Moyers & Company

From A Universe of Wonder to the Politics of Earth

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This week on Moyers & Company (check local listings), Bill Moyers concludes his conversation with Neil deGrasse Tyson, director of the Hayden Planetarium at the American Museum of Natural History in New York and host of the upcoming Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey premiering Sunday, March 9, 2014 on Fox. Beginning with a Bill Moyers essay on politicians and others who refuse to accept the reality of evolution and climate change, Tyson and Moyers discuss the dangers created by those who would deny scientific fact and block important research. "Since the Industrial Revolution and before, we have known the value of innovation of science and technology and its impact on an economy, " Tyson says. "If that begins to go away, it's a different country. We'll still call ourselves America, but we won't lead the world economically. And that's a choice we are making as an elected democracy." Science matters, Tyson tells Moyers. "It matters that you know that an asteroid has our name on it and how it might strike us and how we might deflect it...It matters what is happening to your health. This requires a level ̶ a base level of science literacy that I don't think we have achieved yet. You have not fully expressed your power as a voter until you have a scientific literacy in topics that matter for future political issues...Science literacy is an inoculation against charlatans who would exploit your ignorance of scientific law to then take your money from you or your opportunity from you." And that literacy is at risk, Tyson concludes. Yet the scientist's enthusiasm is undiminished. "My favorite questions are the ones, dare I use the word, yet to be divined, because there's a discovery yet to take place that will bring that question into the center of the table," Tyson declares. "I live for those questions. So that means I can't tell you what they are, because they derive from something yet to be discovered."

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