Nerds have immense power, but as Uncle Ben told Spiderman "with great power comes great responsibility." Perhaps that is why Richard Dawkins and Neil DeGrasse Tyson tried to help Bill Maher understand the important responsibility educated people hold on "Real Time" Friday night.
In case you missed it over the weekend, Maher had his typical hits on the absurd news of the week and his commentary on religion, but a poignant discussion erupted when the show ended and the web only "Overtime" segment began. While Maher interviewed the two men separately, in "Overtime" they sat side-by-side to double-team some hot science action. Even Maher got excited by the amount of science in the room.
The first question submitted by the audience was if it was worth engaging with people who deny scientific facts. Tyson said that Dawkins had more patience and Dawkins agreed that it must be done. "We have to do it. It is worth it because we've got to."
Tyson said the two have different tactics regarding how they approach sciencing the public. "You want to offer them this way of thinking about the natural world and then they come to it on their own rather than, sort of, attack them and make them feel stupid."
New Yorker staff writer Adam Gopnik asked Dawkins about Darwin. "He sort of broke up the labor. Darwin himself was very non-polemical. He never made those kinds of arguments but he let Huxley do that work."
Dawkins said he'll let Tyson be the Darwin and he will be the Huxley.
"The task of the educator is not to tell their students that they're stupid," Tyson told Maher. "The task of the educator is to have them come to a point of enlightenment where they embrace..."
Check out the rest of the video for a discussion on the ethics of artificial intelligence and the main desire of both men to understand what sparked organic life and where we came from: