Conservative radio host Neal Larson should have known better than to tangle with Neil deGrasse Tyson.
It’s never a good idea to argue with someone way above your intelligence level, but that’s never stopped some of our conservative brethren. And so it is with Idaho conservative radio host Neal Larson, who was so greatly incensed by a Tweet Tyson made that he felt compelled to pen an op-ed titled “Neil deGrasse Tyson is a horse’s astrophysicist”.
Okay, even I have to admit Larson’s title was clever.
The offending Tweet was mathematical and actually true if you go by the numbers, but to Larson, it was anti-American!!!!!
Beginning with the admission that Tyson may be more intelligent than he is, Larson went on to negate that admission with comments like this:
I don’t know how he does it, but Tyson manages to simultaneously be both an astrophysicist … and a jackass. What, precisely, is he attempting to do other than spew out a drive-by pot shot at America, with a fourth-grade math observation mixed in?
But having said that, is it possible that his intellect is exaggerated by those who adore him for other reasons? Maybe that he’s an atheist. That he rips on conservatives regularly. That he mocks “deniers” of anthropogenic climate change. That he feels the need — like any good progressive — to smack America down to size?
I wouldn’t exactly say this emperor has no clothes, but I would say this emperor might have only a speedo and a wristband. Maybe some sunglasses. Snarky science is not better science.
Then he delivered the coup de grace:
Tyson mocked a 12-year-old girl who suggested she’d like to live on Jupiter. He ridiculed her in the midst of a crowd, then later, several times, on Twitter. That told me everything I needed to know about Neil deGrasse Tyson.”
Larson included the mean Tweets to show what a perfectly horrible man Tyson really is.
Uh – except the story about the unfortunate 12 year-old girl being publicly humiliated by Dr. Tyson is just a made up story from Clickhole, a satirical site owned by the more well-known The Onion, and the Tweets were copied directly from that site and not Tyson’s Twitter feed. Oops!
Tyson answered Larson’s op-ed with one of his own, beginning with a great first line:
First, I’ll forgive you for not spelling your name correctly.
He then went on to make his points in a coherent and succinct fashion.
People who deny human-induced climate change are badly misinformed. This position is neither politically liberal nor conservative. It’s factual.
…you abrogated your journalistic integrity by not verifying what you read in somebody else’s article, before using it as a foundational pillar in yours.
I am three-times appointed by President George W. Bush, serving on commissions to advise him on the future of the American aerospace industry, on NASA, and on the annual Presidential Medal of Science winners. So your disapproval of my views is not shared by others on the conservative spectrum.
Where Larson hurled insults, Tyson penned a respectful response, answering the accusations and listing his rather prodigious accomplishments.
So who resembles the nether regions of a horse now?
One wonders if Larson will crawl out of his conservative bubble and embarrass himself again.
Ann Werner is the author of thrillers and other things.
Visit her at Ann Werner on the Web