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Origins

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Hear what Neil had to say at the conclusion of the episode "Where Did We Come From?"

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49 Comments

Science is based on experiment, and through repetition of results findings and facts are then found. Nova scienceNow is a show about science and scientific findings. I dont think the topic of Intelligent Design could really be supported at any length, because Intelligent Design cannot be studied using the Scientific Method, which Nova scienceNow and the scientists it features use to explore the topics of its programs. if it did feature Intelligent design it would not be a show about science and what science is trying to prove using the classic methods of repetition. However, that does not mean it shouldn't b discussed. I'm just not surprised Nova science Now did not discuss it. His comment on life as we know it coming from inanimate objects is based on the hope that these scientific findings, which have been found to create organic molecules, can progress scientifically (via the Scientific Method) to structure DNA.

i forgot to tell you that i love mr.tyson on this program.hes the one that makes the program the best.his excitment is catchy,and he makes me feel like a kid in school with the best teacher in school.hes right up there with bill nye the science guy.keep up the good work pbs.pamela

I very much enjoyed the program "where did we come from" and have two questions/comments. We are given the impression that humans lost their body hair rather suddenly, but I think that it was (and is) a very much slower process. For example I know many people who are very hairy indeed - are they less evolved? Also I know people who have almost no underarm and pubic hair, - are they further evolved, at least as concerns the hair issue?
My other question is about the memory blocker by A. Fenton. Was the blocker permanent in the rat, or did it gradually regain some of its memories when no more blocker was injected?
Thanks for some great programs

do you think the big bang theory is correct? i feel that it should be called the big bangs theory, my evidence, after 13-15 billions of years of an expanding universe how can galaxies still be colliding. starting from a single singularity seems that there should be a l o t more space between things. if the center of the milky way harbors a black hole as it eats, gets bigger, on its own time schedule, might it pop to add to an ever expanding galaxy? on another note, the need for green power, how about lowering a pipe to grab the hot water coming up from the sea floor. using shuttle tile technology i believe the water can be brought toward the surface w/o significant heat loss flash to steam to spin a turbine. the vents temp 700+ degrees. i know i can build it i just don't know who to ask for the funding, can you help me?

I thought this series is brilliant and being a fellow pragmatic scientist thought that Dr. Tyson's approach was fantastic and necessary if we want to popularize science. Keep em coming!

-Abhijeet

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Its inconceivable that Mr. N. D. Tyson, being a self-proclaimed intellectual can say..."We don’t know how animate life came from inanimate life" while simultaneously saying it is a FACT that is exactly what happened. It’s the most psychotic thing I’ve ever heard. It’s also inconceivable that one day there is a rock or a puddle of mud and the next a complex living organism encoded with all of the genetic material necessary to spawn the vast diversity of every living thing on the planet! Mr. Tyson is a staunch atheist and speaks as if there is no God as a fact.

Well, I’ll have you know, Mr. Tyson atheism IS a religion. Its has a God (Darwin), a belief (evolution) and a Bible (The Origin of Species) which is no different from every other religion and you’re trying to shove that bologna down everyone’s throat like all the other great religions do. I watched the show in its entirety because I love science but I watched it w/ disgust as you completely removed the intelligent discussion of evidence of even the possibility of an intelligent creator. Next time you put on an atheistic show at least have the stones to open up discussion for the other side of the argument since Mr. Tyson cannot emphatically and unequivocally prove what you so passionately believe in as well as your inability to prove there is no God!!!

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I so agree with those who find Dr. Tyson's vocal style/delivery irritating. He most certainly DOES affect the sorts of patronizing, oddly-stressed vocal tones of one who's entertaining 10-year-olds. I find it off-putting, and that kind of wink-wink smirky grin does NOT help. Great content, though.

I agree with Thomas. The show was fascinating, and I'd like to see a recommended-reading list on this page so the interest that was generated could be followed up.

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Am I missing something on the web page? Why don't the producers put up a short list e-links to the original research so those of us who are interested can dig deeper into the topics that interest us?

Great Show.

I was lucky enough to see Neil de Grasse Tyson at UT Arlington 2 yrs. ago, in, appropriately, "An Evening with Neil de Grasse Tyson", where he talked about several topics a little more in-depth than "Nova Science Now". He has charisma oozing out of his pores, so he's always fun to watch/listen to. It was a real thrill for me (I'm a science nerd).

RE: Jerry M's comment:
Although I sometimes find the "magazine" format of "NSNow" a bit frustrating--each topic just getting a few minutes, and designed for an interested but general audience, let's not forget the DISMAL level of interest in/knowledge of Science among the general US public!! It's really APPALLING!!!!!! I think the aim behind "NSNow" is to catch the interest of viewers, from jr. high through adulthood who may not have the level of interest/knowledge that some of us have. I think Neil de Grasse Tyson has a gift for turning people on to Science and learning, and I think "NSNow" is a pretty good format for that.

I'm afraid that I can't agree with J Duff. I love the programs but I always feel things are being explained by Neil as if I am a 10 year old. I think most people who watch these series are above being addressed as having only a basic mentality.

Hi there,
I am wondering if Neil (or anyone on the staff) reads these and will answer questions.

My question is this. Based on the hypothesis that a supernova triggered the creation of our solar system, there should be a "goldilocks" distance for this to occur. They touched on this but did not answer the question. At what range of distances from the primordial gas cloud would a supernova be strong enough to compress the gasses and kickstart a solar system but not too strong such that it would blow the gasses away? From that we could determine a spherical radius around the sun and look for black holes within that sphere. Those would be the candidates for the trigger that created our solar system!

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I just discovered this program three episodes ago. It is absolutely the best general show on science I've seen. Every topic is insightful and well-presented. I hope this show continues for a long, long time. Potential topics are endless, and so many people are so ignorant about science. We need shows like this more now than ever.

Neil deGrasse Tyson does a terrific job with his delivery. Although deliberate, he is skilled at not "talking down" to the viewers. Great host, great show.

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I'm loving these new scienceNOW shows. I have one question in regards to Andrew Fenton's 'memory wipe.' If there were some clinical trials done, I'm sure the person would give them self a recording to watch in detail and etc. BUT, lets say pkmZ really does wipe ALL memory, including all schooling and language. That would be horrible, but imagine the opportunity or possibilities. If all long-term connections are disabled or destroyed, would that open up learning abilities akin to an infant? If you left yourself instructions to learn about what interests you most you certainly could make amazing strides in your beloved field.

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Andre Fenton has a very well-thought out perspective on our memories and that without them our humanness may be lost. I thought that was important to note, that even as a scientist, he is being extremely ethical in testing human subjects who have solicited his help to remove painful memories.
The ending commentary I had to listen to twice. It wasn't profound for me.

I understand your explanation of when humans lost body hair. You didn't explain why nature made this adaptation. You didn't explain why we have long head hair and beards. There are no ancestors with anything similar to our hair pattern.

If we ever discover that there is more than one place such as our own Universe will we need to change the name of what we call the Universe since Uni in Universe means One
I enjoy the show very much and encourage the research that is being done by the biochemisy field perhaps some day will be able to learn how to use the information why or what would have ever been motivated to evolve at all? Were we somehow able to envision or dream that life would be better somehow or the rewards would out weigh obstacles We are creatures who look for incentitives or perks and benefits. It is after all changed in the chemicals in our body that seems to trigger our different stage of development throught our lives

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I Love this series...the host is brilliant and personable. The "where did we come from" show was wonderful and in my opinion married the creation/evolution controversy. The gentle hand of "god" (what ever your belief of who or what god is) the gentle hand of God caused the gases of a supernova to form the universe as we understand it. I love Nova Science Now. Thank for making intelligent television.

Dr. Rosalynn Moten-Travis
Clinical/Forensic Psychologist

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I Love this series...the host is brilliant and personable. The "where did we come from" show was wonderful and in my opinion married the creation/evolution controversy. The gentle hand of "god" (what ever your belief of who or what god is) the gentle hand of God caused the gases of a supernova to form the universe as we understand it. I love Nova Science Now. Thank for making intelligent television.

Dr. Rosalynn Moten-Travis
Clinical/Forensic Psychologist

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The show about where we come from was full of important and interesting information. The topics covered deserve even more attention, especially the part about the origins of life from a biochemistry perspective. Please tell us more!

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The basic content of all the Nova Science Now programs is very good, but why all the goofy special effects. From the initial blasting comets to the fast motion back to normal speed motion to Dr Tyson sitting in a tree—is all that necessary. It personally drives me nuts. Maybe this is good entertainment for kids K-6, but I find it annoying and distracting.

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Neil deGrasse Tyson was an excellent host and the show was very educational. I’m sure there will be comments claiming that humans came from an all-powerful god waiving his hand, but it is good to see that NOVA presents the real science that helps explain the true beginning of the Universe, solar system and life on earth, as opposed to old myths and legends (I'll take Geology over Genesis any day).

Keep up the great work and I look forward to many more similar programs on PBS.

Me and my son love the show and we love astronomy and the mystery of it. We dont agree with the evolution theory of how we got here. Nature is just too diverse for us to accept it. Please keep us wondering and keep up the good work.

This and other NOVA programs can be purchased via Shop PBS:
http://www.shoppbs.org/family/index.jsp?categoryId=1412584

Hi Jim,
The segment is describing a particular isotope of iron with the atomic mass (not atomic number) 60.

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re: solar system origin

I think the story and graphics failed to inform the audience about the origin of the gas giants. Your explanation only covered the rocky planet formation.

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Overall, I'd give this episode a B+ (maybe an A-). It was an enjoyable episode for this viewer.

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Having survived a motorcycle accident wherein I suffered head-trauma (among other things), and resulting memory loss, I'm intrigued by studies, stories, or topics related to the brain, it's function and memory.

You missed an opportunity to further illustrate your points by referring to "Blade Runner" and how the Harrison Ford character deals with memory and talking about it in relation to the android he has come to love.

Sorry if this was covered earlier or elsewhere, but as a high school biology teacher I would love to purchase these shows via dvd or online. Is that possible?

Science is truly my favorite subject, it amazes me how far we have come, but when it comes down to creation how could you not believe that there is something beyond science? We have telescopes that can see further than we ever imagined, does space ever stop? and if it does, there has to be something on the other side, and whats on the other side of that? more space? There are many answers right there in front of us, maybe if we had some faith in God instead of scientific proof, I believe eventually everyone will find out where they came from but for me you can't leave God out of the equation.

Yes. Thank you.

I have enjoyed the whole series thus far. I found tonight's episode very interesting. I have always had a conflicting view trying to merge science with beliefs.
On the memory gene that blocks/erases a memory, I would think they would be able to reverse or find another gene that would enhance our memory. Perhaps even ending part of Alzheimer's disease.
I hope more series are made on these topics and more. Unfortunately, depending where you live, your beliefs or that of others prevents many of us from being educated on multiple theories and/or truths about the world/ galaxy we live in.

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Make that "...with departed souls..." Bad mistake. wc

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This show was BLOCKED in my part of the country (northeast Mississippi) at it's original air time, but I'm recording the re-run at midnight! :) CAN'T WAIT! (Thanks, Dr Tyson, for visiting us at MSU last night!).

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cosmic perspective, where did we come from?...great work people, very impressive work by Nova, Neil and crew.

ideas I've had, I'd love you or your colleagues to play with with:
-big bang producing very small to very large size tears in time-space fabric...very small to very large black holes.
-small black holes creating rotating stars and solar systems.
-galaxy size black holes creating spiraling galaxy's.
-black hole matter consumed over our universe's life...our missing dark matter?...going where?...seed matter for a new universe?

I caught the show tonight and really liked how you approached the topic. I liked how you took a broader perspective of "where did we come from," because it looked at the beginnings of all life and not the usual anthropocentric origins of the human species. I appreciated hearing the perspectives of Chemists and learned a lot from it.

Thanks!

P.S.
Your narration sounds great

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"...the beginning itself, and especially what happened before, remains THE biggest mystery of all. Why?...BECAUSE OUR UNIVERSE IS THE ONLY KNOWN EXAMPLE OF A UNIVERSE, IN THE UNIVERSE... and that, is the cosmic perspective."

And THAT, just blew my mind.

BEST. SCIENCE. SHOW. EVER.

P.S. i'm really wasted right now

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Yet another winner. They just keep coming from you guys.
Loved the lice link to our going furless.

Hope one day, any gods can be left out of the formation of all things. But I'm not that young any more and don't hope to see it myself.

What a great program, but geez... Neil stop reading the narration with the sing-song voice like it is for a grade school documentary! When you talk normally you have a great voice. Leave the "special" emphasis voice only for a sentence only occasionally! I had to turn the channel because I couldn't take any more...

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Concerning what happened before the Big Bang Theory’s actual big bang, I’m not necessarily promoting or advocating the views of Emmanuel Swedenborg, but he proposed an interesting point of view. That is, that God created the universe from himself, not from nothing.*

With or without believing that the resultant universe is a product of any god’s (or some other entity’s) essence, realistically something had to be there to go bang if the theory is to have merit. So, it’s easy to presume that a speck of something went “Bang,” and it’s also reasonable and necessary to conclude that that speck came from someone or something from somewhere before the event.

Here’s the other curiosity about the initial speck that became the universe. Since everything in the universe is from that speck, the essence of that speck is in everything within the universe. Now, if as Swedenborg claims, the speck came from, or was from, an entity he and many call God, then that entity’s essence, i.e. God’s essence, is in and within everything; every speck of the universe.

And even if we can agree that the speck existed (however that might have occurred), why did it go bang? Well, to create the universe, of course. Somebody out there had a plan, don’t you think?

Great program – outstanding thought provoker.
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*To my knowledge Swedenborg never claimed any of his “arcana” as from his own thinking. He steadfastly held to his claim that he had conversations (revelations) with departed soles in both heaven and hell as the sources for his writings.

What a great program, but geez... Neil stop reading the narration like it is for a grade school documentary! When you talk normally you have a great voice. Leave the "special" emphasis voice only for a sentence only occasionally! I had to turn the channel because I couldn't take any more...

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"Where Did We Come From" is the most informative discussion of this topic that I have ever seen and listened to ... I was sad when the hour was over ! One long-standing item on my "bucket list" is irrevocable proof of life (of any variety) elsewhere in the universe. Dr. Tyson, you are an admirable inheritor of Carl Sagan's legacy !

Hey, this is Nova, not the 700 club. Some teachers are reluctant to deeply look into evolution anymore due to the fear of parents' ignorant attacks. Moreover, many channels have taken the creationist view and ran with it (eg History). Furthermore, 'Nova Science Now' and creationist ideas should never mix. There is no science in creationism.

I have a question: How can you speak so matter-of-factly about subject matter for which there is often no explanation?

You mention that you're "Quite happy with our Big Bang Theory." What are the details of that, and if that theory can be as publicly promoted, distributed, and unscrutinized as it is, why then, can't the Creationist view be respected just the same?
Why is it so hard to fathom that we weren't and then in only six days, we just ....were? The book of Genesis holds some fascinating insights that will provide you answers to those questions you still have. You should really give it a chance and read it. Just...a chance. Science is awesome and I am so glad that you are as intelligent as you are, a great model for the up and coming of the Black male species, however I would like to see an opening for another model of how things came to be to answer your question: "Where Did We Come From?"

Thanks for reading good sir.

I was completely engaged in the program throughout the whole hour. Fantastic content!!

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You commented in this sow where the 60 of the iron atom told us how many neutrons and protons were in the iron atom. In actuality the 60 only is the number of protons in the atom. Learned that in chemistry.

Beautiful program. Thank you.

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Wow!!! What a great concept for a program. Keep up the good work.