While promoting his new television series Cosmos, celebrated scientist Neil deGrasse Tyson argues there is no evidence for the Judeo Christian god.
In an extensive interview with David Freeman writing for Huffington Post, Tyson is asked point blank if he believes in god. Tyson responds by asking “which god?” When asked about the “Judeo Christian god,” Tyson responds by arguing there is no evidence for a god that is “all-powerful and all-knowing and all-good.” The following is an excerpt from that interview:
David Freeman: Do you believe in god?
Neil deGrasse Tyson: I presume you’ve pre-specified which god you’re asking about?
David Freeman: Define god as you would.
Neil deGrasse Tyson: You’re the one who’s asking the question. So pick a god and ask me if I believe in that god.
David Freeman: The Judeo-Christian god.
Neil deGrasse Tyson: OK, if that god is described as being all-powerful and all-knowing and all-good, I don’t see evidence for it anywhere in the world. So I remain unconvinced. If that god is all-powerful and all-good, I don’t see that when a tsunami kills a quarter-million or an earthquake kills a quarter-million people. I’d like to think of good as something in the interest of your health or longevity. That’s a pretty simple definition of something that is good for you. That’s not a controversial understanding of the word “good.” So if Earth in two separate events separated by just a couple of years can kill a half-million people, then if the god as you describe exists, that god is either not all-powerful or not all-good. And so therefore I am not convinced.
As religion is now practiced and science is now practiced, there is no intersection between the two. That is for certain. And it’s not for want of trying. Over the centuries, many people–theologians as well scientists–have tried to explore points of intersection. And anytime anyone has declared that harmony has risen up, it is the consequence of religion acquiescing to scientific discovery. In every single case.
In an extended conversation about science, religion and the universe with Bill Moyers last January Tyson argued that science and religion are not compatible.
Tyson is the Frederick P. Rose director of the Hayden Planetarium at the American Museum of Natural History in New York and host of the upcoming Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey premiering this Sunday, March 9, on Fox.