David Christian

  • Aired:  11/12/13
  •  | Views: 15,760

"Big History" host David Christian talks about the importance of understanding history on a large scale, from the origin of the universe to modern times. (7:03)

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE).

>> Stephen: WELCOME BACKEVERYBODY.

MY GUEST TONIGHT IS THE HOST OFA HISTORY SHOW THAT CONNECTS

EVERY EVENT IN THE HISTORY OFTHE WORLD-- I ASSUME TO KEVIN

BACON.

PLEASE WELCOME DAVID CHRISTIAN.

(CHEERS AND APPLAUSE)HEY, MR. CHRISTIAN, SO NICE TO

HAVE YOU ON.

NOW, SIR, YOU ARE THE HOST OF ANEW SHOW THAT'S REALLY MORE THAN

A SHOW ON H2 WHICH IS HISTORYCHANNEL 2, I ASSUME.

>> YUP.

YUP.

>> OKAY.

NO ROOM ON THE ACTUAL HISTORYCHANNEL BECAUSE THAT'S FULL OF

LIKE PAWN STARS AND AMERICANPICKERS, I ASSUME.

(LAUGHTER)THE SERIES ATTEMPTS TO CONNECT

WIDELY DIVERSE THINGS THROUGHOUTHISTORY AND REALLY LET US GET TO

KNOW THE ENTIRE HISTORY OF THEUNIVERSE.

>> THAT'S ABSOLUTELY WHAT WE TRYTO DO.

>> Stephen: FROM THE BIG BANGTO NOW IN TEN HOURS.

>> THAT'S IT.

>> Stephen: WHY NOT SOMETHINGMORE AMBITIOUS.

(LAUGHTER)WHAT'S THE PURPOSE OF THE

SERIES?

>> THE SERIES AND THE COURSE ITEACH AND THE COURSE THAT'S

AVAILABLE ON THE BIG HISTORYPROJECT --

>> Stephen: YOU CAN GO TOBIGHISTORY.COM AND ONE OF YOUR

BACKERS IS BILL GATES IS YOURPARTNER IN THIS.

HE WANTS EVERYONE TO LEARNEVERYTHING ABOUT EVERYTHING.

(LAUGHTER).

>> Stephen: .

>> WHAT THE COURSE DOES ISTEACHES YOU THE WHOLE HISTORY OF

TIME.

SO IT GIVES YOU A SORT OF MAP OFTIME AND SPACE LIKE AN ORIGIN

STORY AND THAT MEANS YOU CANPLACE YOURSELF IN THE UNIVERSE

AND IN THE WHOLE OF TIME ANDSPACE.

>> I ALWAYS ASSUMED I'M AT THECENTER OF THE UNIVERSE AND

EVERYTHING IS TURNING AROUND ME.

I BELIEVE GALILEO DISCOVEREDTHAT.

(LAUGHTER)>> OF COURSE YOU'RE AT THE

CENTER OF THE UNIVERSE.

THE PERSON WHO TELLS THE STORYIS THE CENTER OF THE UNIVERSE

ALWAYS.

BUT YOU NEED TO PLACE YOURSELFIN THAT LARGE MAP AND IF YOU CAN

PLACE YOURSELF IN THAT MAP THATGIVES YOU A SENSE OF MEANING, OF

WHERE YOU ARE, OF HOW YOU CAMETO BE AND WHAT THINGS YOU CAN

DO.

WHAT POSSIBILITIES ARE AVAILABLETO YOU.

>> Stephen: WE ALREADY HAVETHIS KIND OF MAP THAT TELLS US

OUR PLACE AND PURPOSE IN THEUNIVERSE.

IT'S CALLED THE BIBLE.

(LAUGHTER)HAVE YOU READ IT?

HAVE YOU READ THE BIBLE?

(APPLAUSE)>> I HAVE READ IT.

>> Stephen: NOTHING IN THISSERIES WILL CONTRADICT WHAT I

BELIEVE, CORRECT?

>> WELL --(LAUGHTER).

THERE ARE MANY ORIGIN STORIESAND THE BIBLE IS ONE.

>> Stephen: IT'S THE TRUE ONE.

>> MANY, MANY COUNTRIES ANDDIFFERENT SOCIETIES HAVE THEIR

OWN ORIGIN STORIES AND MODERNSCIENCIST CONTAINS AN ORIGIN

STORY.

SO WHAT WE'RE TELLING IS THE ORGIN STORY PRESENT IN MODERN

SCIENCE.

>> ONE OF THE THINGS THATCONFUSES ME ABOUT THE SHOW IS IT

CONNECTS WIDELY DISPARATETHINGS.

LIKE -- GIVE AN EXAMPLE OF ONEOF THE THINGS.

YOUR FIRST EPISODE IS ABOUTSALT.

>> THAT'S RIGHT.

>> Stephen: THE WHOLE EPISODEJUST ABOUT SALT.

>> YEAH.

>> Stephen: OBVIOUSLY THAT'SJUST A RATINGS GRAB BECAUSE

PEOPLE --(LAUGHTER).

NEXT WEEK IT'S SWEET.

SALT AND SWEET.

>> BUT IF YOU'LL REMEMBER THATTHE EARLY EARTH FOUR BILLION

YEARS AGO THE FIRST LIVINGORGANISMS WERE FORMED IN SALTY

WATER SO ALL LIVING ORGANISMS ONEARTH WERE FORMED IN THE SORT OF

SALT SOLUTION.

WE NEED TO CARRY IT AROUNDINSIDE OUR BODIES SO THE STORY

OF SALT -->> Stephen: WAIT, THERE'S A

SALT SOLUTION IN MY BODY.

>> YOU NEED SALT.

IF YOU DON'T HAVE SALT I HATE TOSAY IT BUT YOU WILL DIE

EVENTUALLY:(LAUGHTER).

>> Stephen: DON'T EVEN JOKEABOUT THAT.

HAVE WE FOUGHT WARS OVER SALT?

>> I THINK WARS PROBABLY HAVEBEEN FOUGHT OVER SALT, YEAH.

IT'S A CRUCIAL COMMODITY, HUGEAMOUNTS OF MONEY HAVE BEEN

TRADING.

>> Stephen: WE PEDRO MANSOLDIERS IN SALT.

>> ABSOLUTELY.

>> Stephen: THAT'S WHAT SALARYCOMES FROM.

>> ABSOLUTELY.

E YOU ENJOYINGMY HISTORY COURSE?

>> ABSOLUTELY.

>> THIS ISN'T LIKE DATE SPACEHISTORY.

I DON'T HAVE TO KNOW 1066 OR 476OR 1492 OR THAT STUFF, DO ANY.

>> YOU NEED TO KNOW A FEW DATES.

I CAN GIVE YOU A FEW.

>> Stephen: I JUST GAVE YOU ATHREE.

>> 13. BILLION YEARS.

>> Stephen: WHAT HAPPENEDTHEN?

>> THE ORIGINS OF THE UNIVERSE.

>> Stephen: SAYS YOU, BUT GOAHEAD, YEAH.

>> 4.56 BILLION YEARS AGO THEEARTH WAS CREATED.

GREAT THING.

65 MILLION YEARS AGO AN ASSROEUTD LANDED ON EARTH, WIPED

OUT THE DINOSAURS.

IF THE DINOSAURS HADN'T BEENWIPED OUT WE WOULD NOT BE HERE.

>> Stephen: BECAUSE WE'D BEFIGHTING THEM.

(LAUGHTER)WE'D BE FIGHTING THEM, RIGHT!

THIS SHOULD BE WOULD BEGLADIATORS FIGHTING DINOSAURS

AND ITS RATINGS WOULD BEENORMOUS.

WHAT'S BILL GATES GET OUT OFTHIS?

WHERE IS HE GETTING HIS BEAKWET?

HE LOVES THE CASH.

>> HE'S NOT GETTING CASH, HELOVES THE EDUCATIONAL IDEA OF

THE COURSE THAT BRINGS THEDIFFERENT SUBJECTS TOGETHER.

I MEAN, I REMEMBER GOING TOSCHOOL WANTING TO A STORY ABOUT

THE MEANING OF LIFE AND MYTEACHERS SAY TO ME THINGS LIKE

-- AND THIS IS THEIR JOB.

THEY SAY "SHUT UP ABOUT THEMEANING OF LIFE.

LEARN ABOUT CALCULUS OR YOURFRENCH VERBS OR SOMETHING LIKE

THIS."

NEVER COULD I STUDY OR ASK ABOUTTHE MEANING OF LIFE IN SCHOOL OR

UNIVERSITY.

WITH A COURSE LIKE THIS, YOU CANPUT ALL THIS KNOWLEDGE TOGETHER,

YOU CAN SEE A COHERENT STORY OFTHE WHOLE OF THE PAST AND IT'S

FULL OF MEANING.

>> Stephen: WELL, DAVID, WHATIS THE MEANING OF LIFE?

>> THE MEANING OF LIFE -- OKAY.

UM --(LAUGHTER).

HERE'S THE QUICK VERSION.

>> Stephen: I KIND OF DO NEEDTHE QUICK VERSION.

>> 13.8 BILLION YEARS AGO THEUNIVERSE APPEARS.

IT'S THAT SMALL, EVERYTHING INTHE UNIVERSE IS IN THAT TINY

THING.

IT'S INCREDIBLY SIMPLE, NOHUMANS, NO PLANETS, NO ELEMENTS.

THEN OVER 13.8 BILLION YEARS ONEBY ONE NEW MORE COMPLEX THINGS

APPEAR.

STARS APPEAR.

PLANETS APPEAR.

LIVING ORGANISMS-- AT LEAST ONTHIS PLANET-- AND THEN

EVENTUALLY US.

THE WEIRDEST ORGANISMS OF ALL.

SO THAT'S A WONDERFUL STORYABOUT HOW WE GOT TO BE HERE.

>> Stephen: THAT'S THE EVENTSOF LIFE, THAT'S NOT THE MEANING

OF LIFE.

>> THE MEANING IS LIKE A MAP.

IF YOU HAVE A MAP IT TELLS YOUWHERE YOU ARE.

>> RIGHT.

>> Stephen: IF YOU KNOW WHEREYOU ARE YOU KNOW WHERE YOU CAN

GO.

>> Stephen: IF YOU KNOW WHATTHE KEY SAYS IN THE CORNER OF

THE MAP!

(LAUGHTER)TO TELL YOU DISTANCE AND

EVERYTHING.

THAT'S WHAT I'M SAYING.

THAT'S WHAT THE BIBLE IS.

THE BIBLE IS THE KEY IN THECORNER.

>> THE BIBLE IS A MAP.

IT'S A WONDERFUL MAP, FULL OFMEANING.

>> Stephen: IT'S THE MAP,MR. CHRISTIAN.

(LAUGHTER)DAVID CHRISTIAN, "BIG HISTORY"

ON H2 AND ONLINE.

WE'LL BE RIGHT B