Neil deGrasse Tyson argues science and religion are not ‘reconcilable’

In an extended conversation about science, religion and the universe, Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson argues science and religion are not compatible.

In an interview with Bill Moyers last Friday, Tyson explained why he doesn’t believe science and faith are compatible.  Tyson said he refuses to give credit to those who are trying to reconcile science and religion. “The track record is so poor,” he said, “that going forward I have essentially zero confidence that there would be fruitful things to emerge from the effort to reconcile them.”

In the interview, Tyson also criticized those trying to teach creationism in the science classroom. Tyson linked those who support creationism to a tendency throughout history to substitute the concept of God for any phenomenon scientists have yet to figure out.


“If you have a religious philosophy that is not based in objective realities that you then want to put in the science classroom, then I’m going to stand there and say no, ‘I’m not going to allow you in the science classroom.'”

Tyson went on: “Educated religious people are perfectly fine with that,” he said. “It’s the fundamentalists who want to say that the Bible is the literal truth of God and want to see the Bible as a science textbook who are knocking on the science doors of schools… Enlightened religious people are not acting that way.”

Tyson is the Frederick P. Rose director of the Hayden Planetarium at the American Museum of Natural History in New York and host of the upcoming Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey premiering Sunday, March 9, 2014 on Fox.

Neil deGrasse Tyson




What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Malcolm J. Brenner

    Science marches on, religion looks backward. End of story.

    • Ann Perry

      You are so right, Mr. Brenner! End of story, indeed!
      And I’m eagerly looking forward to seeing Dr. Tyson’s “Cosmos!”

  • bill wald

    Tyson is right for the wrong reason. “Science” should be limited to hypothesis which can be falsified. If a hypotheses can not be demonstrated as false then neither can it claimed as true. Most observational astronomy is an art, not a science. Same with historical investigations. Many rational people don’t accept the Warren Commission report on JFK as being correct. And the idea that history becomes science if the topic subject material is older than the invention of writing doesn’t compute.

  • Bob Seidensticker

    I believe Tyson had said earlier that he didn’t want pigeonhole himself with an “-ism” (like “atheism”). Maybe this is an indication of his wanting to get more active in the debate.

    • TheNotchyToad

      I don’t think so. He has made his point on that with an analogy that he doesn’t golf but he isn’t going to join an anti-golf club and argue against golf, it’s just as silly to do the same thing with religion. He’s too intelligent to get drawn into a debate about what exists and what doesn’t. All that does is lead to one side leaning on faith and another on intuition with no way to prove the other right or wrong. He will stand up when it puts education at stake however as in this case.

  • Sophia Sadek

    I think of religion as the precursor to science. There was a time when only priests were interested in studying the lights in the night sky. Whenever they discovered that what they thought of as true was actually wrong, they kept it to themselves and revealed it as a “sacred mystery” only to others initiated into the priesthood. Modern science opens things up to those outside the priesthood, but there is plenty of stuff that scientists keep close to their chests.

    BTW, Neil deGrasse Tyson is a dapper replacement for Carl Sagan. He does an excellent job of making arcane ideas accessible to a lay audience.

  • John Piermont V. Montilla

    religion must first reconcile with other silly religions before science can begin to seriously entertain the merger

  • UncleB

    Arrogant American Science – they learn a little, open doors that show them the paths to much more, should humble themselves as they witness how very little they really know, and these sick egomaniacs decide the know enough to “Conclude” much as the ‘Flat Earth Societies’ did. How anybody can ever think in terms of the Spiritual side of mankind and the Scientific Method is beyond me?
    Creationists suffer the same arrogance! A few lines in a particular ancient text allows them to ‘conclude” – what egomaniac nonsense is this?

  • John Piermont V. Montilla

    Arrogant? Arrogance has been the foundation of religious thinking since it’s foundation and it is science that breaks this arrogance that allowed many mysteries to be unlocked and discoveries of knowledge to unfold. Curiosity, inquiry and discovery is what science is all about and it is never arrogant because every new knowledge discovered is accepted by the scientific community without killing the discoverer whenever it’s contrary to old knowledge. Old knowledge is humble enough to be part of history. And Which spirituality are talking about.?