The Power of Political Satire, with Bill Maher

Neil deGrasse Tyson and Bill Maher. Credit: Brandon Royal.

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About This Episode

Join Neil deGrasse Tyson as he talks with comedian Bill Maher about aliens, religion, political correctness, and much more. Joined in the Hall of the Universe at the American Museum of Natural History by comic co-host Maeve Higgins and political scientist Alison Dagnes, we discuss the power of satire and the impact of comedy on society. Bill explains how he got started in comedy and how humor allows people to put their guard down. You’ll hear a clip from Real Time with Bill Maher where Neil discusses the power of seeing the universe. You’ll also hear Alison discuss the dangers of re-affirming your beliefs by surrounding yourself with like-minded people, and our panel discusses how to infuse science into debate dialogue. Neil and Bill talk about political correctness, how liberals should defend the First Amendment, and how society might be becoming too sensitive. Then, Greg Lukianoff, author, attorney, and president of the Foundation for Individual Rights and Education, joins our panel to investigate how college campuses are becoming too sensitive and threatening the “marketplace of ideas” concept. John Hibbing, political scientist and author of Predisposed: Liberals, Conservatives, and the Biology of Political Differences, joins the conversation to discuss if political affiliation can be biological and what monitoring electrodermal activity can tell us about the brain patterns of people on opposite sides of the aisle. Discover how certain generations are more susceptible to conspiracy theories, whether Bill believes in aliens, and how religion has impacted his comedy. All that, plus, we answer fan-submitted Cosmic Queries and Neil helps us look at truth from a cosmic perspective.

NOTE: All-Access subscribers can listen to this entire episode commercial-free here: The Power of Political Satire, with Bill Maher, as well as Neil’s extended interview with Bill Maher here.

In This Episode

  • Host

    Neil deGrasse Tyson

    Neil deGrasse Tyson
    Astrophysicist
  • Co-Host

    Maeve Higgins

    Maeve Higgins
    Comedian
  • Guest

    Bill Maher

    Bill Maher
    Host of Real Time with Bill Maher
  • Guest

    Alison Dagnes

    Alison Dagnes
    Political Scientist, Professor of Political Science at Shippensburg University
  • Guest

    John Hibbing

    John Hibbing
    Political Scientist, Author of “Predisposed: Liberals, Conservatives, and the Biology of Political Differences”
  • Guest

    Greg Lukianoff

    Greg Lukianoff
    Author, Attorney and President of FIRE (Foundation for Individual Rights and Education)

Music in This Episode

Episode Topics

  • Doug DeFoe

    Our existence maybe static slices of time a billion times thinner than planck unit.

  • axnyslie

    Not buying the whole “political correctness” excuse. Over-tolerance to extremist views under the false guide of so-called “free speech” has largely fueled the anti-science hysteria in this country, now rapidly decaying to third word status. Willful ignorance and hate speech does not deserve the same platform alongside facts & knowledge. The survival of humanity far exceeds any individual’s rights.

    • Prince Randorson

      You are dead wrong. Popular speech does not need protection. Words are not violence. It is very sad that a portion of self labeled “liberals” do not understand this.

      The postion that is it ok to commit violence against those who hold different thought than yourself, is itself an extremist view.

    • Gotimas The Almighty

      The problem is that political correctness is all about being safe and unhurt, and not about the truth, its one thing to stop the speech of an anti-semite, but its another thing to stop speech of facts because you are offended by it.

  • David Wilson

    This was a great talk, a real pleasure to listen in on.

  • Hye Kan Chu

    ah… so Bill Mahr referring to people who come to laugh at him as a “love fest” is ok. …but when Trumph uses same term when people come and cheer him its just oh so so bad and egotistical

  • fryhole

    Dr Tyson: “Should Bill Maher have the right to offend or should I have the right to not be offended ?”

    Famous misquoted quote – “The only person that can make you feel inferior is yourself”. If you are offended by something that is on you. You also have the right to not listen to someone that offends you – whether by changing the channel – turning the device off – walking away – not buying tickets to a satire comedy show – or simply not caring and not becoming offended by someone’s opinion that shouldn’t matter to you to begin with.

    If I don’t know someone – never met tham – and somehow they come across my name and some situation I was in then post some opinion about it – why should I care about what some random person that has zero bearing on the outcome and journey of my life has to say about me. The people I care about are the only people whose opinion about me matter to me – anybody else is irrelevant.

    Today’s society has become too sensitive and anything and everything seems to offend every person around. If you look in someone’s direction, they might think you are staring at them when you didn’t even notice them and they take ofense. If you wear a combination of colors and you don’t belong to a given culture or religion someone takes offense. If you have a small difference of opinion about a discussion topic someone mught claim you are “bullying” them and take offense.

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Music in This Episode