    My example was illustrating the mechanism of the type of rationalizing that interprets a statement, from whatever source, which becomes a prediction, usually after the fact.

  • Anonymous

    It is foreshadowed. From Adam to Abraham, the father of the Hebrew nation is 1948 years. From Jesus, who is called the second Adam, until the nation-state of Israel is 1948 years. The Bible is written in three mystery languages–symbolic, prophetic, and parabolic. Things are not always spelled out directly. One has to be familiar with the mystery languages.

  • Kathleen

    I think your reply is not in answer to my question, sorry. Additionally, your stated source is not precise in the number of years, at least in the Bible and is, again, an interpretation that fills in the exact number of years, 1948, without an exact reference.

    If you can’t come up with a quote that references your statement, why do you believe your statement? I propose it’s based on a wish, more than any real confirmable fact, which is my point here.

    So, here we have a video of a man who believes that science and its methods are, so far, the most successful way to achieve some measure of truth. Yet, on this video section, what this man hopes to be, ideally, avoided is, instead, too apparent. Your citation is an example of rationalizing one’s wishes to the point of confusing them with facts.

    I propose that stating there is a Biblical prediction that Israel will become a State in 1948 is either dishonest or comprised of other motivations, none having to do with what truth is constructed from.

  • Anonymous

    Life is a voyage of discovery. We all have the opportunity to discover those things we hold most dear and believe in beyond doubt, and we have a very short life in which to make the discovery and make the most of it.

    Faith is not an intellectual exercise, but faith leads to experiential reality, i.e. one has sufficient real experience to confirm and justify faith.

    If anyone follows the instructions of the Bible, one will find God and faith. In the sense that anyone can do it and achieve the same results, it is scientific. Millions have already done it. But, reality is not always sufficient.

    About one million Hebrews saw the miracles of Moses in Egypt and in the wilderness, but God killed thousands of them because of their unbelief. Jesus performed mighty miracles in some small villages in ancient Israel, only to be told to go away and leave them alone.

    Only seekers find. You must follow your own path, if indeed you follow any path at all. My path is far shorter ahead than behind, and I am anxious to reach the end.

    It would literally take me months to tell you all I have learned in the last four decades, and I doubt that any of it would make any sense to you. I just try to pique the curiosity of others and encourage them to pursue the divine. I can show someone the path, but I can’t walk it for them.

  • Haviva

    Great program!

  • Haviva

    I agree! He is brilliant, and his guests are fascinating!

  • Mr Pid

    I, too, am anxious for you (and all of your ilk) to reach the end. Thank you, Kathleen, for an interesting discourse.

  • Anonymous

    Turn up the volume! My hearing was tested and I am not deaf but I cannot hear this!

  • mj

    Here’s my take Steve. The dark matter(or gravity) is pushing the universe apart at an accelerating rate. This spreading out is resulting in a cooling- as you would spread hot coals to extinguish a camp fire. If, on the other hand, there was enough gravity to retract the universe to a singularity we would have another big bang and start all over.

  • katscanner

    Proximity to star heat? Friction? Good questions. As gas is compressed it heats up. Maybe there are some un-discussed details…as laughter ensues…

  • Anonymous

    I am so sad, only 30 minute programs!

  • Kathleen

    Yes, you got that right! My own personal experience led me to recommend Elegant Universe and another book to my mechanic, a 21 year old master at his job. Incredibly, the books resulted in his quitting his job (!) and enrolling in Stony Brook University as a physics major (!!), changing his career to become an engineer. I was totally amazed of course.

  • Thor Viðar Jónsson

    Probably a sound setting on your computer, check your volume settings for your browser.

  • Kathleen

    Without quoting well researched contradictions, enough for some to take considerable space in books written on the subject, how is the killing of the first born (in Egypt) not a contradiction of “thou shalt not kill”, as in the killing of innocent life? Please, don’t state that that rule was only meant for humans and God recused Himself from any rules, even if He was setting a bad example since hypocrisy is a form of lying.
    Either way, my point (especially if you explain away God’s actions here) is that the Bible needs to be interpreted.

  • Mike Lince

    While I like your idealism of dedicating great minds to solve the social issues of our time, I do not think academic pursuit in any field will alter the power struggles that define our society’s routine. Preserving democracy will be as temporal as the rise and fall of empires. However, the body of mankind’s knowledge is cumulative without regard for political goals, economic trends or historical events.

    I believe our culture’s greatest contribution to the human race is and will continue to be adding as much as possible to the sum of all human knowledge. Perhaps one day our descendants will have the wisdom to apply that knowledge to creating a better world. That is mankind’s best hope. Trying to correct the ills that plague our society would be acts of futility in our current non-intellectual climate. Thus, we need pure scholars now more than ever.

  • Surirose

    I am by no means an astrophysicist but I did train at MIT

  • Daniel

    I recently watched Brian Cox’s “Wonders Collection”. His analogies are amazing. I learned so many new things from him.

  • Anders Eckstrand

    We have a solemn duty to distribute observational truth to the world. We must follow in Sagan’s footsteps. Peace & Love

  • JonThomas

    Hello Kathleen. I hope I’m not butting in here, but I see you didn’t get an answer to your comment.

    I’ve enjoyed reading the comments you posted on this thread, and while I’m not really interested in a long, religious back and forth in this type of forum, I would like to offer you some insight from a reasoned point of view (if you will accept any religious thinking as reasoned lol.)

    Please, if you are able, when it comes to ‘religious’ subjects, be patient and keep in mind as I write, that this is a very deep Biblical subject, and I’m really just scratching the surface.

    One point I’d like to offer first, is that the Hebrew word used in Ex. 20:13 is more properly translated as ‘murder’ rather than ‘kill’. There are other examples in the scriptures of this difference in usage… ex. 2:14 e.g.

    From any reading of scripture, it’s obvious that there were times where killing was allowed, even encouraged by God. Again, whether you accept the scriptures as valid or not, it would not be reasonable for anyone to tell you that God’s commandment is strictly to ‘not kill.’

    Another point to be made is God’s sole right to judge and sentence. Again, from a Biblical perspective, humans acting under God’s authority only have the right to judge and sentence under strict, detailed instances, unfortunately this is not always followed.

    Keep in mind though, that there are huge differences between beliefs and practices from one denomination to the next. For example, I would say that since Jesus’ time, although it sits as an example of the Biblical God’s viewpoint on right and wrong, ‘The Law’ (from which you quote) is not now literally in effect.

    Keep in mind also, that in the historical period during which the first born in Egypt were killed, sadly it was common place to sacrifice humans.

    Also, each of the Biblical plagues which were visited upon Egypt were slights to different Gods worshiped by the Egyptians at that time.

    The last plague, the killing of all the firstborn, was a direct affront to the claimed deification of the Pharaoh, the first born of the royal family, himself.

    Also, keep in mind, that one of the things which separated the Biblical God from all the other so-called gods of that area, is the distinct lack of human sacrifice.

    Another point is that the Egyptian Pharaoh, and the priests, were continually warned to treat the Israelite visitors with respect.

    Instead, they were made slaves… even after God used Joseph to bless the Egyptians. And, again, please understand, I am speaking from the Biblical perspective to offer the explanation you asked for… I’m not trying to enforce this upon you.

    In Ex. 4:20-23, there is given one of the reasons for the killing of the firstborn, it should be read by someone desiring to understand.

    As the ‘affront’ I mentioned previously, if Pharaoh was truly a God, then there would have been no way it would have been possible to kill the firstborn.

    So, the killing of the firstborn was, as described in Ex. 13:1-16, among other things, a practical demonstration of God’s authority, power, and purpose.

    It was a sacrifice, not in the soon to be methods of the Israelites, or of the Biblical God, but rather, in this instance, God acted in the only manner that the Egyptians understood… he ‘spoke their language.’

    There is much more symbolism and prophetic structure behind the killing of the firstborn, including further concepts related to ‘redemption,’ and ‘sacrifice,’ but in general, the action was what the Egyptians understood as an appropriate act of worship toward their own false gods. Pharaoh, who as we obviously see looking back, knew quite well he wasn’t a ‘God,’ was guilty and was sentenced. Anyone who kept following him also reaped the sentencing.

    As I said, I’m not posting to get into a long back and forth, but I really enjoyed your other comments on this article, and I though you deserved a reasoned opinion from more than just hooey, empty faith, based thinking.

    I do not claim to be special, or better, but I do enjoy the opportunity to pass on some the deeper concepts behind the Bible. Believe it or not, there is much reason behind Biblical teachings. Unfortunately, many people who claim adherence do not really care to understand. Worse, many of their teachers fail to instill such reasoning… it’s just ‘listen to me, and you’ll be saved,’ hogwash.

    As Mr. Tyson said in 2 different sections from part 2 of this series…

    “Enlightened religious people are not behaving that way…”

    “If you’re going to stay religious at the end of the conversation, God has to mean more to you than just where science has yet to tread.”

    Thank you for your comments which were very well presented. I hope whether or not you agree, or even accept this explanation, you can appreciate there is more to the ‘killing of the first born’ and reasoned Biblical study than surface hypocrisy.

  • Wayne Faulkner

    Dr Tyson. Thank you for this series. I hope there will be a DVD collection for these programs.

  • Wayne Faulkner

    That is still a lot of stars.

  • Kathleen

    Hi JonThomas,
    I appreciate your reply and, yes, it sheds some light as to the reasoning for its time and place. Of course, God could have killed only the Pharaoh’s first born but I suppose killing all the Egyptian first born sent a stronger message, given the point of the Biblical text.

    Of course my point was that the Bible is filled with contradictory text that often needs interpreting. I suppose this makes sense given the length of time for its completion as it is today, and the numbers of people who authored it. And this observation was made to buttress my main idea, that the present day allusions to scientific facts found in the Bible are too often stretched to prove a somewhat dubious notion.

    Thanks again.

  • Cooba

    Mr Thomas,

    I did reply but unfortunately it did not post for whatever reason.

    Maybe you can read mine, too. I’ll try again.

  • JonThomas

    Hi Cooba, as you said, for whatever reason I can’t see your reply.

    I did see the one you posted 4 days ago concerning death vs. life. You wrote it with an of enigmatic quality, but I believe you and I see that topic quite similarly.

  • JonThomas

    You’re welcome,

    It’s often quite frustrating to see discussions on topics such as these. The forum doesn’t allow for much detail, and there are so many passions on these subjects, and so many personal beliefs, that it’s usually not worth discussing.

    However, when I see an earnest, reasonable person, I enjoy responding.

    The Bible is a big book, and yes, if you don’t know it well enough to draw from cross-references, it does seem to be extremely contradictory.

    Add to that many – both intolerant religious leaders, and followers – and you have a plethora of subjects which lead to nothing but arguments between people speaking different internal languages.

    Anyway… :-)

  • Anonymous

    It’s great that there is a new COSMOS show. But it is completely inexplicable why there has to be LOUD music to accompany it….one can’t “think” “wonder”– we get blasted with intrusive “music” – awful!

  • Kathleen

    Hi JonThomas,

    Yes, the art of conversation is one that hides well these days. Perhaps it was always so as those skilled in it were the ones who were noticed, before the new publishing medium of the Internet allowed for both anonymity and volume.

    Interesting that you intimate that the Bible is coherent. Is it? I’m far from an authority on the subject but I’ve read some that are and they’ve written expertly on their claims to the contrary, at least when dissecting the details as they’ve done. To me it’s all interesting, not in terms of the foundation of my reality (as it is to those more vested in its meaning as the literal word of God) but more as a historical/anthropological text.

    Personally, I’ve found all sorts of conversations hold my interest, especially if I’m learning something.

  • JonThomas

    I also had always wondered about the ‘coherency’ of the Bible. Early on I had decided much of what I had been taught was ridiculous, but since there are so many different perspectives, some of which seemed to make at least a little sense, I tried my best to withhold opinion on the things I did not know firsthand.

    I summarily dismissed the Devil as a tailed beast living in a burning Hell… that was obviously a myth (and yes, that was taught as truth.). It was also obvious that if God was using the Pope as an infallible agent, with the history of the Catholic Church, something was certainly wrong there. But, on subjects that I knew about only through someone else, I withheld opinion.

    That is, until I read the Bible through for myself. The first read through helped me to sort out much of the falsehoods, but for the deeper things it takes real study.

    Now, when someone tries to tell me something that they believe about the Bible, and it is different from what I have read and understood, I ask for references. Most people will say what they have heard, or what they believe the Bible to say, but if they can’t show me, and answer basic questions regarding cross-references, then I try to politely differ, or just stop the conversation… whichever is most appropriate.

    For example.. there’s a scripture that says… “the wages of sin is death.” That scripture, Rom. 6:23, is in line with the Hebrew Scriptures where God proclaimed… “I have set before you life and death…” Deut. 30:19

    So, why do people say that the wages of sin is eternal suffering in place where there is physical pain? Especially silly is this thought when you realize that the body ‘returns to the dust from whence it came.’

    These are doctrines that do not hold up to scrutiny. These doctrines can cause many a good person, who does allow their beliefs and worldviews to revolve around those issues, to live in a similar, yet alternate reality.

    Those are the ones most difficult to reach. I love the imagery there. It’s like you are trying to reach out, but your efforts pass right through. Until you can ‘grasp’ one another, there is no communication. Yep, always loved that one.

    I also try not to argue over translations, rather I draw from as many as possible, including the original language texts where obvious discrepancies exist.

    So, I understand that there are otherwise respectable people who say there are many examples of contradictions, but after a few years of study, I haven’t found any that couldn’t be rationally understood. I do enjoy hearing examples of those.

    In all honesty, there are places, especially having to do with prophecy, where I try to maintain an open mind. It is not necessarily wise to claim infallibility in understanding.

    So, all that said, yes I will say that, in my opinion, the Bible is basically coherent. Considering the time span over which it was written, the number of different writers, and the difficulties with translating dead languages, it really is amazing how congruous it remains.

    If you have any specific questions (or non-specific, lol,) I so far find you someone with which it is a pleasure conversing. Just try to be gentle when it comes to blinding me with science. 😛

    I like your last sentence, seems we hold that in common. While there are many issues over which I have made up my mind, in subjects where I’m not so versed I try to keep my eyes, and my mind, open. 😉

  • Cooba

    Hello Kathleen,

    Before I start, I want you to keep in mind that the Bible is based on love and common sense. I say common sense because once you understand what these certain things mean in the way God used the words; in however way the sentences were structured then these certain things will be understood because it makes logical sense without contradiction.

    I did not plan to give you examples originally but I really want you to see what I’m talking about as far as what I stated above.

    Here’s one example: Many Christians believe that when a person dies they either go to heaven directly or they go to hell. That’s because they have been taught that way ever since they were children. That way of thinking could be enhanced by the media as well, unfortunately. Hollywood likes to mix in the false with the truth many times to make for a good film. After all, they are trying to grab your attention.

    According to scripture, when a person dies he or she goes nowhere. Let me give you scripture to support this.

    All who are in the graves
    will hear His voice and come forth. (John 5: 28, 29). David…is both dead and buried and his tomb is with us to this day. For David did not ascend into the heavens. (Acts 2: 29, 34). If I wait, the grave is mine house. (Job 17: 13, KJV). Here
    you have Job saying that if he doesn’t go anywhere, he sits and waits in the grave until the resurrection.

    People do not go to heaven
    or hell at death. They go to their
    graves to await the resurrection day. By the way, King David will be saved in God’s Kingdom but he is in his grave now awaiting the resurrection. In fact, Job 21: 30 says: For the wicked are reserved for the day of doom; they shall be brought out on the day of wrath. Verse 32
    says: Yet he shall be brought to
    the grave, and a vigil kept over the tomb. Did you catch that, Kathleen? Your new home which is temporal one is the grave. You wait there for the resurrection as I will explain below.

    If the wicked are reserved now,
    don’t you think the righteous are too? This is where faith comes in.

    Kathleen, here’s the kicker or confirmation as to why many Christians believe when a person dies, particularly Christians(because they were good?)go directly to heaven. 2 Corinthians 5: 8, We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord.

    Because of this, Christians believe they are with the Lord.

    How can that be? Before the second coming when in fact that’s when the righteous receive their glorious body(contradiction #1)?How can it be that you enter heaven before you receive your glorious body, an incorruptible, immortal body(contradiction #2)? Nothing corruptible can enter, Rev: 21: 27. Now there’s a contradiction.

    It is partially true in that the spirit goes back to God who gave it, Ecclesiastes 12: 7. In other words, the spirit of every person who dies…whether righteous or wicked returns to God at death. Now I have to explain what that spirit is. Read carefully…

    The body without the spirit is dead, James 2: 26. The spirit of God is in my nostrils, Job 27: 3. The spirit that returns to God at death is the “breath of life.” This is in perfect harmony with Genesis 2: 7, And the Lord formed man of the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the “breath of life” and man became a living soul(a living soul…you and I are living souls!).

    So now you’ve learned that the “breath of life” = spirit. However, nowhere in all of God’s book does the “spirit” have any life, wisdom or feeling after a person dies. It is the breath of life and nothing more. It is simply the power of God to give life. If you read Genesis 2: 7 above, you learned that God formed man first…he gave man all the internal workings, heart, brain, lungs, etc. THEN He gave man the spirit…life. Man became a living soul! Don’t ask me how, though, hehehe. He’s the “Great I Am,” Exodus 3: 14.

    Anyway, do you now understand that part? Like building a computer…you put in all the internal parts and cover but what brings the computer to life? Electricity! Just like the spirit…you can’t see it but you know it’s there, right?

    With everything that I stated above that revolves around scripture, I have to tell you that there is no such thing as a disembodied soul. I say this to you so that you are not deceived. Nowhere in all of God’s book will you find any teaching of an immortal soul(show me, anyone that reads this). We are mortal beings and when we die our soul dies.

    As stated above, the body without the spirit is dead, James 2: 26. So, what is a soul? A soul is a combination of two things, body and breath. A soul cannot exist unless body and breath are combined. As stated above, doesn’t God’s word teach that?

    So, based on the above we can deduct that: Body(dust)-Breath(spirit)=Death(No soul).

    The word “immortal” is found only once in the Bible, and it is in reference to God,1 Timothy 1:17

    Kathleen, I believe what’s written above is in perfect harmony with God’s word. I believe you won’t find any contradictions as far as what happens at death and what a soul is. I explained it revolving around scripture…not outside of it. I had to explain this so that you can understand 2 Corinthians 5: 8.

    What Paul is trying to say in 2 Corinthians 5: 8 is that the deads’ next “conscious thought”(when the righteous dead are resurrected) IS THE RESURRECTION. When you are resurrected, you will be in a conscious state. You will then be with the Lord…In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye. The interim sleep of death in the grave would seem like a fractional second of utter oblivion to the one who died. Those resurrected won’t know how much time has gone by.

    2 Corinthians 5: 8 would conflict with 1 Thessalonians 4: 16, 17 and 1 Corinthians 15: 52-54 if it means that people go straight to heaven or hell when they die.

    What the Holy Spirit is
    saying is that the dead are in their graves waiting for the resurrection. They are not in heaven with the Lord. The dead won’t be with the Lord until the
    resurrection and that doesn’t happen until the second coming. The Lord doesn’t establish His kingdom until the second coming. Right or wrong?

    1 Thessalonians 4:16 King
    James Version (KJV)
    16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the
    archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:
    **And the dead in Christ shall rise first! When do the dead rise? At the second coming! This is the only time that all who died in Christ will be resurrected. There is no other time. If so, please show me.

    No one with the exception of Enoch, Elijah and Moses that we know of are in heaven.

    1 Thessalonians 4:17 King
    James Version (KJV)
    17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the
    clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
    ** And so shall we ever be with the Lord. When will we be with the Lord? At the second coming! These things will happen at no other time but the second coming!

    1 Corinthians 15:52-54 King
    James Version (KJV)
    52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed (receive our new glorious bodies like
    **It happens at the last trump and we shall all be changed! Look at the next verse.

    53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.
    **We cannot enter heaven until we get our new, glorious bodies. Nothing corruptible can enter heaven, right? What happened to Lucifer who became the devil later? He was cast out of heaven
    because he corrupted himself, right?

    So, how is it that the dead are in heaven with the Lord before all this happens…before the second coming? Will God kick the dead out of heaven if in fact when people die they go directly to heaven? Why would there even be a resurrection if the dead are already in heaven? If so, he would only come for those that are living. But that’s not what the scriptures
    say. Look at 1 Peter 4: 5, They will give an account to Him(who? Jesus) who is ready to judge the living and the dead.

    You have to remember what Job 21: 30 says, For the wicked are reserved for the day of doom; they shall be brought out
    on the day of wrath. You will also find it in 2 Peter 2: 9, then the Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptations and to reserve the unjust under punishment(notice…punishment not punishing which would imply unending, ongoing punishment) for the day of judgment. With that said, don’t you think the righteous are reserved as well…for the day of the Lord? Friend, this is where faith comes in and you know there is no pleasing the Lord without faith. Hebrews 11: 6, But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.

    **So, when do we get our new bodies(the dead and living)? At the second coming!

    54 So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.

    **Rest assured that when we
    do enter heaven, we will have new bodies, be incorruptible and immortal. You can bank on it!! When does all this happen? At the second coming!

    So when priests, pastors, etc. say that the supposed Christian that died is in a better place (heaven), just remember he or she is not. Those people are in
    their graves. That is where they wait until the second coming. These priests and pastors I guess try to sugar coat things for lack of better words. It’s as
    though they’re afraid of people losing hope. However, they are obligated to preach the truth in Christ. Christ gives “The” not “a” measure of faith, Hebrews 12: 2.

    Just imagine how sorrowful it would be for those who had died in Christ and gone to heaven. Why? They would have the ability to look down from heaven and see the terrible things that happen on earth…especially with their families. This would
    be a contradiction in terms because Revelation 21: 4, says, And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death,
    neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.

    Pain, sorrow, crying and death won’t exist in heaven for the resurrected.

    So I ask you, is there any
    contradiction here?

    Kathleen, if there’s a question you might ask me, I think I might know what it will be but I already have the answer.

    I know this is long enough and hopefully this will clear things up for you. I just wanted to make a clear point about what I stated at the beginning. Anyway, I will reply on your last comment about first born and God not following up on His law.


  • Cooba

    Mr. Thomas,

    I will be posting my response later tonight. I’ve been a little busy.

    Enigmatic quality? I guess it must have been positive. I haven’t gotten any feed back about any contradictions in relation to the Bible.

    I did post an explanation of what I originally posted 5 days ago if you’re interested.

    Anyway, I will post my response to Kathleen’s 4 days ago later tonight…why God didn’t follow up on His own law and the killing of the first born.

  • Cooba

    Mr. Thomas,

    I do have to warn you that the law of God(Ten Commandments) was never changed. It was written in stone which is symbolic of “forever.” Christ never change it. In fact, He magnified it. I know, I know…it’s that Commandment #4, right? The Sabbath?

    If you read Galatians 3:15, you”ll learn that you can’t add or take away: Brethren, I speak in the manner of men: Though it is only a man’s covenant, yet if it is confirmed, no one annuls or adds to it.

    The first 4 Commandments are your duties to God and the last six your duties to your fellow man.

    The problem is that most people don’t understand what a blood covenant is.

  • JonThomas

    Sir, perhaps you missed what I had written to Kathleen…

    “I’m not really interested in a long, religious back and forth in this type of forum…”


    “Keep in mind though, that there are huge differences between beliefs and practices from one denomination to the next. For example, I would say that since Jesus’ time, although it sits as an example of the Biblical God’s viewpoint on right and wrong, ‘The Law’ (from which you quote) is not now literally in effect.”

    Specifically, where I pointed out that there are differences in beliefs, and “I would say…”

    So, it’s very kind of you to “warn me,” but please do not show your disrespect for me or my position by trying to drag me into something, of which I specifically said that ‘I wasn’t interested.’

    I get that you do not agree, but I put my disclaimer in my comment by stating what *I* would say.

    it is extremely disrespectful for you to push your opinion on me, and try to drag me into a foolish debate so that you can have a forum to express your beliefs. It seems you are using me for a sounding board to make your point. Well, I do not relent.

    I have no desire to prove you right or wrong. You may be right, you may be wrong. However, when you try to engage me, after I specifically stated I did not wish to get into such a debate, it is EXACTLY the type of problem that many people have with Christianity.

    Anyway, I am sorry to be so strong, but I was polite the first time and that didn’t seem to work. If you just mistakenly missed my statements, then I am sorry. But, if my concerns about your motivations are correct, then… well, have a nice day.

  • bubba

    Kathleen,you are right-on girl!

  • bubba

    where do the cremated go?

  • Cooba

    Mr. Thomas,

    Point well taken. I’m sorry that you felt like I was using you as a sounding board to make my point. And for the record, I mean no disrespect. You cannot discuss anything in that fashion.

    No, I wasn’t trying to push my opinion on you, either. Like you, I was also coming from a biblical perspective. I was hoping you can shed some light on the subject as to why it’s “not now literally in effect.” Believe it or not, we are doing nothing more than evangelizing…we are talking about God and I’ll be the first to tell you that I don’t know everything.

    Yes, you are right…Christianity is somewhat fractured because of the differences in denominations but the wonderful thing is that we share the same core beliefs.

    I do admit that Mark 7: 6-8 might have been a jolt but it was to stir up conversation but not the way you thought I might have suggested. I was simply interested in your reasoning.

  • Cooba

    Wherever they made their graves.

    Do you think God can’t find them? Matthew 10: 29.

    How much more are we worth than a sparrow?

  • JonThomas

    Ok, fair enough. Again, I really do not want to get into a back and forth in this type of forum.

    Researching these things, then expressing my thoughts in the form of typing, to people who have already made up their minds IS FRUITLESS, and therefore a waste of time and effort.

    Not to say you are a swine, or intractable (truth be told, I do not know that for sure,) however from the way you expressed yourself, you have already thought these things through, and you are trying to convince me. Sorry, I am open minded as I can be, but if my mind is to be changed it will be from my own study.

    I will give you one quick (from my view as having to type) reference to offer my view. You of course will have already read and fit these scriptures into your perspective, so again, I say… IT IS probably FRUITLESS.

    The entire book of Roman is just one reference which has helped me in this understanding… with particular emphasis on chapter 7.

    See, The Law still exists, but we have died to The Law. Jesus paid the price that the Law demands. He was the Lamb, the sacrifice, and the scapegoat.

    If we continue to live to The Law, then we deny the validity of Jesus’ sacrifice.

    Also… Romans 7:6-12.

    Then Romans 8:2 (but continuing on.)

    And… Romans 13:9.

    No, it has nothing specifically to do with your assumption of the Sabbath.

    So there you are, I’m tired and done. If I am right, then you will come back with your explanation of what these scriptures (in fact: the entire chapter) mean. Thank you… NO, please do not. Paul was pretty clear in my opinion.

    If you respond, it will be as I said, for yourself, not me. We were admonished to always be prepared to give the reason for the faith within us… done. In a different forum I may be more open to discussion, but this does nothing but tire me, it hurts my brain. Perhaps someone else is more talented.

  • Kathleen

    Hi JonThomas,

    Sorry for the delay in responding but I’ve tried, in vain, to search my personal library for a book I read years ago, written by a Biblical scholar and comprising of numerous examples of incoherence in the Bible. It was a somewhat scholarly text but written for the popular market and served as an excellent example for its subject. Unfortunately I can’t find it and recall, vaguely, that I may have given it to one of those groups of people (7th Day Adventists) who randomly knock on my front door in exchange for their literature.

    Needless to say, despite the fact that my priorities and time limits preclude obtaining expertise in the Bible and therefore don’t have the knowledge to back my opinions about its inconsistencies, there are those who are knowledgeable and strongly disagree with any notion that the Bible is congruous. A Google search using the terms “book biblical contradictions” results in a plethora of lists, examples, books and more, all with their needed “proof” corroborating this idea. Perhaps that fact lends credence to the idea that Biblical inconsistency is, at least, far from a dead subject.

    Given that even good science can often miss important aspects of what it’s studying and, though not lacking internal consistency can be, therefore, subtly so, it seems to me that, just based on the variety of denominations, the difference in view points regarding the meanings of the words in the Bible shout for incongruity.

  • JonThomas

    Hey there Kathleen,

    I keep telling myself I will no longer loan out books, and I’ve gotten a bit better at it, but alas, I continue to fail.

    Your point about different denominations is well taken. There are practical examples right on this thread. I, however, might make a slight distinction between incongruity and interpretation.

    Just as in scientific research, a study, or a theory may point to, or lead to certain results, but there can be huge differences in how those results are interpreted.

    There was a recent example in the news this week concerning Stephen Hawking and black holes… or the lack thereof.

    Time often yields more evidence and knowledge, but in the case of the Bible, the experiential end is open. Sometimes a person can read something in scripture that leads them to change their mind (it has happened to me quite often in the past,) but just as Mr. Tyson, when speaking of testing students, expressed in part 3 of this series, sometimes it takes a fresh perspective to advance understanding.

    So, I would reiterate that congruity is separate from interpretation. Just as there are different ‘schools of scientific thought,’ there are different schools of Biblical thought.

    Of course there is only one truth, but until all the data is in, there is no doubt that due to many, many influences, each person will perceive things from there own perspective and understanding, it often pays to keep an open mind (well, up to a point of course.)

    And I do agree that there will always be those who will say that the Bible contains contradictions (I find this term to be more descriptive to the question of whether the Bible is to be accepted as something of value, rather than ‘congruities’,) like I said, I haven’t found any.

    Thank you for trying to find specific examples, that’s really the most beneficial to approach the issue. I think the problems presented by the ‘scholarly’ works which you point to is similar to what happened on this thread with point concerning the density of ice.

    Sometimes people will fervently argue a point without really knowing the facts. It would be like me trying to tell my doctor he’s wrong because I read something in a supplement ad. However, it might even be that the doctor is wrong.

    In the case of the Bible, just as any subject, a person could easily study for many lifetimes and still have something to learn. So, I understand that there are people who write books on the inconsistency of the Bible, but just as you detailed the specific case of how ice responds to cold conditions, each case of a person’s perceived Biblical inconsistency should be examined individually.

    I am pleased though, whether in a few days or right away, to have seen and read your response. I shall patiently await…

  • Cooba

    Hello Kathleen,

    God warned Adam and Eve about eating from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. God said, if you eat of its fruit, you are are sure to die, Gen 2: 16, 17. Everything changed when they ate the fruit. Adam died at a very ripe old age of 930 years, Gen 5: 1. Adam and Eve like the angels were created with a conditional immortality. Did God say what He meant and meant what He said? What caused this to happen? It was because of their disobedience.
    Romans 6: 23 lets us know that the wages of sin is death. Do we not die today?

    Was Pharaoh warned by God several times to let his people go? Those plagues came to Egypt as Moses said they would and, of course, it hardened his heart. Why does God interject “Pharaoh, who sits on his throne” in Ex: 11: 5? I think He is letting us know that he was a very proud king. I know that God hates sin…all of it but I wonder which one He despises more…pride or murder? Does committing murder prevent people from coming to God later? King David is a good example…the story about him and Bathsheba. He did not partake in the killing of Bathsheba’s husband directly but nevertheless he put him in a position in which he can be killed. Yet, David was a man after God’s own heart. He did, however repented of his sin. He came to God with a heavy heart but God forgave him.

    Pharaoh never headed God’s warning. He knew very clearly how those plagues came about…it wasn’t Moses bringing it that’s for sure.

    Finally, because of disobedience after several warnings, Pharaoh capitulated because of the death of his first born. If you read chapter 9, after Egypt is plagued by a hail storm, you’ll learn how Pharaoh feels after he summoned Moses an Aaron. What does Pharaoh say to Moses? “This time I have sinned,” he confessed. Pharaoh says, “The Lord is the righteous one, and my people and I are wrong. Please beg the Lord to end this terrifying thunder and hail. We’ve had enough. I will let you go; you don’t need to stay any longer,” Ex: 9: 27, 28.

    Moses agreed, of course. Moses prayed to the Lord and the hailstorm stopped. However, Moses did say to Pharaoh that he and his officials still didn’t fear the Lord, Ex: 9: 30.

    I would like to back up a little. In that very chapter 9, God lets Pharaoh know through Moses that…By now I could have struck you and your people with a plague to wipe you off the face of the earth, verse 15. He goes on to say through Moses, but I have spared you for a purpose…to show you my power and to spread my fame throughout the earth, verse 16.

    Before the hailstorm comes, God orders(warns) live stock and servants to come in from the fields to find shelter. Any person or animal left outside will die when the hail falls, Ex 9: 19. Some of Pharaoh’s officials heeded the warnings, they brought their servants and livestock in from the fields. But those who paid no attention to the word of the Lord left theirs out in the open, Ex 9: 20, 21.

    What do you suppose happened to those left out in the field after the Lord gave His warning? He wasn’t even trying to kill anyone. He was demonstrating His power so that they all can believe and come to Him. I’m very sure that those left out died. Could Pharaoh have failed to see that? I highly doubt it. I’m very sure that it was reported to him by his officials. Pharaoh had all the opportunity in the world but he didn’t even take what he said to heart, “This time I have sinned,” he confessed. “The Lord is the righteous one, and my people and I are wrong,” Ex 9: 27.

    It’s interesting to note that Adam and Eve had one warning but Pharaoh had several. Why do you suppose?

    Let’s say that you were a Hebrew slave back in that time and you yourself saw how terribly you were being oppressed. Not just you but your people as well. God comes to your rescue to set you FREE(emphasis only), to give you a future? Who do you then call evil? God for setting you free or Pharaoh for keeping you in bondage?

    Here’s a good example of evil. King Herod became very much aware of the birth of Christ as told to him by the three wise men who came from the east. What did king Herod do later on without any warning whatsoever? He had his guards sent out to slaughter innocent babies 2 years or younger in trying to kill the new born King(Jesus). This king was obviously jealous because He didn’t want to share his kingdom with anybody else.

    God gave Pharaoh the power to choose…life or death. The ball was in his court. It was he that made the ultimate decision, not God…he decided for God what to do. With that said, I have to say that Pharaoh chose poorly.

    Kathleen, the very reason why Christ died on the cross was because the very law(Ten Commandments)of God was violated. Keep in mind that this law is the very character of God. God couldn’t change it anymore than He can change Himself. I change not, Malachi 3: 6. The Judge(Christ)not only did not abolish the law but He greatly magnified it. In fact, He demonstrated that it’s binding claims could never be voided. In the same sense, God would not and could not abolish the law to save even His beloved Son. It cost something to uphold the law and pay the maximum. penalty. How? By substituting Himself in our place and being nailed to a cross which is what we deserved. God took it upon Himself to save us because we couldn’t. We would decide like Pharaoh and choose death.

    His love was as perfect as His justice. In His own body He bore the full penalty(in our place), satisfied the law(His law) and justified the transgressor(us). He took responsibility for His creation…He applied the law to Himself in our place. Just for the record, Jesus took the sins of the world VICARIOUSLY (emphasis), as though they were His, but they were not.

    What more greater love than that from the Author of life? Would you now call him evil after this awesome demonstration?

    Let me share with you the spiritual meaning of this story. Pharaoh learned in a very short time that the Hebrew people became God’s people. Pharaoh was so prideful that it made Him dumb(you’ve heard of educated fools, right? Well, something like that). Did He really capitulate? No. The Egyptians chased after them with all the forces in Pharaoh’s army, Ex 14: 9. A huge army, I bet, especially in that time. What happened to his army? They were wiped out. The amazing thing is that the pillar of cloud that turn to fire to prevent the Egyptians from getting to the Hebrews should have been a red flag but Pharaoh didn’t even yield to that…he chose death, again. This time his army paid for it.

    Kathleen, the same will happen when the wicked are resurrected. They will assemble and create a huge army that will want to kill God’s people. They can’t get to God as they know but the will try to get to God’s people. He(Satan)will gather them together for battle, a mighty army(like Pharaoh’s)as numberless as sand along the seashore. And I saw them as they went up on the broad plain of the earth and surrounded God’s people and the beloved city(The New Jerusalem here on earth). But fire from heaven came down on the attacking armies and consumed them, Rev 20: 8, 9. Does history not repeat itself?

    All I can say based on biblical evidence and I once heard a lady say this, God is who God is and what He says and says about Himself is how you define Him…truth!

  • Cooba

    Mr Thomas,

    That was rather humorous. I have to say, you made me chuckle.

    I will look up those scriptures. Thank you.

    By the way, I thought I lost the post where you can find Kathleen. I was clicking on the wrong date, Jan 17. I should have clicked on the Jan 10th presentation, the first interview.

    Anyway, I sent her my response.

  • Cooba


    I couldn’t help but read your part. The last two sentences are somewhat true. Don’t forget what they do to our food…these biotech companies are so wonderful! They genetically modify our food as if God presented it to us broke. What’s that saying? If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Yeah, thank you Monsantan. These are the people who made agent orange and told us it was safe. We got your number, Monsanto.

    If you ever get a chance, watch Seeds of Death by Gary Null. Go to youtube, you’ll find it.

  • Cooba


    I sent my reply twice and it didn’t post. You know…about Egypt’s first born and God not following up on His law?

    If you’re not interested anymore, please let me know. I will honor it.

    I’m really disappointed that it didn’t post. I want you to know that I did not ignore you.

  • Kathleen

    I think JonThomas handled that part of the discussion well.

  • Anonymous

    I found it and will watch it. Thank you!

  • Cooba


  • Cooba


    You’re welcome. Hey, God Bless, brother.

  • Anonymous

    I love watching “Moyers & Company”. I really enjoyed listening to Neil deGrasse Tyson and look forward to his “Cosmos” TV series.

  • David Dunn

    Good grief!! What’s with all the religulous blibber-blabber in the comments? Don’t y’all know that NDT ( and Sagan ) are both atheists. Why do some people insist on trying to cram scientific pegs into religulous holes?

  • Laurence Topliffe

    I know there are a lot of atheists. But they can’t explain why there is order in the universe. I guess they think it’s an accident or something. Order requires intelligence and intelligence is always a characteristic of consciousness. Nothing exists except consciousness. The brain does not create or generate each individual’s consciousness. The brain partakes of the infinite field of consciousness that is creating the universe. Every human can experience that field of consciousness by meditating. Do search for “yogic flying.”

  • David Dunn

    Who said order requires intelligence? It is just a value judgment comparing to different states of being. Who says order even exists, apart from our measuring it? There is no evidence for consciousness existing separate from brains.

  • Laurence Topliffe

    James A. Putnam states:

    “Our ability, or even an insect’s ability, to analyze hoards of always changing, almost random data coming to us at the speed of light is demonstration that something magnificent is occurring within our minds. What this means is our conscious mind is in communication with a subconscious mind that already knows what to do. It also means the universe is in communication with our subconscious minds. The universe sends us information for which we must already know the meaning. Our intelligence contains the meaning of the universe. Universal intelligence is our intelligence.”[6]

    “Judging from the universality of phenomena, the nature of such phenomena, and the logical necessity of an adequate cause therefor, it is assumed that there is a Universal Intelligence which is the governing power of nature. Everything which exists is, in its degree, a manifestation of an Intelligence which is superior to the individual’s comprehension. This Intelligent Power is not found alone in the great crises such as the first appearance of life and the dawning of consciousness or mind, but in the whole continuous, purposeful process.”[7]

    “There is more to intelligence than human intelligence. Intelligence is a property of the universe and of all that is in it. Universal Intelligence is the intrinsic tendency for things to self-organize and co-evolve into ever more complex, intricately interwoven and mutually compatible forms. Our human intelligence is but one manifestation of that universal dynamic. The more we are conscious of universal intelligence and connect ourselves to it, the more intelligence (and wisdom) we will have to work with. One might also describe Universal Intelligence as the mind or will of God or Spirit.”[8]

    Steven Dutch, Natural and Applied Sciences, University of Wisconsin – Green Bay says:

    “In his Enquiry, Hume accurately described the Argument from design as “useless” because in and of itself it can never “establish any new principles of conduct and behavior.” The Argument From Design only shows at best that there is intelligent design in the universe; it tells us nothing about whether the entity cares about human beings, communicates with them, or has moral scruples. Of itself, intelligent design does not validate any theology beyond deism.”

    “On the other hand, intelligent design does not violate any known facts or logical principles. So why does it meet with such fierce opposition? True, many people leap immediately from the notion of intelligent design to the theology of their particular sect, but the proper response by anyone who claims intellectual rigor is to show the hidden assumptions in that leap of reasoning.”

    “Still, it’s legitimate to raise the possibility that order in the universe arises solely from the properties of the universe itself. Or is it? We know that some cases of complex order are the result of intelligent design. We do not know that any other origin for complex order is possible. What basis do we have even for postulating such a possibility? The bottom line is that none of the criticisms of the Argument From Design are compelled by any empirical or logical evidence; they are inspired solely by the desire to discredit the Argument From Design for the sake of discrediting it.”[9]

    “The Secret” interviewee Bob Proctor references “Universal Intelligence” when referring to the subconscious, stating that it is the place from which we attract things into our lives.


    Universal Intelligence

    The harmony of natural law…reveals an intelligence of such superiority that, compared with it, all the systematic thinking and acting of human beings is an utterly insignificant reflection.

    Albert Einstein
    The World As I See It

    There is something about the universe — an elegant order in the way everything fits and unfolds, an inexplicable beauty in its living patterns, and the mysterious depth and expressiveness of it all — that reminds us of the brilliance we see in the works of great artists, scientists, engineers, and saints.

    Some people believe that human intelligence is the pinnacle of natural evolution and can outdo anything nature has to offer — and that there is no God, and that nature has nothing remotely resembling consciousness or intelligence. Others say that nature’s (or God’s) brilliance is greater than any human intelligence — ultimately awesome in its scope and endlessly surprising in its details — and that human intelligence is a small but elegant expression of this larger intelligence and has much to learn from it.

    More often than not, I find myself in this latter group — those who sense some kind(s) of universal intelligence. To some degree, this is a matter of faith. To some degree, it seems that the evidence surrounds us.

    For those of us who see things this way, I suspect it honors universal intelligence more if we contemplate it, share our sense of it, and tap into it rather than argue about it with others who see things differently. In any case, this article describes how I see it.

    Christians see a higher intelligence they call God’s plan, or the will of God. Taoists see a higher intelligence they call the Tao, the Way of Nature. Meditative traditions speak of cosmic consciousness. Most indigenous peoples consider all of nature to be intelligent and alive. Scientists speak of natural laws — and some are now researching what they call complex, adaptive systems — systems that respond to the world around them, in ways that look a lot like learning. The whole process of evolution is clearly a learning process, a developing of new variations that work better, or work in new environments. Some people see evolution as the dynamic unfolding Great Story of the Living Universe and consciously celebrate and learn from it.

    I bundle all these phenomena into one package and label it “universal intelligence.”

    When I’m feeling esoteric, I might describe it something like this: We live in a sea of information, a web of interconnection, a field of what some Buddhists call inter-being — a dynamic state of interactive, resonant existential communion. There are universal patterns, powers and wisdom at the core of our being, and the universe vibrates with our every act and thought. What happens in one place and time is linked to everything else far more intimately than we could ever imagine. Synchronicities and analogs abound. Certain patterns keep cropping up: We see BRANCHES in trees, rivers, roads, fields of study, computer circuitry. We see CYCLES in planets, electrons, food chains, wheels, the flows of water and carbon through the biosphere, and the recycling bin. It is no accident that we use the word VISION to describe perception, imagination, insight and prediction. Patterns like these (branches, cycles, vision, etc.) are alive with useful meaning. At every level, the universe is rich with lessons and resonances as it in-forms itself, intimately co-being and co-evolving, learning and remembering. Intelligence is everywhere. There is information and wisdom here we can tap into. There are flows and textures and energies, resistences and assistances, that we can join and follow, or grow stronger and wiser wrestling with.

    Among those who see such intelligence operating in the world around us, there is endless speculation about its nature. Is universal intelligence built into nature by a human-like Creator and then left to unfold — or a sign of a Creator’s continual, contemporary engagement in creation? Are the natural patterns that we think of as intelligent merely analogs of our own intelligence, or are they somehow the same thing, writ large? Are we anthropomorphically projecting our experience of consciousness into the dumb matter of the world, or is our own intelligent consciousness somehow an expression or facet of some larger intelligent consciousness? Are we dreaming God, or is God dreaming us? I, myself, entertain several seemingly contradictory beliefs at once about all this, and keep it all balanced with a generous ballast of “maybes.”

    For my purposes here, though, we don’t have to agree on the nature of universal intelligence. Despite all the disagreements about that, few will disagree that there is something ultimately mysterious and creative about the order of the universe. Even top scientists who see nothing “spiritual” in the world around them agree on that. At the very least, the word “intelligence” provides an excellent metaphor to describe that reality.

    So for now let us not argue over the exact nature of this thing I call universal intelligence. Rather, let us explore our relationship to it.

    In the explorations that follow, I simply assume that there is an order that is larger than us, which has its own logic and direction which we are not in charge of. If this is true, then working against this higher power will demand more effort than working with it, and will generate little, if anything, of lasting value except learning — which is always available — and sometimes catastrophe. This would suggest that we subjugate ourselves to this higher intelligence. However, experience suggests that we can, to a certain degree and with great caution, manipulate this higher intelligence for our own ends — which we do through science and engineering by applying natural laws and through religion by praying. But natural order is complex beyond our capacity to know fully, and if our manipulations are at all arrogant — presumptuous that we know what we’re doing — we will likely end up creating a mess like the Sorcerer’s Apprentice. A third — and, to me, more satisfactory — strategy than total submission or manipulation is to respect, befriend, cooperate with and creatively move in harmony with this infinitely powerful and complex intelligence, to the best of our ability.

    Humility is, naturally, an excellent place to begin in our efforts to cooperate with universal intelligence. Humility in this case simply means an honest appreciation of our own limitations and a real respect for the ancient and awesome wisdom of the greater intelligence(s) in which we’re embedded. Humility means starting from a place without arrogance, with flexible certainties, a place of respect, curiosity, wonder and willingness to learn — in every situation we can manage it.

    “Letting go” is another part of cooperating with universal intelligence — being unattached to outcome, realizing we’re not in control. Not being in control doesn’t mean that we don’t have a significant role. Indeed, our influence is part of what shapes the unfolding of whatever happens next. But that is influence, and not control — sometimes more, sometimes less, and always participatory, not unilateral. (This also means leaving behind blame and shame and reconceptualizing responsibility as our [or another’s] actual role in events in which all of us have roles. Taking responsibility for the past would mean consciously acknowledging that what we did — whatever we did — played a role in what happened. Taking responsibility for the future would mean consciously choosing a role and playing it out as best we can, knowing that we are only one of many players.)

    In what I experience as my best times, I feel more like a conduit for a larger, all-inclusive intelligence, or like my life is an active part of something larger that is trying to happen. When I’m in that state of awareness, there is a sense of being guided. It isn’t so much that I’m told what to do in so many words (although that has happened occasionally, too), but rather that I can feel when I’m “on track” or “off track.” It is a gut feeling that what I’m doing is the right thing (or not) at this time. Often it is more than a feeling of “being in the flow,” but an apparently objective fact. Ideas, resources, opportunities, and other openings inexplicably appear in ways that facilitate rapid progress in a particular direction — as if someone or something were clearing the way for me.

    But sometimes “the way opens” (as the Quakers say) in directions that seem to me wrong. So I end up having to make judgments and choices anyway. How do I know that this impulse is aligned to universal intelligence while that other one is not? I’m not even sure we can talk about universal intelligence as something we can “know.”

    So I certainly don’t believe that any of us can legitimately claim to know what its marching orders are, even if we wanted to follow its dictates. I see our challenge as more complex. In the spirit of co-intelligence — as noted above — I prefer to view what seem to be the patterns and promptings of universal intelligence not as something to submit to or manipulate, but as something to join in partnership with, in a sort of dance, as one would with a good friend or lover or comrade. We influence each other. My intentions have a role in shaping The Plan, and my actions have a role in realizing The Plan, but I never know exactly what The Plan is, although I often think I sense its patterns in my life and in the life of the world around me. I open myself to universal intelligence, and let my inevitably limited perception of it inform — but not control — my reason, my passion, my intuition, my action.

    One part of that Plan — that intelligence — is crystal clear: Universal intelligence is definitely concerned with more than me. It is concerned with the operation and well-being of the Whole — a Whole so large I can’t fathom it. So opening myself to universal intelligence automatically influences me to keep my intentions for myself in perspective. And from that perspective, I know that when I try to benefit myself at the expense of someone or something else, it’s not going to work out as neatly as I think, because the Plan simply doesn’t operate that way. On the other hand, the closer I get to benefiting The Whole, the more aligned I become with the operations of universal intelligence. And, since I can’t know The Whole, that translates into doing the best I can while giving universal intelligence lots of space to do what it does. In fact, I can become an ally with universal intelligence by providing contexts in which things can co-creatively self-organize, rather than forcing them into pre-determined outcomes. That doesn’t mean just standing back (although that’s often what’s called for); it means going with the grain of life, not against it. This can be quite active, like helping children learn what they really want to learn instead of forcing them to learn what they’re not interested in (or neglecting them) — or creating an open space conference where all the issues hidden inside the participants can emerge and get dealt with, rather than organizing a conference where experts tell people what to think. This is working with universal intelligence, giving universal intelligence the space it needs to do its thing through whatever aliveness is present.

    Then we can truly do wonders, because that’s what universal intelligence specializes in.

  • Laurence Topliffe

    Intelligent Design has not been discredited, and even if it had, that does not mean that it’s not true. You can deny anything you want as many times as you want and so can all of your friends but that doesn’t mean anything, other than that’s what you believe. The bible was compiled 500 years after Jesus was alive and it’s still being studied and changed and there are more than one version of it. So which one is true or correct or are any of them true or correct. It doesn’t say in the bible that Jesus lived in India but he did for about 15 years. It doesn’t say in the bible that he was a yogi but he was. I would bet that you have no idea of what a yogi is. A yogi is a human being who has developed the state of consciousness called Unity. In that state on is united with the creator. Any human being can gain that state. It’s why Jesus told people “Even greater miracles than these (the ones he did) can ye do.” He was trying to inspire people to do what he did to gain that state–meditate. During his time in India he was a student of a Vedic master, a yogi. That same knowledge is being taught all over the world today and there are thousands of people of all ages who have developed enough of their consciousness to be able to levitate for short periods of time and the next stage will be the ability to hover and then fly. All of the abilities that humans can develop are listed in the book The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, and a rewrite entitled How to Know God. They include everything Jesus did and more. Also, the beginning of the bible is not understood correctly. Here is the correct understanding:

    Looking more closely at Genesis we see, “God said . . .” The
    light of divine creation was initiated by sound. The speech of God,
    accord­ing to Genesis, was the source of the spiritual light to which we all

    The New Testament Gospel of John, which was written thousands of years
    after Genesis, opens with the verse, “In the beginning was the Word. .
    .” The beginning was not light; rather, it was sound in the form of the
    divine speech. Neither the Old Testament nor the New Testa­ment contains a
    verse such as “And God made light to shine.” Rather, God
    creates the phenomenon by speaking of it. The primary mecha­nism of
    creation is sound.

    In the wisdom of the ancient East, we find the same
    teaching. The whole universe comes about when God decides to manifest reality
    through the power of divine speech. In some Eastern texts, this power is
    referred to as Saraswati-the Word.

    Sir John Woodroffe’s The
    Garland of Letters includes a translation of a scripture called the Sata patha Brahmana, written many thousands of years ago. Volume 6 of that scripture opens:

    In the beginning was God with power
    through speech. God said, “May I be many … may I be propagated.”
    And by his will expressed through subtle speech. he united himself with that
    speech and be­came pregnant. Prajapathi and Saraswati were then created. And
    Prajapathi is called the progenitor of all beings.

    This statement sounds astonishingly similar to the idea of
    creation expressed in Genesis and the opening text of the Gospel of John. Another way of saying it:

    First, God as Being … From Being comes Mind … From Mind comes Desire
    … From Desire comes Will … From Will comes the Word … From the Word comes
    everything else.

  • moderator

    When commenting, please do not repost overly long quotes or studies. In most cases they will be removed.

    sean @ Moyers

  • Laurence Topliffe

    Some people think that if one particular person, who happens to be a respected scientist or well known for some other reason, says they believe or don’t believe something without any proof, that everyone else should accept his or her belief as the absolute truth–with a capital T. I’m aware that there are scientists from different fields who don’t believe there is a Creator or a being that is divine. That doesn’t mean a thing because beliefs are not facts or truths or anything that one can rely on. A belief is a “maybe” or a “possibility.” That which science has proven is a fact. That fact is limited to only that which has been thoroughly examined and proven. Order is a fact of the universe or there would be no universe and it exists at all levels of creation. That order is not temporary or limited to one small part of the universe. It’s the order that is why we have been able to find ores and refine metals from them. It’s order that allows us to make computers and cell phones, cars, trains, planes, telescopes, etc. You rely on order every day of your life and probably in everything you do. If there was no order in your brain’s structure and in the way it functions, you would not have any intelligence, or memory.

  • Laurence Topliffe

    The question “Who says order even exists, apart from our measuring it?” is an absurd question. The fact that one is using a specific proven method to measure something proves that the concept of order exists in the mind of the person doing the measuring and then using a specific tool to do the measuring shows that he or she trusts both the tool and what the tool finds out from measuring. I’ve already replied to the statement about evidence for consciousness. And any human being can experience the infinite field of consciousness that is everywhere. Here is an experience of that infinite field of consciousness that anyone can have:

    I thought you might enjoy this
    experience someone had on a course at the Brahmasthan in India, where Maharishi
    set up a large facility for thousands of Vedic pundits.

    Visit to the Brahmasthan of India:

    I’ve had wonderful results in my
    active life from Transcendental Meditation — clearer thinking, more energy,
    more success — but I’ve had very few experiences while meditating. A couple of
    times a year I might have a few moments when the thoughts thin out enough for
    me to sense there is a field of silence underlying them. Very rarely I’ve
    glimpsed a bit of glow coming from that underlying field. I treasure these few

    I recently visited the community
    that Maharishi Mahesh Yogi built at the central point of India, the
    Brahmasthan. Two thousand Pandits live there, meditating and performing Vedic
    ceremonies. In my first program in the yogic flying hall I felt deep silence as
    soon as I started meditating. And it didn’t go away as it always had before. It
    lasted, and it glowed. When I started the [TM-Sidhi program], I gradually became
    aware that the silence had an energy to it, an inner dynamism. As I went on,
    joy began radiating from it like sunlight.

    When I started yogic flying, I
    could sense this whole field was alive, filled with divine Beings. There was
    Shiva, Vishnu, Ganesh, and others whose names I didn’t know. There was
    Maharishi, Guru Dev, and Shankara. As I made great leaps, they told me, “We are
    bringing you up! We are bringing you up!” They were raising me into the air,
    but like cosmic parents they were also raising me into the full adulthood of
    higher consciousness. And amazingly enough, as good parents, they loved me.

    I could perceive that they weren’t
    dwelling only in the transcendent but were permeating the whole atmosphere of
    the Brahmasthan. Then they weren’t just permeating the place but also
    permeating me. Then they were me. At this, I was totally enveloped in divine
    love. I was divine love. The unity of creation became a living reality. I had
    heard this statement before, but now it was no longer abstract. It was me. And
    this is going on all the time in full glory whether I’m perceiving it or not.

    For the next four weeks I didn’t
    perceive it at all, just my usual [experiences.] Then at the end of the final
    Vedic chanting ceremony of my visit, I felt a sensation in the area of my
    heart. It was Maharishi! He was suddenly there, as if he’d just popped in. Then
    I realized he had been there all along, but I had only now become aware of him,
    as when a statue is unveiled and you can finally see it. This was no statue
    though, but a living presence. I remembered the section of [a performance] that
    describes the [teacher] as “ever-dwelling in the lotus of my heart.” I could
    see this wasn’t a figure of speech but a statement of fact. Devotion poured
    from me to him, and I basked in his approval.

    People were leaving the hall, and
    as I stood up, his presence expanded to become like a hollow tube running from
    the top of my head to the base of my spine. My awareness was centered inside
    the tube, and I was perceiving everything from this inner core of silence. This
    is my Brahmasthan, I suddenly knew. People too have Brahmasthans, a
    transcendental center out of which activity manifests.

    I started walking, but I wasn’t
    walking. I ate a prasad banana, but I wasn’t eating. Walking was happening and
    eating was happening, but I wasn’t doing them. I was observing it all like a
    king on a throne enjoying the activity of my kingdom but not involved in it,
    totally free within myself. This is delightful, I thought, but what is it?

    This is the Self, Maharishi
    explained. The one great Self that enlivens the universe. You are in the Self
    now, and that is separate from activity.

    That sounds like enlightenment,
    cosmic consciousness, I thought. Yes, Maharishi told me. Just a glimpse of what
    awaits you.

    Gradually the glimpse faded, and my
    real identity became overshadowed by relative activity. Now that I’ve had these
    experiences, though, I know my deeper reality and I’ll never be the same again.

  • Anonymous

    Strangely enough, I like the new format. I love Bill Moyers and was so glad he came back on the air after some time away. But usually his shows are two separate interviews anyway. Each is always so packed with enlightening discussion (sometimes infuriating if it reveals more injustice or political corruption), that I’d just as soon chew on just one topic at a time. :)

  • Natalie Jarnstedt

    There’s actually no one who can explain exactly what this order is in the universe, whether one believes in God or some other power.
    Just because one doesn’t believe in God or Jesus, doesn’t mean that even atheists cannot agree that there could be “some intelligence” out there because the Universe is so unbelievably complex. This “intelligence” or “higher power” doesn’t necessarily have to be an old, white, bearded guy resting on clouds up in the sky… could be just natural progressions of nature…who knows?

  • Laurence Topliffe

    I wonder if you miswrote the first line, where you say “what this order is in the universe.” Do you mean “what is the source of the order.” The intelligence that is responsible for the universe and order in it has to be everywhere in the universe because there has to be order everywhere for anything to exist. And wherever there is order there is intelligence and intelligence is always a characteristic of consciousness which implies that consciousness is the source of the universe and IS the universe and this can be proven and can even be experienced. When a human being gains the state of Unity Consciousness, he or she is connected to that field of consciousness that is the source of the universe and they can describe it. At the end of this will be an experience of it. When you say “natural progressions of nature” you must acknowledge that that progression happens in a knowable and known way to such a degree that they can make predictions because scientists can study what happened and is happening. It’s true that they don’t always understand everything about it right away for some reason but they can go back and check things to see where they made a mistake. This is how scientists developed the Unified Field theory, gravity, speed of light, force of gravity, etc. Here is the experience:

    I’ve had wonderful results in my
    active life from Transcendental Meditation — clearer thinking, more energy,
    more success — but I’ve had very few experiences while meditating. A couple of
    times a year I might have a few moments when the thoughts thin out enough for
    me to sense there is a field of silence underlying them. Very rarely I’ve
    glimpsed a bit of glow coming from that underlying field. I treasure these few

    I recently visited the community
    that Maharishi Mahesh Yogi built at the central point of India, the
    Brahmasthan. Two thousand Pandits live there, meditating and performing Vedic
    ceremonies. In my first program in the yogic flying hall I felt deep silence as
    soon as I started meditating. And it didn’t go away as it always had before. It
    lasted, and it glowed. When I started the [TM-Sidhi program], I gradually
    became aware that the silence had an energy to it, an inner dynamism. As I went
    on, joy began radiating from it like sunlight.

    When I started yogic flying, I
    could sense this whole field was alive, filled with divine Beings. There was
    Shiva, Vishnu, Ganesh, and others whose names I didn’t know. There was
    Maharishi, Guru Dev, and Shankara. As I made great leaps, they told me, “We are
    bringing you up! We are bringing you up!” They were raising me into the air,
    but like cosmic parents they were also raising me into the full adulthood of
    higher consciousness. And amazingly enough, as good parents, they loved me.

    I could perceive that they weren’t
    dwelling only in the transcendent but were permeating the whole atmosphere of
    the Brahmasthan. Then they weren’t just permeating the place but also
    permeating me. Then they were me. At this, I was totally enveloped in divine
    love. I was divine love. The unity of creation became a living reality. I had
    heard this statement before, but now it was no longer abstract. It was me. And
    this is going on all the time in full glory whether I’m perceiving it or not.

    For the next four weeks I didn’t
    perceive it at all, just my usual [experiences.] Then at the end of the final
    Vedic chanting ceremony of my visit, I felt a sensation in the area of my
    heart. It was Maharishi! He was suddenly there, as if he’d just popped in. Then
    I realized he had been there all along, but I had only now become aware of him,
    as when a statue is unveiled and you can finally see it. This was no statue
    though, but a living presence. I remembered the section of [a performance] that
    describes the [teacher] as “ever-dwelling in the lotus of my heart.” I could
    see this wasn’t a figure of speech but a statement of fact. Devotion poured from
    me to him, and I basked in his approval.

    People were leaving the hall, and
    as I stood up, his presence expanded to become like a hollow tube running from
    the top of my head to the base of my spine. My awareness was centered inside
    the tube, and I was perceiving everything from this inner core of silence. This
    is my Brahmasthan, I suddenly knew. People too have Brahmasthans, a
    transcendental center out of which activity manifests.

    I started walking, but I wasn’t
    walking. I ate a prasad banana, but I wasn’t eating. Walking was happening and
    eating was happening, but I wasn’t doing them. I was observing it all like a
    king on a throne enjoying the activity of my kingdom but not involved in it,
    totally free within myself. This is delightful, I thought, but what is it?

    This is the Self, Maharishi
    explained. The one great Self that enlivens the universe. You are in the Self
    now, and that is separate from activity.

    That sounds like enlightenment,
    cosmic consciousness, I thought. Yes, Maharishi told me. Just a glimpse of what
    awaits you.

    Gradually the glimpse faded, and my
    real identity became overshadowed by relative activity. Now that I’ve had these
    experiences, though, I know my deeper reality and I’ll never be the same again.

  • Natalie Jarnstedt

    You’re right, Laurence, that IS what I meant – the source of the order! Unfortunately, I didn’t put much thought into my comment, it just came off the top of my head since I am doing about 100 things at one time right now – multitasking is my middle name!

  • Laurence Topliffe

    Dear Natalie, glad to help make the comment clear since I assume there are other readers. Hope you understand the rest of the answer/reply. If you are a multi-tasker, which I am, too, you would benefit from the Transcendental Meditation technique which is taught in schools and businesses and the military all over the world. You can find the research at,,,,

  • George Erhard

    An interesting take on the accidental formation of order from chaos is “To Reign In Hell” by Stephen Brust.

    While the work is a novel, the basic premise is that in the randomness that is Chaos, patterns will emerge… and when those patterns have the added property of being stable and not transitory, they will begin to resist the effects of Chaos and bring about an expanding bastion of Order.

    Self-awareness doesn’t come about until there’s enough “ordered stuff” for a significant length of time to support something that both has the faculties to sense the universe and process those senses into knowledge.

    The supposition is that “God made the Laws of the Universe”… when this idea instead says “The Laws of the Universe gave rise to God.”

  • Laurence Topliffe

    The idea that there is an “accidental formation of order from chaos” seems to imply that that which is chaotic is some kind of substance. If nothing existed there could not be chaos because chaos requires something to exist to be chaotic. At atom or even one of the subatomic particles is a item that has substance–i.e., it exists. This idea just doesn’t work. Assuming the universe began from the big bang, as soon as it happened, order existed. According to what astronomers have said, over time the atoms began coalescing and planets and stars were formed. The process of star and planet formation and how it evolves requires the existence of Laws of Nature right from the instant of the big bang. I think the right way to think of that which is the cause of the physical universe is one infinite field of consciousness/intelligence/energy. Consciousness is first. It is what has the intelligence, just as your consciousness is where your intelligence is.

  • carlin123

    Allow me to summarize Mr. López book for you in 4 words.
    Conservatives bad, liberals good.
    Instead of wasting your time reading this self-indulgent drivel watch a youtube video or read a book by Milton Friedman or Thomas Sowell two enlightened gentleman with empirical data to back up their arguments.

  • Mark Osborn

    Seeing as how there is no friction (except for gravity) in space It makes sense that we are accelerating apart because the big bang caused the explosion that caused it all and in space there is not much to slow us down.

    Tyson is so great, he’s just what we needed.

  • Marcela Brusa

    Yes… “The tide goes in. The tide goes out. You can’t explain that” 😛

  • NotARedneck

    The true problem is that the religious cannot really explain anything other than provide endless examples to prove the P T Barnum observation that there is a sucker born every minute.

    I’d like to make another. If a religion is “conservative”, they will be given a free pass on every crime, be it paedophilia, tax evasion, slavery and other exploitation of the poor and complicity in organized criminal activity. It also gets them massive donations from the right wing criminal trash – which is why the really offensive religions are nearly all tailoring their message to please these donors.

  • Laurence Topliffe

    You must know that some of my replies have been long but the reason is to provide enough knowledge to justify the answer and make clear that there is proof. If I don’t provide proof then any reader might assume that it’s just another belief or opinion which is really not worth saying. If everyone goes away with just reading someone else’s opinion, it’s not worth much. I have included my email address so they can contact me but no one ever does. Besides, it’s likely that I’m providing new knowledge to others who appreciate it.

  • Whatiswrongwithyoupeople

    Not for nothing, but gravity is not a form of friction.

  • Laurence Topliffe

    The reasons religions can’t explain the truth about Life is because the basis for them has been lost for a few thousand years. Life on Earth goes through two ages–kali-yuga and sat-yuga. The first age is the one we have been living through and it’s ending now and the second age is starting and it will take a while before it’s fully here. When it is fully here, there will be no war, crime and little if any sickness. But more than that humans will be able to command the Laws of Nature with their mind because they are within their consciousness. You can find the truth about life by reading The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali.

  • patti livernash

    my Aunty Amelia got a new blue Land Rover
    LR4 only from working part time off a home computer… helpful hints J­u­m­p­9­9­9­.­ℂ­o­m

  • Christopher Michael Ripple

    I just hope the morons that watch only Fox will believe or even attempt to understand it….. Flies in their face about a god whipping together earth in 6 days with lint from his belly button and spit. I really hope they expand their circle of knowledge, in turn understanding. Thank you Seth, thank you Tyson, you do my Hero Carls memory and vision justice.

  • Terence

    It’s ALL about making MONEY!

  • Anonymous

    Whatever the official Fox rationale, the new COSMOS is an ideologically earth-shaking event for Fox. Like the PRC opening to capitalist markets, this move conceivably could bring Fox into something recognizably 21st century./

  • Jeff

    “Eternal souls” my atheist arse! Humanity as a whole may be in its high-school phase but many of us have not yet graduated from Kindergarten – witness those who still believe in magical nonsense like “souls.”

  • Terence

    But you are verbose.

  • Laurence Topliffe

    Then I suggest you try to say what I said with fewer words and still make sure it’s understood. One does not explain the infinite with sound bites.

  • AQ

    Just wait until they find the Prothean Archives! 😀

  • AQ


    FOX the entertainment network is NOT FOX NEWS. They are separate networks.

  • AQ

    I know that Sagan was an atheist, but I thought NDT was an agnostic. *shrug*

  • HANK4

    All questions to Niel relate to Cosmos presentation.

    1. Why did
    you imply that we humans can return the polar ice caps to the 1700’s
    conditions? You imply that we can NAIL down the global climate.
    2. Do you believe that an ice age will not return as it has so many times before?
    3. Why did you imply/say that CO2 is the most potent GH gas?
    Why did you not point out that CO2 in the Venus atmosphere is 96%
    compared to 0.039% in earth’s atmosphere and only 10 PPM are
    attributable to man? Using millions of tons verses % I believe is
    purposeful exaggeration. Science does not understand the sinks or the
    sources of CO2 as you imply the balance existing.
    5. Why not explain
    how such a trace amount of CO2 actually absorbs and reflects radiant
    energy (varying frequency vibrations) I like to ask
    if the CO2
    exists like a cellophane layer in the atmosphere and bonds so firmly
    that it is not disturbed by such forces as the jet stream. Even NASA
    has recently corrected a decade old estimate of the amount of radiant
    energy reflected back to earth and stated that a lot more energy escapes
    out to space then originally estimated.

    6. Why did you identify
    Methane as “a more potent GH gas” and not make clear that methane is an
    extreme TRACE gas? You encourage “stupid” environmentalists to advocate
    action against cows.

    I have interviewed over 40 US
    congressional energy staffers and the climate scientist for the NRDC
    asking “what approximately is the concentration of CO2 in the
    atmosphere?” None came close but the climate scientist at least was
    honest-she admitted, after a 10 minute rant on the evils of CO2, that
    she didn’t know. The energy staffer for Senator Levin was the worst
    saying it was 40%. I advised her that we are all dead! (After 20 years
    on submarines I am sensitive to CO2 levels). You implied that CO2 is
    the most impacting GH gas. You must know otherwise but you chose to
    feed your audience a smooth false argument. We would not be a ball of
    ice with out CO2 but we would if we lost water vapor which accounts for
    80%+ of the GH effect.

    I asked the climate scientist above if
    she believed that CO2 is the most impacting of the GH gases and if she
    believed that it is higher then ever on this planet. She stated that it
    is the most impacting and the highest. You know that it is not and
    that 500 million years ago at the start of the giant fern forest CO2 was
    20-25 times today’s levels and 200 million years ago at the start of
    the dinosaur period CO2 was 5-6 times today’s level. I pointed out to
    the climate scientist and many others that I don’t believe that
    dinosaurs would have evolved had that not been the case. (most were
    herbivorous). You, conveniently, limited your discussion to “a few
    million years”.
    7. Why did your hockey stick graph omit the mid evil
    and Roman warming among other exceptions? Dr Mann lied and so did the
    East Anglican climate center. This is called “propaganda by omission”.

    8. What is your solution for actually lowering the man contributed
    CO2 (10 PPM- science does not understand the the supplies and sinks for
    CO2 or heat since satellite temperature measuring indicates no global
    temperate increases in the last 15+ years).
    9. Did you miss the 97%
    of the Great lakes freezing over (not since 1978) just as the Senate
    Democrats who had an all night talk-a-thon on the Senate floor on GW?
    Do you believe that this is dismissed as “WEATHER” and not climate?
    10. Have you been following the replacement of the sea ice level each year since the low in 2007?
    Do you believe that wind and solar can replace fossil fuel? How much
    of our land would it take to realty make a difference? Do you support
    ethanol as a solution? How much corn is needed?
    12. Can nuclear power
    be part of the clean energy mix? Where should we put the nuclear waste
    currently stored at 120 temporary locations within 75 miles of 160
    million citizens in the yards of active and shut down power plants in
    open air concrete containers awaiting a terrorist in a Piper Cub loaded
    with C4. This resulted from the shut down of Yucca Mountain by
    President Obama and Senator Reid for political reasons and endangering
    all of us. Rate payers are supposed to get $s back for the $20++B
    13. Why did you cover terrestrial
    volcanoes while ignoring the twice as many sub ocean volcanoes not
    considered in the IPCC models.
    14. Why do you repeat speculation as
    fact and ignore the scientific method of testing theories rather then
    validating them with only favorable data as practiced by the IPCC
    models? Again-“Propaganda by omission”.

    Please read “Heaven
    and Earth” by Prof. Ian Plimer for a different view point. I
    recommended that the climate scientist above practice critical thinking
    and go on the internet and read both sides of the argument and then form
    an opinion.

    I like to say that 97% of those that speak on AGW
    don’t know what they are talking about. Regrettably, I don’t think you

  • HANK4

    AGW is not fact but is an output of limited, adjusted models by the IPCC. Tell me how 96% CO2 on Venus is the same as 0.039% CO2 on earth or how CO2 on earth at that trace amount actually accomplishes GW.

    97% of those talking about GW haven’t a clue!
    Some will include me in the 97% but at least I have considered both sides-that is critical thinking!

    Science requires the testing of hypothesis not the validation of them with only supportive data.