Culture & Ethics Icon Culture & Ethics
Free Speech Icon Free Speech

Shut Up, Neil deGrasse Tyson Explains, and Believe What We Tell You

David Klinghoffer

As would-be public defenders of science go, I find Neil Tyson a much more appealing figure than Bill Nye. Tyson does pour it on a bit thick, though, in a patronizing and sanctimonious video timed to release heading into the March for Science. The promoters say it “may be the most important words Neil deGrasse Tyson has ever spoken.”

Key point:

It seems to me people have lost the ability to judge what is true and what is not, what is reliable, what is not reliable, what should you believe, what should you not believe. And when you have people who don’t know much about science, standing in denial of it, and rising to power, that is a recipe for the complete dismantling of our informed democracy.

He goes on to wax nostalgic about how America used to be better than this. You didn’t have people “standing in denial” of science.

But you see what he’s really saying. He’s telling you that you have “lost the ability to judge what is true” because instead of passively swallowing up everything Neil Tyson tells you, you have the chutzpah to judge scientific questions for yourself, arriving at conclusions that Dr. Tyson and others don’t care for. For the public, good “judgment” when it comes to science means not questioning their authority.

The March for Science, in this perspective, is really a March for Public Passivity. Shut up, he explained, and believe what we tell you.