Neil deGrasse Tyson

The Religion and Political Views of Neil deGrasse Tyson



Tyson is a self-proclaimed agnostic and believes that science and religion cannot currently be reconciled.

Political Views

Tyson likes that Republicans are quicker to provide funding for science but seems to identify more with what are considered liberal values.


Neil DeGrasse Tyson was born in Manhattan, New York and grew up across the bridge in Brooklyn, New York.

He's another example of the scientific prodigy, giving formal lectures on astronomy at the age of 15.

As one of the world's most famous astrophysicists, Tyson is regularly asked about his religious views. He jokes about this, saying the question and answer portion of his lectures always follows a certain pattern: questions about the lecture, questions about "sexy" astrophysics concepts like black holes and quasars, and then questions about God.[1]

Tyson is a scientist and has called himself an agnostic.[2] If he were to believe in God, Tyson says it wouldn't be the loving God described by the big three monotheistic religions. He says:

Every account of a higher power that I've seen described, of all religions that I've seen, include many statements with regard to the benevolence of that power. When I look at the universe and all the ways the universe wants to kill us, I find it hard to reconcile that with statements of beneficence.[3]

And while Tyson says that "there is no common ground between science and religion,"[4] and that religion only starts where scientific knowledge ends[5], he acknowledges some connection between his branch of science and religion, though, and says they tend to use the "same vocabulary" and are both in awe of the mystery and majesty of the universe.[6]

He added:

Whenever people have used religious documents to make accurate predictions about the physical world they have been famously wrong.[7]

Political Science

Tyson is quite experienced in dealing with politics and politicians, having worked for various governmental scientific organizations. He's been appointed to government commissions on the future of the aerospace and NASA[8] Politics for him is all about how it applies to science. He is disappointed by the decline of NASA and the abandonment of the James Webb space telescope in the U.S., saying:

It's not that you [the government] don't have enough money, it's that the distribution of money that you're spending is warped in some way, that you are removing the only thing that gives people something to dream about [for the metaphorical] tomorrow.[9]

In other words, the U.S. government's priorities are out of whack.

When asked if Democrats or Republicans are better for science funding, he surprised a crowd by answering that it's actually Republicans and that if Republicans are bad for science, it's only in terms of issues relating to fundamentalist Christian values–like how pro-lifers are against stem cell research. Tyson chalks this up to the fact that:

Knowing that innovations in science and technology are the engines of economic growth, as they have been since the Industrial Revolution [and knowing that]… there is a truth–that no Republican wants to die poor.[10]

So, in short, Republicans will fund science because they know it's money in the bank.

That being said, Tyson seems to appeal more to liberals than conservatives, considering the fact that he's made appearances on liberal-leaning pundit shows like Real Time with Bill Maher, The Daily Show, and The Colbert Report as well as giving interviews in support of PETA ideals.[11] Plus, he has "high hopes" for Obama and science.[12]

Considering he's an agnostic (few conservatives are), his TV appearances, his take that Intelligent Design is certainly not science[13], and his sympathy for the cause of animal rights, we're calling him a liberal. But fiscally, he's got to be Republican.

What do you think of this?

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