While never using the word “atheist,” Neil deGrasse Tyson explains why there is no evidence for a benevolent God while speaking with CBS.
In a CBS web exclusive released Sunday, correspondent Martha Teichner asked acclaimed astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson whether he believes in an all-powerful creator.
The more I look at the universe, the less convinced I am that there is something benevolent going on…
… I look at disasters that afflict Earth, and life on Earth: volcanoes, hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes, disease, pestilence, congenital birth defects. You look at this list of ways that life is made miserable on Earth by natural causes, and I just ask, “How do you deal with that?”
So philosophers rose up and said, “If there is a God, God is either not all powerful or not all good.”
I have no problems if, as we probe the origins of things, we bump into the Bearded Man. If that shows up, we good to go! Okay? Not a problem.
There’s just no evidence of it.
And this is why religions are called “faiths” collectively. Because you believe something in the absence of evidence. That’s what it is! That’s why it’s called “faith”! Otherwise we would call all religions “evidence,” but we don’t, for exactly that reason.
Watch the full segment in the video below:
This is not the first time Tyson has gently and diplomatically denied the existence of God. Indeed, Tyson has made an art form out of quietly denying God’s existence while never outing himself as an atheist.
In an interview with Huffington Post in 2014, while promoting his then new television series Cosmos, the celebrated scientist gently argued that there is no evidence for the Judeo Christian god. At the time Tyson gave a remarkably similar answer to his recent response to CBS:
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.
Any time someone describes their understanding of God, typically it involves some statement of benevolence or some kind of kindness.
I look out to the universe and yes, it is filled with mysteries, but it’s also filled with all manner of things that would just as soon have you dead. Like asteroid strikes, and hurricanes, and tornadoes, and tsunamis, and volcanoes, and disease, and pestilence.
There are things that exist in the natural world that do not have your health or longevity as a priority. And so I cannot look at the universe and say that yes, there’s a God, and this God cares about my life — at all. The evidence does not support this.
Acclaimed astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson is the author of numerous books, including the recently released best-selling Astrophysics for People in a Hurry.
Bottom line: Neil deGrasse Tyson finds no evidence for God’s existence.