Neil DeGrasse Tyson makes a non-religious joke, Christians everywhere are insulted

On Christmas Day, noted scientist Neil DeGrasse Tyson posted some funny tweets:

“On this day long ago, a child was born who, by age 30, would transform the world. Happy Birthday Isaac Newton!”

“This year, what do all the world’s Muslims and Jews call December 25th? Thursday.”tyson

“Merry Christmas to all. A Pagan holiday (BC) becomes a Religious holiday (AD). Which then becomes a Shopping holiday (USA).”

Come on, those were funny indeed.  But of course, Christians all over complained that the scientist was insulting their religion.

He responded to the criticism with logic, as if that would make a difference to these people:  “If a person actually wanted to express anti-Christian sentiment, my guess is that alerting people of Isaac Newton’s birthday would appear nowhere on the list.”

Let’s face it, the first two there are standard jokes a stand-up comedian would tell.  You start off saying something wherein everyone knows where you’re going, and then boom, you hit them with the unexpected punch.  The third is just an observation about the commercialization of Christmas that even Christians should agree with.

Tyson, like the majority of scientists, is an atheist although he never uses that word to describe himself.  He says very clearly that he thinks faith and reason are irreconcilable.  “Everybody who tried to make proclamations about the physical universe based on Bible passages got the wrong answer,” he says.  He refuses the label “atheist” because he says that there shouldn’t be a word for not believing in something.  “I don’t play golf, so is there a word you can use for me as a non-golf player?”

Here, of course, is where I disagree with him. No one is being discriminated against for not playing golf, but atheists are looked down on in society and often have to fight for their rights.  Because of that, too many atheists are “in the closet” which, as we have seen with the gay rights movement, does nothing to help people realize that they’re really not that different from everyone else.



The opposite of science

No one complains about science when it doesn’t affect them.   There’s no movement arguing against the theory of gravity.

But if it challenges something they believe strongly, then clearly science must be denied;  then, scientific laws are just “theories.”tyson

If your religion tells you God created us in a specific way, then evolution has to be challenged.  If your politics tells you that climate change will require us to change our way of life, then climatologists must be denied.  And if you want to find someone to blame for autism, then vaccines are a good scapegoat.

Sure, science can be wrong.  Science acknowledges that, and there are plenty of scientists out there who would love to make a name for themselves by proving that the past theories were wrong and should be replaced with their new ones.  But there’s a process for that, and it includes peer-reviewed analysis and experimentation to confirm.

Somehow, we all love to believe that we’re smarter than the people who have the education and do this for a living.  It makes us feel special. And where certainly we should always challenge authority, you should have proof just as strong on your side.  Saying “Well you can’t prove what causes autism so therefore my idea that vaccines do it” is not intellectually honest — you might as well say “so therefore tiny elves cause it.”

People who come up with their explanations in the absence of facts are not scientists;  they are the opposite of scientists.

And there’s nothing wrong with saying “I don’t know” to something, so long as it’s followed with, “but I hope to one day find out.”


Creationists demand equal time

Creationists, upset that Neil DeGrasse Tyson’s “Cosmos” series talks about facts, have demanded “equal time” to argue for their mythology.

In return, I think they should give scientists equal time on the 400 Club and other religious shows. tysonIt only makes sense, after all. I further demand that all science professors get equal time during your church service to refute whatever the preacher is saying about creationism. Teach the controversy!

For that matter, let’s not discriminate when it comes to creationism. We must also teach the Hindu version of creationism, which states that we “devolved” from pure consciousness. And the Cherokee creation story, which holds that the earth was created by a water beetle expanding mud to create the flat earth. Or the Egyptian story, wherein the god Ra emerges from a cosmic egg rising out of the water. Or the central African story of Mbombo, who came to feel an intense pain in his stomach, which led to him vomiting up the sun, the moon, and stars.

What’s that? Most of those are myths? They used to be religions but it turns out that no one believes those things any more? How about that.

Next in line to demand equal time are astrologers, alchemists, and the flat earthers, who demand that their vision of the world be taught alongside actual, real things.