This is last year’s discussion between Stephen Colbert and director of the Haydn Planetarium Neil deGrasse Tyson, who moonlights as an all-around cool dude. During the hour-long conversation the two delve into creationism, the ethics behind combining humans with animals, the likelihood of the existence of another universe and a beaker full of topics that would’ve made science class one hell of a lot more interesting.
deGrasse Tyson is his usual jovial, opinionated self, while Colbert refreshingly slips out of the character that’s made him famous as the host Comedy Central. He’s hysterical as the satire of Bill O’Reilly but is even more likeable as the normal guy that just wants to joke around about black holes.
“Today you hear people say ‘Why are we spending money up there when we got problems on earth?’ and people don’t connect. The time delay between the frontier of scientific research and how that’s going to transform your life later down the line. All they want is a quarterly import that shows the product that comes out of it. That is so short-sighted that that’s the beginning of the end of your culture.”
“[Science] is distrusted not because of what it can do, but because people don’t understand how it does what it can do — and that absence of understanding, or misunderstanding, of the power of science is what makes people afraid. … Just because you don’t understand it, doesn’t mean it’s bad for you — go figure out how it works! That’s why we need a scientifically literate electorate — so that when you go to the polls, you can make an informed judgment and you can draw your own conclusions rather than tune into a particular TV station to have your conclusions handed to you.”
“E=MC^2 is awesome.”
Colbert will have a discussion with documentary filmmaker Ken Burns on Oct. 19th at New York City’s Kaufmann Concert Hall. Find more information about that here.