Neil deGrasse Tyson — astrophysicist, cosmologist, author, and frequent guest on podcasts and television shows — has one of the more popular accounts on Twitter.
Since joining the microblogging site in January 2009, Tyson has racked up 6.45 million followers and has been credited for making science “cool again” by a number of media outlets.
But whenever one dares to have thoughts and opinions on the realm of science, they inevitably attract a share of detractors. And it appears that Neil found all of his with a recent tweet downplaying the world of 2017’s progress. Here’s the message.
“In 1927 Lindbergh flew from NY to Paris. 45 yrs later, in 1972 we last walked on the Moon. 45 yrs later, in 2017 we… we… we…”
The implication for many was, look how much greater society’s accomplishments used to be compared to what they are today.
Critics of Neil deGrasse Tyson were only too willing to point out the “shallowness” of this observation from a man who is typically associated with thought-provoking statements, many of which play out on his Twitter account each week.
Just a few of the previous examples include, “Meteors meet fiery deaths as they plunge through Earth’s atmosphere. So the term ‘Meteoric Rise’ makes no sense whatsoever”; “For Algebra geeks: If the thickness of a pizza is A, and its radius is Z, and pi is just PI, then its volume is V=PIZZA”; and “Congratulations to @TrevorNoah tonight. @TheDailyShow’s new opening credits now show Earth rotating in the correct direction.”
His tweets are shared and immortalized in features like this one from BuzzFeed.
Not this time. While the tweet has garnered around 22,000 likes at the time of this post, many of its thousands of comments point out some of the finer accomplishments that society has achieved in the period between 1972 and 2017.
— Sheril Kirshenbaum (@Sheril_) January 17, 2017
Among them: a fully manned-at-all-times space station; Mars exploration with the capability of putting a man on the Red Planet within reach; the landing of a Falcon 9 (rocket) on a floating barge in the middle of the ocean; exploration to and beyond Pluto, the solar system’s outermost planet; nuclear fusion and the discovery of the Higgs Boson; the successful landing of a rocket on an icy comet moving at 50,000 miles per hour over 300 million miles away; reduction in poverty and child mortality; an increase in literacy, vaccination, education, and democracy; the Internet; smartphones; social media; and a number of other things that Twitter users insist someone like Neil deGrasse Tyson should have known about.
Conservative podcaster Ben Shapiro called it a “stupid tweet,” and accused Tyson of “tweeting stupid things frequently.”
Of course, this being Twitter, it was not enough to merely point out the omissions. There were also personal attacks directed at Tyson.
Some said it was time to “delete your account,” while others called him “pessimistic” and “pandering for RTs (retweets).” Still others chastised him for “minimizing everything we’ve done” as a society over the last several decades.
— Forest Grump (@Timberati) January 17, 2017
As for Neil, he has yet to respond to any of the blowback, at least through his Twitter account. There is a chance he could take up the matter on a future episode of his popular podcast StarTalk, however, as he frequently interacts with his social media base on the show.
Should that response be forthcoming, Inquisitr will update. But what about you, readers?
Do you think the tweet that Neil deGrasse Tyson shared unfairly minimizes the accomplishments of society and where the world is today, or do you agree with the implication that society has moved backwards? Sound off in the comments section.