The Skeptical Teacher

Musings of a science teacher & skeptic in an age of woo.

A Lesson in How NOT to be Skeptical: The Fake Neil deGrasse Tyson Quote

Posted by mattusmaximus on October 24, 2012

Many times we self-described skeptics and critical thinkers do not live up to our own rhetoric.  Case in point: How many skeptics/atheists/freethinkers/etc do you know who have shared the following quote, or perhaps you have shared it yourself?

Well, here’s the rub… this quote attributed to astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson is…


Ouch.  I have to admit that I probably would have fallen for it, too; maybe I did, I cannot remember seeing this on my Facebook wall, but who knows?  It’s a good lesson for those of us who call ourselves skeptics to make sure that we’re taking care to walk the skeptical/critical thinking walk and not just talk the talk.  Here’s a good YouTube video expanding upon this lesson:

3 Responses to “A Lesson in How NOT to be Skeptical: The Fake Neil deGrasse Tyson Quote”

  1. Kitty Lapin Agile said

    “You can’t believe everything your read on the internet”- Abraham Lincoln

  2. Ron Murphy said

    Perhaps you shared it because, being an independent thinker, you agreed with the sentiment, and did not share it based on the authority of NDT. If it’s a good idea it doesn’t really matter who said it – even some anonymous author labelling it as NDT. So, do you agree with the sentiment?

  3. R. Aston said

    Look, Neil Tyson is right about global warming. And he is a fairly good speaker. He’s no Carl Sagan, but then who is? But the fact that he is right about global warming and has a big soapbox and people listen to him means the right wing Republicans have to drag him down. That doesn’t mean that Tyson is right when he makes up quotes or attributes a Bush quote made in one year about one subject wrongly to an unrelated topic in a different year. In other words Tyson intentionally distorted the circumstances behind that quote so as to make his political point. That is wrong when the right wingers do it and it is wrong when Tyson does it. The Republicans idiotically act as if the fact that they caught Tyson with these distortions and fake quotes means that he is wrong about the fact of global climate change being caused by man. No, Tyson is still right. Almost every objective scientist recognizes the reality of man made climate change – it has nothing to do with what Neil Tyson says or does.
    Tyson should admit what he did and apologize and move on. But he is arrogant and so far he has refused to admit it or apologize. But the right wingers are just as arrogant for their dishonest 24/7 attempts to “disprove” the fact of warming temperatures without showing any data that would disprove it.

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