Neil deGrasse Tyson, host of Fox’s documentary series Cosmos, said on Sunday that the news media should stop trying to “balance” the debate on scientific issues by hosting people who deny science.
In an interview on CNN’s Reliable Sourcs, host Brian Stelter asked Tyson how to go about brokering a peace in the “war on science.”
“Our civilization is built on the innovation of scientists and technologists and engineers who have shaped everything that we so take for granted today,” Tyson pointed out. “So some of the science deniers or science haters, these are people who are telling that to you while they are on their mobile phone.”
“They are saying, ‘I don’t like science. Oh, GPS just told us to go left,’” he laughed. “So it’s time for people to sit back and reassess what role science as actually played in our lives. And learn how to embrace that going forward, because with out it, we will just regress back into the caves.”
Stelter observed that the news media often tried to balance the climate change debate, even when the two sides were not equal.
“What responsibility do you think the members of the media have to portray science correctly,” the CNN host wondered.
“The media has to sort of come out of this ethos that I think was in principle a good one, but it doesn’t really apply in science,” Tyson explained. “The principle was, whatever story you give, you have to give the opposing view. And then you can be viewed as balanced.”
“You don’t talk about the spherical Earth with NASA, and then say let’s give equal time to the flat Earthers,” he added. “Plus, science is not there for you to cherry pick.”
Tyson recalled that he once said that “the good thing about science is that it’s true whether or not you believe in it.”
“You can decide whether or not to believe in it, but that doesn’t change the reality of an emergent scientific truth,” he noted.
Cosmos premieres Sunday night on the Fox broadcasting network at 9 p.m. ET.
Watch the video below from CNN’s Reliable Sources, broadcast March 9, 2013.