This week’s question arrives from the Philippines, courtesy of Amy. Bill dissects the question before giving several possible answers. Does “forever” mean an afterlife? Because Bill sure isn’t counting on there being one. If it means endlessness with regard to time, there’s no reason to think time will somehow or somewhere come to an end. In this case, there probably is a forever.
Amy: Hello. This is Amy from the Philippines and my question is does forever exist? I’m pretty sure a lot of people in my country would like to know the answer to this very important question so I hope you can answer it. Thank you.
Bill Nye: Amy, does forever exist? As far as I know. It’s really hard to tell. Here’s the question I’m just inferring. I’m reading in. I’m adding. You say people in your country want to know — is it a question really Amy about the afterlife? I don’t know if it is in the afterlife. I certainly am not planning on it. I am not counting on any afterlife. And I’ll tell you why. I’ve watched people get old and they don’t generally — they don’t just die with all their — at the height of their powers, able to pole vault their highest, able to do math problems the quickest, able to raise a family with just the right judgment. They don’t do that and then disappear. We humans fade and I suspect the afterlife is just hopeful thinking. And if it turns out there is an afterlife, cool, I’m in. I will do my best. I’d like to be able to run as well as I could when I was, say, 23. I’d like to be able to ride a bike as well as I could when I was 34. And I’d like to be able to write jokes as well as I could when I was about 38. And then now I have all this wisdom. I’d like to have that sprinkled in now I’m all this wise stuff. But as far as we can tell forever goes on forever. There’s no reason to think that time will end. We had a Big Bang and people speculate about what happened before that. And you can say nobody knows. That’s true. But just intuitively for us time travelers all going one way, I guess left to right, it’s like that. There probably is a forever. That’s a great question Amy. Thank you.