Last Updated on 20 June 2024

Quotes from Neil deGrasse Tyson (1958)

  • Cosmic dreams and the innate human desire to explore the frontier are just not as effective at dislodging $100 billion to go to the Moon as a cold war enemy and the mandate of a beloved, assassinated president.
  • The good thing about science is that it’s true whether or not you believe in it.
  • Great scientific minds, from Claudius Ptolemy of the second century to Isaac Newton of the seventeenth, invested their formidable intellects in attempts to deduce the nature of the universe from the statements and philosophies contained in religious writings.… Had any of these efforts worked, science and religion today might be one and the same. But they are not.
  • I don’t have an issue with what you do in the church, but I’m going to be up in your face if you’re going to knock on my science classroom and tell me they’ve got to teach what you’re teaching in your Sunday school. Because that’s when we’re going to fight.
  • If all that you see, do, measure and discover is the will of a deity, then ideas can never be proven wrong, you have no predictive power, and you are at a loss to understand the principles behind most of the fundamental interconnections of nature.
  • If, in fact, science and technology win wars, as the history of military conflict suggests, then, instead of taking count of our smart bombs, perhaps we should be taking count of our smart scientists and engineers.
  • It’s quite literally true that we are star dust, in the highest exalted way one can use that phrase. … I bask in the majesty of the cosmos. I use words, compose sentences that sound like the sentences I hear out of people that had revelation of Jesus, who go on their pilgrimages to Mecca.
  • No matter when or where you live, no matter your nationality or age or aesthetic proclivities, no matter your religion or whether you vote Democrat or Republican, if you calculate the value of pi you will get the same answer as everybody else in the universe. Constants such as pi enjoy a level of internationality that human affairs do not, never did, and never will.
  • Not only are we in the universe, the universe is in us. I don’t know of any deeper spiritual feeling than what that brings upon me.
  • On Venus you could cook a 16-inch pepperoni pizza in seven seconds, just by holding it out to the air. (Yes, I did the math.)
  • Once upon a time, people identified the god Neptune as the source of storms at sea. Today we call these storms hurricanes.… The only people who still call hurricanes “acts of God” are the people who write insurance forms.
  • The persistent failures of controlled, double-blind experiments to support the claims of parapsychology suggest that what’s going on is nonsense rather than sixth sense.
  • A review of history’s ambitious projects… demonstrates that only three drivers have been sufficient to create them: defense… the promise of economic return… and the praise of power
  • Science is a philosophy of discovery. Intelligent design is a philosophy of ignorance.
  • So what is true for life itself is no less true for the universe: knowing where you came from is no less important than knowing where you are going.
  • The telescope… is a conduit to the cosmos.
  • There’s no greater sign of the failure of the American educational system than the extent to which Americans are distracted by the possibility that Earth might end on December 21, 2012. It’s a profound absence of awareness of the laws of physics and how nature works. So they’re missing some science classes in their training in high school or in college that would empower [them] to understand and to judge when someone else is basically just full of it. Science is like an inoculation against charlatans who would have you believe whatever it is they tell you.
  • The value of science is not simply what the next model of the iPod you will buy next week, but its real value comes about when it’s time to distinguish reality from everything else. And to be scientifically literate is to be trained in what it is, to recognize your own frailty as a data-taking device.
  • We should not be ashamed of not having answers to all questions yet…I’m perfectly happy staring somebody in the face saying, I don’t know yet, and we’ve got top people working on it. The moment you feel compelled to provide an answer, then you’re doing the same thing that the religious community does: providing answers to every possible question.
  • Whenever people have used religious documents to make accurate predictions about our base knowledge of the physical world, they have been famously wrong.
  • Your center of mass is a place you cannot visit but you always carry with you. Like memories, it is part of life’s baggage.