Neil deGrasse Tyson debated science, religion and the existence of God with a celebrity pastor Wednesday on “The Nightly Show.”
“Any time someone describes their understanding of God, it typically involves some statement of benevolence or some kind of kindness,” Tyson said.
“I look out to the universe — and yes, it is filled with mysteries — but it’s also filled with all manner of things that would just as soon have you dead — like asteroid strikes, and hurricanes, and tornadoes, and tsunamis, and volcanoes, and disease, and pestilence,” Tyson continued. “There are things that exist in the natural world that do not have your health or longevity as a priority. So I cannot look at the universe and say, Yes, there’s a God, and this God cares about my life — at all. The evidence does not support this.”
Host Larry Wilmore pointed out that Tyson had just described the Old Testament.
Pastor Carl Lentz, of Hillsong Church in New York City, said he believed that God had created science — so he saw no conflict in their roles.
“It’s going to lead you to acknowledge that something had to begin this, there’s something more,” Lentz said. “So I love it — I think science is awesome. I don’t think they war at all.”
Wilmore agreed with comedian Tom Papa that science could lead people to God, but it hurt religion — because it exposed the absurdity of an intelligent designer who could create the universe but doesn’t want Christians to eat meat on Fridays.
“What is the intelligence of which you speak?” Tyson said. “Once again, an asteroid comes and it takes out 70 percent of all the species of life on Earth. Is there some intelligence you’re ascribing to it?”
Wilmore joked that he thought that would be pretty clever.
“I think of, like, the human body, and I look at what’s going on between our legs,” Tyson said. “There’s like a sewage system and entertainment complex intermingling. No engineer of any intelligence would have designed it that way.”
Watch the entire segment posted online by Comedy Central: