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Neil deGrasse Tyson: Religion is not the enemy

Larry King NowJul 03 '17

Pointing out that a sizable proportion of scientists are religious, Neil deGrasse Tyson says science and religion aren’t in conflict with one another, provided people don’t take the latter literally.


Larry King: Is religion your enemy?

Neil deGrasse Tyson: No, no. I mean, there are factions of most religions, especially the monotheistic religions. that make statements about the physical world. In particular, ‘Genesis’ in the Bible, for example, and if you want to take ‘Genesis’ as literal truth… Yeah, I’ve got a problem with you. You don’t understand the actual universe, if you’re referencing the book of ‘Genesis’ as your understanding of nature. But, that’s not the majority of religious people. You have an entire enlightened class of religious people for whom religion provides their spiritual fulfillment and their spiritual enlightenment. And they’re not referencing their Bible, the Torah... They’re not going back to it to get an answer to their science quiz. So, they’re drawing a line in the sand. In fact, what’s the number? 60% of scientists in the United States pray to God; pray. Excuse me, 40% of western scientists and the spread goes below that and above that obviously, so that’s just the average. But that’s not zero. That’s my point. If it’s not zero and you’re a productive scientist, then the answer is: there does not have to be conflict between the two because empirically their people for whom there isn’t. So, that’s the answer.

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