Neil deGrasse Tyson: Creationism is fine 'as long as you don't confuse it with actual science'

Wednesday on his radio show "Star Talk," astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson addressed a reader's query about the Creation Museum and the theory of a "Young Earth," which is part of the Christian Creationist myth, the idea that the Earth is only a few thousand years old.

"I visited the Creation Museum," wrote the listener, "purely out of a sense of mystified curiosity. The recorded narration in their planetarium said that contemporary astrophysics predicted [sic] that certain stars were older than the known age of the universe and cited this problem as evidence against science and for Young Earth creationism."

"I was hoping Neil might tell me a little bit more about the problem and its solution," the note concluded.

"Which problem?" asked Tyson. "That the Creation Museum exists at all?"

He went on to say that while he has nothing against Creationism museums, per se, "just keep it out of the science classroom."

"We live in a free country," he continued, "and you can say whatever you want about whatever. That's what it means to be free. Just don't confuse it with actual science."

Tyson explained that there was a time in the 1990s when astronomers had found evidence of stars that were older than the universe's estimated 15 billion years. The stars appeared to be in the neighborhood of 18 billion years old.

"And you can't be older than your mother," he said.

The Hubble telescope has settled these arguments, said Tyson, insofar as 3 billion years constitutes an actual error in cosmology. That number, he said, is well within the margin of error when estimating objects' ages in the billions of years.

However, now that we've had a better look at the furthest reaches of what we know, scientists concluded that the universe is around 18 billion years old.

Watch the video, embedded below via Star Talk radio: