Journalists should stop ‘balancing’ stories with Science Denialists: Cosmos’s Neil DeGrasse Tyson

(By David Edwards)

Neil deGrasse Tyson tells CNN: Stop giving ‘equal time to the flat Earthers’ (via Raw Story )

Neil deGrasse Tyson, host of Fox’s documentary series Cosmos, said on Sunday that the news media should stop trying to “balance” the debate on scientific issues by hosting people who deny science. In an interview on CNN’s Reliable Sources, host…

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Related video:

CNN: Neil deGrasse Tyson on Religion, Science and the ‘Cosmos’ debut

7 Responses

  1. Yeah, science denialists should not be given credence. But wouldn’t it be nice to have an intelligent discussion about the roles of science and religion? There are things that science cannot study adequately if at all, including values, meaning, and final causes. Science cannot tell us what we should give our lives to. Religion remains relevant because it treats enduring questions of value, meaning, and purpose. Science only knows about things that humans can measure. To be certain that there is nothing in the cosmos beyond what scientists can train their instruments on is anthropocentric and arrogant.

    • I think any academic, be s/he scientist or humanist, appreciates that knowledge is dynamic, that today’s dogma is tomorrow’s discard. The difficulty is that many religions, particularly Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, demand a dogmatic belief about the nature of the universe that is either at odds with such dynamism or which struggles to reconcile dynamism with dogma. This is something that ancient Roman writers found offensive on the part Christians – that there was a single path and solution to the nature of the universe and God that had to be accepted and did not save room for error or dynamic explanations. Celsus and Porphyry were among Neo-Platonists who took the early Christian community to task for ex cathedra certitudes about such profound mysteries. The assertion of absolute knowledge and certainty concerning God and (in general) the nature and origin of the cosmos on the part of certain religions is about as arrogant as it gets.

      Religion might address value, meaning, and purpose, but if it is built on shadows and fictions, what is behind the ultimate validity of value, meaning, and purpose?

      In the end I remain on the side of science – which tangibly treats diabetes, builds computers, sends vehicles to Mars, and produces Ibuprofen for the headaches all this religious mumbo-jumbo creates.

    • What does the role of science have to do with the role of religion? Why do folks need to entangle them? And what you probably meant is the role of Christianity or Islam, not religion in general. I do not see many Buddhists who are upset by any of this Science talk.
      To really have an entanglement you need a religious book that makes statements about Nature that are unsupportable, and you need a faithful who believe them not as allegorical myth, but as hard facts that cannot be contradicted.
      Calling Science anthropocentric is one of the silliest things I have ever heard. It is one of the least anthropocentric endeavors I can think of. In in no way treats man as special from Nature. I am stunned by this remark. You really ought to watch the show and learn exactly was Science is.

  2. For journalists to be truly consistent, when a murder is reported in the papers there should also be “balanced” quotes from people saying, “yeah, but the son-of-a-bitch deserved to die.”

  3. Ellen Amster

    ““There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that “my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.”–Isaac Asimov

  4. The problem with “balance” in reporting is the failure to put both sides on the same scale. If one side has 95% support and the other has 5% support, say so. Balance your story by letting both sides say something, but point out LOUDLY that it is a 95/5 deal.

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