“This is science. It’s not something to toy with.”
Like a teacher that’s had to deal with too many obnoxious students, Neil deGrasse Tyson has had enough with those who deny the legitimacy of true science. Tyson, an astrophysicist famous for his scientific commentary and books, just released a short video to YouTube, explaining the the potentially catastrophic problems we face if politicians continue to deny provable scientific research.
Tyson’s argument is that the United States achieved greatness by pioneering industries through science, and as a result, “science is a fundamental part of the country that we are.” The problem, however, is that people are becoming skeptical of science, and as a result, this country is losing the spirit of innovation that once made it so great.
“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.”
The short video highlights several areas of science that have come under fire from politicians and citizens alike, such as teaching evolution in schools, skepticism towards vaccines, bans on GMOs, climate change and more. Tyson believes that advancements in science are as much the responsibility of scientists as they are politicians. But, Tyson says, attitudes towards science seem to be largely based on distrust of scientific information, which in turn is holding our country back from advancing further.
“I don’t remember a time where people were standing in denial of what science was.”
Tyson admits our country isn’t perfect, and that we have faced numerous challenges, including Vietnam, the Cold War, the civil rights movement, but Tyson can’t remember a time when science faced such baseless skepticism as it does today. “One of the great things about science is that it is an entire exercise in finding what is true.” Tyson goes on to remind people that science is not something we have the luxury of denying, saying, “It’s not something to say ‘I choose not to believe e=mc squared.’ You don’t have that option […] It is true whether or not you choose to believe in it. And the sooner you understand that, the faster we can get on with the political conversations about how to solve the problems that face us. ”
Tyson’s goal isn’t to attack viewers, but to warn them of the dangers we face as a people and a nation if we continue to deny the truth.