Does the Universe Have a Purpose?

Recently, the Templeton Foundation asked Neil deGrasse Tyson, “Does the universe have a purpose?”  Here is his answer, as illustrated by Minute Physics.


For those of you who don’t feel like watching the video, his answer is basically, “Probably not.”

Now I could engage in some character assassination here.  For example, when Dr. Tyson made a guest appearance on Wait, Wait Don’t Tell Me! he got all his questions wrong, so how smart can he really be?  Also, this is the [expletive deleted] who decided Pluto’s not a planet.  But I won’t go there.  In fact, I have a lot of admiration and respect for Dr. Tyson; I just disagree with him about this one issue.  And also Pluto.

I happen to be a religious man.  I go to church (almost) every Sunday.  My prayers and meditation have brought me a greater sense of peace in my life, but I can’t say they’ve enlightened me as to the purpose of the universe.  And yet whenever I stand outside gazing up at the stars, I know the universe is big and complicated and beautiful beyond words, and I feel it deep in my thumping heart, in the strength of my bones, in the very chemistry of my body that there is a purpose.  That all this couldn’t be for nothing.

The real question to me is not, “Does the universe have a purpose?” but, “What is that purpose?”  That I do not know.  Science can’t give me that answer, and I’m not sure religion can either.  I expect I’ll live my entire life never finding the answer, yet I remain convinced the answer does exist.

How about you?  Do you think the universe has a purpose?  What do you think it might be?

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One thought on “Does the Universe Have a Purpose?

  1. Purpose implies that it was created by some intelligence. If you believe in God and science, you would presumably answer that the purpose of the universe is that it is a physical reality that is capable of supporting life?

    I don’t believe in God and can’t conceive of the universe having a purpose, but I still find it unbelievably beautiful, mysterious and awe-inspiring.

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