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".


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.


Last night, Morgan Freeman discussed the show as a guest on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart:

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:

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.

Is There a Creator?
By Nathan Chandler,

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.


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.)

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Comment by Alice on October 5, 2011 at 7:53pm
I saw an episode of this show on my flight from the uk back home to australia on china air - which i thought was good exposure and it explained the 11 dimensioned membrain universe and how they are subtly attracted to each other and collide about once every 26 billion years or so to create a big bang effect that releases energy into each brain - or something like that - but it was a much better explanation of quantum worlds etc than I've ever heard before - even though my memory of it is lacking clarity.
Comment by Major Tom on June 5, 2010 at 2:03pm
I like Morgan Freeman, and love that he's doing a series like this.

But I don't like that he's so willing to shoot God into the gaps, instead of realizing it's failure as a hypothesis thus far.

I also don't like the way he uses the word "faith". He says that we have "faith" in scientific theories, until they they are disproven. He even mentions that we have "faith" in the theories, if the mathematics work out. But that kind of faith, if you wish to use that label, is not the same kind of faith that is used when talking with respect to God. And I think b/c of that, and b/c the word "faith" becomes confused in this way, it should not be used when speaking of scientific theories, which are explanations supported by vast amounts of evidence without contradiction, that are usually supported by many, many facts (observations) and laws (mathematical descriptions), which can make well defined and accurate predictions that can be tested. Logic dictates that we entertain these theories and take them seriously, as a reasonable explanation for an element or elements of nature. Theoreies require no faith. In fact faith, would defeat the purpose of the forumulation of a theory, and in fact the foundation that theories are defined upon -- science. The whole point of science is to gain a realiable and consistent understanding of the universe. Faith as he's using it, is believing something for no real good (evidence based) reason.

Then of course the woman host is misconstruing even further what he means by faith, into what she wants it to be, the kind that the relious use to justify a belief in God. So the term ends up being misplaced in the first place, then stretched, then stretched again as it's passed down the line in the conversation. By the time they're done with the term, it means whatever the hell you want it to mean, and as such, has blurred and evaporated the definition of science in such a way that it can be used to join science and god -- of which was never given a clear definition in the first place. They might as well be mumbling at that point since what they say means nill.

Define what the hell you're talking about, and know what you're talking about when it comes to science so that you don't misinform the public.

That is what is happening here, which gives moderates more reason to believe, which then in turn keeps the shelter up as Sam Harris would say, for fundamentalists.
Comment by Nathan Hevenstone on June 4, 2010 at 11:36am
Adriana at Think Atheist linked me here:

After reading PZ Myers's take on the whole thing, I'm changing my opinion and I'm willing to give Morgan Freeman the benefit of the doubt... especially since he may be an atheist... or at least an agnostic.
Comment by Tom Thompson on June 3, 2010 at 5:22pm
I was excited about this show when I first read about it. Now I'm much less excited.



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