Morgan Freeman's "Through the Wormhole" on the Science Channel

The collection of channels including the History Channel, the Discovery Channel, National Geographic, Animal Planet, the History Channel, etc, are quite controversial for their programs. Torn between love and hate, critics criticize the programs on these channels for dumbing down scientific, naturalistic, and historical subjects to the point of absurdity.

My personal take is that they have their place. I am endlessly fascinated by shows such as "The Universe", "Planet Earth", "Life", "How the Earth was Made", "How it's Made", "How do They do It", "Explorer", etc. I could do without crap like "Pumpkin Chunkin", "Monsterquest", "UFO Hunters", etc.

But the Science Channel is about to embark on a new road. One that I am seriously interested in, but also not entirely sure if I'm going to like it.

Morgan Freeman has a new show starting Wednesday, June 9, at 10:00 pm Eastern Standard Time. It's called "Through the Wormhole".

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Hosted by Morgan Freeman, Through the Wormhole explores the deepest mysteries of existence — the questions that have puzzled mankind for eternity.


What are we made of? What was there before the beginning? Are we really alone? Is there a creator? These questions have been pondered by the most brilliant minds of the human race. Now, science has evolved to the point where hard facts and evidence may be able to provide us with answers.

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http://science.discovery.com/tv/through-the-wormhole/.

Last night, Morgan Freeman discussed it as a guest on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart:
http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/wed-june-2-2010/morgan-freeman

Why I'm not sure if I'm going to like this is because of the very first episode. The very first show is an attempt to answer the question "is there a creator". From everything I've read, it seems to me they may actually take a bold step and say "probably, yes." Why?

Well, here's the explanation from one page on the site:
http://science.discovery.com/tv/through-the-wormhole/episodes/creator/

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It's perhaps the biggest, most controversial mystery in the cosmos. Did our Universe just come into being by random chance, or was it created by a God who nurtures and sustains all life? The latest science is showing that the four forces governing our universe are phenomenally finely tuned. So finely that it had led many to the conclusion that someone, or something, must have calibrated them; a belief further backed up by evidence that everything in our universe may emanate from one extraordinarily elegant and beautiful design known as the E8 Lie Group. While skeptics hold that these findings are neither conclusive nor evidence of a divine creator, some cutting edge physicists are already positing who this God is: an alien gamester who's created our world as the ultimate SIM game for his own amusement. It's an answer as compelling as it is disconcerting.
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Is There a Creator?
By Nathan Chandler, HowStuffWorks.com


For centuries, philosophers and scientists have marveled at the complexity of our universe and asked a lot of hard questions. Are we the only intelligent life in the universe? Is the entire universe and life on Earth simply the chance result of a combination of physical phenomena? Or did some supreme being somehow plan and then will this universe into existence?


Many physicists and philosophers alike have argued that it's very unlikely that our universe is the product of pure chance. They insist that nature alone could not achieve the precarious balance of forces that resulted in the equilibrium of galaxies and life forms we know. They say that this finely-tuned universe was guided by a great being we have yet to understand.


This theory of fine tuning bases its assertions on the constants of nature. The most commonly referenced constants are gravity,electromagnetic force, and strong and weak nuclear forces. Proponents of the fine-tuning assertion say that if the intensity of any of these constants changed — even in the smallest amount — our universe would be a very different place, and much more inhospitable to life as we know it.

Some quirky and fortunate physics came into play as these constants guided the universe's formation. For example, take the existence of carbon, which is the foundation of all life. Carbon results from the binding of three helium atoms. Statistically, creating prolific amounts of carbon is very unlikely, because each of the three atoms has slightly different energy levels that preclude the economical formation of carbon.


But the electromagnetic and strong nuclear constants level out the energy levels of the helium atoms — as a result, carbon forms. Even a tiny change in either of these constants would greatly inhibit carbon production, and thus, greatly reduce the potential for life.


Similarly, the special relationship between the weak nuclear force and gravity allowed for the preservation of hydrogen during the Big Bang, which would have otherwise transformed the hydrogen into helium. Without hydrogen, there'd be no water. Likewise, the narrowly defined initial conditions present at the birth of our universe were critical to ensuring its survival. Most scientists agree that the big bang marked the beginning of our universe, and that the forces involved in this event were calibrated with the same care as the rest of the laws of physics. For example, when the big bang occurred, the force of gravity wasn't so strong that it immediately
collapsed the new universe back into itself. Instead, it let matter expand steadily into all directions. Atoms circled and joined together to create stars, planets, solar systems and eventually, life.

There are many arguments against the finely tuned universe. Some opponents claim that the sheer vastness of our universe shows that there could be infinite permutations in the combination of physical laws, and that as mere humans bound by the laws of our own universe, we simply cannot observe other universes. Other doubters say we just can't yet comprehend the physical laws that rule our universe. With more time and insight, they say, we'll disprove the notion of a supernatural creator.


However, we can all agree that the universe is an overwhelmingly complex place. The most intelligent human minds of history have uncovered countless tantalizing clues as to our origins, but complete answers to all of our questions still evade our understanding. Eventually, we may find that the finely tuned universe assertion offered
key insights into the existence of a super-intelligent creator. At the very least, the concepts driving these assertions confirm one thing for sure — our universe is, without a doubt, a magnificently calibrated design that won't be unraveled and fully understood anytime soon.

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Is the first show of Morgan Freeman's series going to be a pseudoscientific attempt at the Cosmological argument, (mis)using Quantum Physics?

There is no doubt that science has yet to answer the question. But if this first show is nothing more than the Cosmological argument, why do they even bother?





(Sorry about the weird sizing on the copied text. It copied over in a weird way, with paragraph breaks in very strange places. The text actually looks normal in the text box, but in the preview it looks a bit strange and I don't know how to fix it.)

Views: 91

Tags: History Channel, Morgan Freeman, Through the Wormhole, creator, supernatural

Comment by Matt on June 3, 2010 at 3:01pm
I had the same concern after hearing Mr. Freeman talk last night on The Daily Show. When he said something along the lines of when scientists don't know something about the universe they label that unknown reason God, I cringed. Why would they ever label it anything other than "We have no fucking clue, but we will keep exploring until we figure it out"?
Comment by Jay on June 4, 2010 at 2:40am
I hardly catch these types of shows due to bad timing and/or ignorance. I did watch the daily Show interview and I really like Morgan Freeman. The man's voice can make anyone cry tears of joy, but I particularly do not like his "when scientists don't know, they say goddidit." I hate that line so damn much so I couldn't help but raise an eyebrow when I heard him say it. To add insult to injury Jon just sat there and believed him. Don't get me wrong, I love Jon Stewart. But damn it, don't just challenge the guests who have radically different views than yours.
Comment by Mario Rodgers on June 4, 2010 at 2:52am
Calibrated? Against what?

Um. . . it's called "toss enough crap at the wall and something will stick." I.E. a random occurrence against an infinite number of chances or at least an impossibly huge number of chances.
Comment by Nathan Hevenstone on June 4, 2010 at 12:12pm
Thank you Adriana. That gives me more perspective and allows me to soften my feelings a bit.

Now that I think about it, I probably overreacted. Perhaps, as they're saying, Morgan was just using popular terminology to get across the point that there are still things scientists don't know.

Part of what annoyed me, though, was Jon Stewart's reaction... either he misunderstood Morgan (who, BTW, may be an atheist... or, at least, an agnostic), or he purposefully didn't challenge the notion.

Either way, the impression they both left with me of the first episode was not a positive one... but I will still see it, anyways...
Comment by Mario Rodgers on June 4, 2010 at 1:39pm
I kind of figured Freeman was just highlighting a statement of a fact instead of issuing and endorsement of a viewpoint.
Comment by Filippo on June 8, 2010 at 3:06pm
my whole take on the "fine-tunedness" of the universe is that in addition to our own universe, there are millions perhaps billions (or even infinite?) of other universes existing in a yet unexplained multiverse. Because of the sheer enormity of possible outcomes, our universe was one that may appear "finely-tuned" to a single-universe perspective but in reality was one by chance that contained the ingredients necessary for the formation of galaxies, stars, planets, etc. There would no doubt be other "successful" universes that exist and also "failed" universes that lack the physical laws/elements necessary for the formation of cosmic bodies.
I hope the show goes into some exploration of the multiverse theory since we may be on the cusp of validation due to the CERN collider.
http://www.dailygalaxy.com/my_weblog/2010/03/large-hadron-collider-...

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