Astrophysicist Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson. Photo:Flickr
Transcript of his video presentation “Science In America“ with over 24 million Facebook views
How did America rise up from a backwoods country to be one of the greatest nation the world has ever known? We pioneered industries and all of this required the greatest innovations in science and technology in the world; and so science is a fundamental part of the country that we are.
But in this the 21st century when it comes time to make decisions about science it seems to me people have lost the ability to judge what is true, and what is not; what is reliable and what is not reliable. What should you believe, what should you not believe; and 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.
That’s not the country I remember growing up in. Not that we didn’t have challenges. I’m old enough to remember the 60s and the 70s and a hot war and a cold war and a civil rights movement and all of this was going on– but I don’t remember anytime when people were standing in denial of what science was. One of the great things about science is that it’s an entire exercise in finding what is true.
The hypothesis. You test it. I get a result. A rival of mine double checks it because they think I might be wrong. They perform an even better experiments then I did and they find out that ‘hey, this experiment matches. Oh my, gosh, we are on to something here.’ And out of this, rises a new emergent truth. It does it better than anything else we have ever come up with as human beings. This is science.
It’s not something to toy with. It’s not something to say ‘I choose not to believe E equals MC squared. You don’t have that option. When you have an established scientific emergent truth it is true whether or not you believe in it, and the sooner you understand that, the faster we can get on with the political conversation about how to solve the problems that face us.
So once you understand that humans are warming the planet you can then have a political conversation about that — you can say, well are there carbon credits ? Do we do this? Do we put a tariff? Do we fund? Do we subsidize? Those have political answers and every minute one is in denial, you are delaying the political solution that should have been established years ago. As a voter, as a citizen, scientific issues will come before you and isn’t it worth it to say ‘alright let me at least become scientifically literate so that I can think about these issues and act intelligently upon them’? Recognize what science is and allow it to be what it can and should be in the service of civilization.
It’s in our hands.