A theology professor is pushing back on what science advocate Neil deGrasse Tyson is calling the “most astounding fact” about the universe, warning viewers that while deGrasse Tyson might be speaking in terms of science at times, he’s also mixing in philosophy and making assumptions that are not facts.
Critiquing deGrasse Tyson’s commentary as to where humans come from, wherein the astrophysicist reiterates the common atheistic “fact” of the mere materialism of humans, Cairn University’s Dr. Keith Plummer noted the importance of differentiating “between what they’re saying that’s scientific and what they’re saying that’s philosophical.”
“First, I think it has to be said that Neil deGrasse Tyson is a very competent astrophysicist. He knows his stuff in terms of science,” said Dr. Plummer. “But it’s always important when you’re watching something like that to make a differentiation between what they’re saying that’s scientific, and what they’re saying that’s philosophical.”
The professor explained that deGrasse Tyson is making the “assumption of materialism” while framing it as a scientific fact.
Carl Sagan, whom deGrasse Tyson was a student of, stood by a similar declaration of materialism, noted Plummer. “The universe is all that is, all that ever was, all that ever will be,” Sagan opened every “Cosmos” PBS show he hosted.
“What happens is people hear a renowned scientist making such a declaration and therefore think this must be a scientific declaration,” said Plummer. “But what it is actually is just a statement about the nature of existence.”
“And to say that the universe or the cosmos is all that ever was — that matter and energy and time – are all that ever was, isn’t something that science itself could ever conclude without assuming that already,” he continued. “And so, while I’m not anti-science, I do want to be careful and I want other people to be careful about confusing science and philosophy. What he’s really saying there is that everything there is, including ourselves, is reducible to matter. Impersonal, arational matter. Atoms.”
“And no matter how many of those (atoms) you add together, you’re not going to get things such as consciousness, and personality, and so forth.”
“You can’t scientifically conclude that matter is all that exists … that’s just a philosophical starting point, it’s not a scientific conclusion,” Plummer concluded.
H/t Faith Wire