Famed television astrophysicist Neil DeGrasse Tyson rushed to Twitter to unleash his latest brilliant missive on the state of the world. Here it is, in all of its glory:
In 1927 Lindbergh flew from NY to Paris. 45 yrs later, in 1972 we last walked on the Moon. 45 yrs later, in 2017 we… we… we…
— Neil deGrasse Tyson (@neiltyson) January 16, 2017
Actually, a few good things have happened.
1. We Have A Manned Space Station And Probes On Mars. Tyson uses walking on the moon as an example of our progress in exploration. How about the fact that we have a permanently manned international space station? Or that we have sent probes to Mars? Or that we have landed spacecraft on an asteroid? Technology didn’t stop the moment we landed on the moon.
2. We Have A Giant Information System That Allows Us To Search Global Information With A Click. The internet is far beyond the imaginings of anyone in 1972: an informational system that could allow us not just to communicate with virtually anyone on earth, but allow us to search information in real time to debunk idiots like Neil DeGrasse Tyson. According to a 2013 paper from the University of Michigan, a “web search takes on average 7 minutes, whereas the corresponding offline search takes 22 minutes for a search-engine question.” And that’s if you’re at a library. You know how I found that paper? By searching for it. It took me 30 seconds.
3. We Have Magic Machines Sitting In Our Pockets That Allow Us To Talk To People Anywhere On The Planet. Cellphones are now ubiquitous across the planet. As of 2014, more people around the world had cellphones than have had landlines in the history of the planet. As of 2014, there were nearly 7 billion cellphone subscriptions. Even in poor countries, “penetration rates are impressive…with an average of 89.4 subscriptions per 100 inhabitants.”
4. The Global Extreme Poverty Rate Has Dropped Dramatically. According to the World Bank, the number of people living in extreme global poverty fell under 10 percent for the first time in 2015, a 74.1 percent decline in the last 25 years. According to a United Nations report, 36 percent of people on earth lived in extreme poverty in 1990. By 2011, that number was 15 percent, a 58 percent decrease.
5. In America, We’ve Basically Solved Extreme Poverty. Here’s Pew Research on the state of poverty in the United States:
The US stands head and shoulders above the rest of the world. More than half (56%) of Americans were high income by the global standard…Another 32% were upper-middle income. In other words, almost nine-in-ten Americans had a standard of living that was above the global middle-income standard. Only 7 percent of people in the US were middle income, 3% were low income, and 2% were poor.
6. Life Expectancy Has Increased. In 1972, life expectancy sat at 71 years. Today, it’s in excess of 78 years. In 1972, infant mortality in the United States stood at approximately 20 deaths per 1,000 live births. Today, infant mortality stands at 6.1 infant deaths per 1,000 live births.
7. Crime Has Dropped Dramatically. From 1970 to 1990, Americans were more likely to be victimized in a violent crime than to be injured in a car accident, as Barry Latzer has pointed out in his book, The Rise and Fall of Violent Crime in America. From 1990 to 2009, homicide, robbery, and burglary plummeted 80 percent. From 1993 to 2014, the number of violent crime victimizations dropped precipitously, according to the Justice Department – from 79.8 victimizations per 1,000 people to 20.1 in 2014.
8. Pollution Has Plummeted. According to the EPA, while the American population grew 36 percent between 1970 and 2000, and while energy consumption increased 45 percent, “aggregate criteria air pollutant emissions decreased 29 percent.” That includes a 98 percent drop in lead emissions.
That’s just the tip of the iceberg, of course. Life is better in virtually every way in the United States in 2017 than it was in 1972, and our progress has been immense.
This isn’t Tyson’s only foray into profound idiocy on Twitter. Here are a few of his greatest hits:
Earth needs a virtual country: #Rationalia, with a one-line Constitution: All policy shall be based on the weight of evidence
— Neil deGrasse Tyson (@neiltyson) June 29, 2016
In Rationalia, presumably democracy will be dead and we will all live at Tyson’s whims.
If there were ever a species for whom sex hurt, it surely went extinct long ago.
— Neil deGrasse Tyson (@neiltyson) March 11, 2016
This is not scientifically accurate.
Or this, on Christmas:
On this day long ago, a child was born who, by age 30, would transform the world. Happy Birthday Isaac Newton b. Dec 25, 1642
— Neil deGrasse Tyson (@neiltyson) December 25, 2014
Tyson’s grasp of astrophysics is obviously better than his grasp of social change.