Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson characterized the naysaying surrounding climate change as par for the course in footage aired on Monday from his interview with MSNBC host Chris Hayes,
“The evidence will show up when they need more evidence,” deGrasse Tyson told Hayes. “More storms, more coastlines getting lost. People beginning to lose their wealth. People, if they begin to lose their wealth, they change their mind real fast, I’ve found — particularly in a capitalist culture.”
In the interview, which was filmed last week in New York City, the Cosmos host said that denial of scientific truths generally goes through three stages: First, skeptics say it can’t be true. Then, they say it contradicts the Bible. Finally, they admit the clues were there all along.
But regardless of how the world’s climate patterns evolve, deGrasse Tyson added, humanity would still carry on, though facing different temperatures than it has experienced for the past 1,000 years.
“Yes, there were storms,” deGrasse Tyson explained. “But in the mix of things, you had some assurances. It’s remarkably stable, given the fluctuations that had existed previously in the history of the world. When the dinosaurs were here, there were no polar ice caps. Talk about global warming — it was really warm when the dinosaurs were here.”
To “wake people,” he continued, he asks them how high the sea levels will be if the ice caps melt away, a scenario he said reminds him of the destruction Charleton Heston confronted in the original Planet of the Apes film series.
“[They say], ‘Oh, maybe a couple of feet,’” deGrasse Tyson told Hayes. “No, it would come up to the Statue of Liberty’s elbow — the one that’s holding the Declaration of Independence. That’s how high the water line will be.”
Watch another excerpt from Hayes’ interview with deGrasse Tyson, as aired Monday on MSNBC,