Limbaugh, Noah, And Neil deGrasse Tyson

I suppose in a time when Rush Limbaugh may win a children’s book award—yep!—and in a time when a major Hollywood film is coming out about Noah’s ark—yes, I said Noah’s ark, for God’s sake!—we shouldn’t be surprised that the updated (and awesome) version of Carl Sagan’s Cosmos, hosted by astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, is causing a stir among conservative science-haters who believe the universe was created about six months ago (or was it six thousand years ago? I forget). Now they are demanding equal airtime for their creationist nonsense.

But Tyson, who is handling the job of Carl Sagan quite well, isn’t falling for the logic behind that ridiculous demand. Further, he is making an it’s-about-time demand of his own, directed at journalists:

I think the media has to sort of come out of this ethos that, I think, was in principle a good one, but it doesn’t really apply in science. The ethos was, “Whatever story you give, you have to give the opposing view, and then you can be viewed as balanced.”…You don’t talk about the spherical earth with NASA and then say, “Now, let’s give equal time to the flat-earthers.”

Plus, science is not there for you to cherry pick. You know, I said this once and it’s gotten a lot of Internet play, I said, “The good thing about science is that it’s true whether or not you believe in it.” Alright?

I guess you can decide whether to not believe in it, but that doesn’t change the reality of an emergent scientific truth.

Thwack! Go ahead, book world, and hand out a children’s book award to a reactionary creep like Rush Limbaugh. And go ahead, Hollywood, make a Pope-blessed movie essentially about God drowning men, women, and children in a fit of pique and Noah and his imaginary ark full of animals cruising the world until God cools off.

But you will not get your hands on science, if Neil deGrasse Tyson has anything to say about it.

neil degrasse tyson quote


  1. King Beauregard

     /  March 24, 2014

    I demand equal time for my beliefs on the creation of the universe. Originally there was a plain of ice, where Ymir the giant fed from Audhumbla the cow, who ultimately released the ancestors of Odin as she licked ice from the plain; those secular humanists had better not leave a single detail out.


  2. Your first sentence is such a shocker that I could hardly get beyond it!


  3. I’ve watched two episodes of the new Cosmos now and I detected a quibble in one of Tyson’s statements – I think it was the first one. Anyway, he was making the point that dogs genetically descended from wolves by the process of natural selection. Those that were naturally inclined to be less adversarial towards humans were favored by becoming ever more dependent on them. However, a month or so ago I read of a genetic study of dog and wolf DNA offering strong evidence that both wolves and dogs branched off of a common ancestor before homo sapiens evolved. This is similar to the common misperception by many who think science has a consensus that mankind evolved from apes. We didn’t of course, we and apes both evolved from some common ancestor.

    This is nit-picking, I know, and it doest substantially change the point Tyson was making about how evolution works. But the lesson is the same that Duane is making with this post. It shows that unlike religion, science isn’t dogmatic, it’s a process of reasoning and rational analysis. The more we learn, the more we learn. And I’m really quite comfortable with the theory that the Earth is round and goes around the sun.


    • I hadn’t heard the common ancestor claim about wolves and dogs, Jim, but far from nit-picking, your example demonstrates the genius of science. We aren’t stuck with old claims just because they are old or because they came from possibly some famous scientist or because they make us look good (or bad). Science is self-correcting.

      As for the Earth being round and going around the sun, I will wait until a greater authority confirms it. I mean, I can see with my own eyes that the earth is flat and the sun is going around the earth, so just because some highfalutin scientist tells me I’m wrong, I reserve the right to believe my own eyes until a Higher Power reveals the truth to me.



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