Iconic astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson is being slammed for promoting science.
According to National Review writer Charles C. W. Cooke, the Hayden Planetarium director embodies urbane secularists who, wittingly or not, diminish the role of tradition religious belief.
Tyson, "presenter of the hip new show Cosmos," exemplifies "the fetish and totem of the extraordinarily puffed-up 'nerd' culture that has of late started to bloom across the United States," Cooke writes. Cooke adds:
One part insecure hipsterism, one part unwarranted condescension, the two defining characteristics of self-professed nerds are (a) the belief that one can discover all of the secrets of human experience through differential equations and (b) the unlovely tendency to presume themselves to be smarter than everybody else in the world.
Prominent examples include MSNBC's Melissa Harris-Perry, Rachel Maddow, Steve Kornacki, and Chris Hayes; Vox's Ezra Klein, Dylan Matthews, and Matt Yglesias; the sabermetrician Nate Silver; the economist Paul Krugman; the atheist Richard Dawkins; former vice president Al Gore; celebrity scientist Bill Nye; and, really, anybody who conforms to the Left's social and moral precepts while wearing glasses and babbling about statistics.
It's not that Cooke is against science per se. But he seems particularly riled up at what he infers is these individuals' disinterest - if not outright hostility - in organized religion as a way to confront the world's most vexing problems.
The only thing in these people's lives that is peer-reviewed are their opinions. Don't have a Reddit account? Believe in God? Skeptical about the threat of overpopulation? Who are you, Sarah Palin?
And Cooke finds the Harvard undergraduate, Columbia-Ph.D. deGrasse Tyson the worst of the bunch, in this regard.
All over the Internet, Neil deGrasse Tyson's face is presented next to words that he may or may not have spoken. 'Other than being a scientist,' he says in one image, 'I'm not any other kind of -ist. These -ists and -isms are philosophies; they're philosophical portfolios that people attach themselves to and then the philosophy does the thinking for you instead of you doing the thinking yourself.' Translation: All of my political and moral judgments are original, unlike those of the rubes who subscribe to ideologies, philosophies, and religious frameworks. My worldview is driven only by the data.
Cooke is having none of it. "This is nonsense. Progressives not only believe all sorts of unscientific things - that Medicaid and Head Start work; that school choice does not; that abortion carries with it few important medical questions; that GM crops make the world worse; that one can attribute every hurricane, wildfire, and heat wave to 'climate change'; that it's feasible that renewable energy will take over from fossil fuels anytime soon - but also do their level best to block investigation into any area that they consider too delicate."
The National Review article is one of the more negative media portrayals of deGrasse Tyson. The 55-year-old author and commentator hosted the education science television show NOVA ScienceNow, on PBS, from 2006 to 2011. He currently hosts the weekly radio show StarTalk.
He's appeared regularly on The Daily Show, The Colbert Report, and Real Time with Bill Maher.
As a guest on Maher's show this past Friday, deGrasse laughed off the cover story questioning him. But Maher wasn't so sanguine about it.
Maher told deGrasse Tyson conservative critics don't like him "cause you're a scientist, and you're a black one," and they resent that he's smarter than them, Mediaite reports. Tyson noted that there "appears to be some jealousy" on the right that the "nerd set" tends to vote more Democratic.
Maher: Republicans Don't Like Scientist Neil DeGrasse Tyson Because He's Black http://t.co/GsMlmI9Wen- Brian (@Holyfield67) July 27, 2014
Bill Maher Calls It Out: Republicans Hate Neil DeGrasse Tyson Because He Is a Black Scientist - http://t.co/53EXBdqZSC, Maher is right on.- Bill Corcoran (@corksphere) July 27, 2014