Lawrence Krauss explains why science trumps religion in illegal broadcast to Iranians

Oct 2, 2015

By Eric W. Dolan

US physicist Lawrence Krauss is spreading the gospel of science to Iranians via an outlawed satellite TV network.

Krauss, a professor at Arizona State University and outspoken atheist, recently appeared on the Bread and Roses show to discuss the beauty of science, and the differences between science and religion.

The Farsi/English program is broadcast on New Channel, an outlawed 24-hour TV station that reaches Iranians via satellite TV and the Internet. Bread and Roses explains on its crowdfunding page that while their show is officially banned in Iran, many Iranians “can still access it because 40-60 percent of the population have satellite dishes.”

During an interview on Bread and Roses, the physicist pointed out a fundamental difference between science and faith.

“Not knowing is fine,” Krauss said. “In fact, it is a central part of science, so it makes it different than religion, because you don’t make these assertions about things you can’t test, nor do you claim to have absolute knowledge. We learn about the universe, and it keeps surprising us. But the Big Bang really happened… we can measure so many aspects of our universe and it was once smaller and smaller and smaller. We can go back to [the very beginning], but we can get very close.”

Krauss also said humans are lucky they can understand the universe at all.

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37 comments on “Lawrence Krauss explains why science trumps religion in illegal broadcast to Iranians

  • 1
    voiceofarabi says:

    Why are the American’s spending money and going the extra “illegal” mile to educate Iranians in Farsi?? What is the incentive??

    Why are they not spending half of the money and going legal via all their “official” bases to educate their Arab allies who are a lot more backwards when it comes to religion, than Iran..???

    Simple, this is not about education or the sciences… This is about regime change methods… It almost makes science dirty…

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  • Who are “the Americans” you are referring to?

    How does crowdfunding get to be the state?

    How does pro-science-therefore(!)-anti-religion facilitate any viable alternative regime?

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  • 4
    maria melo says:

    Inspiring Krauss
    Useful explanations, and clear about physics and anthropology.
    Perhaps it´s a fallacy that our brains were shaped to escape predators in savana, anyway it would be unlike that intelligence is not an evolutionary feature, contrary to the statements I recall I have read on RDF:”evolution has no direction (—) evolutionary forces don´t workout features as intellingence but arms and legs”(not na exact quote but from memory).
    Even branching from a tree to another requires calculating distances and develop intelligence therefore. well, if science has to do with “measuring” the real world it makes sense that we were not shaped from escaping predators in savana only, I wonder, the brain as na organ and it´s functions don´t came out in one day, in one species.
    (I really enjoyed Christmas lectures for children on the theme “climbing mount improbable)
    I regret to say, but yes, I would not ever dream of a world of invisible thiny particles.

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  • 5
    voiceofarabi says:

    Hey Alfafa and Phil Rimmer,

    I don’t think pro-science or any education what-so-ever is bad, and yes I agree with you, the regime in Iran sucks and not in a good way…..

    That said, you are being naïve if you think Crowd funding, twitter , facebook, google, amnesty international, or any thing to do with that chap called George Soros is not USA Gov / CIA related (not always directly).

    I am just wondering why they would rather focus on Iran (which is hard) and neglect Saudi Arabia, which is officially a failed state that is killing babies in Yemen on a daily basis. This makes the US of A and the rest of the “free world” just look ugly and opportunistic beyond humanity.

    I know for fact, that the average American or Western person is not inhuman… But I also know from reading history that the US of A is an evil and a failed state at best…

    (Hold on, that’s my answer… USA is a failed state and will only support other failed states….) I wounder when will Germany wake up and leave these failed states.. – Germans are normally more pragmatic.

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  • I try ceaselessly to bring this virtual particle concept to my q and a sites because about every ten days there is some religious type asking a question along the lines of…” If you can not create something out of nothing, then goddidit “… or something along those lines.

    Every time I put it out there is unending strife, even when the sources are many for the virtual particle concept.

    It is not that they don’t get it, for the majority of them it is that they can’t get it.

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  • Quantum physics is fascinating, and confusing, but the clip on the video was hardly inspiring as talks go.
    As for regime change and USA conspiracies — grow up! That is a silly as believing in ghosts and ghouls.
    America is a country full of ordinary people doing ordinary things, who elect politicians with as few brains as any other country’s politicians. They are not a super race, and not ever-so-cleverly trying to take over the world through odd physicists talking about quantum mechanics.
    Biggish place, rather too rich for everyone’s good but not a nation of Satans plotting for the souls of the world or grabbing at land to get oil (they’ve got plenty of their own). That is tiresome stupidity.
    Other than that, I think he’s a bit off with his dates on ‘out-of-Africa’, and the Neanderthals extinction is not necessarily down to sapiens: they may well have been less able to cope with changing climate and habitat and seem to have been less social than sapiens so maybe less able to adapt and learn from each other.

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  • 9
    voiceofarabi says:

    Hi Kay,

    So, you believe US of A is force for good?? then how do you explain, all the American wars over the last 100 years. How do you explain Vietnam and Latin America or Monrovia?? Or a million children killed in Iraq.???

    As far as growing up, and leaving all fantasises behind, then read this quote from Wki……

    “Self-criticism (or auto-critique) refers to the pointing out of things critical/important to one’s own beliefs, thoughts, actions, behaviour or results; it can form part of private, personal reflection or a group discussion. It is an essential element of critical thought, with many regarding it as healthy and necessary for learning .”

    In my opinion.. it is the last step in growing up, and many are unable to achieve it..

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  • voiceofarabi

    I’m beginning to think that I ought to hand over my web name to you. After all my efforts to spread illogicality and failed wit, I see that I have been trumped.

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  • voiceofarabi
    Oct 3, 2015 at 3:57 am

    In my opinion.. it is the last step in growing up, and many are unable to achieve it..

    Many are indeed unable to achieve it, and many are held back from doing so by anti-science indoctrination.

    According to the psychologist Piaget, that would be “The Formal Operational Stage”!

    The Formal Operational Stage: The final stage of Piaget’s theory involves an increase in logic, the ability to use deductive reasoning, and an understanding of abstract ideas. At this point, people become capable of seeing multiple potential solutions to problems and think more scientifically about the world around them.

    You may find the progression through these stages interesting, if you are not already familiar with them!

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  • Iran is a work in progress for me.

    I see a huge functional educated middle class mostly disinterested in religion, voting by a landslide for a moderate PM, but sadly kept in check by the Clerics.

    There seems a slow attempt to wriggle out from underneath this and re-enter normal open life with the rest of the world.

    I see crowdfunding private individuals helping the Iranian middle classes in their wriggling.

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  • That may be true in religious terms Phil but the west keep ignoring the mistrust that voiceofarabi is showing us here. I fear that what is being done here will shut people off even more whatever class or beliefs they have. The political distrust has to be recognised. It feeds the Clerics.

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  • Free individuals acting are not the state. It fuels paranoia to claim otherwise. It needlessly confirms the Clerics worst fears. To say as you have, this may look worse than their intentions is quite another complaint and doubly helpful.

    Iran is moving quite rapidly the right way at the moment, save for the ruling clerics. At some point they(as we) all have to accept that people in some countries are free to speak their mind and that it is (correction….was) a point of honour for those countries not to interfere though they suffer for it.

    We will ever fall out over these issues of restraining speech, sadly.

    That the religious right wing backlash might not have happened in the US if The God Delusion hadn’t thrown down the gauntlet challenging unevidenced intrusion into education and politics, says nothing about the grievous drawn out alternative. The band-aid on my hairy calf can come off fast or slow. I always favour getting the pain over quickly.

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  • Not an act of state but the perception of is my point. Whether it is state or a loan wolf dropping leaflets on a people, the counter is bound to happen.

    You dipped your toes into the ocean of nationalistic propaganda wars in Cyprus. After 50 years it goes on. Distrust feeding many attempts, by both sides, to give facts. Even those facts have been greeted with suspicion. The only thing that seems to be making a dent in it is quite cross border confidence building measures, that is until one statement by the leaders or politicians takes the process back again. It tells us that they have to work hand in hand with true intent and empathy. Understanding the others fears is the first step, whether they are real or not. Telling people what they believed for years is wrong does not work. “Germany calling” did not make the Brits surrender or revolt.

    This is not about free speech that we haggled over before but effectiveness. One size fits all, as in The God Delusion, cannot be used everywhere IMO. There is not that full on distrust with Americans and Brits as there is with Iraq.

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  • 17
    voiceofarabi says:

    Hi Olgun and Phil Rimmer,

    Olgun, you seem to have the view from the street and understand emotions.

    Phil, you seem to have the view from a large library full of books on ideals.

    The real reason Yemen, Iran, Hezbollah, Venezuela, etc are attacked is because they openly declare their hatred against USA or Israel. Some countries more than others, as both Yemen and Iran have these slogans as Flags 🙂

    I asked few leaders in both those countries why do you want to kill Americans, and they responded “we don’t want to kill Americans or America… we just wanted them to changed their “attacking” attitudes towards us, and leave us in peace. (one said, I want them to stop selecting our leaders for us)

    Free speech seems to be only allowed for the “free world”, and the USA can call other countries Evil, but it is not allowed the other way round.

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  • Phil, you seem to have the view from a large library full of books on ideals

    As an anti-idealist, this has me puzzled. I don’t recognise your (or Olgun’s) account of my thoughts either.

    US foreign policy continues to be mostly disgraceful, spuriously and selfishly meddling.

    I have long been indifferent to the keenness here to attack faith for being faith. We are not the thought police. But we should be (every last individual) be the moral police, at the very least putting out our thoughts on the matter. Matters of truth are entirely a moral concern at the point of conflict with education and understanding (to be better moral authors).

    Maryam Namazie is a private individual fighting for the moral griefs that happen mostly to Muslim women. Krauss’s speech was presenting a scientific view familiar to most educated Iranians. To label this personal endeavor as a State sponsored activity is utterly wrong.

    Maryam Namazie (of whom I admit I am a great supporter) said-

    We have been active for many years on issues deemed taboo or controversial. We have consistently defended universal values, equality and civil rights despite the insistence on a racism of lower expectations and standards and a cultural relativism that insists that the “other” has less rights and freedoms depending on the “community” they are deemed to belong to. Things are changing, however, and we hope that Bread and Roses can help further articulate, strengthen and encourage universal values.

    Now you may think her approach wrong, but to malign her moral endeavours with a desire to further selfish nationalistic aims is scurrilous and simply will not do.


    As Dawkins was at great pains to point out a few days ago the raison d’etre of the God Delusion was primarily to tackle the catastrophe of education in the southern states of the US and its impact on the understanding of science, also, the new uptick in religion’s intrusion into the Senate and Congress. These are moral concerns aimed first at behaviours.

    I care little for attacking faith as faith. I can be in the best of company among the religious. But if I cannot honestly call immorality for what it is, if I have to bite my tongue and sustain an ongoing deception then I create a future problem for a current ease. I want an honest relationship with all, most especially those I disagree with. I will NOT have my personal position conflated with others with different objectives on this.

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  • 19
    voiceofarabi says:

    Hi Phil,

    Unfortunately, neither can be taken alone… in the eye of the average Iranian, helping Maryam comes together with USA changing regime.

    As Olgun said.. Trust level currently is below zero due to all the Negative actions the USA has taken in the past… It is up to USA to prove it has changed (and I am 100% sure they have not… USA is another Empire that is replicating what the Romans, Ottomans, and British did…)

    In an ideal world… We would seprate the politics from education and we would run both at the same time… In the real world… “The Empire” will use any tool at its mercy to further the goal of the Empire, including health, education, movies, amnesty international, NGO’s, etc.

    I should know.. I have been watching US made Vietnam movies over the last few days.. and I tell you, the Vietnamese people are evil race who enjoy killing their own and playing crazy drunk killing games…

    Off course, reality is 180 degree the opposite.. Vietnamese people are Proud, polite, smart, resourceful people who will not “bend down and just take it.” (and I am talking out of experience.)

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  • Maryam comes together with USA changing regime

    This is an Iranian with pronounced communist views, working out of the UK, who writes-

    It’s important to note that a fight against Islamism is not a fight against Muslims;
    it’s a defence of rights and freedoms. Muslims or those labelled as such are the
    first victims of Islamism and many are at the forefront of battling it. Nowhere
    is opposition against Islamism and Sharia law greater than in countries under
    Islamic rule.

    She is speaking for a good fraction of her fellow nationals. She is pushing in the direction the country is increasingly going.

    Iranian youth

    How is this wicked muddle being sustained? Who is saying she is part of a US (! ferchrissakes) plot? Who is poisoning the well here?

    Besides there is a bigger picture here for me. I want the rest of the world (most certainly the first world and the investing world of India and China) to take the Iranian people to their heart, recognise the very few only at the very top and perhaps the bottom of society who choose the maximally offended stance.

    There is no evolution without a sustained selective pressure.

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  • 22
    voiceofarabi says:

    Hi Phil Rimmer,

    I don’t mean to rain on your parade, and I would like to go back to the big picture….

    I am not making judgement on what Maryam is doing, and I don’t know enough about her, but the minute you say she is based in the UK, I start worrying as the Muslim Brotherhood is based out of the UK, and supported by the “British Government” to wreck havoc in the middle east… They are (MB) big on Sharia’a BS and NOT ACCEPTING others.

    Now, I have visited Iran, and have many friends there… The majority is NOT the middle class (thanks to previous US puppet the “Shah”). The Majority are people struggling to get out of poverty (again thanks to the US sanctions), who could not care less about mad Clerics or the US shenanigans. They just want to be independent and left in peace without anyone’s meddling. (that aside, they are very devote people, but not necessary religious.. You have to be there to understand)

    Overall, Iran was an empire once, and they are very proud people. In fact, when Islam came, they looked for Iran to get all there science and philosophy.. Majority of the Muslim figures are of Iranian origins. I love the place.

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  • The British Government would love Maryam Namazie to shut up and stop rocking the boat.

    I did not say the middle classes were the majority (the GDP per capita figure is too low for such a blunt statement), but the country’s progress has entirely the spirit of an aspirational class. Its science medical an technology academic achievements are the most rapidly accelerating on the planet. Its levels of university enrolment are awesome.

    My Iranian friends (I used to have an Iranian boss for a year or so) want to see the country opened up and become the next India, a source of wealth and political stability in the region that Saudi can never be and entirely on its own terms.

    I’ve never been there, but there is just a chance I may get to go if a particular project comes off.

    I will never accept that moral commentary should be silenced for expediency. I think silence to allow morality to just happen is a barking idea. I want everyone to get used to the idea of everyone generating moral commentary. This should be our day job and done out of friendly concern and divorced entirely from any intention of coercion or force majeur. If there is a problem with lack of clarity of intention, then the task is NOT to shut up but to find solutions to that problem. Also seek out those misrepresenting the case and try and get a retraction or clarification.

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  • voiceofarabi

    in the eye of the average Iranian, helping Maryam comes together with USA changing regime.

    I’m with you about the imperialistic meddling of the US in your part of the world but proceed with caution against lumping Maryam in with those forces. She operates from her current location because she won’t do women any good if she’s dead. She is a brave warrior for women’s rights and she deserves our support. Phil is right about her.

    Just because someone presents as American or British is no reason to rail against them. Sometimes there are back channels that are in operation to solve problems.

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  • “I am just wondering why they would rather focus on Iran (which is hard) and neglect Saudi Arabia, which is officially a failed state that is killing babies in Yemen on a daily basis.”

    Who says they are ignoring Saudi Arabia? You can’t just read one article and assume that is the total breadth of someones efforts.

    Krauss and Dawkins et al. have traveled the world and continue to take any opportunities that arise to spread knowledge in an effort to combat violence that arises from ignorance and dogmatic belief. (aka religion)

    The fact that Krauss is taking this opportunity to speak to Iranian’s does not suggest nor imply that he has no intention, effort, or desire to speak to anyone or any country mired in religious ignorance.

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  • Sorry VOA! If there is one person allowed to do what she does its Maryam. I have said it should be those that are directly effected. You may view her with suspicion but you have no right to silence her. We have people like her in the Cyprus problem and I always say they have a right to speak. If not them, then who?

    Ps. You’ve gone back to playing the poor dumb Arab again in some of your posts. You don’t fool me and I am sure most here. Please stop.

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  • If not them, then who?


    She shouldn’t be silenced because of US foreign policy…leaving the field free for the US!

    If there are problems of misunderstanding motives, lets try and fix those.

    (Miserable rain here.)

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  • 29
    voiceofarabi says:

    Hi Olgun and Phil Rimmer,

    First, I am neither “poor”, or “dumb”, but I am an Arab and proud to be part of the same human race that came from Africa those many years ago….

    Oh… and I am not here to play… This is the only place that I can express myself freely, so please don’t take that away from me.

    I Don’t want to silence anyone, not Maryam or mad ISIS… I am all for education and putting the world right… I am however against Using education to brainwash people and change regime… I don’t know enough about Maryam case, and cannot say if she is a force for good or bad, but she certainly needs to be heard, just like I am trying to get heard. If she can ride Empires forces to get heard, then more power to her, (but don’t be fooled.. if the British Government wanted her stopped, she would be stopped faster than you can blink!)

    Now, let us go to the original concept.. I am not against education or free speech… I am just wandering why we are educating Iranian in Farsi (which is good), but neglecting the most urgent which is Educating all those possible ISIS future fighters coming out of Saudi?? Logic says, that needs to be addressed first, but failing that, it should be addressed concurrently.

    People in Iran would believe that this is genuine if they see the same thing happening in all the rest of the crazy “western Allies” countries.

    I mean.. Yemeni kids are being killed daily, and no GOV or UN is doing anything tangible to stop it. They moved countries to bomb Libya to the stone age…. go figure.

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  • 30
    Michael says:

    I believe he actually says ‘we CAN’T go back to the very beginning etc..’ i think there is a transfer error! because there’s a major difference there. What he means is that you can’t extrapolate (or at least it’s very hard/restricted) data/simulations to things going on ‘before’ the big bang or at t = 0.

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  • 31
    maria melo says:

    It seems Piaget is a great inspiration (not only for me).
    I like to read a scholar that dedicates all his academic life to the study of Piaget´s thinking, but he comments that´s not unusual that from a large number of students, it seems, Piaget is perceived in different ways.
    This author whom I quote considers Piaget the XX th century t most remarkable philosopher, and I am tempted to agree.
    (from what I may recall you must have done a scholar work or presentation yourself about Piaget, isn´t it?)
    Just let me quote one more time the interesting idea from the author I am quoting, Piaget dedicated his entire life to understand scientific thinking. Indeed and for an anthropologist to understand pre-scientific thinking too /vs religion (if no one will oppose to the use of the word “religion”).

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  • 32
    Sanzhar says:

    Actually those state that actively participate in conquest, expand their markets and advance their technology, are usually the most successful states. Learn history my friend, every grand empire was build on the bones of the conquered states no religion or morality required.

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  • 33
    voiceofarabi says:

    Hi Sanzhar,

    Sadly, you are so correct…. which makes me question my morality (am I living in a dream? who’s morality am I using, and is it the wrong morality, as it is not a winning morality…..)

    Natural selection says I should be a dying breed…

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  • 34
    voiceofarabi says:

    but I would like to counter that…

    I was watching tv program that suggested 49% of history teachers in the US are not qualified.

    Which made me question why is education so bad in USA, Why was education much better in Britain in the 50’s, etc etc.. I cam to the following conclusion.

    To stay an empire, you have to dumb down your people by reducing education. This happened to The first Christians (I think around 600ac) and it happened to Muslim (around 1100ac) and normally it is the first sign of decline.

    You can see this clearly in the US… People were against Vietnam in the sixties, because they were better educated, however, the average US citizen today is too “unaware” and too “poorly educated”.

    The risk the empire is running off course is, others might come and use your citizen against you (since they are poorly educated, they can be twisted any way you want)…

    This happened in Middle east… ISIS came and took all those empty brains and recruited them to kill people… Same thing happened for the poorly educated in Europe… they got sucked in by ISIS in no time…

    at some point, the same will happen to the Empires’ citizens….

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  • I know we disagree on stuff like matters of political expediency, but this-

    To stay an empire, you have to dumb down your people by reducing education. This happened to The first Christians (I think around 600ac) and it happened to Muslim (around 1100ac) and normally it is the first sign of decline.

    …is a great and evidenced hypothesis. Have you seen it discussed elsewhere?

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  • 36
    voiceofarabi says:

    Hi Phil Rimmer,

    This just came to me when I asked myself “why is the USA bad in (general) education, and why has the UK education declined “a lot” over the last years…

    It is the first conclusion I came too. (off course, I always wondered why some idiot Muslim cleric decided to shut down education in Islam in 1100ac, and I kind of connected the dots.)

    if you have seen it elsewhere.. I would love to read more about it….

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  • phil rimmer said:

    “My Iranian friends (I used to have an Iranian boss for a year or so) want to see the country opened up and become the next India, a source of wealth and political stability in the region that Saudi can never be and entirely on its own terms.”

    Really, the next India? Really?


    What “source of wealth” are you talking about? For multinational corporations? Half the children in New Delhi are malnourished, 1 million people make a living carrying feces in containers on their heads, tens of thousands of farmers have committed suicide because of unpayable debts, servitude is rife, Dalits continue to face horrific violence and discrimination, the Indian army continues to brutalize Kashmir, an insurgency is raging in the countryside in several states where a Maoist movement has taken up arms against the corrupt and vicious state apparatus and its agents, and a man who has been heavily implicated in the Gujarat massacre has been elected prime minister.

    If someone told me they wanted my country to be the next India, I’d sink my head into my hands and groan tiredly and resign myself and lament the unconscious malevolence of Western liberals.

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