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SDCC2018: Neil deGrasse Tyson Discusses ‘Cosmos’, America and The Need for Science in Society

Fox and National Geographic’s Cosmos: Possible Worlds returns to the small screen this March with the smartest man in the room, Neil deGrasse Tyson.

Prior to his panel at San Diego Comic-Con, Tyson chatted about Cosmos and why science is the major component needed to make America great again.

“We were asked, ‘Is there enough content to fill up another thirteen episodes?’ You have to remember: we are drawing from the universe. If you can have nine seasons of Duck Dynasty, we can have another season of Cosmos.”

“This entire set of episodes explore the power we have over our own fate, as well as other worlds. An exploration of knowledge of how the universe works can influence what kind of world we create for ourselves going forward.”

“There are worlds with runaway greenhouse effects, so there is no life. There are worlds that collided with other worlds, so they are not there now. There are plants that were consumed by their host star because it was dying. This knowledge brought back to our planet can be simultaneously enlightening and frightening.”

“The solutions don’t come from hoping. They don’t come from praying. They come from understanding how science works and taking that to task.”

“So for me, what I am excited to present this year is the empowerment we will have of civilization.”

“But in this day and age, in a time when so much science and fact is dismissed, where will Cosmos find its place? Is the show more important than ever?”

“I think we said that of each of the Cosmos in 1980 and 2014, and it’s a shame that each one will have the claim ‘This is more important than ever.’ Because it means things are getting worse if it is more important than ever.”

“I don’t know if the denial we experience here in America is rampant throughout the world. We can deny science. And as we do, we fade as a nation and we are laughed at. And we will get ignored. And you have to ask, ‘How will we respond to that?’”

“When Europe and Asia and Africa have a conference about the future of the species and we are not even at the table because they are having a conversation about climate change and our contingent denies it. We will fade into irrelevance as shapers of the future of civilization.”

“That’s not the posture I have seen our country take. I was shaped in the 20th century. The United States was the leader in practically everything. And perhaps that’s what I took for granted even.”

“Just yesterday we had the anniversary of the moon landing, quite a triumph of science and technology in a time when people were not denying science and technology. At a time when were embracing what science and technology could do for us.”

“Remember the day when we didn’t go a week or a day without the cover of Time magazine or Life magazine talking about ‘The City of Tomorrow’ or ‘The Transportation of Tomorrow’ or ‘The Food of Tomorrow’…and you knew that tomorrow would come through science and technology. It was a fundamental part of how we thought about the world.”

“Now all you see are articles about ‘The App of Tomorrow.’”

“We have much bigger problems than can be solved by apps. There’s food. There’s housing. Energy. The rights of the disenfranchised. These things take a different level of investment  than what can show up on your smartphone.”

“When I look at the sky at night, I think ‘Why aren’t more people interested in this?’

“I cannot wait for the day when there are enough people out there so I can step backwards and fade away and go to the Bahamas. You won’t miss me because you’ll be enchanted by the others who are doing this task.”

 

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