Through the Wormhole
Through the Wormhole (2010–17) is an American science documentary television series narrated and hosted by American actor Morgan Freeman. It began airing on Science in the United States on 9 June 2010.
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"Are We All Bigots?" [6.01]
- Morgan Freeman: If you think you see everyone as equal, you're kidding yourself. We all have biases, and no matter how open-minded we think we are, stereotypes colour our judgements of others and can lead us badly astray. We live in a society fractured by race, religion, even our favourite sports teams. We divide ourselves into rival tribes.
- Morgan Freeman as the caricature of a politician on a television screen: "The political divide between us grows deeper with every passing year."
- Morgan Freeman: When did hate become hard-wired into our brains?
- Morgan Freeman as the caricature of a politician on a television screen: "We live in two different Americas, one for the rich…"
- Morgan Freeman: Are we all born to discriminate against our fellow humans? All we all bigots?
- Morgan Freeman: Now, I think of myself as an open-minded person, but scientists tell me I'm kidding myself, and so are you. We all look at the world with prejudice, and when you only have a split second to decide, your own snap judgements may shock you.
- Josh Correll: So, what we want to look at is, in that situation, where there's not good, clear information, where people have to respond quickly, do they use race to inform their decisions?
- Josh Correll: It's worth noting that, in this game, people are pretty good. They don't make a ton of mistakes—ten, fifteen percent of the time they make a mistake. But when we look at those mistakes, we see racial bias in the errors. So they're faster to shoot the armed target if he's black rather than than white. When the target's got a cell phone, they're much more likely to make that decision, to shoot an innocent target, when he's black rather than white.
- Morgan Freeman: Does this mean that white Americans are inherently bigoted? An utterly shocking trend with Josh's black participants suggests that it's much more complicated than that.
- Josh Correll: We see that black participants show the same anti-black bias that white participants do. Actually, when we test to see if there's a difference in the two groups, white participants versus black participants, they're not statistically different from each other. So, we think this represents an awareness of a cultural stereotype, not that our participants believe, necessarily, that black men are more dangerous than white men.
Morgan Freeman: Why would we make life-and-death decisions based on stereotypes we don't even believe? I always thought we could overcome these bigoted ideas, but one neuroscientist says it's not that simple; racist stereotypes hijack our subconscious minds.
Neuroscientist Jon Freeman believes we all carry around stereotypes in our subconscious. … These prejudiced thoughts are quickly snuffed out by the conscious mind, but that doesn't mean that they're harmless.
- Jon Freeman: Those stereotypes can actually wind up impacting behaviour. So, for example, if individuals unconsciously see African-American faces as being slightly more angry than they are, that's probably going to impact how much they approach or avoid that individual at a spontaneous level.
- Morgan Freeman: It may not be as hard as you think for a bigot to have a change of heart. If any of us has a positive experience with someone from a different racial group, biology has the power to make us feel empathy for a stranger from that group. In facts, Peggy believes that empathy is a primal instinct for all mammals.
- Peggy Mason: What rats tell us is that we have a mammalian inheritance which makes us want to help another in distress. But the amazing thing we learn from the rats is that what the rats need to do is to have an experience with a different type of rat, and then that rat can be part of their in-group, too. And that's really—that's really an amazing and hopeful message, I think.
- Morgan Freeman: But bigotry isn't just about the circumstances of your birth. Even fans of rival sports teams can learn to hate one another with all the venom of a bigot.
- Morgan Freeman: Do you see the world as it really is, or how your political party wants you to see it.
- Morgan Freeman: Media pundits often accuse violent video games of destroying the morality of our youth. Is that really true? Matthew has a series of test subjects play a game where they can hurt simulated human beings. So, Matthew gives the order to commit blatant crimes against humanity. … It is guilt-inducing, to say the least.
- Matthew Grizzard: So, our findings showed that individuals recalling a real-world guilty experience actually felt more guilt, but that guilt solicited by video game was positively associated with increased moral sensitivity.
- Morgan Freeman: For now, our best tool to fight bigotry lies within ourselves: the courage to walk away. We all have bigotry inside us. Most of us work hard to suppress our innate prejudices, but some don't, and their bigotry is infectious. The solution to bigotry does not start with government and laws; it starts with understanding and neutralising its source, and with you and me doing our best to change.
"Can Time Go Backwards?" [6.02]
- Morgan Freeman: We're all marching relentlessly forward through time. We accept that there's no way to get off this ride, or to change our destiny. But what if that's not really true? What if we can send messages back in time and change events that already happened? Can the future reach back and re-write the present? Can time go backwards?
- Todd Brun: The direction of time itself is something of a mystery. In the equations of physics, it seems like you could run them either forwards or backwards.
- Morgan Freeman: But there is one paradox that time-travel may create. When time-travelling Todd turns over those time machine plans to his ancestor, that ancestor could then pass down those plans back to time-travelling Todd, who uses the plans to build the time machine. Neither of them actually created the plans.
- Todd Brun: The question is, where did the plans come from? The plans seemingly appeared out of nowhere.
- Morgan Freeman: But to find the backwards-in-time-travelling Higgs singlet, we'll have to look at what happens before the collision that created it. … Currently, the L. H. C. isn't set up to look at collisions before they happen.
- Morgan Freeman: It may seem that time relentlessly carries us from the past toward the future, but that's not the way the universe really works. What takes place in our past does not simply recede into history, it becomes imprinted into the fabric of the cosmos. One day, we may learn to weave the threads of the past and the future together, and truly play with the boundless possibilities of time.
"Are We Here For A Reason?" [6.03]
- Morgan Freeman: What is the meaning of life? Don't you believe there's a reason for us being here? We are, after all, such sophisticated creatures, the result of billions of years of evolution. Surely, life is about more than just our biological needs, more than the daily rat race. Is all the knowledge we've gained over the generations aiming toward some final goal? Are we architects of our own fate, or is life just a series of random accidents? Is our existence just a fluke of nature, or are we here for a reason?
- Lee Cronin: This is why we're really excited, because we can show that evolution can occur in the natural world without genetic material.
- Lee Cronin: Where there is energy, and there is matter, chemistry transforms into biology over time. And this happens as a natural law.
- Morgan Freeman: Richard doesn't have billions of years to watch evolution in action, but he does have the span of one lifetime, which he has dedicated to performing the longest evolutionary experiment in the history of science. Twenty-seven years ago, Richard plucked twelve genetically-identical E. coli bacteria from a container and allowed them to start their own populations in twelve separate worlds. Ever since, day after day, he's watched each of the twelve populations multiply and compete amongst themselves for a limited amount of food.
- Razib Khan: Humans exhibit a lot of changes in our genome over the last ten-thousand years. My own, personal opinion is, yes, you can define humans as a domestic animal. We live in large groups. If you took humans individually, and put them on an island, they really couldn't survive.
- Sue Blackmore: Memes are the cultural equivalent of genes, if you like. They're information that is copied from person to person, person to book— They encompass all of the skills, habits, stories that we pass from person to person, and they compete to use our brains to get themselves copied, and, in that way, they evolve.
- Sara Walker: I think about biological systems as physical systems, but they're a unique kind of physical system, and they're uniquely defined, really, by the way they handle information.
- Morgan Freeman: Sara defines life as a self-replicating algorithm, a computational machine that processes information and then makes copies of itself.
- Sara Walker: What's amazing about having a small child in your home is how they learn things. … So he's really just like an information junkie, running around being like, "What is this? What is this? What is this?" And, so, it's pretty fun.
- Sara Walker: Perhaps that actually is the purpose of living systems—is to figure out how the universe actually works. So living systems, in this kind of framework, are somewhat fundamental to the universe because they're the way the universe figures itself out.
- Morgan Freeman: Life may not have one unifying purpose, but that shouldn't stop us all from searching for it.
"Do We Live In The Matrix?" [6.04]
- Morgan Freeman: Our universe certainly seems real. But what if it's not? We may be nothing more than video game characters designed for someone else's amusement. But how could a computer juggle every aspect of the cosmos? Maybe what looks random has already been programmed to happen. Can we discover some hidden glitch in the laws of the universe and uncover its hidden code? Do we live in the Matrix?
- Morgan Freeman — host