Neil deGrasse Tyson on climate deniers: "Those who think they can cherry-pick science simply don't understand how science works"

The "Cosmos" host says debating deniers isn't worth his time

Published March 14, 2014 1:52PM (EDT)

  (Bruce Press/Wikimedia Commons)
(Bruce Press/Wikimedia Commons)

Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson has been an evangelist (if you'll excuse the term) for science this week, telling Stephen Colbert that science is true "whether or not you believe in it" and WNYC's Brian Lehrer that "enlightened religious people ... don’t try to use the Bible as a textbook."

Now, the "Cosmos" host has addressed the climate deniers directly, appearing on Indre Viskontas and Chris Mooney's Inquiring Minds podcast to explain that "all those who think they can cherry-pick science simply don't understand how science works."

The true message of "Cosmos," Tyson said on the podcast, is the inseparability of scientific knowledge and the desire to do something about the problems that such knowledge reveals -- with climate change being the prime example:

"You are equipped and empowered with this cosmic perspective, achieved by the methods and tools of science, applied to the universe," he said. "And are you going to be a good shepherd, or a bad shepherd? Are you going to use your wisdom to protect civilization, or will you go at it in a shortsighted enough way to either destroy it, or be complicit in its destruction? If you can't bring your scientific knowledge to bear on those kinds of decisions, then why even waste your time?"

Aside from that warning, however, he isn't going to waste much time arguing with the dogma-driven cherry pickers. "Carl Sagan would debate people on all manner of issues," said Tyson. "And I don't have the time or the energy or the interest in doing so. As an educator, I'd rather just get people thinking straight in the first place, so I don't have to then debate them later on."

Listen to the whole interview here:

By Lindsay Abrams

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Carl Sagan Climate Skeptics Cosmos Neil Degrasse Tyson Science Video