The Poetry of Science: Richard Dawkins and Neil deGrasse Tyson

June 04, 2018

It really is a pleasure to see two people with clear minds and sound logic have a constructive conversation: no logical fallacies, just a normal conversation on important topics – “a kind of mutual tutorial without a chairman to get in the way“.

I am also glad to see that scientists can be superstars, because that way

Watch the entire video! It will most certainly be 77 minutes well spent (or 38.5 minutes if you are, like me, trying out speed-watching method!)

Some of the memorable quotes:


Dawkins: Well, Neil, we’re here to talk about the poetry of science. I would say that science is the poetry of reality, and one of the things that I feel a bit humble in your presence, biology being a kind of junior science to physics, I suppose we both have something to learn from each other; but I can’t help feeling I’ve got rather more to learn from you than you’ve got to learn from me. Maybe we’re both a bit naive about each other’s subject, but I think I’m a bit more naive about yours because there’s more to be naive about. I forget who it was that coined the phrase “physics envy”, and I think this shows itself in lots of fields, perhaps less so in biology than others, so what we’re going to try to do is to have a conversation between a biologist, an evolutionary biologist and an astrophysicist, a kind of mutual tutorial without a chairman to get in the way.

Dawkins: What do you think are the odds that there
is life elsewhere in the universe?

deGrasse Tyson: They must be high, and I’ll tell you why:
People say:  “Well, have you found life yet?”
-Well, there, you…

No, that’s like going to the ocean taking a cup of water, scooping it up, and saying there are no whales in the ocean. <Holding an imaginary glass of ocean water>: “Here’s my data.”

You need a slightly bigger sample.

Two of science’s luminaries converse on the beauty of science. Neil deGrasse Tyson, astrophysicist and host of NOVA and evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins will explore the wonders of the Cosmos and of Life, its origins, its inspirations, and why science is not just an option, it is the only reality we possess.

Support Richard Dawkins’ Foundation for Reason and Science:

The Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science ( ) presents: “The Poetry of Science: Discussions of the Beauty of Science.”

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