Neil DeGrasse Tyson is renowned throughout the scientific and skeptic community. He is the host of Star Talk Radio, the Director of the Hayden Planetarium, one of the few black astrophysicists in NASA, and most recently the host of the remake of Carl Sagan’s Cosmos. He is well-known for his inability to take a stance on religion, but recently has not held back on his criticism of the anti-intellectual creationist movement.
On Christmas morning Dr. Tyson went on Twitter with some rather witty tweets reverencing scientific knowledge while slighting the materialistic holiday spirit. Somehow that turned controversial.
As the day wore on, Dr. Tyson became ever-more witty going after the capitalistic market that pervades this holiday season, the Christian religion co-opting Pagan holidays and traditions to spread their own doctrine, and the birth of a scientific hero whose birthday is largely ignored in favor of Jesus Christ — who was more than likely born in the spring, which may or may not have even happened at all.
The response from many Christians and very pro-Christmas Americans was none too cordial.
Although the date of Isaac Newton’s birth seems up for debate, since the Gregorian calendar was not in use during his birth, Dr. Tyson is technically still correct. With a Gregorian calender, Newton’s birth would fall on January 4, 1643, but the United Kingdom was utilizing the Julian calendar at that time.
Score 1 for Neil DeGrasse Tyson on pointing out the fallacious notion that Christmas is any type of original Christian holiday, slamming the consumerism pushed under the farce of “giving,” and for acknowledging one of the arguably greatest scientific minds in all of recorded history.