Neil deGrasse Tyson and Neal Larson

Neil deGrasse Tyson and Neal Larson

*Conservative radio host Neal Larson quit his columnist gig for an Idaho newspaper after he was eviscerated, embarrassed and exposed by astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson.

It all started when Larson called Tyson a “horse’s astrophysicist” and accused him of insulting a 12-year-old girl on Twitter.

Larson wrote in his column:

I’ve listened to Neil deGrasse Tyson before. And what I observe is a smart guy who consistently enjoys asserting his intellectual supremacy over others more than he actually likes educating. In one of his worse moments, Tyson mocked a 12-year-old girl who suggested she’d like to live on Jupiter. He ridiculed her in the midst of a crowd, then later, several times, on Twitter. That told me everything I needed to know about Neil deGrasse Tyson.

What Larson didn’t know is that the source of his information, Clickhole.com, is a satirical website, not unlike The Onion. So none of the information he used from that site was true.

Needless to say, Tyson dismantled both Larson and the credibility of his column in careful and methodical fashion, point by point — in the comment section of Larson’s column:

Hello Neal

First, I’ll forgive you for not spelling your name correctly.

Second, and more importantly, I don’t mind being labeled a horse’s astrophysicist (I see what you did there), provided it’s based on factual information. So what we must do is subtract the false information from your article, and then re-assess what name you choose to call me. If it still justifies “horse’s astrophysicist”, then so be it.

He continued:

“So you abrogated your journalistic integrity by not verifying what you read in somebody else’s article, before using it as a foundational pillar in yours.”

Tyson went on and on and on. [Scroll down to read the full rebuke.]

Larson had no come back for this. He quit his column for the Twin Falls Times-News. In his final piece, he wrote of Tyson’s takedown: “The instant it was picked up nationally, I was checkmated I had no recourse, no comparable media platform at my disposal. It was as terrible and as helpless as you can imagine. Even more disappointing, a few people that I honestly thought were friends, shared online my unfortunate story with glee.”

“For those in the national spotlight, this is probably old hat, but I wasn’t equipped to handle the influx, logistically or emotionally,” Larson continued. “If anyone had sent a kind word or more gentle and constructive criticism, I apologize because I probably missed it in the onslaught of hate.”

Below, read Tyson’s entire clap back in the comment thread:

Hello Neal

First, I’ll forgive you for not spelling your name correctly.

Second, and more importantly, I don’t mind being labeled a horse’s astrophysicist (I see what you did there), provided it’s based on factual information. So what we must do is subtract the false information from your article, and then re-assess what name you choose to call me. If it still justifies “horse’s astrophysicist”, then so be it.

1) FYI: The cosmic perspective is all about having a second look at what, on the surface appears to be important, special, ego-boosting, etc. The Olympic medal count is not immune from this analysis. In fact an even better measure is medals per GDP per capita. This will tell you how efficiently and effectively a country is spending its wealth on athletic excellent. The Tweet, though based only on population, was a playful plea that we could be winning even more medals than we are.

2) I am agnostic, and actively disavow the atheist label:

[Audio: 6m30s]: www.youtube.com/…

[Video: 3m 48s] www.youtube.com/…

3) People who deny human-induced climate change are badly misinformed. This position is neither politically Liberal nor Conservative. It’s factual. Although one could argue that all those who want to preserve the environment are the real conservatives in this discussion.

4) You use “Liberal” as a tag to characterize my politics. Since I have no active public political position, that’s a hard task to accomplish. Climate change deniers are misinformed. But so are people who think vaccines gives you autism. And so are people who think genetically modified foods are bad for you. These science-denying postures cross political boundaries, as I clumsily attempted to convey recently on Bill Maher.

Neil DeGrasse Tyson Criticizes Liberals for Anti-Science Beliefs on Maher

5) The “incident” with a 9yr old girl never happened. It looks to be a hoax. No such tweets ever existed on November 29th, 2015, or on any other day. My only tweet on November 29, 2015 (as my followers can attest, and as anyone can see from scrolling my Twitter page was:

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Starship Enterprise versus Millennium Falcon. Oh yeah, I went there

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So you abrogated your journalistic integrity by not verifying what you read in somebody else’s article, before using it as a foundational pillar in yours.

6) I am 3x appointed by President George W. Bush, serving on commissions to advise him on the future of the American aerospace Industry, on NASA, and on the annual Presidential Medial of science winners. So your disapproval of my views is not shared by others on the conservative spectrum.

7) Lastly: my research output as a scientist is not hidden. You can find it here, if you are interested: www.haydenplanetarium.org/…

So when you factor in (or simply subtract) all these elements from your writeup, If what remains still justifies labeling me a horses astrophysicist, then, as I said, I’m okay with that.

Respectfully Submitted,

Neil deGrasse Tyson, New York City

p.s. FYI: I have relatives who live in Idaho. And I’ve loved every visit. Last they visited me, prompted this Tweet: