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Monday, December 3, 2012

On Purpose In the Universe

Posted by on Mon, Dec 3, 2012 at 10:28 AM

With so few words and almost no effort, Neil deGrasse Tyson offers the most rational answer possible to the big and old question: Is there purpose in the universe...


Th-th-th-that's all folks!

 

Comments (18) RSS

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ScrawnyKayaker 1
Nice.

Comments on YouTube are about as useless as you would expect.
Posted by ScrawnyKayaker on December 3, 2012 at 10:39 AM · Report this
2
Oh, sweet jaysus!

Maple bars from Top Pot --- that's the major purpose!

http://www.citizensforethics.org/pages/s…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=pla…
Posted by sgt_doom on December 3, 2012 at 11:01 AM · Report this
3
In fact he didn't answer that question. He answered the question "Does the universe have a purpose vis a vis humanity?" To which, indeed, the answer is almost certainly no. On the other hand, the universe may well have a purpose of which we are just some odd side-effect.
Posted by Transient Gadfly on December 3, 2012 at 11:06 AM · Report this
4
What nonsense! Of course the universe has a purpose: to amuse me while I'm here.

So far, so good. Thanks, universe!
Posted by Brooklyn Reader on December 3, 2012 at 11:10 AM · Report this
5
#3

Exactly!

His answer is a tautology.
Posted by Supreme Ruler Of The Universe http://_ on December 3, 2012 at 11:10 AM · Report this
6
@3: Actually he did answer the question, along with the level of certainty he attaches to his answer. Talking specifically about humans was just presented as an example of a possible answer someone else might give to the question, and why that would be an insufficient answer.
Posted by madcap on December 3, 2012 at 11:14 AM · Report this
7
Neil deGrasse Tyson + Minute Physics

Love it.
Posted by Tawnos on December 3, 2012 at 11:49 AM · Report this
Knat 8
What You're Not Wearing: Astrophysicist Edition!!
This vest.

These are always fun. Thanks for sharing, Mudede.
Posted by Knat on December 3, 2012 at 11:54 AM · Report this
9

Really, thinking about his argument, I might conclude the opposite.

Given that the Universe has produced Life, to the point that Life becomes a self-reflecting entity that then contemplates the Universe, and yet given the difficulty of life surviving to that point of having contemplative powers, one might conclude that Life is then part and parcel of the Universe (it's ecosystem as AGWers put it).

So, say Life, like asteroids and plasma are part of the Universe, then the Universe simply has the ability to question itself. It's one of the things it, the Universe, does. That then becomes our job. So, it's not a matter of questioning why the universe is here, but to accept our role, to come to work each day, sit down at the cubicle or home office, and question stuff. The Universe does not turk our jahb...it gives it to us!
Posted by Supreme Ruler Of The Universe http://_ on December 3, 2012 at 12:00 PM · Report this
dwightmoodyforgetsthings 10
@3- He didn't answer the question. He pointed out quite early in the video that anyone who tells you they know the answer to the question is basing their answer on something other than science and reason.
Posted by dwightmoodyforgetsthings http://www.reddit.com/r/spaceclop on December 3, 2012 at 12:30 PM · Report this
Dougsf 11
That was awesome. "What does it all mean?" is such a stupid question.
Posted by Dougsf on December 3, 2012 at 12:32 PM · Report this
Pope Peabrain 12
I don't say that the universe has a purpose. I say it's structured for life. There's no intent in that. Only that it is.
Posted by Pope Peabrain on December 3, 2012 at 12:48 PM · Report this
13
@dwightmoody--correct, he did disclaim, but his disclaimer is based on an antropo-centric answer to that question. Here, for instance, is somebody answering the question quite differently:

http://arxiv.org/abs/1210.1847

I don't think even Tyson would argue these folks aren't going about finding an answer to the question scientifically.
Posted by Transient Gadfly on December 3, 2012 at 12:56 PM · Report this
14
Why answer a poorly motivated question?
Posted by anon1256 on December 3, 2012 at 1:16 PM · Report this
dwightmoodyforgetsthings 15
@13- His disclaimer is based on a very "everyone asking and answering this question that we interact with is a human" perspective.
Posted by dwightmoodyforgetsthings http://www.reddit.com/r/spaceclop on December 3, 2012 at 3:52 PM · Report this
Knat 16
@12: There are places within the universe that are capable of supporting life, even some that may presently be the home to life elsewhere, but to generalize that the universe is "structured for life" is discounting an awful lot of void. That void being very... um, "indifferent" toward life, at least as far as we understand the requirements for life to thrive.
Posted by Knat on December 3, 2012 at 11:41 PM · Report this
17
From the mystic viewpoint, the void contains all possibility and matter is becoming everything it can become... stretching out to dance in the void that makes change possible. It is silly to anthropomorphize the universe but I have always enjoyed the thought that our human purpose is to OOH and AHH at what is, what was, and what is becoming, as it comes to our greatest and most powerful ability... our attention.
Posted by heartfelt on December 4, 2012 at 8:11 AM · Report this
Simone 18
I'm going to have to download all of those videos.
Posted by Simone on December 4, 2012 at 10:26 PM · Report this

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