Neil DeGrasse Tyson and Bill Maher: Why Climate Deniers Hate Scientists

July 26, 2014

Maher holds up the new National Review cover, which explains it all.



Reminds me of recent remarks by Jeb Bush that scientists and those that believe in what science says, are “sanctimonious”. (video link hat tip to D.R. Tucker)

Maher tries to steer the conversation into an atheist vs theist frame, and Tyson backs him off, noting that an appreciation of the largeness and complexity of the universe, and our connection to it, is an “..almost spiritual revelation..”.

Wow. The existential angst of the modestly literate “conservative” (Hell, I’m a conservative – real conservatives are no longer welcome in the anti-science crowd) – who looks around him and sees that Sara Palin, Michelle Bachman, and Louie Gohmert are all wearing the same lanyards as he is.
Clips here:

One part insecure hipsterism, one part unwarranted condescension, the two defining characteristics of self-professed nerds are (a) the belief that one can discover all of the secrets of human experience through differential equations and (b) the unlovely tendency to presume themselves to be smarter than everybody else in the world. Prominent examples include MSNBC’s Melissa Harris-Perry, Rachel Maddow, Steve Kornacki, and Chris Hayes; Vox’s Ezra Klein, Dylan Matthews, and Matt Yglesias; the sabermetrician Nate Silver; the economist Paul Krugman; the atheist Richard Dawkins; former vice president Al Gore; celebrity scientist Bill Nye; and, really, anybody who conforms to the Left’s social and moral precepts while wearing glasses and babbling about statistics.

Which is to say that the nerds of MSNBC and beyond are not actually nerds but the popular kids indulging in a fad. To a person, they are attractive, accomplished, well paid, and loved, listened to, and cited by a good portion of the general public. Most of them spend their time speaking on television fluently, debating with passion, and hanging out with celebrities. They attend dinner parties and glitzy social events, and are photographed and put into the glossy magazines. They are flown first-class to deliver university commencement speeches and appear on late-night shows and at book launches. There they pay lip service to the notion that they are not wildly privileged, and then go back to their hotels to drink $16 cocktails with Bill Maher.

In this manner has a word with a formerly useful meaning been turned into a transparent humblebrag: Look at me, I’m smart. Or, more important, perhaps, Look at me and let me tell you who I am not, which is southern, politically conservative, culturally traditional, religious in some sense, patriotic, driven by principle rather than the pivot tables of Microsoft Excel, and in any way attached to the past. “Nerd” has become a calling card — a means of conveying membership of one group and denying affiliation with another. The movement’s king, Neil deGrasse Tyson, has formal scientific training, certainly, as do a handful of others who have become celebrated by the crowd. But this is not why he is useful. He is useful because he can be deployed as a cudgel and an emblem in argument — pointed to as the sort of person who wouldn’t vote for Ted Cruz.

These are the people who insisted until they were blue in the face that George W. Bush was a “theocrat” eternally hostile toward “evidence,” and that, despite all information to the contrary, Attorney General Ashcroft had covered up the Spirit of Justice statue at the Department of Justice because he was a prude. These are the people who will explain to other human beings without any irony that they are part of the “reality-based community,” and who want you to know how excited they are to look through the new jobs numbers.

Here’s a recent clip from Tyson’s discussion of AGW from Cosmos:


Comment thread for the National Review article is choice. Looks like some Maher viewers found it. See samples below.

• The problem with this article is exactly found in the method those it hates are trying to enforce. It chooses people seen in the “nerd” culture, those that are the everyday not on tv followers of science and the scientific method, and makes them out to be the vast majority of NDT’s fans, without evidence that this is the case. I particularly point to the line about the liberal-arts student followed by the line about someone who has never read a peer-reviewed paper. The liberal-arts student generally does know what they’re talking about, and should have read a peer-reviewed paper in something other than their major, it’s at the heart of liberal-arts. Give me numbers that show these people are uninformed, don’t just tell me your opposition is stupid at their core. Cooke isn’t making an argument against NDT’s worldview, just the argument that the vast majority of those who believe NDT might not be an idiot are themselves idiots. While it’s amazing that this would make it into a nationally produced magazine, and not the blog of some loon, I can’t find much value in this piece other than being able to decide who is a dope based on their quotation of, or reverence for, is article.


• Shorter article:

I’m a white Christian and I can’t stand that there’s a black man who’s smarter than me!

Help me, Jesus!


• LOL, listen to this mad white guy who’s upset that intelligence and facts just aren’t on his political machine’s side. Guess that’s what you assholes get for preferring religious beliefs to humanistic beliefs.

•  NDT was the science adviser to the Bush administration. What I’m really seeing in this article is jealousy. That’s it. Maybe if you guys would embrace science a little more and drop that religion based lunacy, you could attract some of that nerd set for yourselves.

• Yes, smarter than thou. Why are old white men (I am one myself) who buy National Review are so afraid of everything. Cainotophobia is a red flag tell of a conservative, thus the label conservative. Their once hegemony world is coming to an end. Officially according to the Census Bureau in 2042 the US will be 49% white. Pew and others have concluded with great polarity that the nerds who created your device you are using now, hip replacements and so on overwhelmingly vote democrat. Yes, smarter than thou. Perhaps try a bong hit once it becomes legal in a state coming soon to you. Maybe you will not be so terrified of change then and embrace modernity

Finally, good news and bad news. Rep. Paul “Science is Lies from the Pit of Hell” Broun will be replaced this fall in congress.
Bad news – his replacement is even crazier.


A Southern Baptist Pastor claiming dangerous and crazy things like the notion that there is a homosexual plot to sodomize children, and that the First Amendment doesn’t apply to Muslims is so common that it barely registers as newsworthy these days. What should be catching the attention of even the most jaded news editors, however, is that a Southern Baptist Pastor who actually said exactly these aforementioned things has just won his GOP primary race, has just won his GOP primary race, for a seat in the U.S. Congress. Say hello to Tea Party Republican Jody Hice.

In the coming 2014 election, Hice will be the official Republican nominee to replace outgoing Georgia Congressman Paul Broun. Hice believes gay people have a secret plot to seduce and sodomize America’s sons, thinks same-sex marriage is akin to bestiality and incest, and compares abortion to the genocide waged by Hitler. Broun (R-GA) has endorsed Hice, which is unsurprising given it was Broun who once claimed, “Evolution and embryology and the big Bang theory are all likes straight from the pit of Hell.”

Presumably, assuming he wins, Rev. Hice will take Broun’s seat on the Science Committee.

UPDATE: Reader John Mashey helpfully offers this by way of explanation, see comment below.



38 Responses to “Neil DeGrasse Tyson and Bill Maher: Why Climate Deniers Hate Scientists”

  1. CORRECTION: Shonky Climate Scientist hate the Deniers. They prefer the Fake Skeptics; because the Fakes believe in the phony GLOBAL warmings, Deniers don’t.:

    • I note that are reliant on somebody called Stephanthedenier. Could you please list his reviewed papers?

      • dumboldguy Says:

        StephanTD pops up on Crock from time to time and should be ignored.

        Here’s my take on “who” he is. There was a terrific website a few years back called “Liberals Must Die”. It’s now defunct, but it was full of flamingly insane right wing political horsepucky similar to what StephanTD peddles on Crock about climate change (and we may assume on other serious climate websites where he has not been banned).

        There were many commenters on LMD, and they ranged from “This is awful—such hateful trash shouldn’t be allowed on the web” to “Right on, keep speaking truth, we need to take back the country from these #%@**^# commie liberals”. After visiting it a few times, I became convinced it was a spoof, and that it was designed to suck in and fool both “righties” and “lefties”. The best (and perhaps only real) evidence of that was the use in the masthead of the iconic picture of a moronic Tea Partier holding the “Morans” sign at a demonstration.

        LMD was extremely well done and lots of fun. I think LMD was the work of some clever folks who just wanted to stir the pot and fool people, and I think Stephan is trying to be of the same school. He posts outrageously science ignorant and political “stuff” and gets the deniers going “Yeah, you tell ’em” and the rest of us going “OMIGOD”.

        Looking at his link, just the very first paragraph of “Cooling with PRECiSION” should make it clear that he’s not serious. Actually, he is being such an over-the-top scientific buffoon that he won’t fool anyone here on Crock, so It’s not clear why he even bothers posting here. The fools in the right wing denier blogosphere may suck up that crap, but we won’t.

        • Old boy, I’m not a right wing, or any wing – I’m not politically oriented. I stand up for the truth. Warmist & skeptics are politically divided; that’s why both camps are lying; competing who is going to tell, more and bigger lies.

          honesty is the best policy – the truth always wins on the end!!! I have the whole truth, PROVEN beyond any reasonable doubt!

          • dumboldguy Says:

            If the “truth” is what is posted on your website AND you are not just putting us on, you are what we call in America “bat-shit crazy”. Go away.

    • andrewfez Says:


      Might i suggest that you put yourself to good use by publicly endorsing some political candidates and posting on their facebook, youtube and twitter accounts?

      • andre, I never had any sympathy for any politician – I always stand up for the truth – to be a politician is = to be dishonest person…. so, no thanks. I was born and grow up east of the Iron Curtain, as a communist; reason I can recognize and predict in advance what the Warmist next move is – because is nothing green about them -= for green needs H2O&CO2 – they are against building dams on dry lands, they are even against CO2…?!

      • dumboldguy Says:

        That will only have impact if StephanTD posts his “science” on there as well so all can see what a freakin’ looney-tune he is and judge the worth of his endorsement accordingly.

        And how can you be sure that he won’t post on the sites of some sane Democrats to try to discredit them? He may not be smart enough to figure out that tactic, but others on the right may “direct” him there rather than to the right wing deniers he belongs with more.

        Have you looked at his website? It is so crazy that it’s scary. He is the science equivalent of one who goes into the “library” of science fact and opens up with an AK-47 and throws Molotov cocktails. He can’t be serious. And the fact that he hasn’t been back to defend his craziness or comment some more makes me think he really is just a “serial troll” that quickly jumps across many sites trying to sow havoc and get a rise out of normal people.

        • dumboldguy Says:

          And while I was writing that, Stephan was posting more craziness. All I can say to the new batch is WHAT?

          I’d rather go back and read the stuff on his website—-it’s actually entertaining. Do you remember the “fractured physics” that Dave Burton used to illustrate his half-baked ideas about sea level rise? Stephan makes Dave Burton look like Einstein and Newton rolled into one. And Stephan’s math is beyond description also.

        • andrewfez Says:

          I don’t think I have the patience to comprehend anything on his blog.

          I did however meet a fellow very much like him when i was keeping watch on Senator Whitehouse’s (Rhode Island) youtube channel a few years ago, countering denialist postings. The guy had written a book and posted it on which was full of psuedo-scientific, lone-wolf philosophy against the greenhouse standard model. It started out with an idea that mammoths frozen in ice were preserved thusly by means of a flash snowstorm that would cover them completely and freeze them standing up. I have long forgotten what the point of this flash freezing was, but it was somehow used to argue against AGW. Again, the man was a former soviet transplant, and his book was of poor grammar and English.

          • dumboldguy Says:

            You don’t think you have the patience to comprehend anything on his blog?.

            Does that mean you haven’t gone there? You’re missing something really entertaining if you don’t. First, you don’t have to dig very far—-as I said the very first paragraphs are as good as it gets. Second, there is nothing to comprehend except what a total nut-case Stephan is. IF he’s serious, that is. I’m not sure, because one has to have some science knowledge to craft what looks to be a nutty spoof of scientific reality rather than someone’s “truth”. I like the “from behind the iron curtain” bit too—-nice touch.

        • andrewfez Says:

          I looked at it, but it seemed it was all desk-work and no field-work. For example when he claims…

          =If the earth was ‘’radiating heat’’ as the Warmist are lying / Skeptics are buying it – that ‘’phony radiation’’ from the earth would have kept the cosmonaut warm in the shadow of the space-station=

          …he fails to then explain why when you point a satellite down onto the earth you can detect a black body signal with a large chunk carved out in the middle at the 600 to 800 cycles/cm range; that particular part of the curve being the area CO2 absorbs radiation in. So except in the the places where CH4, H2O, CO2, SF6, &c. are absorbing radiation, the curve elegantly follows a theoretical black body curve, and thus it’s unquestionable that it’s the earth’s radiation that is producing such.

          However if he would only post this idea on Marco Rubio’s facebook page, then he could easily get thousands of supporters to agree with him…

          • dumboldguy Says:

            No, no, no! Stop thinking REAL science and just immerse yourself in the craziness—-it’s like watching a cartoon. Look at “bubbles” of air warmed by a campfire rising all the way to the top of the troposphere and that kind of stuff.

  2. otter17 Says:

    Neil DeGrasse Tyson is always reticent to get involved too deeply in the culture clashes. I have to disagree with his assessment of Cooke’s National Review article. It is clear that there isn’t a jealousy for geek set voters, but a dislike of the geek set and the methods of the geek set. The article seems woefully out of touch, too. Who seriously uses differential equations or Excel models to figure out all of human experiences? What kind of bizarre straw man is that?

    The article further attempts to discredit the geek set by claiming they don’t come to decisions via the same ways. The geeks don’t put value on tradition, religions, etc.

  3. […] Neil DeGrasse Tyson and Bill Maher: Why Climate Deniers Hate Scientists […]

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