Neil Degrasse Tyson has a problem with the truth

We have already seen that Neil Degrasse Tyson likes to make up stories and repeat them as facts. What’s more, he seems to be a constant source of biological misinformation, even to the point of propagating the myth that bats are blind.  But I noticed the other day that Tyson is also promoting misinformation about other countries:

DF: Is religion dying?

NT: It depends on what you mean by dying. Most of Europe is atheistic. Even in Italy, the seat of the Vatican, most people never go to church. The Netherlands is essentially 100 percent atheist. The churches are relics.

The Netherlands is essentially 100 percent atheist?  Really?  Let’s take a lot at the data, shall we?

From the Eurobarometer Poll 2010:

The Neverthelands

% that believe there is a God – 28

% that believe there is some sort of spirit or life force – 39

% that doesn’t believe there is any sort of spirit, God, or life force – 30

While the 30% that doesn’t believe there is any sort of spirit, God, or life force probably includes a large number of agnostics who would not be atheists, let’s be unreasonably charitable and pretend all 30% are atheists.

It would mean that Neil DegrasseTyson thinks 30% is essentially the same as 100%.

 

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8 Responses to Neil Degrasse Tyson has a problem with the truth

  1. KIA says:

    The percentage of those or the number of those who believe anything has absolutely no bearing on the truth of what they believe

  2. hopdavid says:

    Thanks, Shadow to Light. I will add this to my list.

    KIA: “The percentage of those or the number of those who believe anything has absolutely no bearing on the truth of what they believe”

    KIA, you may be right. Just look at the many folks who regard Tyson as credible.

  3. Kevin says:

    No, but it has full bearing on whether Neil Degrasse Tyson has a clue on what he is talking about. Which, once again, he apparently does not.

    As an aside, lots of New Atheists love to crow about the growing number of “nones” or the dwindling number of Christians in America. I’m sure you have told them that numbers have no bearing on truth.

  4. Charlie King says:

    Damn I really liked this guy. But this is why, as an atheist, I don’t take any giant claims at face value no matter the source. I guess my skepticism knows no bounds.

  5. TFBW says:

    KIA said:

    The percentage of those or the number of those who believe anything has absolutely no bearing on the truth of what they believe

    Your criticism misses the mark. The point that Tyson was trying to support with his made-up data is that “religion is dying”, not “there is no God”. The fault with his evidence is not that it’s irrelevant, but that it’s bullshit. The so-called science communicator is an inveterate bullshitter — at least when it comes to supporting his anti-religious ideology.

  6. SteveK says:

    In the link to “bats are blind”, someone in the comment section is also noticing Tyson’s gaffes and has tabulated several.

    http://hopsblog-hop.blogspot.com/2016/01/fact-checking-neil-degrasse-tyson.html

  7. 22056 says:

    In fairness to Tyson, he might have been trying to say that most Europeans are “practical” atheists who, though still having a belief in God, do not necessarily act in any way differently than they would without such a belief. And yet even if this is what he meant, perhaps the greater irony is that as Europe becomes more atheistic / secular, it literally also becomes less European, as the secular populations of Europe cannot even breed at replacement level and must import non-Europeans to prop up their falling populations. It is almost as if a societal embrace of atheism is an embrace of societal suicide as well, as it ultimately arguably has been for all atheistic societies and cultures so far.

    22056

  8. FZM says:

    22056,

    Interesting comment.

    In fairness to Tyson, he might have been trying to say that most Europeans are “practical” atheists who, though still having a belief in God, do not necessarily act in any way differently than they would without such a belief.

    I think this might be hard to work out because counter claims along the lines of ‘these people claim to be atheists, agnostics or that religion has no influence in their life…etc. but still act as if they had such a belief, even if it’s relabelled.’; it depends on it being possible to clearly identify ways in which ‘belief in God’ would make an individual act differently to an individual self identifying as an atheist or agnostic.

    In general I found Tyson’s comment perplexing because ‘Europe’ includes plenty of other countries which have seen a re-emergence of religion following the collapse of hard line scientific atheist regimes in the late 80s and early 90s.

    And yet even if this is what he meant, perhaps the greater irony is that as Europe becomes more atheistic / secular, it literally also becomes less European, as the secular populations of Europe cannot even breed at replacement level and must import non-Europeans to prop up their falling populations.

    This is true; the non-European parts of the population of these countries also seem to retain a higher fertility rate even when living in European countries so this becomes another source of growth of the relative proportion of the population they make up.

    It is almost as if a societal embrace of atheism is an embrace of societal suicide as well, as it ultimately arguably has been for all atheistic societies and cultures so far.

    It will certainly be interesting to see what happens in the next 50 years or so; here in the UK sometimes I hear things which suggest that the fertility rate of white-British people will continue to fall in the future, and predications that by 2050 35-40% of the UK population will be non-white (this one was from Trevor Phillips).

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