Neil deGrasse Tyson doesn’t understand science

I was recently pointed to a tweet by eminent black person Neil deGrasse Tyson that was so incredibly stupid that I first looked up his credentials. On paper, he is well qualified, but we all know that there are different standard for blacks. I certainly can’t picture a renowned white or Asian scientist tweet the following:

This statement is incredibly, incredibly stupid. Okay, let’s give him the benefit of the doubt and state that he is either maliciously deceiving his audience, or he has some pretty glaring holes in his education. Seeing that he is part of the establishment, it’s certainly conceivable that he has to toe the party line on man-made global warming.

The more critical among my readers most certainly immediately spot the mistake Neil deGrasse Tyson makes. If not, then think about this: How do the models of planetary motion differ from our models of climate change? That’s right, the former is deterministic, while the latter is based on predictive analysis. It is furthermore based on partly questionable assumptions.

For the more visually oriented among my readers, compare these two cases: First, take a basketball, and drop it from the same height and with exactly the same force at exactly the same place in exactly the same conditions ten times in a row. There won’t be a difference with regards to how high it bounces off the ground. Of course, a proper experimental setup would need to be more precisely defined, but you get the point.

Now compare the previous experiment with attempting to predict how many points a particular freshman NBA player will score over the course of his entire career. You can take his NCCA college performance as the starting point and apply all the fancy predictive models you can get your grubby hands on. No matter how you turn it, this will be a much more challenging task. Even worse, no matter who well you think you will do, you are likely to be completely wrong. To put it in a different way: if Neil deGrasse Tyson was right, then we could accurately predict the stock market.

The difference between deterministic and predictive models is easy to see, right? Well, it’s apparently not easy for Neil deGrasse Tyson. Decide for yourself if he is deliberately misleading his audience or just doesn’t know what he is talking about.

What do you think? Let me know in the comments below, but keep the comment policy in mind.
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57 thoughts on “Neil deGrasse Tyson doesn’t understand science

  1. I take it you’ve tried to inform yourself more about the whole AGW thing since the last time I asked. Otherwise-redpilled people still struggle to disavow of this last piece of leftist dogma. I’m still not totally sure myself.

    1. Yes, I have been reading up on it. It dawned on me that it is a rather dubious hypothesis. I am particularly amused by attempts to present science as a system of thought in which it matters how many people subscribe to a view. Their language is also telling, as many say that they believe in AGW. Others believe in fairies, and if you round up 100 people of whom 99 believe in fairies, it is by no means established that fairies do exist.

      For other readers, AGW is shorthand for Anthropogenic Global Warming.

  2. Looks like Mr Tyson is trying to communicate with the masses. Im sure that you, as a proponent for the idea the majority of people don’t think critically would agree that this kind of shit appeals to a lot of people. Simple case of cause over facts, I would say that it is justified. No way can climate change be predicted with complete accuracy but it doesn’t take a genius to realise that a lot of solid quantifiable data correlates human activity with a climate change. If being deceitful when pandering to morons contributes to the greater good I say knock yourself out. That being said Tyson is a fucking meme.

    1. Maybe you’ve seen this, Aaron:
      Frauke Petry tried explaining that same thing to German students (actually high school graduates), too.
      I felt so uncomfortable watching them, I couldn’t make it to the end.
      https://youtu.be/1_SStcoIP5g
      (German only, starts at 5:00 and goes till 9:45. The utter arrogance in the face of lacking knowledge is…. mindblowing)

    2. That’s great! I particularly like, at a later point, when a heckler shouts “dummstudiert“. It’s such a fitting adjective to describe those idiot teenagers. The English translation is, “to have become stupid through studying”. German is often rather clunky, but not in that case.

    3. their argument isn’t that global warming aka climate change is real. their argument is that it’s about to destroy the world and that capitalists are to blame.

      every 5 years, they claim that we have 5 years to live before the utter fantasy of “the day after tomorrow” actually happens.

  3. The guy probably have never heard of “Stochastic Proccesses” or “Markov Chains”. I just drop the name without contents here, though.

  4. @Aaron. “Correlation is not causation” correct but there was no premise for an argument so it was a general statement. If I were to say that humans cause environmental degradation that could be demonstrably proven. The thing is climate change is a vague term and often exaggerated. Does industry have a negative impact on the climate? Science says yes but to a degree. Lying about something may devalue your argument but it is effective tool to get people concerned about an issue. In the case of the environment, personally I wouldn’t take this approach myself but I see no harm in doing so.

    1. I don’t even know what to say to that. People may share your concern about an issue if you lie to them, but that completely falls apart once your lie gets exposed. Why do you think the AGW crowd gets so much flag? They’ve repeatedly been caught falsifying data, for instance.

      You don’t see the harm? Don’t you live in a world of finite resources where time and money spent on something isn’t available for something else? Now you tell me that there is no harm if a bunch of liars manage to get their hands on resources. Come on, man!

    2. What? Money is not ifinite?
      But… but.. Mario and Janet said, the can print more…
      /sarc

    3. You don’t see the harm? Don’t you live in a world of finite resources where time and money spent on something isn’t available for something else? Now you tell me that there is no harm if a bunch of liars manage to get their hands on resources.

      Exactly…

      Many scammers make this rationalization. Didn’t many PUAs make it too? DeAngelo made millions making exaggerated claims… and then he said you have to exaggerate because if you don’t, you can’t give people the help they “actually need”.

      Fitness experts use this rationalization to sell bullshit and exaggerate, creating false expectations, as do most scammers in most areas of life. “See I’m exaggerating, but it’s for your benefit in the end”.

      But in the end like Aaron says, time is a finite commodity. It’s a resource. If someone wastes years of their life chasing a rainbow in the gym… the exaggeration did not help them.

      Fitness Scammer responds: “Yeah yeah but if we didn’t exaggerate, he wouldn’t have joined the gym in the first place, so ultimately we did him a favor by exaggerating”… But that’s such utter bullshit. Since more people actually give up on the gym when they have unrealistic expectations.

  5. By the fact that AGW is tried to be shown as some kind of scientific dogma…

    …You know, science isn’t about dogmatism. That is the domain of ideology and religion. Popper would add AGW between Marxism and Psychoanalysis if it was a thing back then.

  6. Mr. Tyson made a poor analogy. That does not make him an idiot. In fairness, he lives in a country where a good portion of the population thinks the world is around 6,000 years old, and the fossils we find were all planted by Satan to test our faith. In a similar vein, if the current US secretary of Energy’s main argument against dealing with climate change is that is really complicated, so we just should leave it up to God, if I was a scientist I probably would be pretty cranky a lot of the time.

    Anyhow, it is a bit sad that the default response is that AGW is that it is just a big leftist conspiracy. If you actually think this, may I suggest investing in Fijian real estate?

    1. Exactly.
      And strangely no one is botherinh to look back 400-500 years, when there was a little ice age, which for instance is one of the explanations why violins from 17th century are particularly good (Stradivari, Guarner, Bergonzi, etc.).
      It seems to be totally normal to have temperature phases, but hey why bother with fact, if we can manipulate the masses.

  7. 1st off the racism of this post is absurd, you seem intelligent enough to know that skin colour has no direct correlation to smarts, yes it is a fact that coloured people are usually in have not areas of the world and have access to less education but stating that his intelligence is lesser because of his colour is straight up stupid and makes me lose respect for you, 2. He is not saying that the sciences are the same in no way I’m sure Dr Tyson knows that they are two different fields of study, he is stating that fact that most people will believe and not challenge science when we predict an eclipse however when scientists say that the planet is getting fucked and we hold a part in it everyone seems to have something to say, usually due to the nature of self preservation and people don’t want to change so they reject the facts, the facts are we act like a virus to this planet and because we’ve advanced it’s starting to take it’s toll, next time take what someone is saying into context and think about the way it is said before posting such a dumb fucking opinion

    1. Hi there, snowflake!

      1) Racism is, broadly speaking, the belief that the various human races have different abilities. This is a fact. Blacks are stronger than whites, but not as intelligent. Asians are smarter than Whites, and so on, and so forth. Of course, I am only talking about populations, so pointing to one black dude who has an IQ of 100 does not mean that the average IQ of blacks isn’t around 80.

      2) It’s not about skin color, but about the entirety of one’s genetic makeup. Blacks aren’t just whites who happened to not have white skin.

      3) We’ve pumped trillions into Africa, and we’ve probably pumped half a trillion, if not more, into welfare for blacks. What is the result of that? Could it be that their lack of achievement is due to their low IQ and ass-backward culture?

      4) I don’t say that Tyson is dumb because of his skin color, but that the tweet he made is breathtakingly stupid.

  8. Now all he needs to do is make the argument that humans are the main cause of solar eclipses, and that 99% of scientists, including the ones that don’t study or predict any physics or astronomy, to agree with him and his ‘data’ blindly. Sound familiar?

  9. If man made climate change is not real and we do something about it:

    We’ve become energy independent, both as a country and as individuals if we produce it ourselves.
    We’ve created new jobs.
    We have cleaner air.

    If man made climate change is not real and we don’t do something about:
    Nothing changes

    If man made climate change is real and we do something about:
    The benefits listed above and we save the world.

    If man made climate change is real and we don’t do something about.
    We die.

    In conclusion, it only makes sense to believe in man-made climate change and act accordingly.

    1. Sure, let’s throw evidence (or the lack thereof) out of the window and have our policies determined by profiteering fear-mongers. Maybe you should look up what a racket “alternative energy” is. Oh, we “save the world” now! I could think of at least a dozen pressing concerns that affect Western societies negatively right fucking now and for which cause and effect are clearly determined. Yet, we are supposed to listen to charlatans who try to bamboozle the masses with stories of man-made global warming. LOL.

      What do you think will be a bigger issue for the planet? Global warming, or another two billion low-IQ savages breeding in Africa and the Middle East? Of course, I am using “savage’ as a term of endearment, alluding to Rousseau’s “noble savage”. We Europeans love ’em and we can’t get enough of them. But maybe, just maybe, they will bring down Western society as a whole. No, scratch that: uncontrolled mass immigration from the Third World is already wrecking society. By the time AGW may hit us, if at all, there won’t be much of the West left. How about we solve the problem of uncontrolled population growth in Africa and the Middle East before we turn our attention to a sideshow like hypothesized AGW. So far, many more Europeans died from Islamic terrorist attacks than global warming, that’s for sure.

    2. We’ve become energy independent, both as a country and as individuals if we produce it ourselves.
      We’ve created new jobs.
      We have cleaner air.

      You do realize this applies to feminist theories as well? In fact that’s a common rationalization I’ve heard in them defending propagating feminist lies. That apparently even if it weren’t true, it still has benefits, so hush stop analyzing the data too closely.

      Let me illustrate and demonstrate with an equivalent

      If rape culture is not real and we do something about it:
      – We’ve created new jobs for graduates in gender studies
      – We reduce the number of rapes
      – We create a more respectful courtship process

      Notice that only the first one is definitely true, that is:
      – We’ve created new jobs for graduates in gender studies

      The other two are ONLY claimed as benefits of anti-rape-culture measures, but plenty of critiques would show they don’t provide this claimed benefit, and might in fact do the opposite.

    3. Creating jobs is a bogus argument, in my opinion. For instance, the city I live in has quite a few people with a background in gender studies on the payroll. I’d much rather see a few more police men on the streets. Or, speaking of streets, I’d much rather see them properly maintained. The same reasoning is true for “clean energy” advocates as any job they claim would be created could also be created in another area that is more likely to lead to incremental progress somewhere else.

    4. I’m not saying that creating jobs for environmentalists and feminists is a valid argument.

      I’m just pointing out that it’s the only listed item which we know for sure will happen if we all pretend that the theory is true.

      Pretending that rape culture is real will create more jobs for feminists. Yes.

      It will reduce number of rapes, make dating more respectful blabla? Plenty of evidence says otherwise.

      I’m admitting that the first point is true, not as an admission that it’s a good thing.

      But to hint that this is why they’re really pushing the theory in the first place. They just want more jobs, grants etc for themselves.

      But in order to push through the theory they list other benefits we’ll all (supposedly) get by pretending that the theory is real.

      But only the first “benefit” is real. It’s only a benefit to them, the theory pushers. They get more jobs, grants, etc.

    5. “Sure, let’s throw evidence (or the lack thereof) out of the window and have our policies determined by profiteering fear-mongers.”

      The profiteering is a side-effect. In a capitalist society someone is going to make the money.

      “Maybe you should look up what a racket “alternative energy” is.”

      Not sure what’s a “racket” about producing electricity at my house and then I don’t have to pay the electric or gas company anymore….

      As for what’s a pressing concern, obviously global warming is a longer term issue than the valid issues you present but at the same time the other issues don’t exist if the planet is too warm to live on.

    6. If “someone” is going to make the money anyway, then it better not be the liars and schemers. I’m not talking about some DIYer putting up solar panels, but about the massive and massively subsidized alternative energy industry. Lastly, when you want to solve a bunch of problems, you better tackle the most pressing one head on. In fact, if you end up in a situation where you are overwhelmed with problems to solve, you probably screwed up royally in the past. This is precisely what we have been experiencing in the West. Right now, the top priority would be to secure our borders, scrap the welfare state, and return to a law-and-order society.

    7. Not sure what’s a “racket” about producing electricity at my house and then I don’t have to pay the electric or gas company anymore….

      That’s a false dichotomy. You don’t need to believe AGW in order to produce your own electricity and get those savings.

      I’m pretty sure Aaron wasn’t talking about you installing solar panels as being racketeering?

      – Are you:

      A) being manipulative on purpose
      B) Dumb?

      You can’t possibly believe that when Aaron talked about racketeering he was saying that you having the choice to install solar panels is a racket? You look like a smart person, so you can’t possibly have thought that. So I’ll go with A, you were straw-manning on purpose, being intellectually dishonest.

      Racketeering examples btw including things like policies that xyz type of companies MUST hire x number of enviromentalists, things like forced carbon taxes, special fines etc…

    8. I’m pretty sure subsidies to the fossil fuel industry are much greater than to the alternative energy industry.

      Alek,

      Not A) but probably a little B) 🙂

      All I’m saying is a push for alternative energy, regardless of one’s reasoning, has no cons. It’s better for every single person on this planet.

  10. I was anti-AGW before it was cool so, this article is smooth music for my ears.

    Anthropogenic or man made global warming is a idea that has experienced a rise due to a new phenomena. That is when people argue their point regardless of being proven wrong and do so vigorously calling of a coming existential crisis. Stressing on the words regardless of being proven wrong. They are ready to do anything that comes to their mind in order to stop the crisis without the slightest regard for economics or the wellbeing of society.

    As for Tyson, I always felt that he was not that smart.

  11. @Aaron

    “You don’t see the harm? Don’t you live in a world of finite resources where time and money spent on something isn’t available for something else? Now you tell me that there is no harm if a bunch of liars manage to get their hands on resources. Come on, man!”

    fair point, I am a bit biased with mother earth. It can be pretty harmful but how would you suggest appealing to people who can’t think critically? Facts and data never seem to do the trick.

    1. Fitness scammers and self-help scammers and PUA scammers use the same rationale. They claim if they didn’t exaggerate and make unfounded claims, regular “lazy people” wouldn’t get off the couch. So claiming certain things with certainty is apparently “for their own good”.

    2. Feminists sometimes will admit they have to exaggerate numbers and statistics to get people to care. Apparently if they didn’t wildly exaggerate rape statistics, nobody would care about girls getting raped… or so their excuse goes…

  12. @Aaron

    I never suggested lying, I said I saw no harm in Tyson doing it and when you pointed it out, I admitted the flaw in my statement. Data for what? yet Again I can’t provide information when you haven’t asked me to prove anything? That human activity is correlated with environmental change? thought that would be a bit obvious, though I can provide data if you wish.

    @ Alek

    This has nothing to do with self development or feminist Imo those issues are tiny in comparison, its much bigger than people. Think military. Does the military consult the people before making a decision? no. Does it fuck up sometimes? yes. Does it save lives sometimes? also yes.

    1. What you suggest is akin to lying. “No, it’s just hyperbole based on alleged facts!”, you interject. What’s the difference.

      The problem with people like you is that they are not even interested in discussing a particular point of view. Just look at what you are doing: now you move the goal post by claiming you merely spoke of “environmental change”, and you do this with an absolutely obnoxious and wholly unjustified air of superiority. I change the environment when I did a hole in my garden.

  13. “What you suggest is akin to lying. “No, it’s just hyperbole based on alleged facts!”, you interject. What’s the difference.”

    Thats the kicker, I never suggested it, I said I saw know harm it and then you proved me wrong, I admit that. Not that hard to understand.

    “The problem with people like you is that they are not even interested in discussing a particular point of view. Just look at what you are doing: now you move the goal post by claiming you merely spoke of “environmental change”, and you do this with an absolutely obnoxious and wholly unjustified air of superiority. I change the environment when I did a hole in my garden.”

    Superiority? where the fuck did that come from. I am just a guy interested in the environment. Yeah “environmental change” in the context of the conversation man, I.E human activity altering weather patterns and causing environmental degradation in terms of rising climate, incidence of storms, rise in ph of the ocean, destruction of ecosystems ect ect. Id be more than happy to back my points up if need be.

    1. ” I.E human activity altering weather patterns and causing environmental degradation in terms of rising climate, incidence of storms, rise in ph of the ocean, destruction of ecosystems ect ect.”

      –> So you’re saying the above mentioned changes are man made? i.e. if we remove humans from the equation temperature would be lower for example?

      “Id be more than happy to back my points up if need be.”

      –> Please.

    2. Good moment to comment how odd it is that leftist figureheads and media focus almost all of their efforts in AGW, when there are several other environmental issues that are unequivocally real, like ocean pollution or the destruction of ecosystems and endangerment of species. For every headline dedicated to these, there must be like 10 for climate change. It stinks to high heavens.

  14. Perhaps Scott Adams doesn’t know how to handle his sugarbaby in public, but he said it true regarding AGW: both sides sound convincing enough. Without being a no-bullshit climate scientist (or belonging to a very related field)), how do you parse the true findings from the false?

    What we laymen do know is that one side has Big Oil behind, a traditional, old elite, and the other side has a myriad of up-and-coming elite with the media on their side (with some members playing both sides, that’s for sure). And we do know the “clean energy” side is prone to lying and promoting rotten ideologies.

    1. “Without being a no-bullshit climate scientist (or belonging to a very related field)), how do you parse the true findings from the false?”

      Why would I have to parse true scientific findings from false scientific findings as a layman? Do you parse the true findings from the false in oncology as a non-oncologist too? After all, there’s no shortage of non-mainstream “scientific” theories in that area as well.

    2. In this case it would be like the layman asking:

      “Ok, so who’s telling the truth, evolutionary and social psychology professors or gender studies professors?”

      They come with exactly opposite findings from one another. So the layman can ask, ok, so which one isn’t afraid to defend their findings? And you’ll find that the evolutionary psychologists will always debate a gender studies proffesor no problem. The gender studies professor will boycott, call names, say he can’t get laid, he hates women etc etc…

      That’s generally a good way for a layman to know which side is on the right side. Who is trying to shut down debate, and who’s willing to debate.

    3. Alek Novy: exactly.

      Martin: your stance can easily devolve into the fallacy of appeal to authority, don’t you see?

  15. @Neutralrandomthoughts

    “So you’re saying the above mentioned changes are man made? i.e. if we remove humans from the equation temperature would be lower for example?”

    Yes and no. Climate change is natural but humans intervention is accelerating the rate at which the change is happening, which in turn has detrimental effects as current ecosystems can’t adapt effectively when faced with an accelerated rate of change.

    Here is study concerning climate:
    http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1029/2009GL042064/full

    If you want links to anything else specific lmk.

    1. You clearly are unable to engage in a proper argument. It has not at all been shown that humans accelerate global warming.

    2. Well, as is the case with any 3rd world country who lies upon the Pacific “Fire Belt”, our national contribution to global warming by volcanic activity overwhelmingly dwarves the human-made even by the metrics of Al Gore and the like. So, we wash our hands on this, LOL.

    3. I’ll throw this in here:

      “First, to infer that humans can’t be behind today’s climate change because climate changed before humans is bad reasoning (a non-sequitur). Humans are changing the climate today mainly via greenhouse gas emissions, the same mechanism that caused climate change before humans.
      Second, to imply we have nothing to fear from today’s climate change is not borne out by the lessons from rapid climate changes in Earth’s past.”

      https://skepticalscience.com/climate-change-little-ice-age-medieval-warm-period-intermediate.htm

    1. 1) Look up “whataboutism”.

      2) Pointing out logical mistakes in an argument doesn’t require supportive facts, even though we certainly provided ample illustration of our point.

      3) Your source doesn’t even support your claim. We are talking about man-made climate change. I only skimmed that site, but it seems that they are careful to merely gather evidence for climate change, without hitting you over the head with a poorly drawn conclusion.

    1. You really should learn to do proper research. The IPCC has been exposed to tremendous amounts of criticism.

    1. With all this about the west going to zero, where would be some good places to live in? I have my preferences but I would like your opinion on it.

    2. You did mention the eastern bloc countries. (I remember you mention Poland) But the irony considering where I came from is that they are too third world for me.

  16. Trying to assess someone’s knowledge or understanding of an issue from a tweet isn’t really possible.

    This is why it’s so stupid that the media freaks out over so many of Trump’s tweets. It’s not any smarter to do it with some PBS guy.

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