Noted scientist fears aliens ignored Earth because we’re too stupid

posted at 5:01 pm on June 1, 2014 by Jazz Shaw

What do you get when you put one of the smartest people in the world – astrophysicist Neil DeGrasse Tyson – in the same room with MSNBC talker Chris Hayes? Answer: You get a lot of science interview questions, not all of which will be gems. But to their credit, they did manage to cover the one burning issue which awaits resolution – where are the aliens, and why haven’t they contacted us?

Tyson may not know for sure, but he has a theory.

Astrophysicist and Cosmos host Neil DeGrasse Tyson told MSNBC host Chris Hayes that while it’s audacious enough for human beings to say they’re capable of defining intelligence, he would still like to know if there’s other intelligent beings in the universe.

“My great fear is that we’ve in fact been visited by intelligent aliens,” DeGrasse Tyson said to Hayes. “But they chose not to make contact, on the conclusion that there’s no sign of intelligent life on Earth. How’s that for measures of intelligence?”

One reason it’s presumptuous for humans to act like they’re the arbiters of intelligence, DeGrasse Tyson said, is the possibility that planets much older than ours are already sending us messages in a format that, while basic to them, is incomprehensible by our current standards.

The idea that the first hint an extraterrestrial species will have of us is old I Love Lucy reruns is not a new one. But would a space-faring race really assume we are all that stupid? A quick inspection would show that we have manned and unmanned artificial satellites orbiting the planet. A modest visual survey would show cities, roads, and all manner of intelligent design. It just seems unlikely to me that aliens would ignore anyone who had not yet mastered the warp drive.

I’ll suggest two other possibilities and you are free to add in your own.

First, assuming there are other intelligent species alive at this time in this galaxy, I’m guessing there aren’t going to be that many of them. Given the number of stars in the Milky Way it would have to take many times the span of years that we have had an advanced civilization to search them all. So they may be out there and looking, but they just haven’t found us yet.

The second possibility I am sure is far more likely. At roughly the same time they invented their own warp drive, they also invented politics. In the ensuing squabbles, the budget for the warp drive was diverted, and they never got off the ground.


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Murphy9 on June 1, 2014 at 11:32 PM

WryTrvllr on June 1, 2014 at 11:32 PM

I think you got the spelling right, but I think you’re wrong about the god of the bible or any other gods man worships today as existing.

I don’t say a god doesn’t exist anymore, I used to, but I stick by my belief that the god that could be assuredly isn’t bible god or koran god or a hindu god, etc.

I imagine the god that could be is sitting up in whatever heaven there is and he’s having a cosmic facepalm moment listening to us talk about what we think he desires of us, listening to us talk about what we think he desires for us, etc.

As for another species seeding this planet with life as we know it today… Nah, I doubt it, but I don’t discount it. It’s certainly possible that they could speed up evolution much like we’re doing today splicing genes et al…

SauerKraut537 on June 1, 2014 at 11:41 PM

What if life is everywhere? So much of it that we’re just unlucky to live in the boondocks of the galaxy. We’re kinda far away from the edge of our arm of the Milky Way. Fewer stars. I’m sure aliens know we’re here. But we’re out of the way and really, could an alien come here and feel safe? No way.

MrX on June 1, 2014 at 11:43 PM

.

Murphy9 on June 1, 2014 at 11:32 PM

Would it have killed you to link that or at least Meow. Lolz! ; )

Bmore on June 1, 2014 at 11:55 PM

No, totally wrong. There are very quickly diminishing returns to intelligence.

The more likely explanation is that intelligence is extremely rare and we only see it here because of the weak anthropic principle. I will bet you that in 100 years we will have documented that there are no intelligent civilizations on any world in this galaxy, and there probably aren’t any in our causally-connected universe.

TallDave on June 1, 2014 at 11:57 PM

but I think you’re wrong about the god of the bible or any other gods man worships today as existing.

As for another species seeding this planet with life as we know it today… Nah, I doubt it, but I don’t discount it. It’s certainly possible that they could speed up evolution much like we’re doing today splicing genes et al…

Those two points cannot jive. Whose to say, some wealthy eccentric didn’t want to go full hermit and came to this Island of Dr. Moreau?

We just don’t know. But the more I hear people like these “intelligentsia” telling me my version cannot exist, but there are definitely aliens who think us too stupid to deign speak with us, while, as you alluded to, we are on the verge of creating new life and AI, I just have to sit back and laugh.

WryTrvllr on June 1, 2014 at 11:58 PM

who’s (and all the others probably too)

WryTrvllr on June 1, 2014 at 11:58 PM

Would it have killed you to link that or at least Meow. Lolz! ; )

Bmore on June 1, 2014 at 11:55 PM

Yeah yeah, How about some Lucy for the Lost Boyz.

Murphy9 on June 2, 2014 at 12:04 AM

“Sometimes I think the surest sign that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us.”

-Calvin (Calvin & Hobbes)

sandbun on June 2, 2014 at 12:07 AM

two smug, self-satisfied morons doing what self-satisfied morons do: circle jerk about how everyone else is a moron.

hey neil maybe aliens showed up a few weeks ago, caught an episode of your awful show, and did indeed decide there was no intelligent life so time to move on.

deepelemblues on June 2, 2014 at 1:10 AM

Intelligent extraterrestrial life hasn’t contacted us because it isn’t out there. Thank God.

If they were out there, our first contact with them would have been as zillions of their drones descended on us out of deep space and swept through the Solar System, turning its matter into forms more useful to them.

Earth is rare. All of the babbling about finding ‘earth-like’ planets is silly. To be truly earth-like they would have to have a giant moon like ours causing the planet to rotate in a nearly exact circle around a sun like ours that remains stable for billions of years. Being in the band that is the ‘right distance for life’ around its star wouldn’t be remotely good enough all by itself. If its orbit was more elliptical than ours, it would still wreck the climate even if it was inside the band.

And that is just to begin with. The mass of the planet would have to be just exactly right. There are literally millions of things like this where if the ingredients aren’t just so, it’s a no go for intelligent life to have any chance at all to develop.

How many of you know the Earth froze over 700 million years ago? Completely. For decades scientists thought the data had to be wrong, because all life would have died. Even with everything going for us, we came that close to never getting beyond single cells.

The Universe is a giant stew. A true chaos. That there is this beautiful blue marble in all of that vacuum and poison and blazing radiation is a miracle.

fadetogray on June 2, 2014 at 1:18 AM

“Noted scientist fears aliens ignored Earth because we’re too stupid”

Well when Earth’s “noted scientist” thinks that modern civilization can be run on sunshine and unicorn farts (wind and solar), can you blame them?

Alberta_Patriot on June 2, 2014 at 1:53 AM

It just seems unlikely to me that aliens would ignore anyone who had not yet mastered the warp drive.

As said many times before, Neil TheAss Tyson is a moron. Any intelligent alien would be seriously interested in all other life forms it found in the universe, intelligent or not. This is pretty friggin obvious.

ThePrimordialOrderedPair on June 2, 2014 at 1:56 AM

A little O/T. Who’s the guy on that program whose hair looks like a horse just passed gas in his face?

Hammie on June 1, 2014 at 7:10 PM

I don’t know his name, but it he ever wants to lift himself out of the automatic screwball category, the ‘doo’ has got to go.

trigon on June 1, 2014 at 7:14 PM

That’s no way to talk about The Secretary of Energy!

Luthier on June 2, 2014 at 2:26 AM

Shrill: ‘What difference, at this point, does it make. If it was a video about some aliens, or two aliens out for a walk one night and decided to kill some Americans.’

DeGrasse gets a pass on calling humanity stupid because he’s black and on MSNBS it is assumed he is talking about Republicans. If he was a white Republican there would be riots in the streets and calls for his resignation because he’d be labelled as a racist for calling humanity stupid.

RedManBlueState on June 2, 2014 at 4:07 AM

But to my point, we need someone like NGT to help inspire a new generation of kids who want to reach for the stars. A lot more good comes from missions to the moon and mars than just pretty pictures.

NoStoppingUs on June 1, 2014 at 5:36 PM

Yes, indeed. How did we get to the moon without him?

davidk on June 2, 2014 at 5:20 AM

.

Murphy9 on June 1, 2014 at 11:32 PM

Well played. Beautifully understated.

davidk on June 2, 2014 at 5:21 AM

SauerKraut537 on June 1, 2014 at 11:41 PM

Covering bases.

I believe this; or maybe that; or possibly the other, so don’t criticize me.

davidk on June 2, 2014 at 5:25 AM

He’s so smart he has three names, AND his remarks had “Hayes busted up laughing.” That is a lot of smartness. So we should also pay attention to his greatest fear.

tenore on June 2, 2014 at 5:25 AM

Would it have killed you to link that or at least Meow. Lolz! ; )

Bmore on June 1, 2014 at 11:55 PM

Yeah yeah, How about some Lucy for the Lost Boyz.

Murphy9 on June 2, 2014 at 12:04 AM

Five cents, my ask!:

The officially licensed, numbered editions measure 18″ x 24″ and are individually screen printed.

The standard edition will be limited to 280 prints, and the variant edition will be limited to 50 prints. In addition, there will be a special wood edition of 5 each of both the standard and variant artwork.

The prices will be as follows:

Standard: $65
Variant: $100
Wood: $250

The 2014 Easter Beagle prints go on sale Tuesday, April 8, 2014 at at a random time between 9:30 AM and 11:30 AM (Pacific time) at Dark Hall Mansion’s webstore.

http://blog.fivecentsplease.org/

davidk on June 2, 2014 at 5:30 AM

I want to see Don Lemon interview Tyson on the subject of black holes. lolz.

Resist We Much on June 1, 2014 at 6:06 PM

Heh.

davidk on June 2, 2014 at 5:33 AM

Well, he may have a point. We did re-elect Obama because of the fear of Binders and losing Big Bird

Brock Robamney on June 2, 2014 at 5:34 AM

and actually knew TGBOTG fairly well

eon on June 1, 2014 at 7:24 PM

What? More gender categories?

davidk on June 2, 2014 at 5:50 AM

Unrelated topic, but as I glance through the “Headlines” section, I see so much apparently written about so little.

Pretty depressing, folks.

Sherman1864 on June 2, 2014 at 5:58 AM

We’ve sent them records.

. . . we’ve sent records into space.

Axe on June 1, 2014 at 7:15 PM

We gave it an 85. It had a good beat, but you couldn’t dance to it.

Alien on June 1, 2014 at 8:02 PM

Heh. Aliens have been around quite a while.

davidk on June 2, 2014 at 5:58 AM

In the beginning God created space and matter.

davidk on June 2, 2014 at 6:00 AM

On second thought, let’s not go to earth. Tis a silly place.

dddave on June 2, 2014 at 6:01 AM

I am the Vanguard of your destruction.

RAB on June 2, 2014 at 7:06 AM

Invaders never turn down a chance to invade…

albill on June 2, 2014 at 7:39 AM

Aliens are racist. But if they did come here they did so for free healthcare. Found out it was a lie and left.

Connecticut on June 2, 2014 at 7:52 AM

For now we see through a glass darkly…but then face to face.

Galtian on June 2, 2014 at 8:02 AM

Mr Tyson must have learned his science from Monty Python
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vIy76M-4txo

Patrick49 on June 2, 2014 at 8:11 AM

So where is the extraordinary evidence? Either aliens are “ordinary” or though they are outside (“extra”) of the ordinary, they are assumed likely because the materialist view believes them so.

So the extraordinary evidence line would sell better, if the doctors would take their own medicine.

Axeman on June 2, 2014 at 8:16 AM

davidk on June 2, 2014 at 5:25 AM

Hey davidk, do you ever wonder what life would have been like if you’d had enough oxygen at birth? Learn from your parents mistakes… Use birth control.

SauerKraut537 on June 2, 2014 at 8:29 AM

you’ve obviously never worked the drake equation jazz. try it. then reread your piece.

t8stlikchkn on June 2, 2014 at 8:48 AM

The history on earth, of more advanced civilizations contacting less advanced cilizations, has always resulted in the utter death and destruction, of the less advanced civilization. Do we really want intelligent alien life forms, from elsewhere in the universe, discovering us? Would they feel as little in destroying us, as we feel in stepping on, and crushing, a cockroach, or killing a rat?

kjatexas on June 2, 2014 at 9:07 AM

Neil should lay off de grass.

Akzed on June 2, 2014 at 9:11 AM

Hey davidk, do you ever wonder what life would have been like if you’d had enough oxygen at birth? Learn from your parents mistakes… Use birth control.

SauerKraut537 on June 2, 2014 at 8:29 AM

Why are you being such an a$$hole?

non-nonpartisan on June 2, 2014 at 9:15 AM

non-nonpartisan on June 2, 2014 at 9:15 AM

Long standing feud my friend. He wants to try and belittle me and what I say he’s going to get it in full in return.

SauerKraut537 on June 2, 2014 at 9:22 AM

If the aliens have seen MSDNC, then – if they are intelligent – they have probably put out a marker bouy somewhere out by the Oort cloud: “Warning! Stay Away!”

GWB on June 2, 2014 at 9:27 AM

This week on Cosmos… CLIMATE CHANGE IS DEFINITELY HAPPENING because smarts or something!

Although the so-called genius astrophysicist uses junk earth data and not an ounce of “astro” data.

Odie1941 on June 2, 2014 at 9:28 AM

Why are you being such an a$$hole?

non-nonpartisan on June 2, 2014 at 9:15 AM

He is a longstanding anti-theist who takes every opportunity to crap all over everyone else’s faith.

NotCoach on June 2, 2014 at 9:31 AM

I suspect that, like many of today’s highly-politicized scientists, Neil’s definition of true intelligence involves a knee-jerk agreement and fawning obeisance to leftist ideology, and the capacity for worshipful respect of the current occupant of the White House.

Don Michael Bitsconi on June 2, 2014 at 9:33 AM

Well, Obama’s domestic and foreign policiy directives certainly aren’t going to dissuade the aliens from their condemnations, are they Neil?

M240H on June 2, 2014 at 9:34 AM

This guy is an astrophysicist as much as Angelou was a poet and dear leader is a constitutional scholar.

Kissmygrits on June 2, 2014 at 9:36 AM

Hes been basing his theory of alien life on Marvin the Martian and ET.

jaywemm on June 2, 2014 at 9:44 AM

Why are you being such an a$$hole?
non-nonpartisan on June 2, 2014 at 9:15 AM

Long standing feud my friend. He wants to try and belittle me and what I say he’s going to get it in full in return.
SauerKraut537 on June 2, 2014 at 9:22 AM

And we all notice how you didn’t quibble with being called an a$$hole, you just gave your reason for it.

Akzed on June 2, 2014 at 10:18 AM

On second thought, let’s not go to earth. Tis a silly place.

dddave on June 2, 2014 at 6:01 AM

Get off my toes!!!

/ya rotten kids….

runawayyyy on June 2, 2014 at 10:42 AM

The aliens probably saw I Love Lucy and said “Hey, at least they can laugh at themselves, we should check them out.”

Then they got closer and saw “Cosmos” and said “Of course, they could still be idiots, but let’s get closer.”

Then just before they were about to land, they saw Obama speaking about Global Warming, and did a quick u-turn, afraid they would hurt themselves laughing.

Ray Van Dune on June 2, 2014 at 10:48 AM

Akzed, what would be the point of quibbling with it? It’s not going to change your mind one bit is it (my quibbling with it). I know I’m not and that’s good enough for me.

SauerKraut537 on June 2, 2014 at 10:48 AM

According to the definitive Guide on everything about the galaxy, used by most non-earthlings, earth only merits 2 words – “mostly harmless”.

dentarthurdent on June 2, 2014 at 10:59 AM

How not to get noticed.

http://www.planetary.org/blogs/emily-lakdawalla/2012/3390.html

tkc882 on June 2, 2014 at 11:07 AM

In the first episode of Cosmos, Tyson argues that a guy who was actually killed for his religious views was an example of Christianity’s fear of Science. It was a tortured ~10 minute polemic, likely brought up because there are so few martyrs for Science in Church history. Galileo would have been a better example, but even that wasn’t solely about his theories, and neither was he killed for them.

I think it was in the same episode where he quotes Sagan, saying “The Cosmos is all there is, all there was, and all there ever will be”. Later in the episode, he explains that some scientists believe in a multi-verse; where our Universe (Cosmos) is just one of many. That would mean our Cosmos is not in fact all there is, was, or ever will be; refuting Sagan.

This is pretty poor rhetoric coming from people whom the show claims “follow the evidence, wherever it may lead” (except of course when it comes to Climate Change). For the most part, I liked the rest of the show when it stuck to actual science. He is better at communicating the facts than making political/religious arguments, so it’s not too surprising when I hear any of these guys make silly philosophical statements.

LancerDL on June 2, 2014 at 11:14 AM

Fantasists, people who ‘think’ things like Star Trek are real possible futures, believe in the existence of aliens. Materialists recognize they might exist, although the less ignorant ones recognize the possibility there are any others in this galaxy is slim to none.

Earth is an extreme rarity. Extreeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee…..eeeeeem.

Guys like NGT ‘believe’ the probability is high because they find the idea ‘fun.’ They realize talking about it makes them more entertaining, just like biblical literalists realize talking about the Bible as though everything in it is literally true makes them more entertaining. For some people the truth is whatever gets other people’s attention and awe.

fadetogray on June 2, 2014 at 11:15 AM

Fantasists, people who ‘think’ things like Star Trek are real possible futures, believe in the existence of aliens. Materialists recognize they might exist, although the less ignorant ones recognize the possibility there are any others in this galaxy is slim to none.

Earth is an extreme rarity. Extreeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee…..eeeeeem.

They definitely have taken things for granted. I’ve read people discussing the Fermi paradox who gave the chance of life beginning on an Earth-like planet to be something like 1-in-a-million. I rarely see explained why they pick that number. What is the complexity of the simplest organism, and what is the mathematical probability that it would arise on its own by chance? How much time would that take on average? The 1-in-a-million number just tells me how poorly people appreciate biology. It’s an area, I think, where there’s not a lot of critical thinking.

LancerDL on June 2, 2014 at 11:29 AM

“But they chose not to make contact, on the conclusion that there’s no sign of intelligent life on Earth. How’s that for measures of intelligence?”

Pretty accurate, they monitored us, saw who we elected as a leader and came to that conclusion.

right2bright on June 2, 2014 at 11:32 AM

This guy is an astrophysicist as much as Angelou was a poet and dear leader is a constitutional scholar.

Kissmygrits on June 2, 2014 at 9:36 AM

IMO – not a fair comparison.
While Tyson has become more of a TV show type celebrity, and clearly has some “interesting” ideas, he does actually have a BA in Physics, MA in Astronomy, MPhil in Astrophysics, and PhD in Astrophysics, and is the Director of a world renowned planetarium.

And frankly – I tend to agree with his assessment that any intelligent aliens who are advanced enough for space-travel might view us as stupid or primitive – and potentially dangerous in mob panic sort of way. Look at how most of our movies and TV shows show as our typical reaction to aliens.

dentarthurdent on June 2, 2014 at 11:34 AM

This guy may be on to something. After all look who we picked for a President

pwb on June 2, 2014 at 11:54 AM

And frankly – I tend to agree with his assessment that any intelligent aliens who are advanced enough for space-travel might view us as stupid or primitive – and potentially dangerous in mob panic sort of way. Look at how most of our movies and TV shows show as our typical reaction to aliens.

Primitive yes, but stupid? There are some ingenious innovations you can find in very primitive technologies. I would argue that such a lack of curiosity betrays a lack of intelligence. Are we more amazing now that we can go into space and brute-force measure the size of the Earth, or hundreds of years ago when people got it very close using only shadows and mathematics?

Despite all or modern capabilities, I think a lot of our ancestors were more intelligent than us!

LancerDL on June 2, 2014 at 11:58 AM

And frankly – I tend to agree with his assessment that any intelligent aliens who are advanced enough for space-travel might view us as stupid or primitive – and potentially dangerous in mob panic sort of way. Look at how most of our movies and TV shows show as our typical reaction to aliens.

dentarthurdent on June 2, 2014 at 11:34 AM

They wouldn’t fear us at all. We fear dirt more. They would see no danger at all, once they made sure none of our nukes could go off ‘accidentally,’ something they would do without even thinking about it or caring that we might be affected, similar to how we might flatten a wall of dirt that might slip in a rainstorm without caring if it wipes out nests of insects.

fadetogray on June 2, 2014 at 12:04 PM

Primitive yes, but stupid?
LancerDL on June 2, 2014 at 11:58 AM

Stupid – in certain ways, and in looking at how a lot of our population acts when they get into “mob” mode – yes.
And in comparison to any alien race that may be capable of long distance space travel – definitely – although primitive is probably a much better description.

I’m sure, if they exist, they are curious about us. And if they’ve been watching much of our TV broadcasts over the years, I’d say they are right to have some concern as to how we would react to an alien landing in our midst.

dentarthurdent on June 2, 2014 at 12:06 PM

They wouldn’t fear us at all. We fear dirt more. They would see no danger at all, once they made sure none of our nukes could go off ‘accidentally,’ something they would do without even thinking about it or caring that we might be affected, similar to how we might flatten a wall of dirt that might slip in a rainstorm without caring if it wipes out nests of insects.

fadetogray on June 2, 2014 at 12:04 PM

I’m not so sure I agree with that. As opposed to dirt – how would you feel walking up to a pack of baboons (which can be viscious BTW), even if you had a gun on you?
I’d guess the fear would not be of our national level nuke weapons so much as panicky individuals.

dentarthurdent on June 2, 2014 at 12:12 PM

I’m not so sure I agree with that. As opposed to dirt – how would you feel walking up to a pack of baboons (which can be viscious BTW), even if you had a gun on you?
I’d guess the fear would not be of our national level nuke weapons so much as panicky individuals.

dentarthurdent on June 2, 2014 at 12:12 PM

They won’t be Star Trek aliens, vastly more intelligent but still roughly in our bailiwick of insight and understanding.

That won’t be what we’ll be dealing with if we’re facing intelligent interstellar travelers. There will be all kinds of ways available to them to neutralize our nukes, and the ways they use probably wouldn’t be ones we could think of. If nothing else, they send nanobot drones down into our silos to defuse the nukes.

It won’t even occur to them to fear us. Any hazards we created will just be taken care of as a matter of course, the same way we deal with any natural hazard.

And they won’t be living inside easily killed meat puppets.

fadetogray on June 2, 2014 at 12:23 PM

They’re here already

DarkCurrent on June 2, 2014 at 12:34 PM

Neil DeGrasse Tyson has simply “jumped the shark”

J_Crater on June 2, 2014 at 12:41 PM

Pretty funny. Sounds like they got some insight from a Teachers Union rep.

NoPain on June 2, 2014 at 1:09 PM

Tyson’s surely right! If aliens saw someone as stoooooopid as he is they’d stay far away lest they contract whatever sicknesses he & MSNBC and their country’s government (especially the 1600 PA Ave looney tunes!) have.

russedav on June 2, 2014 at 1:37 PM

This sounds like a redo of Star Trek IV’s stupid save the whales lunacy! If you want an intelligent approach to science instead of what these nutcases have to offer, see http://www.creation.com for the intelligent kind of worldview the great scientists like Newton & Galileo & Pasteur & Von Braun and countless other creationists that made our world and country great had. Today’s clowns, like their Soviet & Nazi predecessors, just do it for $ sex & power and no intelligent, rational person can take them seriously unless they too sell out their sanity for $ sex & power. Thankfully those like Newton & Galileo, et al weren’t stupid enough to buy the “consensus” crap and stood for the truth against the majority delusion or we’d still teach the error that the sun revolved around the earth that the Holy Grail of “consensus” of Galileo’s day ignorantly taught, like anthropocentric “global warming”/climate change of ours. Just repeat a lie or error enough and fools will buy anything. m

russedav on June 2, 2014 at 1:44 PM

if aliens had any concerns that earthlings are stupid, watching the MSNBC segment removed all doubt.

warmairfan on June 2, 2014 at 1:50 PM

The aliens haven’t arrived because fusion power was always 50 years into the future on their world too.

agmartin on June 2, 2014 at 1:58 PM

In the first episode of Cosmos, Tyson argues that a guy who was actually killed for his religious views was an example of Christianity’s fear of Science.
LancerDL on June 2, 2014 at 11:14 AM

Let me guess: Bruno again?

I think it was in the same episode where he quotes Sagan, saying “The Cosmos is all there is, all there was, and all there ever will be”. Later in the episode, he explains that some scientists believe in a multi-verse; where our Universe (Cosmos) is just one of many. That would mean our Cosmos is not in fact all there is, was, or ever will be; refuting Sagan.

Well, I guess you could argue that the “Cosmos” is actually the multi-verse. But it’s ironic that kosmos, from the Greek, means “ordered” and “arranged” and the multi-verse is the very definition of whatever just happens to pop up.

Makes you think they’re outstripping the words that they are using. Of course, it sounds better than “Whatever all exists is the all there is, all there was, and all there will ever be”.

Axeman on June 2, 2014 at 2:02 PM

Has anyone done a point-by-point, by episode refudiation of Tyson’s shows? The one last night was ALL “global warming”, and it was a truckload of atrocious “settled science” crap.

slickwillie2001 on June 2, 2014 at 2:20 PM

Let me guess: Bruno again?

Yep.

Well, I guess you could argue that the “Cosmos” is actually the multi-verse. But it’s ironic that kosmos, from the Greek, means “ordered” and “arranged” and the multi-verse is the very definition of whatever just happens to pop up.

Makes you think they’re outstripping the words that they are using. Of course, it sounds better than “Whatever all exists is the all there is, all there was, and all there will ever be”.

Axeman on June 2, 2014 at 2:02 PM

I think it primarily refers to our Universe (as other universes may not have the same laws of Physics, and thus, as you say, the multi-verse is not ordered), but even if we accept other universes into the definition, it is doubtfully what Carl Sagan had in mind when he first said those words. Therefore the correct interpretation would have to be: “Whatever I believe to exist, that’s all there ever is, was, or will be.” It’s no more an absolute than a man’s pride in his own knowledge.

LancerDL on June 2, 2014 at 2:35 PM

Stupid – in certain ways, and in looking at how a lot of our population acts when they get into “mob” mode – yes.
And in comparison to any alien race that may be capable of long distance space travel – definitely – although primitive is probably a much better description.

George Orwell said “Some ideas are so stupid that only intellectuals believe them.”

A lot of very intelligent people have had very bad ideas, suggesting that our mistakes won’t necessarily condemn us in their eyes. Moreover, being able to cross space is a technological achievement, certainly benefiting from a more advanced level of Science. But Science is a cumulative enterprise, meaning even the people who eventually visit us don’t have to be as smart as some of the people who lived before them. We might even be disappointed.

I’m sure, if they exist, they are curious about us. And if they’ve been watching much of our TV broadcasts over the years, I’d say they are right to have some concern as to how we would react to an alien landing in our midst.

dentarthurdent on June 2, 2014 at 12:06 PM

I guess that depends on which movies/TV shows they watch. Perhaps they’re more worried about all the content they watched for free, and are worried about the lawsuit if they ever land?

LancerDL on June 2, 2014 at 2:54 PM

“Sometimes I think the surest sign that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us.”

-Calvin (Calvin & Hobbes)

sandbun on June 2, 2014 at 12:07 AM

Yeah. We’re not ready for prime time yet.

TerryW on June 2, 2014 at 3:20 PM

It’s no more an absolute than a man’s pride in his own knowledge.

And we all know that a man’s pride in is own knowledge is pretty much a constant, and independent to the actual amount of knowledge held.

Axeman on June 2, 2014 at 3:26 PM

But Science is a cumulative enterprise, meaning even the people who eventually visit us don’t have to be as smart as some of the people who lived before them. We might even be disappointed.

……………….

LancerDL on June 2, 2014 at 2:54 PM

You are assuming there will have been no fundamental change to the nature of beings that have developed travel through the vast emptiness between the stars.

We are not likely to be anything like we are now even 100 or 200 years from now. We’re cracking DNA. Every day we learn about the brain. Computers are continuing their march toward sentience, and even if that is much further away than it now looks to be, interfaces between computers and human brains could make the issue of computer sentience moot as human minds become enhanced beyond all current understanding of what it is to be human.

And that is long, long before we cross the Great Chasm to a nearby star. How different will we be by the time that happens? How different by the time we have spread out to many stars? It won’t be Star Trek.

If aliens come, we won’t be facing something even remotely like us. They would be like demigods. We can only hope they do not see us as apes or insects. Children would be a reach, but maybe they would see us as a something like fetuses, ‘human,’ but needing much more development to be considered fully functioning …. and we’d better hope they are pro-life.

fadetogray on June 2, 2014 at 3:29 PM

Moreover, being able to cross space is a technological achievement, certainly benefiting from a more advanced level of Science. But Science is a cumulative enterprise, meaning even the people who eventually visit us don’t have to be as smart as some of the people who lived before them. We might even be disappointed.

LancerDL on June 2, 2014 at 2:54 PM

See Wall-E.

Or the Golgafrinchans.

Axeman on June 2, 2014 at 3:31 PM

You are assuming there will have been no fundamental change to the nature of beings that have developed travel through the vast emptiness between the stars.

Perhaps I am, but the narrative you describe is not without its assumptions either.

LancerDL on June 2, 2014 at 4:02 PM

Maybe they have a law like The Prime Directive, which prohibits the aliens from interfering with the internal development of alien civilizations. This conceptual law applies particularly to civilizations which are below a certain threshold of development, preventing alien crews from using their superior technology to impose their own values or ideals on them.

free on June 2, 2014 at 5:10 PM

This week on Cosmos… CLIMATE CHANGE IS DEFINITELY HAPPENING because smarts or something!

Although the so-called genius astrophysicist uses junk earth data and not an ounce of “astro” data.

Odie1941 on June 2, 2014 at 9:28 AM

And does not mention the one greenhouse gas, responsible for some 95% of the total greenhouse effect:
Water Vapor !
So what we’ve got to do first, is abolish the oceans. (snicker)

Oh, and to the question: Remember War of the Worlds (by H.G.Wells)?
The aliens were defeated by Earth’s microflora and microfauna: Germs!
Each human being carries an estimated 10,000 species of microcritter. An alien would presumably do the same. So cross-contamination of invasive species would be A BIG PROBLEM. Enough to cause any intelligent species to self-quarantine, and post Keep Out signs for those too stupid to figure it out for themselves.

ReggieA on June 2, 2014 at 5:27 PM

Oh, come on! The whole issue of space aliens makes no difference to anybody, anywhere who is stupid to believe this horse-crap.

First of all, is it not suspicious that nobody has ever seen an alien from another world? Is it not suspicious that we have never seen their space-ships buzzing around the solar system?

They have reasons for not communicating with us if, indeed, they exist.

Since we have neither seen their presence, nor received their communications, the existence, or nonexistence, of these aliens is of no consequence.

I’ll have another drink, now.

koolbob on June 2, 2014 at 5:29 PM

First of all, is it not suspicious that nobody has ever seen an alien from another world?

Actually lots of people claim to have seen one.

Is it not suspicious that we have never seen their space-ships buzzing around the solar system?

koolbob on June 2, 2014 at 5:29 PM

Lots of people claim to have seen that as well.

sharrukin on June 2, 2014 at 5:32 PM

It’s a sure bet if the aliens heard Neil DeGrasse Tyson speak they couldn’t conclude anything but that Earth has no intelligent life.

stukinIL4now on June 2, 2014 at 7:35 PM

Not only do aliens think we are stupid ( electing Obama twice ) but that we are dangerous and violent ( Nazi’s, militant Islam ). Why would you want to make friends with stupid bullies?

neyney on June 2, 2014 at 11:34 PM

koolbob, Actually the odds of life on other planets are much higher than no life, for the simple reason that we are here.

free on June 3, 2014 at 12:21 AM

Mr Tiresome’s prognostications are trivially false.

What evidence is there that higher intelligences ignore lower ones? By that reasoning, we would ignore cows and worms because they clearly can’t do the Times crossword puzzle.

We even inspect and experiment with inanimate rocks for their provenance, composition and properties.

And, what is the IQ of a rock? The same as those expecting enlightenment from Dr Niel’s pretentious scientific rambles in Neverland.

virgo on June 3, 2014 at 3:54 AM

It could also be that space traveling beings observed our planet at a point in earth’s history when hominids had yet to evolve or mammals hadn’t even come into existence yet.

RobertE on June 3, 2014 at 9:07 AM

But I find it hard to believe a space traveling species wouldn’t have at least studied our planet just to observe how living organisms work here. If indeed life is rare in the galaxy, finding some should be the subject of curiosity.

RobertE on June 3, 2014 at 9:10 AM

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