Appearing in an interview with Bill Moyers this Friday, astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson slammed politicians and religious activists who look to include creationism with science classes, saying that they are linked to a historical tendency to use the concept of God to fill in the blanks that science hasn’t tackled yet.
“If that’s where you’re going to put your God in this world, then God is an ever-receding pocket of scientific ignorance,” he told Moyers. “If that’s how you’re going to invoke God — if God is the mystery of the universe, these mysteries, we’re tackling these mysteries one by one. If you’re going to stay religious at the end of the conversation, God has to mean more to you than just where science has yet to tread.”
Moyers noted that some “religious people” told him they were scared whenever deGrasse Tyson’s predecessor, Carl Sagan, said that “the cosmos is all that is or ever was or ever will be,” because they felt Sagan was dismissing the belief in an afterlife.
“Do you have any sympathy for people who seem to feel, only feel safe in the vastness of the universe you describe in your show if they can infer a personal God who makes it more hospitable to them, cares for them?” Moyers asked.
“In this, what we tell ourselves is a free country, which means you should have freedom of thought, I don’t care what you think. I just don’t,” deGrasse Tyson replied. “Go think whatever you want. Go ahead. Think that there’s one God, two Gods, ten Gods, or no Gods. That is what it means to live in a free country.”
But according to deGrasse Tyson, the problem begins when people try to prioritize their religious views over proven data when it comes to science education in the public sphere.
“Then I’m going to stand there and say, ‘No, I’m not going to allow you in the science classroom,’” deGrasse Tyson said. “I’m not telling you what to think, I’m just telling you in the science class, ‘You’re not doing science. This is not science. Keep it out.’”
Watch the interview below. His remarks on science and creationism begin at about 16:40: