Originally posted March 10, 2013
Neil deGrasse Tyson is the latest guest to appear on Rationally Speaking. Interestingly, Tyson is not on to promote or discuss Cosmos. Instead, Tyson requested to appear on the show with Prof. Massimo Pigliucci and Julia Galef to discuss why Prof. Tyson does not call himself an atheist, while he propounds that he is unconvinced that there is an all power being that watches over, controls, or started the universe.
I have attempted to avoid religious issues on this blog. There are plenty of other outlets for rationalist views on the subject. Yet, Prof. Tyson’s take on the whole atheist, agonistic, non-believer has great sympathy with me. The interview touches upon comparisons between Tyson and Prof. Richard Dawkins. While Tyson’s scientific world view is likely quite similar to Dawkins, they are quite apart on how they tackle ‘the god’ question. Tyson takes a much more laid back approach compared to Dawkins' general view that religion is something that has gots to go. Nor does Tyson speak about non-overlapping magisteria. Rather, he speaks of it is not important to stop religion so that he can promote science. Just keep the religion out of the science and generally we’ll all be fine.
Tyson also seems to take a realist viewpoint that the word ‘atheist’ has a lot of social baggage that does not fit him, and he’d rather not be labeled other than being labeled a scientist. Needless to say, while I doubt Prof. Tyson and I actually do agree completely on the god question (as I doubt few actually do as it is supremely personal) I do find myself nodding my head in agreement.
The entire interview clocks in at under an hour and we get to learn that Tyson is actually bullish on how science is currently being portrayed in the media.