Neil deGrasse Tyson Sets the Record Straight

I’m so happy about this video, I can’t really express it.   This is precisely what I have been saying for a while now.  I’m glad to see someone held in such high esteem saying the exact same thing.    Watch the video and then scroll down.

Now here is what is happening.  In response to this video, atheists are feeling betrayed.  Well, you know what?  He wasn’t yours to claim, so there is no reason for the feeling of betrayal.  Frankly, this is no different than when Christians try to claim the founding fathers, or when certain atheist groups misquote one of them.  There are agendas at play and I think Tyson is 100% correct.

He wants to avoid those agendas.  And frankly so do I.  And so do a lot of people.  And he is correct that certain terms are conversation stoppers or, conversely, can add on baggage to a conversation that doesn’t need to be there.  Frankly, I like the time ‘humanist’ to describe what I am.  It’s a positive term and it best describes me.  If someone asks me if I believe in a God I answer honestly, that I don’t have a definitive answer and it doesn’t interest me.  I have interests elsewhere.  And Tyson has interests elsewhere.  And that should be okay.

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5 Responses

  1. “He wasn’t yours to claim, so there is no reason for the feeling of betrayal. ”

    From what I’ve read, it’s not so much that people feel betrayed as that they feel that he’s getting the definition of atheism wrong.

  2. If you mean technically, then yes. But not socially. Socially, he is spot on with the definition.

  3. I’m glad you posted that. It’s interesting to hear his (and your) thoughts on it. I consider myself to be an agnostic atheist. I don’t believe in a god, but I recognize one could exist that I simply have no knowledge of. However, I also refer to myself simply as an atheist sometimes. Mostly, I do this in an effort to help remove some of the stigma associated with the word. At the same time, I recognize that some people prefer different terms (or no terms at all), and I respect that position as well.

  4. I’m a bit curious about this “social definition” idea. The idea of Jesus has a social definition (more likely definitions), but if we are asking if a Jesus existed, don’t we worry about the definition used by experts in related fields and not opinions of society at large?

    So, technically NDT is an atheist, but doesn’t like the term because of its associations. He’s allowed this irrational position, but it’s not unlike saying that I am technically human, but don’t like the label because of the association. If I were to say something like that, I would hope someone would slap some sense into me (metaphorically, of course).

    It’s just silly.

  5. [...] when those arguments failed to convince me any longer.  I am a Possibilian, and that may bother a lot of people who want to remain in their comfort believing (falsely) that an atheist cannot change their tune. [...]

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