Prior to about a week ago, I don't think I had ever heard of Neil deGrasse Tyson, who I gather is a popular television personality, but he is now a central figure in two different controversies, both of which have showed up online and so come to my notice.
One of them grows out of the claim
, apparently true, that Tyson has repeatedly invented quotes, claimed that other people had said things they had not said. I believe it is true because, in the long comment thread to a G+ post, many people defended Tyson heatedly but none of them offered any evidence that the charge wasn't true. As in some other cases I have seen, practically everyone treated it as an issue of loyalty not of truth. Tyson is, from the standpoint of his supporters, an admirable person, a defender of scientific truth, hence pointing out that he is also a liar is an attack on truth and science.
The second controversy comes from Tyson having given a talk defending GMO foods. Here the outrage comes from betrayed supporters, people who thought Tyson was a good guy on their side and discovered that he was instead defending the forces of evil, aka Monsanto. An entertaining and persuasive defense
of Tyson's position points out that people who "don't want to eat a tomato that has fish DNA" are coming to the issue a little late. "... tomatoes and fish share around 60% of their DNA already, so it’s too
late to avoid that mashup. ... Would you eat
grapes with human DNA? Too late. Humans share around 25% of our DNA with grapes. We share 50% of our DNA with a banana."
The piece does a good job of responding to other arguments against GMO crops as well, but that was the line that struck me, hence the title of this post.
Labels: Neil deGrasse Tyson GMO Monsanto