Director of the Hayden Planetarium and StarTalk Radio host Neil deGrasse Tyson recently appeared on “The Nightly Show” with Larry Wilmore for a discussion with Pastor Carl Lentz about god and intelligent design.
As an a astrophysicist, Tyson says he doesn’t accept anything unless scientific evidence backs it up. So during the episode, he pointed to a hilarious piece of evidence that he says disproves intelligent design.
“I think of, like, the human body, and I look at what’s going on between our legs,” Tyson said. “There’s like a sewage system and entertainment complex intermingling. No engineer of any intelligence would have designed it that way.”
It’s a light-hearted poke at the notion of intelligent design, but Tyson does have a more serious and fleshed out reason for not believing there’s a god.
As he explained in the episode:
Well, anytime someone describes their understanding of god, typically it involves some statement of benevolence or some kind of kindness. And I look out to the universe and yes it is filled with mysteries, but it 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, 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.
For his part, Lentz says he thinks science and religion can coexist. He says since god created science, exploring science will just lead us back to the source.
Tyson agrees that the two can coexist, but with one major caveat.
“You can say ‘I’m cool with science,’ provided you allow science the berth to discover whatever it can about the universe no matter what you say it should be discovering based on scripture,” Tyson said. “If that’s the case, then there’s no conflict.”
You can watch the whole discussion below: