Conservative Talk Show Host Pens Attack on Neil DeGrasse Tyson - Tyson Goes Supernova on Him

The Right Wing

Neal Larson is a conservative right-wing radio talk show personality and author. He’s been watching the Olympics and following via Twitter. He was enjoying himself, watching America beat the pants off other countries, proving our superiority to everyone in the world, when a bee got into his bonnet! Titled, “Neil deGrasse Tyson is a horse’s astrophysicist,” Larson began:

Just a few days into the Olympics, the steadily updated medal count proved it was clear Rio was going to turn out to be a good year for the United States. My short moment of American pride was swiftly interrupted, though, by the conditioned realization that liberals would start finding ways to either dismiss or apologize to everyone for it. Because in any progressive’s world besides politics, winning is shameful. The victorious side of any disparity represents some kind of “privilege” for which the victor is obligated to adopt an apologetic stance.

Almost on cue, celebrity astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson shared this gem on that intellectual storehouse, Twitter:

“The USA has 3x as many Olympic golds as Hungary, but 30x the population. Adjusting for this, Hungary is kicking our ass.”

What deGrasse Tyson was referring to is a pretty well-understood phenomenon. The United States has won the most medals in the Olympics because we have the most athletes competing in the Olympics and we have a ton more people competing to get into the Olympics.

Larson was offended. This “4th-grade math” was something his 10-year-old could do. Maybe his daughter should just be “snarky” and anti-American as well, and she too could be the next “overpaid, unscrutinized, and overestimated academic fawned over by the media and the left.” Yeesh.

I’ve listened to Neil deGrasse Tyson before. And what I observe is a smart guy who consistently enjoys asserting his intellectual supremacy over others more than he actually likes educating. In one of his worse moments, 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.

Pretty damning. Mocking a young girl’s intellect. Yup, that sounds just like a liberal scientist. They’re always making me feel stupid! Larson shot this missive off and must have been surprised to see that Neil deGrasse Tyson decided to go through and deconstruct his entire argument in the comment thread.

Hello Neal,

First, I'll forgive you for not spelling your name correctly.

Second, and more importantly, I don't mind being labeled a horse's astrophysicist (I see what you did there), provided it's based on factual information. So what we must do is subtract the false information from your article, and then re-assess what name you choose to call me. If it still justifies "horse's astrophysicist," then so be it.

Ha! It gets better and better:

1) FYI: The cosmic perspective is all about having a second look at what, on the surface appears to be important, special, ego-boosting, etc. The Olympic medal count is not immune from this analysis. In fact, an even better measure is medals per GDP per capita. This will tell you how efficiently and effectively a country is spending its wealth on athletic excellence. The tweet, though based only on population, was a playful plea that we could be winning even more medals than we are.

Tyson proceeds to point out lies and flaws in Larson’s argument, including links to articles and interviews and videos—including pointing out that Larson’s assertion that Tyson had attacked some young girl is a bald-faced lie. 

So 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.

Larson’s gonna need a strong drink to wash down that hot-air balloon he calls his ego.

Here's the rest of Tyson’s response:

2) I am agnostic, and actively disavow the atheist label:

[Audio: 6m30s]:

[Video: 3m 48s]

3) People who deny human-induced climate change are badly misinformed. This position is neither politically liberal nor conservative. It's factual. Although one could argue that all those who want to preserve the environment are the real conservatives in this discussion.

4) You use "liberal" as a tag to characterize my politics. Since I have no active public political position, that's a hard task to accomplish. Climate change deniers are misinformed. But so are people who think vaccines give you autism. And so are people who think genetically modified foods are bad for you. These science-denying postures cross political boundaries, as I clumsily attempted to convey recently on Bill Maher.

5) The "incident" with a 9yr old girl never happened. It looks to be a hoax. No such tweets ever existed on November 29th, 2015, or on any other day. My only tweet on November 29, 2015 (as my followers can attest, and as anyone can see from scrolling my Twitter page was:


Starship Enterprise versus Millennium Falcon. Oh yeah, I went there [video - 1m 40s]:


So 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.

6) I am 3x 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.

7) Lastly: my research output as a scientist is not hidden. You can find it here, if you are interested:

So when you factor in (or simply subtract) all these elements from your writeup, if what remains still justifies labeling me a horse's astrophysicist, then, as I said, I'm okay with that.

Respectfully Submitted,

Neil deGrasse Tyson, New York City

p.s. FYI: I have relatives who live in Idaho. And I've loved every visit. Last they visited me, prompted this tweet: 

"Nephew from Idaho, puzzled by locks on my NYC apt door. I asked, Don't you have locks at home? He replied, No, just shotguns."

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