Neil deGrasse Tyson Wins at Science – Again

February 3, 2016 | Elizabeth Knowles

Neil deGrasse Tyson wearing a cosmic tie
Photo credit: Tiffany Vaughn/Fickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

B.o.B and his flat earth theory were no match for him

When you make a statement like insisting that the world is flat and that we’re all being lied to, you’ve got to expect at least a little blowback. Rapper Bobby Ray Simmons, also known as B.o.B did just that — and Neil deGrasse Tyson came to Science’s rescue, not that it really needed rescuing.

B.o.B started on this quest when he took pictures of landscapes and commented on the fact that the horizon was always at eye level and that skyscrapers don’t look tilted. He continues to insist that he’s not crazy or on drugs, and that he isn’t faking this belief to sell more music.

Neil deGrasse Tyson isn’t a droning-on kind of science communicator. He gets right down to the public’s level. He began by commenting on B.o.B’s tweets but the rapper wasn’t listening. If a rap battle was going to be necessary to get to the bottom of this, that’s what he’d do — or at least his nephew would.

Steve Tyson’s lyrics show that there are no doubts in his mind: “I’m bringing facts to combat a silly theory,” “I got science in my corner and there’s nothing to fear,” “I’m far from famous, but I got an education,” “I know we got a freedom of speech, but Bobby please...”

SEE ALSO: The Most Bizarre Theories About Earth That People Still Believe

When none of this was enough to sway B.o.B’s mind, Tyson went on the Nightly Show on Comedy Central to give the rapper a piece of his mind. He didn’t pull any punches: “It’s a fundamental fact of calculus and non-Euclidian geometry: small sections of large curved surfaces will always look flat to little creatures that crawl upon it.”

He worries about whether we’ve arrived at a point that he calls “the beginning of the end of informed democracy” because of “a growing anti-intellectual strain.”

As he explains, people can go ahead and believe whatever they want, but only if they don’t have influence over others. He points out that in this case, “being wrong becomes being harmful to the health, the wealth and the security of our citizenry.”


B.o.B’s tweet that seems the most absurd to me is the one where he says that people don’t want him to question things. Asking questions is what science is all about!


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