Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, host of the new “Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey” television re-boot, spoke out against people of faith who use their “religious text as a source of [their] science” during a radio interview Monday.
Tyson, who said that science and religion “can be compatible,” told WNYC host Brian Lehrer that he believes problems emerge when religious people start looking at the Bible and faith-based texts as the basis for their scientific views.
“If you start using your scripture, your religious text as a source of your science, that’s where you run into problems, and there is no example of someone reading their scripture and saying ‘I have a prediction about the world that no one knows yet because this gave me insight let’s go test this prediction and have that theory turn out to be correct,’” Tyson said.
The scientist went on to cite a specific example of the Earth being created before the sun in Genesis (though there are divergent views about what the text actually says concerning the order of creation), saying that this interpretation is not scientifically corroborated.
Additionally, he took aim at the notion that the Earth was created in six days.
“None of that is consistent with any scientifically derived information about the world,” Tyson said. “So enlightened religious people know this, and don’t try to use the Bible as a textbook, using a Western example.”
Tyson also said that about one-third of American scientists claim that there is a God to whom they pray. He quipped that these are “fully-functioning, productive scientists” who can pass psychological tests, showcasing that it’s entirely possible for a scientist to embrace the Almighty.
Listen to these comments (around the 13:00 mark) below:
“Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey” is a re-boot of the original “Cosmos” docu-series that was hosted by the late astrophysicist Carl Sagan. The new show, hosted by Tyson, promises to explore “how we discovered the laws of nature and found our coordinates in space and time.”