Ben Ratner’s photo of Neil deGrasse Tyson and Chuck Nice.
Ben Ratner’s photo of Neil deGrasse Tyson and Chuck Nice.

Cosmic Queries – Office Hours

Credit: Ben Ratner.

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About This Episode

It’s time for office hours with your own personal astrophysicist! Join Neil deGrasse Tyson and comic co-host Chuck Nice as they answer fan-submitted Cosmic Queries on an array of topics from across the universe to right here on Earth. To start things off, Neil and Chuck delve into the discussion on finding life elsewhere in the universe, what happens if there’s no life to be found, and why the religious debate will be even more fervent if extraterrestrial life is discovered. You’ll learn about space dust: what it is, how it’s formed, and why it wasn’t found in the early infancy of the universe.  Discover whether time expands the same way that space does, and how we can detect it happening. You’ll also hear about Neil’s teaching past, which comes as a surprise to Chuck, and about Neil’s suggestion for a curriculum change in schools. You’ll also learn about finding reliable news sources and learn why Neil is annoyed about the early portrayal of scientists on television and in the movies. All that, plus, our Lightning Round with questions about intergalactic space war, communicating with ET, and what future technology will seem like magic to present day humans.

NOTE: All-Access subscribers can watch or listen to this entire episode commercial-free here: Cosmic Queries – Office Hours.

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  • Hi guys,
    In this episode, Chuck stated that God contains all time and space. One of science’s greatest challenges has been to understand the nature of consciousness which also seems to exist independently of time and space. From my own life experience, consciousness appears to manifest as creativity, emotion, perception. The root source of these appear to be consciousness.

    My question is: Have scientists considered the possibility that the only reality is ( like God) non-material, dimensionless consciousness, and that everything that we experience in life is an illusion that is also rooted in this “God consciousness”?

    With this understanding of “reality”, the answers to all previously unanswerable questions are finally knowable.

    Comments please.

    Gene Balfour
    Fenelon Falls Ontario
    Reference material – A Course in Miracles
    note- ACIM defines a miracle as a change in perception.

    • William King

      Your making a couple of assumptions here.
      1. That “consciousness appears to manifest as creativity, emotion, perception”
      What if consciousness is non of these things rather just the result electrical pathways in the brain?

      2. That reality could purely exist of “non-material, dimensionless consciousness”
      To quote, Rene Descartes, “Cogito ergo sum” (I think therefore I am). Here the idea is proposed that because you are able to think you can be assured of your own existence. If you close your eyes in a silent room you can still feel your body, you simply can’t imagine it away. If reality is an illusion like you posit, then how come we can still perceive our body?

      3. “everything that we experience in life is an illusion that is also rooted in this “God consciousness””
      This seems very similar to the ideas of philosopher George Berkeley who proposes the idea of idealism; where everything we experience is purely an idea. However the problem with this is that the very nature of knowledge refutes this idea. If, with idealism, we agree that things that can be known exist in the mind alone, then we instantly limit the capacity to gain knowledge. After all if everything we experience happens in the mind, how do we lean new things?

  • Philosaur

    May I ask a question for the next episode here? So for what I know the smallest objects we have in theory are quarks. You have up-quarks and down-quarks that form the parts of an atom. Pretty similar to binary code. Does that mean that, beside the theory that the whole universe could be a giant simulation, everything in the universe could be translated into binary code (which could possible lead to artificial copies of anything and replicators)?

    • Hi, Philosaur. Here’s how we handle Cosmic Queries. When we know we’re going to record a show, we ask our fans to submit their questions about the specific topic of that show. We ask, and then collect the responses, on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Google Plus and Patreon. Then, we collect those questions and give them to the producers and the comic co-host, and they decide which questions to use.
      Outside of those specific times, the place to leave your Cosmic Queries is under the “Questions” tab under the “More” menu in our navigation above. You can ask a Cosmic Query there anytime, and we look there whenever we’re collecting Cosmic Queries on a specific topic to put them into the mix for our producers and co-host to choose from.
      All of that is a long way of saying that this comments section probably isn’t the best place to ask a question, because we don’t tend to look back at all of the comments on all of our episodes when we’re looking for Cosmic Queries to use for a different episode

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