Up until yesterday, I had never heard of the rapper known as B.o.B. But that’s okay, I’m an old fart and not into rap. In a less hilarious world, I might have gone to my grave never hearing about B.o.B. but he decided to make an ass of himself on Twitter. That’s when I learned about the guy and his ridiculous flat earth ideas.
Our favorite astrophysicist, Neil deGrasse Tyson, replied to B.o.B.’s Tweets “explaining” why the earth is supposedly flat. He did a great job (of course) taking the rapper down a few pegs. But, being a rapper, B.o.B. decided to diss Tyson in a rap. That’s where things stood as of 11:40 p.m. on Wednesday.
On “The Nightly Show,” Larry Wilmore did a segment about B.o.B. and his nonsense, basically covering up to where we left off. But Larry has a Science Panic Button and he pushed it, initiating a “Science Emergency Defense Program.” This brought out none other than Neil deGrasse Tyson to answer the emergency. And he did so in epic style. Taking his jacket off and grabbing the mic, Tyson proceeded to school B.o.B.:
Listen B.o.B., once and for all… The earth looks flat because 1) you’re not far enough away at your size and 2) your size isn’t large enough, relative to the earth, to notice any curvature at all… small sections of large, curved surfaces will always look flat to little creatures that crawl upon it.
Tyson went on to criticize the anti-science bent that our country has taken, of late, and how it may be the end of our informed democracy. Of course, he said, one can believe whatever they like in a free society, including that the earth is flat. Though they will still be wrong. But if you have influence over others like a successful rap artist or a presidential candidate…
… then being wrong can be harmful to the health, the wealth and the security of our citizenry.
Discovery is what got us out of the caves, Tyson asserted, and each generation benefits from the discoveries of the previous one. He name-checked Issac Newton — “If I have seen farther than others it’s by standing on the shoulders of giants” — which brought the crowd to its feet, with an “Amen!” Then he brought it home, telling B.o.B.:
If you stand on the shoulders of those who came before, you might just see far enough to realize that the earth isn’t f**king flat! And, by the way, this is called gravity!
With that, Tyson dropped the mic and the crowd went wild. Rightly so, too. While this may have been a bit on a comedy show, its intent is serious. If we put up with stupid people being stupid and trying to spread the stupidity, then we are in big trouble. Thankfully, we have people like Neil deGrasse Tyson to balance the equation.
Here’s the video via Comedy Central:
Featured Image via screen capture