Neil deGrasse Tyson trolls Christmas

I guess Neil deGrasse Tyson was hungry for a little attention this Christmas. After all, it had been a few months since the science series "Cosmos" had been shown and his TV appearances since then had been few and far between.

Tyson solved that problem by publishing some tweets on Christmas day that he knew would raise the hackles of his haters.


It's a figure that even astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson is having a hard time wrapping his brilliant mind around.

His Christmas Day tweet commemorating the birthday of Isaac Newton was retweeted more than 62,000 times as of this writing, making it the most popular of his Twitter career so far -- and, arguably, his most controversial.

"On this day long ago, a child was born who, by age 30, would transform the world. Happy Birthday Isaac Newton b. Dec 25, 1642," the StarTalk host tweeted.

He followed it up with a nod to the commercialization of Christmas: "Merry Christmas to all. A Pagan holiday (BC) becomes a Religious holiday (AD). Which then becomes a Shopping holiday (USA)."

He was on a roll. Earlier in the day, he tweeted, "QUESTION: This year, what do all the world's Muslims and Jews call December 25th? ANSWER: Thursday."

His comments drew criticism and name-calling from various corners of the internet. "Overly reductive, deliberately cynical and unnecessarily provocative," one person said on Twitter.

Another accused him of "trolling Christmas today to show you how smart he is."

His response the next day to the flurry of conversation? "Imagine a world in which we are all enlightened by objective truths rather than offended by them."

Tyson would do well to stick to astrophysics - something he is brilliant at. His forays into religion and politics only show him to be insufferable. One of his most recent controversies involved him "quoting" President Bush on Islam - a quote that doesn't exist because Bush never said it. Tyson refused to apologize for making up the quote and when defending his use of fictitious material revealed himself to be a self-serving, condescending lout.

Tyson is apparently not satisfied unless people are paying attention to him - and worshiping him. His rabid fans continually scour his Wikipedia page keeping all controversies from appearing. Those 62,000 people who retweeted his Newton blurb performed exactly as he expected  and wanted them to.

It's a shame because Tyson has a great gift - the ability to take complex ideas and translate them into language that ordinary people can understand. Most scientists don't bother to explain why we should be spending hundreds of millions or billions of dollars on their pet projects. But Tyson, who advocates doubling the budget of NASA and substantially increasing funding for other sciences, makes a good case for his position. "No bucks - no Buck Rogers" as the astronauts used to say. If he would stick to that kind of advocacy, we would be spared his smarmy, egotistical, arrogance on subjects like religion.

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