Neil deGrasse Tyson on the Afterlife, Origins of the Earth and Extreme WeatherJun 01, 2021
on Larry King now the brilliant Neil deGrasse Tyson who had Neil deGrasse Tyson one of my favorite guests of all time I mean you've had 60,000 guests the other me one of my favorites Kirsch is so brilliant and you're funding well thank you me Me I am honored that you know in the world university, but you are in the universe. We are all the ones who deny climate change or tell them no. I don't care what you think. I believe what you want. the problem arises is that if you deny an emerging scientific truth and exert power over legislation, that's a recipe for disaster, besides, where's the wire?
This is the biochemical derivation of the electrophysical quantity. at larry king now welcome to larry king now we're in a beautiful hotel trump international we're in new york city on a spring day i grew up here there's nothing like spring in new york overlooking the park and our special guest is
neildeGrasse Tyson is one of my all-time favorite guests he is a Renaissance man astrophysicist cosmologist scientist commentator television presenter head of the Hayden Planetarium here in love where we were as children these two roped and walked alongside you and perhaps the most responsible person to invigorate public interest in Science Niel's Lifetime Radio Shows Startalk is now also a TV series It's Mondays on National Geographic, which is fitting.
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neil degrasse tyson on the afterlife origins of the earth and extreme weather...
Talk more about that later. It's good to see you Neil. million since we met yeah I don't know whose I don't know I don't get it I really want to remind people I'm an astrophysicist they can still retire but it's me when I wake up and see those numbers It's evidence to me that there's an underserved appetite people have for thinking about the universe and I'm happy and privileged to be in that role, but I'm pleasantly surprised every time I see those numb. rs rise I grew up with a bunch of guys in Brooklyn none in my memory said you know what I want to be an astrophysicist and we decided what are you burning nuts well you know its my first visit to the Hayden Planetarium where I now serve as director how old was I nine nine years old a family family visit you know we went to all the places in town we went to the zoo you know the art museum and i think my parents were just it was a matter of exposure for my brother and sister and me and You don't want your options to be limited when they ask you what I wanted, what do you want to be when you grow up, and the more things you see as a child, the more options you have to look for if something arouses your interest, and for me, a first visit to the planetarium convinced me that fact that it was the universe that showed me so you have to be good at something in school which i gather was math ok man i like math but i think its wrong to say that you have to be good. on that I'd rather say you have to want to be good at it and then ambition kicks in and ambition can override whether or not your first foray was unpleasant or you didn't do well or maybe you failed an exam but if you really you like it you will spend time learning that if that is what it means to like something maybe a lot of us think we like something because you are good at it and sure there are many cases where that is the case but why deny yourself the pleasure of a lifetime of searching for something to bring game I love the mic I love the radio so all I ever wanted to do is this even a real mic yeah it ain't plugged in but it's a real miser Rio ¿what? where is the wire of the electrophysical magnitude? so you can do this for so long you've liked neuro kempner oh chemically they bonded it to your brain right you have to get in here wow did you ever get discouraged along the way you had a family test and you said oh yeah i mean i remember discovery i don't know if this courage is the right word I remember opening a calculus book for the first time good luck in high school and calculus is not the natural next step after algebra right it is a completely different new way of thinking about the relationships of things that change in the world and you open the book to all these wavy lines and this whole alphabet drawn from greek letters and it's like i'll never understand this should i quit now while i get the chance and i said let me lemme try this and a month later after i said hey , I think I know what it is Oh, two months later, hey, three months later, I got this and it was that moment for the rest of my life, it became a representative for me saying if in the first meeting i have no clue what is going on just close i mean it sounds simple but but could you i would realize how profoundly that fact how profoundly it would affect the rest of my life every time i saw something I didn't understand working on it.
Do you use calculus all? The time there is no understanding of the physical universe without calculation, you were a nerd, I was still, yes, I carried a card. I attended Bronx High School of Science my entire time. Yeah, I didn't just take a test, you have to like to beat a score to get in well, I didn't just take anyone, take the test, beat the score, but I was the old man in town. They make fun of you for being everyone else. I was there and we formally learned calculations on a slide rule and my slide rule had a leather bag and you're walking around you know yeah the top nerds had like the biggest slide rule bag and you know it's almost like what your friends Walking down the aisle, your friends in the neighborhood do a little funny because the neighborhood I was in was not the stereotype of the neighborhood that people imagined.
My earliest memories are of the East Bronx and the housing projects are the Castle. Hill middle income housing projects, but then my dad's income went up to that level and then you get kicked out when that happens, so we moved and we moved to Riverdale, all I'm saying, that's what I'm saying. Uptown, yeah, so in the Bronx there wasn't as much of a neighborhood force as you might think, but nonetheless, it was pressures on me to be athletic and nobody really cared what I was doing, but I did care what I was doing. I was doing coming up, we'll talk about the mission to Mars, the privatization of space, we'll talk about climate change, we'll be right back, we'd be Neil deGrasse Tyson, one of my favorite guests of all time, okay, let's look at some current stuff when you've had 60,000 guests the other one you are one of my favorites of course he is so bright and you are funny well thank you I am honored you know in the universe let's say in the world but you are in the universe we are all in the universe there are 80 billion more stars but let's start with that does anyone anyone know there is a heaven they have gone somewhere there is an
afterlifedid anyone know how can they boggle my mind can they believe they know of a belief is i might believe it is raining well this is the difference between believing something and using the methods and tools of science to establish what is objectively true and what is objectively true is a something that's true outside of your belief system that's science that's how we can do things you wonder how it all started oh sure what do you think?
Well then it depends what you mean everything was dog pee, well no I'm saying there was a day everything could be How did life get here? How did Earth get here? How did the solar system sun moon get here that the galaxy gets here now the universe get here and so all our evidence points to a pretty funny beginning of the universe the big bang we have a term for it the big bang what was there before is a frontier of our research gation we have the best working on figuring out what was there before yes yes we don't know we don't know before no before yes we're not ready to put our best on that yet so the problem of
originsis a very different kind of research than just describing the existence of a thing and there are a lot of cups here so we can say that all this stuff came out of a factory but this is what made the factory right the people made the factory, which made people stay. going back and then you have the
originskind of question because there's usually only one origin of anything so it can't be compared to other things and therefore poses special challenges that's why a lot of you wonder they go crazy yeah no just the ones you've selected well why isn't it raining in california yeah you know the
weatheris I mean drought it's not like droughts are unprecedented in the history of the world but what's more important than that is it's not raining, are you there?
Now there is consumption of clean water, drinking water from the groundwater table that is not replenished as it is being withdrawn at a faster rate than it is coming back and that is a recipe for disaster so we need to think more. I use the word. holistically about the systems that manifest on this
earthand and that's a relatively new way of thinking about the world, but what do we do about it? Yeah, I don't have easy answers. I think we should be better. shepherds of our activities and our behaviors if you are watering your lawn it is long do you need clean drinking water to water your lawn no, you could use the water that came out of your dishwasher your lawn will not care but we have created a system that does not use of smart way not even the limited water that is available a more important question why isn't it raining all i can tell you is that in the world what we are going to find is more
weatherit's ok when it rains it's going to rain harder when it's not It's going to rain, it's going to rain less than it's ever rained before and like these
extremes, we've got this kind of new normal that we're going to have to get used to, all the evidence points to the fact that it's a human-caused influence on the ecosystem about climate sister so cold weather will get cold hot weather will get warmer which will get wetter yeah yeah then the extremes will start to visi extremes and what happens is that as the temperature rises more moisture from the ocean rises into the atmosphere and in general when we think of the weather we think of storms and other things and now that when there is a storm, there's more moisture to fuel that storm, there's more heat to drive the convective cells and then the storm gets more ferocious and you know we had flooding here in New York by the way this change that people are talking about is not one day the ocean will just walk in and stay there at your door no that's not how it's going to happen s first happens first where there would be a storm where there would be a storm surge and previously the storm surge was never real you know maybe it went over the sidewalk or the promenade, but that's it and now the tide is gone surely the tidal wave makes it to the streets and that is your first indication these extremes are your first encounter with what will soon become the new normal those who deny climate change or you tell them the self in a free country in which at least we believe we tell ourselves that we live in a free country I don't care what you believe I believe what you want the problem arises if you deny an emerging scientific truth and exert power over legislation that's a recipe for disaster the person on the street doesn't care about climate change or you don't know I might have a conversation but I'm not going to lose any sleep over it because that's when someone, an elected official, denies the climate change, something scientists have said. taking them now for decades and they're going to create legislation in response to that what's the end of an informed democracy the end i love it when i say i don't know anything about it but it's not true and so by the way i don't hit politicians in the head, you will never see me arguing with a politician, you know why, because politicians, representatives, senators, are duly elected by a community of people, the electorate, so if you want to say that the
earthhas 6,000 years. probably because his constituencies think so and so as an educator my job is to educate the electorate so that they can then vote for people who can make sensible legislative decisions that can affect us all and not derive from their personal private belief system the man who brought us cosmos has another program on the air called Startalk and we will talk about that and the rumored second season of cosmos after the breakup the bag will be mr.
Tyson what is startalk oh thanks for asking they would say it was an experimental radio show five years ago with a grant from the National Science Foundation and I looked around and I got a good look at how somebody gets science through the media and there is something good. science programming on NPR especially where he died where there is science friday for example where and i've been on science friday i loved it there's a journalist interviewing a scientist but if you're tuned in to that you probably know you already like science that's why you would listen to it but what about people who don't know they like science or what about people who know they don't like science? how do you get them the science? reverse the model and I'll be the interviewer.
I am the scientist and my guests will almost never be scientists. life or livelihood are you teaching orasking? um, so no, there's some teaching there, but it's really if these are people that you would have heard of these people that we've interviewed, one of them is like President Carter, okay, I didn't ask him about the medium. Um, that's what other people do. I asked him about his engineering background and how that might have influenced his diplomacy. Know? He thought differently from others who had a different background. That's something interesting to me, it could be interesting to others.
He interviewed George Takei from the original story he's a funny guy but now on every level and we talk about sci-fi projections for the future and what came true and what didn't come true but he's from pop culture, no is a scientist you can play on. TV but he's not a scientist so you do this so now he jumped to species and National Geographic Channel by the way the cosmos wallet aired on Fox nationally and National Geographic delayed National Geographic to ok all over the world in 180 countries so I had a relationship with National Geographic and they said at the end of the cosmos we have to do more TV together and I said no it's not who I am but I'm doing this. radio show maybe we could film that they agreed and now it's late at night like 11:00 p.m. the great man who started the cosmos with Carl Sagan my man I interviewed him maybe a hundred times yeah Karl's billion so you can say if I interviewed him maybe a billion times for you yeah he , my first meeting with him was memorable for me, probably not for him, but for me, he had applied to college and I have told this story before saying, in fact, we retell it in cosmos.
He had applied to college and would know and was interested in the universe Cornell had been accepted into and then unknown to me the admissions office forwarded my application to him because of his comment and reaction. Then he sent me a personal letter with a sign that said: Heard he's considering Cornell. I will be happy to give you a tour of the campus. if you want to come and visit him to help you decide he was already famous he had been to Carson and scientists to Johnny Carson oh my god that was it no one had ever done that before so he had cleared the field for anyone to do it . come after him to do a lot of what he had pione missed and so i went up he met me outside the building he gave me a tour he reached behind him he didn't even look he reached behind and pulled out one of his own books i'll just never forget you've written so many books she He just got back and I grabbed the book that happened to be there, he signed it for me.
I still have that book, so I said to myself at the time if I'm ever in a position to bring the universe to earth the way he has, then I'll do it. be sure to look at the students and others who come in with the dignity and respect that Cornell is not a famous science school no you are doing well gentlemen it was an Ag school and there is a big AG agricultural dimension when I visit I love it the barn the barn they take the methane flatulence that cows release so freely into the air from their own digestive tracts and then use it to keep the barns warm by burning the methane during the winter so it drains Cornell I know I didn't actually attend Cornell yes yes I know actually d I didn't attend I attended Harvard oh yeah no no because I thought if I didn't want to go to Cornell just because of one person because suppose he went somewhere else or while Harvard was very deep and alcohol let him down, he would. t be a letter he said it was he said i didn't make a mistake in choosing harvard what do you think of mr. musk and the others that so it's going to take a long time they're going to send their own planes to their rockets yeah I'm skeptical on a couple of levels by the way we need people to think that way he wants to send a mission to mars we need those people in society otherwise the rest of us think every other day should be like the one before so let me start with that but i can tell you first people do really expensive things where there is danger and people could die. and there is no known return on investment those are not business people those are from the government the first europeans in the new world were not the dutch east indies trading company it was columbus funded by spain so he draws the maps and here they are the trade winds and this is where the hostels are and the friendlies are this is where you find the fruit you can eat and then you can make a business case for it otherwise it's a very short meeting if I say hello I'm going to Go to Mars with all your venture capital. sts and they start asking questions how much does it cost I don't know but a lot and it's dangerous yeah people probably die what's my return on investment I have no idea probably zero it's a five minute meeting and it doesn't happen so you have someone has to come out with the long view, longer than the quarterly report view, and once the patents are granted and you've established what the dangers are and what's safe, then you make the business case, I guess it's the fabulous Neil Tyson.
When we get back I'm going to talk about life and death and what you think what you believe in what you have faith after this we're back with Neil deGrasse Tyson he's one of the fabulous people in this country one of my favorite guests I'd like to do it i would like to tour with you we just go to colleges and ask questions and explore things well you decide to bring gigadyne you have except it's facts and beliefs i know religious people believe scientists have proven what you believe what you think happens when we die ok so i can make some unquestionable statements about what happens when you die so you spend your life eating food food has caloric content and calories are a source of energy kali is a unit of energy you bring in and then energy is available for you to maintain your body temperature at almost one hundred degrees is 98.6 how do you keep something above one hundred degrees when nothing else your surroundings are burning energy to maintain that because biologically we need to be at that temperature to function well you also need energy to walk and move that's why you eat food the moment you die what happens you don't maintain energy your temperature drops how much it drops to room temperature in a funeral in the coffin if you touch the hand or the person in the coffin the first thing you think is that the body is cold no it's not it's room temperature but it's cold compared to a hundred degrees they're not burning anymore this energy, okay so now each of your molecules has energy inside it if you get cremated that energy is released as heat and you heat the air and that air radiates into space you get buried that's how i want get rid of my body, bury me, bury me because you know I don't want the energy content of my body to radiate into space with no use to anyone put me in the ground let the worms microbes enter and leave my body and the energy content of my body that I have gathered during my life consuming the flora and fauna of this earth, my body then returns to them and that is the cycle of life.
I know that will happen because you can measure where the energy is going and that's how I want to go out, but you don't. conscious and that's for eternity ok ok there's no evidence that he's conscious of anything and by the way it's so weird that you had consciousness before you were born you were saying how come I'm not on earth? being on earth or how could i expect when it's me no it's just the state of nonexistence so i'm giving nothing of us now that i'm born and i can't bear the thought of nonexistence i already have existence i have no ice it's OK, so it's true, we fear death because I was born knowing only life, right?
I get it, however, I'll take another point of view because I've been asked if you could live forever, would you? the knowledge that I am going to die that creates the focus I bring to being alive the urgency to achieve the need to express love now not later if we live forever why even get out of bed in the morning because you always have tomorrow That's not It's the kind of life I want to lead, but why don't you fear not being around? I fear living a life where I might have accomplished something. I did not do it.
That is what I fear. I do not fear death. They do not fear. the unknown i love the unknown i loved it you dont want it on my tombstone my sister has this on her in her notes because in case i cant tell anyone after i die on my tombstone a horace mann quote great educator be ashamed of die until you've won some victory for mankind that's what i wanted on my tombstone but don't fear or think about it not being around my rating regret not being around it would be great to see my kids carry on don't you want to know?
Yes, that would be fun. I want to see what inventions would make life easier, what clever discoveries or innovations would emerge from collective brainwork. What do you like species? What do you think when you see religious people and you see popes or rabbis or people who fervently believe that the Billy Grahams in the world were sincere and wonderful people? Yes, of course, well, actually. maybe delusional that they've gone somewhere, no, they're there, they're integrated into belief systems and what I'm seeing is I see all the belief systems and when you align them they're not really compatible with each other, what then? every time they believe that it can't be a truth that applies to everyone because other people believe what they believe with no less fervor and then I sit down and as a person who is interested in objective truths and I say well, it doesn't seem like that's a way to an objective truth so let people keep thinking and saying what but as a citizen of a country that is not based on honor honor in a religion is based on sort of a secular construction in a way that protects whatever.
The religion you want to express is protected in the Constitution. The Constitution does not actually mention God. My quite controversial in its day and that does not mention God because they do not want the legislation to tell you which God to worship. They knew it. they knew how governments can persecute people who had belief systems that disagreed with the state they knew this so they created those freedoms and so we have these freedoms go ahead but if you're going to create legislation that has to be enforced for everyone and now you're going to put your belief system into legislation that's not a free and open democracy and you're an amazing man no the universe is amazing I'm just revealing that fact thanks to my guest Neil deGrasse Tyson Startalk airs Mondays at 11:00 PM 10:00 Central on National Geographic is also available on Sirius XM and iTunes and remember you can find me on Twitter at Kings Things and I'll see you next time I look forward to seeing you.
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