To any rappers (or politicians) out there espousing pre-Enlightenment ideas about science: Neil deGrasse Tyson is not having it.
As anyone who's been on Twitter this week is surely aware, America's favorite astrophysicist has been locked in an epic, 140-character Twitter battle with the rapper B.o.B., who, like ancient man or a modern-day "View" cohost, believes that the Earth is flat.
In the latest chapter of this saga, B.o.B. released a track dissing Tyson and suggesting that he needs to wear looser vests (burn!). The "Cosmos" host fired back on "The Nightly Show With Larry Wilmore" on Wednesday night.
Ditching his blazer for a black T-shirt , Tyson grabbed a microphone and set the record straight. For your meme-generating convenience, we have duplicated the speech in its entirety below:
"The Earth looks flat because 1) you’re not far enough away at your size. 2) your size isn’t large enough, relative to Earth, to notice any curvature at all. It’s a fundamental fact of calculus and non-Euclidean geometry, small sections of large curved surfaces will always look flat to little creatures that crawl upon it.
"This whole thing is a symptom of a larger problem. There’s a growing anti-intellectual strain in this country that may be the beginning of the end of our informed democracy. Of course, in a free society, you can and should think whatever you want. If you want to think the world is flat, go right ahead. But if you think the world is flat, and you have influence over others – as would successful rappers or even presidential candidates – then being wrong becomes being harmful to the health, the wealth and the security of our citizenry.
"Discovery and exploration got us out of the caves, and each generation benefits from what previous generations have learned. Isaac Newton, my man, said, ‘If I have seen farther than others, it’s by standing on the shoulders of giants.’ So that’s right, B.o.B., when you stand on the shoulders of those who came before, you might just see far enough to realize the Earth isn’t ... flat."
Before he left, Tyson had one last science lesson in store. "This is called gravity," he said, while (literally) dropping his mic.
B.o.B., it's your move.
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