Neil deGrasse Tyson: Science, Abraham Lincoln, Immigrants, and the Fading of America

Neil deGrasse Tyson: Science, Abraham Lincoln, Immigrants, and the Fading of America


I have to chuckle a little bit when I’m approached
by anybody, but in particular journalists, and say, “Are scientist worried that the
public is in denial of science or is cherry-picking it?” And I chuckle not because it’s funny but because
they’re coming to me as a scientist when they should be going to everyone. Everyone should be concerned by this, not
just scientists. In fact, scientists will just continue as
they’re doing. You might withdraw funding, but then there
isn’t any science done—okay. You are transforming your civilization if
you choose to either stand in denial of science or withdraw science funding from those who
are actually doing the research. Everything we care deeply about that defines
modern civilization pivots on innovations in science, technology, engineering and the
math that is the foundational language for it all. Everything: transportation, your health, your
communication through smart phones that talk to GPS satellites to find out where Grandma
is. To make a left turn to find her address or
the nearest Starbucks. Whatever is your need, whatever is your want,
the emergent innovations in science and technology are not only enabling it, they are creating
for you solutions to challenges you always lived with but never thought that they could
be solved. The message is clear: if you do not understand
what science is and how and why it works—by the way, I’m not even blaming you. I look back as an educator, I look back to
K through 12, kindergarten through 12th grade, and I say there’s something missing there. If you, as an educated adult, can say, “This
is what these scientists agree to, but I don’t agree with them.” If that sentence even comes out of your mouth
it’s like: oh my gosh. Okay, well, we live in a free country, you
can say and think what you want. I’m not even going to stop you. But if you rise to power and have influence
over legislation and that legislation references what you think science is but is not, that
is a recipe for the unraveling of an informed democracy. So I’m not even going to blame you. It’s not your fault. I’m an educator. Let’s go back to K through 12. Somewhere in there while you’re learning about
reading, writing, and arithmetic and while you have a class in earth science and biology
and chemistry, maybe physics, somewhere in there there needs to be a class, possibly
taught every year, on what it is to analyze knowledge, information, how to process facts,
how to turn data into information and information into knowledge and how to turn knowledge into
wisdom. Because it is wisdom that you need to invoke
when you’re a leader. You need insight into not only what is going
on but what will then happen in the future as a consequence of your decisions. You know who had all of that? Abraham Lincoln. We remember him for the Civil War and slavery,
two top categories that he’s justifiably remembered for. You know why I also remember him? In 1863, you know what he did? By the way, that year he had plenty of other
things, many other priorities in his life. 1863: middle of the Civil War, Gettysburg
Address. That same year, he signed into law the National
Academy of Sciences who were charged with advising the executive and the legislative
branch of all the ways that science needs to be recognized as a fundamental part of
what will assure the future health, wealth, and security of the nation. By the way, Abe Lincoln was a Republican president,
greatly valuing what science is going to tell him. This puts into motion a valuation of academic
science that would boost the United States from a backwoods country into the world’s
leading economic force. And he had the wisdom, the insight, the knowledge. He knew how to think about that problem. Today you have partisanship over what is science? Again, people somehow don’t understand what
science is and how and why it works. That has to be a course in the curriculum
K through 12, right through college, because everyone in Congress went to college. And so if you come out of college and don’t
know this, we need some of that in college as well. Now the partisanship: you hear liberals claiming
the science high ground, accusing right-leaning people of science denial, generally in reference
to climate change data and, as well but less frequently, teaching evolution in the biology
classroom. People want to teach biblical creation. So this high ground is not as high a ground
as the liberal community would want to claim, because there is a portfolio of things that
for you to think that way will require that you reject some mainstream science. And in that portfolio you find people who
lean left. If you are all-in for alternative medicine,
and if you’re anti-GMO, if you’re anti-vax, you are in denial of mainstream science—period. So we have these two political ends of the
spectrum each accusing the other of whatever, and I’m saying science has no political party. It is true—when you establish an objective
truth with the methods and tools of science, it is true no matter what political party
you are, what your philosophies are, what religion you belong to, what country you’re
born in. That’s why it’s science. It may be unique among human enterprises that
it transcends all of this. Now what we need to do is recognize what science
is, how and why it works and what are the objectively established scientific truths,
then have the political conversation. Do you put in carbon tax or tariffs on solar
panels? Should you invest in this industry? Should you subsidize it? Those have political solutions. My jaw drops open every time I see people
having a political conversation, arguing about a scientific truth. We’re wasting time, people. Because nature is the ultimate judge, jury,
and executioner, and the whole point of science is to find out what nature is, how it works,
how we can best use our knowledge of nature in the service of our needs, and the needs
of others across the world. So if this keeps up the United States will
just fade, and the rest of the world that understands how to invoke scientific insight
and knowledge will rise up, and we will just become irrelevant on the world stage. By the way, when you innovate your jobs don’t
go overseas because you are innovating here and this is where the intellectual capital
for that is located. That’s how that works. If you’re going to complain about trade imbalances
it’s because you’re doing what everybody else is doing and now you want to protect your
jobs by putting tariffs on other people so that we can buy our own products. But if you innovate you are making products
that no one else knows how to make yet. So the whole concept of tariffs, that’s what
you do when you’re not leading. You have those conversations when you’re the
same as everybody and then you go into a protectionist mode. And one last point, about immigrants: on average
since 1900 about one in ten Americans was born in another country, so ten percent immigrants,
average. It’s fluctuated from like five percent to
14 percent, but since 1900 it averages about one in ten. The Nobel Prizes have been given since 1900. Let’s ask the question: what percent of American
Nobel Prizes in the sciences were won by immigrants? One third of all Nobel Prizes given to Americans
since Nobel Prizes began have gone to immigrants. They are a factor of three more represented
in scientific scholarship, as represented by the Nobel Prize, than they are even in
the population. How does this happen? We were leading the world in science, technology,
engineering and math, so the most brilliant minds around the world were attracted to us,
contributing to who and what America became. As we begin to fade, that all goes away. The brilliant minds are attracted elsewhere
and America fades. It’s not a cliff face, it’s just a slope. Maybe so gradual you’re not even thinking
about it, and one day we wake up and we start running behind other countries saying, “Can
we join in? Tell us how you did it.” That’s actually not the America I grew up
in.

100 thoughts on “Neil deGrasse Tyson: Science, Abraham Lincoln, Immigrants, and the Fading of America

  1. The entire world needs to shut up and listen carefully to this message.  This is what a real world leader should sound like.  People need to stop taking sides with political parties and start taking sides with what is right…constant progressive change.

  2. I love that anyone can denial science facts, but to undenial it you have to be a Phd expert on the matter… This is the lol of lols.

  3. 4:45 Love ya, Neil, but you tripped on the common misconception. "Republican" in the 1800's did not mean the same thing it does today. At the time, it was the liberal party, and the Democrats were the conservatives. They flipped sides during the civil unrest over Jim Crow laws in the early half of the 20th century.

    Anti-GMO, by the way, is not strictly about the science of it. For a lot of the knuckleheads, it is, and I'm not going to defend them. The science of it is fine. For some of us, it's more of an economic and political concern, because it allows large companies to effectively trademark our food supplies, which can compromise key parts of public infrastructure.

  4. "Science has no political party" There we fucking go! BRILLIANT!
    Seriously, I don't have much to say other than everything that he said was right on point.
    He's the kind of people that we need in politics.
    Logic, rationalism, science, humility and wisdom over hate, fear, ignorance and egoism.

  5. "… And I'm saying: Science has no political party, it is true… When you establish an objective truth with the methods and tools of science, it is true no matter what political party you are, what your philosophies are, what religion you belong to. what country you're born in…THAT'S WHY ITS SCIENCE!"

  6. You've got to be on the Trump level mentality to dislike this.

    Seriously is just too smart talk for some ignorant to grasp.

  7. I don’t think there’s any wiser person, outspoken about the whole conversation on what science is, what can be done to empower it, it’s importance, it’s impact and it being overly politicised. Thinking about it again, bipartisanship of science is really stupid. Growing up, reading about the space program and innovation in Silicon Valley to advancement in just about anything, the United States is synonymous with Tomorrowland. It is the land where dreamers go, and where Plus Ultra takes flight.

    Now when I see science being mixed up with politics with different political parties having different views about what facts are, it really seems like what the Arabic world once was during the legendary “Golden Age of Islam” where some of the worlds greatest inventions like algebra and algorithms were produced because they were inspired by verses in the Quran that emphasized value of knowledge over religious devotion.

    With many other reasons such as the mongols invading the Middle East and many may other reasons, one stands out when this dude, Abu Hamid Al Ghazali, single-handedly steered a large proportion of muslims away from independent scientific inquiry towards religious fundamentalism. In a remarkable intellectual shift, he concluded that falsafa (which literally means philosophy but included logic, mathematics and physics) was incompatible with Islam, which influenced its fall. He had power, and he had influence. I know that is just the gist of a much larger story but the point is this, elect someone with the wrong mentality, and its a recipe for disaster.

    Elect someone like Mike Pence, who say evolution should be taught as theory and not fact (even though almost all of modern biology is based ON evolution), who says that global warming is a myth and then continue to oppose regulations on gas emissions, and you’ll influence many others who will think that way and lead to the demise of a great scientific culture. Hopefully, entrepreneurs like Elon Musk and others alike will play a large role in preventing it from happening, and continue to inspire.

  8. Everything here is so incredibly true. The most recent example being Bill Nye Saves the World. The whole show was a partisan mess, even though he said multiple times that it wouldn't be. We need people like Neil to advise Trump on many objective truths that he still denies. Then, he can stop Bill from claiming his own liberal views as science and the world can be happy.

  9. I wonder how Neil would be as the president. Yes he is smart when it comes to science and understanding, but how would he respond to foreign actions. How would he respond to syria, North korea, russia. How about economical situations, civil unrest, and welfare systems? But either way would love to give a physicist a chance to run the country instead of a politician like every time.

  10. i can call out a scientist on bs like global warming because all the facts dont add up , and they dont have the thory fully down because they say the ocean absorbed some of the heat but cant prove how the ocean did , so i call that bs till they can explain and show the statistics fully without any problems at all ,until then neil i will say you are wrong because you dont have all the answers , means something is missing

  11. I don't disagree with everything neil said but I do disagree what he said about leader in innovation as being a requirement for a country to do well.
    I agree most people need a better fundamental understanding of science and scientific research. But I dont like the attitude of trust me I'm a scientist. What happens if a country makes chooses based on what a group of scientists say and they are wrong….
    I think we would all be better served if something dose not sound right to them, is for people to educate themselves about the subject so they can make a more informed choice.

  12. as a scientist I am really annoyed by this publicist neil grass tyson. he is just a showman endorsed by big media corps.

  13. Ok, by your logic Neil, when people want to know what scientists think about a phenomenon, they should ask everyone and not scientists? No, I think that's specifically why they went to you. Because you're a scientist and they want to know how scientists feel about this. You may be over analyzing a bit, again.

  14. I think immigration make's economy better because place like New York, Denver and San Francisco have great economies and place like Alaska,Texas, and Kansas have bad economy and they do not take in more immigrants.

  15. That's such an important point he brings up about the strategy of reasoning. It's always confused me why out of all the things we learn in K-12 that we may never directly use, why there isn't a specific class focused on purely reasoning, problem solving, or algorithims

  16. I have a question, probably doesn't have an answer so that is ok if you don't know. let's say i have a twin, and we live on planet A, (earth works doesn't really matter) and my twin becomes a farmer and i become an astronaut (gonna blow this out of proportion in order to make the point easier). i go to space and get sucked into a black hole for 5 minutes (i understand i wouldn't get out but lets just say its possible) and come back to earth and only a few months have passed for me but my twin is now dead, from old age, because of relativity.

    now that 5 minutes to me was the rest of his life to him, but 5 minutes to him wasn't even a split second for me while in the black hole. my twin will remain conscious, i will remain conscious, but not at the same time. our form of what is the present has changed from one to another. right?

    a little deeper, let's say he is still kicking it when i get back he's just like 100 years old at this point, and i go have a conversation with him. to me this should be the present, because it's only been 5 minutes, but my twin who also has only experienced 5 minutes would be about 70 years in the past… right?

    my question: is this sound logic? how do i know that my form of the present is the same as anyone's else's, due to relativity? or are we all on our own separate conscious timeline, oblivious that no one else is currently aware of what we are experiencing, they are either in my future or my past.

    PS. goes without saying, but if you do know can you please elaborate on how you came to your answer. Thanks! And yall are my heros!

  17. It's actually Democracy itself that we're fighting for in this country. Take a step back and listen to the voices in this country. Our President's beliefs and actions are a huge clue.

  18. All falling motion's is the result of trapped molecule's within sold object's , blocking out it's electron's energy flow , which then connect's with the earth at the speed of light , setting a downward falling motion . All rising motion including star flame's , earth gase's , bird's and balloon's , plains and rocket's , even us human's , rise from molecule's motion's , which is ENERGY FLOW the ruling force of the universe. Visit YOUTUBE SUNLIGHT ELECTRO RAYS showing planetery orbits powered by sunlight energy flow not gravity

  19. Science will never be able to reveal the truth? Why? Because science can't explain the nature of experience. That's what we are made of.

  20. Yeah, now let's break down the ethnicity of these immigrant Nobel Prize winners.
    Any Mexicans or Muslims or Blacks in that list?

  21. K-12 does NOT encourage critical thinking and analysis. It encourages a self-centered view of everything where "feelings" are more valid than facts.

  22. I'm a lot younger than Dr. Tyson, but even I remember when people would be dismissed outright for saying that creationism should be taught as science. We've entered an era when uneducated people are taught that their speculations and opinions are just as valid as facts.

    Also, I guess I'm not as left wing as I thought! I'm not an anti-vaccer. I didn't know that was considered left leaning!

  23. The whole anti-science, anti-public education thing became institutional under Reagan. Every attempt to fix public education has been blocked or castrated by the GOP.
    I graduated HS in the 70's. Give kids now what we had then and you will see changes you want but in only about half the kids — it's that IQ curve thing, there is no cure for stupid but when all kids get cut over the dummies we lose the ones we need the most.

  24. The problem with Niel's solution is that it assumes, incorrectly, that the problem is a lack of knowledge. Rather, it is the emotional and irrational tendencies of our psychology that, irrespective of facts and reason, deteriorates belief formation.

    People can be shown reason, understand it, and be entirely unmoved by it.

  25. But scientists dont even think animals are sentient because they have no proof even with coco the gorilla they argued she was trained and wasnt really speaking…Really if we arent skeptic of scientists they dont push them selves harder to prove the truth

  26. I mean no to take away from what you said but the USA did not become the leading force in economic force until after WWII, not after Lincoln

  27. we can’t enact tariffs because the USA has no manufacturing industry to protect. It’s been decimated and takes probably 20 years to rebuild.

  28. Science is truth. Liberals embrace the truth. Conservatives embrace superstition and ignorance. Conservatives are going to be the reason we all are going to suffer insane damage. Science has no political leaning, that's right. But one side believes in the fundamental proven truths of the universe and the other would rather believe some dude with a beard did it all.

  29. I'd say this guy should be President, but that would only detract from the valuable contributions he can, and already does, make as an educator. But you can't deny that this man could give a Presidential speech like nobody's business; hell, most Presidents have other people write speeches for them, but Neil here could easily whip up his own. I just love listening him talk. He isn't just some super smart egghead who's technical jargon goes over everyone else's head; EVERYTHING he says makes, sense, even to the laymen.

  30. I understand why Scientist want to be objectionable and neutral when it comes to politics. However, sadly there are people in this world who believe in either Might Makes Right or they believe in Belief that if they willed it and shut any opposition up the sky could be poke-dotted periwinkle. Simply because of that Science which demands our inquisition into every subject and that none or sacred and we must hold a tentative understanding as new and great understandings arise, is a political position. It wouldn't have to be but those people aforementioned make it so and they will come after the professors, the scientist, and educators all to silence opposition. And Yes they are mainly Conservative and Republican

  31. I love and respect NDT's perspective, wisdom and knowledge. But the simple truth is, those in with money want to stay with money because there is no way to limit greed in a capitalist america. Instead on funding innovation and science exploration, the extremely wealthy figure out/pay ways to deduct costs and evade taxes or simply deny scientific discoveries.Also, any level of self proclaimed prophets don't help.

  32. Neil is absolutely correct. Yet voters made the most short sighted choice in the 2016 election. India and China have publicly made the commitment to be the driving force of renewable energy. That means your solar panels and electric cars will eventually be made there. You want jobs? Get Trump to invest in innovation here and we won't have to worry about trade tariffs.

  33. Brilliant, as always. America is fading, thanks to it’s embrace of ignorance on a leadership scale. If this embrace was not going on, Drump would not have been elected president.

  34. Sir, You need to take Sunday class for every politician via WebEx and reach them these things again and again otherwise these dumbo politicians would never get a hold and they will screw up great country like America's future generations and only facebook, Snapchat and Instagrams would be hot inventions and no science . IMHO.

  35. 2:30 ironically, I have to disagree (lol). I'm a history buff, and it just happens so, that historians don't pay that much attention to my ethnicity or my homeland. I know certain facts about it, the scientists claim to be unknowable / lost, while it's like common knowledge among my people. And I just doubt we're the only ones like this.

  36. Why is it that when a person is able to think logically and express themselves effectively, Americans want them to run for president? NDT and Oprah are not going to run for POTUS!

  37. For all those who wants him as a President : Sadly, he already said that he won't want it. =(
    But Yep. He's honest, got integrity, and he's smart. (and have a wonderful voice.)

    That's may be why he would be perfect for a Presidency.
    Hell, even if I know he won't, I'll even want him as my President (in France, sorry mates :D)

    "People who deserves the most power are often those who don't want it." (I don't know who the dude who said this was but, hey, fuck it, imma steal his quote.) – From Me.

  38. Science is the biggest fraud of them all. This guy will be sucking more dicks in hell then all the kids he fucked, thats for sure.

  39. "… how to process facts, how to turn data into information and information into knowledge and how to turn knowledge into wisdom. Because it is wisdom that you need to invoke when you're a leader."
    Trumpet vs. NDGT. Which one would i – or you – possibly choose?

  40. Why is this idiot a spokesman for anything. He's only interested in promoting his agenda. The public should question every claim the science community postures as an indisputable truth. Americans have a right to be suspicious of the high priests of the scientific enterprise. Most of them will do and say anything to keep the pork barrel funding coming their way.

  41. He should be the president of the United States even though he doesn't want to, that's precisely why we need him in power

  42. Our education system is set up to make good but not too independent workers for industry . They teach what to rhink , never how to think .

  43. We need to force Neil to take office as the president of the United States. He has no choice. He is the best man for the job and he will lead damn it!!

  44. Scientific fact arrived at through scientific rigor makes it really hard to lie. Some people really like to lie (to themselves and others). Therefore they reject scientific fact.

  45. if intelligence is our resource we need a more neurodiverse view of education, and less of a stigma on intelligence levels itself.

  46. so many people talk about GMO's being safe or in this case in using GMO's as an indicator of science ignorance. Genetics is a field that is just still getting worked on, we cant know what the repercussions of tampering with genomes in this way are, with breeding you sidestep alot of problems that COULD be created by tampering with genomes without the insanely complex downstream effects that said tampering may have, that being said, apparently there are already lots of manmade foods that are being sold…hopefully with no germline consequences at the very least.

  47. If I interpreted this correctly, the right is accused of climate change denial and belief in creationism, and the left is accused of anti-GMO, alternative medicine, and anti-vaccination. And the best political policy to science is no policy at all – the free market, just like nature, will determine the outcomes of our jobs (libertarian leaning).

  48. Transportation, your health, through your smartphones, trash island the size of Texas off the Atlantic, 1 million water bottles disposed of per minute everyday. Yeah Neil thanks a lot. Anybody else out there willing to trade the theoretical mathematics of theoretical physicist in exchange for a bit of humanity? I dare you to say no.

  49. We need to prioritize immigrants that have the capacity to be scientifically literate over the throngs of religious zealots and such. Saying that "immigrants" are a flat "good thing" without dissecting that issue to parse out the greatness and awfulness of what immigrates in and OUT. Allot of the good will be emigrating out at an ever increasing rate if we don't start learning from experience of those nations who have recently made horrible policy decisions. Neil is a fantastic Atheist and could and should add a addendum about that gargantuan point that many less worldly and less aware affluent seem to gloss over in an effort not to offend or cause any social awkwardness for themselves… at the expense of everything.

  50. lmfao he just called trump a fucking idiot without even saying his name or throwing an insult X'D dry ice wont heal the burn he just handed to trump

  51. Me thinks that Mr.Neil deGrasse Tyson sounds smart and he speaks to my slumbering brain…..its tickles me! Please dont stop me from thinking on my own…TIMK!!!! ;P

  52. You should put that guy on top of your country.. He is the most authentic and intelligent person that you may ever have at this stage of America's existence..

  53. Since individual scientists are willing to commit fraud in order to obtain the results they want, they have lost, as a group, their hability to demand the public trust them just in the basis that they have reached a consensus. Academia went the same way the church did.

  54. immigrants are wonderful and MORE caring about humanity and thus dedicate themselves to the culture of caring through science. Bigots and zealots and elitists want otherwise.

  55. Well now lately cosmologists lie like politicians are more famous than politicians there egos are expanding faster than the universe. But it is still an ELECTRICAL Universe all you have to do is pull your head out of BLACK HOLES. And observe the obvious. Have a truly Electrical Day.

  56. When did science become liberal or leftist let alone political. Its insane that the fossil fuel industry has made science and the scientific method on par with unverified claims with zero evidence. How do Climate Change deniers explain the sea rising, surely reading a ruler or other such type of measuring device is still not debatable or maybe this is past their level of expertise. I wonder why the US Army, US Navy, Pentagon, NASA, US Intelligence and every University and scientific body on planet Earth in countries ruled by every type of Governments conceivable and yet only the US which is now rated a flawed democracy with corrupt elections were bribery has been legalized that one party the GOP largely funded by the fossil fuel industry and other big polluters parrots whatever they are told to say and denial part of the party platform and mirrors the same talking points. If you took out the legalized bribery i wonder how long the science denial would last. There was a time the GOP supported science and technology. Reagan listened to scientists when they explained a hole was growing in the Ozone Layer and it was caused largely by CFC's so he got scientists to create something less harmful to be used, he didn't deny it and now 30 plus years later the Ozone is well on its way to being repaired.

  57. The bigger problem is capitalism and the concentrations of wealth that fall into fewer hands. Remember Albert Einstein was a socialist and called for a new economic and social order. Which isn't the USSR or China but a democratically run economy controlled by the workers. A true and vibrant democracy in the public sphere too.

    Most of our elected officials aren't stupid they are just corrupt. Capitalism has to go as does citizens united.

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