Science

Does the Universe Have a Purpose?

Neil deGrasse Tyson

Science is a truly wonderful discipline. It can reveal to us all sorts of amazing, otherwise unseen aspects of the world we live in. And yet, it has its limits. These limits are revealed with great perspicuity in this short video in which physicist Neil deGrasse Tyson answers the question “Does the universe have a purpose?” Importantly, Tyson strictly confines his answer (and, assumedly, all other answers) to knowledge based on empirical foundations. In doing so, he reduces the world to simply its physical aspects. Thus, religious knowledge—knowledge revealed by God—is out of bounds for Tyson in all its forms.

With these boundaries in place, Tyson finds that studying the physical universe reveals little about the purpose of the universe. Science does not tell us what is good or what is beautiful (and so it should not tell us what is good or beautiful).

We face a problem, however, if we limit all knowledge to simply scientific or empirical knowledge. Empirical knowledge is not the only valid category of knowledge. Thus, the failure of science to reveal the purpose of the universe does not imply that the universe is purposeless. And so, through the recognition of this boundary and the limits of science, we are pointed to the need of other disciplines as a means of knowing.

What aspects of the presentation do you agree with? What aspects do you disagree with?

Source: Minute Physics



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