VIDEO: Bill Maher to Neil deGrasse Tyson: 'Republicans Dislike You Because You're a Scientist and Black'
Neil deGrasse Tyson, the astrophysicist who hosts the hit show "Cosmos," was a guest on Bill Maher's "Real Time with Bill Maher" on HBO Friday night, and Tyson received standing ovation. Rare for a scientist, Maher joked.
But Tyson, of course, has his critics, including the right-wingers at the National Review, who put Tyson on the cover of their print magazine recently with the coverline, "Smarter Than Thou."
Why don't they (meaning Republicans) like you? Maher wondered.
Then he answered his own question by saying, "I think they don’t like you because you’re a scientist, and a black one, and you’re smarter than they are."
Tyson thought it might have something to do with the glorification of "nerd culture" and how people in that world generally vote democratic. But Maher is pretty sure racial jealousy plays a major part, as with Obama.
The other thing that galls the right is how scientists are always pointing out how insignificant human life is, and how random. "That offends them," Maher said.
"Sure, insignificance can be depressing, but there’s another way of looking at it," Tyson replied. "We’re connected genetically to a tree. That's cool."
Maher was skeptical: "C’mon, they have problems with apes."
Tyson insisted that our interconnectedness with the universe was practically spiritual. "We should celebrate that, not be pissed off by that."
Tyson went on to clear up some other misconceptions, like the recent CNN hysteria about solar flares practically hitting earth and wiping out all humanity.
"The sun is gurgling place," he explained, using more words than that..
"Talk slower," Maher said, trying to keep up.
"Sometimes it burps up plasma. Sometimes they head towards earth. When they collide with the earth’s atmosphere, it sets it aglow. Everytime you see the northern lights, we have just been slammed by a plasma pie."
"That damn CNN. Always trying to scare me," Bill said.
Amy Goodman of Democracy Now! also appeared on the show, making trenchant points about U.S. foreign policy and how the military option should be taken off the table. "Just do the opposite of what Dick Cheney says," she suggested. She and Tyson seemed in full agreement that the death penalty, such as the torturous execution in Arizona this week, should also be taken off the table.
See the Tyson segment here: