Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson Says Creationist Ken Ham's Beliefs Are 'Even Crazy to Many Christians'

Neil deGrasse Tyson is an American astrophysicist and science communicator. He also hosts the podcast StarTalk radio show.
Neil deGrasse Tyson is an American astrophysicist and science communicator. He also hosts the podcast StarTalk radio show. | (Photo: Flickr / lwpkommunikacio)

Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, who presented the TV series "Cosmos: A SpaceTime Odyssey" earlier this year, claimed in an interview last week that Creation Museum CEO and President Ken Ham's beliefs are "even crazy to many Christians."

Tyson, who is the Frederick P. Rose director of the Hayden Planetarium at the Rose Center for Earth and Space in New York City, spoke with AlterNet about the success of the 13-part "Cosmos" TV series, which won four Emmy Awards but was criticized by creationist groups like Ham's Answers in Genesis.

"You have to ask yourself, what are the numbers behind the people making these claims?" Tyson said about the backlash. "Someone like Ken Ham has beliefs that are even crazy to many Christians."

Answers in Genesis criticized "Cosmos" back in March, arguing that it promotes a "blind faith" in evolution.

"Cosmos: A SpaceTime Odyssey, if the first segment is any indication, will attempt to package unconditional blind faith in evolution as scientific literacy in an effort to create interest in science," Elizabeth Mitchell wrote on the AiG blog.

"We hope that future segments will spend more time showing actual scientific observations, such as the brief part of this episode showing where earth is in relation to the rest of the universe," Mitchell added.

The series, a new take on Carl Sagan's 1980 show "Cosmos: A Personal Voyage," brought Tyson, "Family Guy" creator Seth MacFarlane and Ann Druyan, who co-wrote the original series together.

"The goal is to convey why science matters to the person, to our society, to us as shepherds of this planet. It involves presenting science in ways that connect to you, so 'Cosmos' can influence you not only intellectually but emotionally, with a celebration of wonder and awe," Tyson previously explained about the series.

Answers in Genesis wrote weekly reviews of the show on its website, and Ham continued criticizing the show on social media. He also sparred with secular bloggers who, in turn, criticized AiG's coverage.

"Secularists critique (often with ad hominem attacks) just about everything we write about at AiG. But because we dared write detailed (and well-thought-out and researched) reviews of the ardently atheistic evolutionary Cosmos TV series they're so enamored by, they make all sorts of false accusations," Ham said in a statement in June.

In his recent interview, Tyson suggested that the media attention Ham has been receiving this past year is largely due to his highly-publicized debate with Bill Nye the Science Guy back in February.

"Everyone knew Bill Nye, but almost no one had heard of Ken Ham," Tyson said. "But after the debate [Ham] realized he had some media attention. You have to wonder — if that debate never happened if he would have even bothered covering the show at all?"

Ham has also clashed with Christian figures, such as CBN host Pat Robertson, who dismissed Young Earth Creationists as "deaf, dumb and blind" in a statement earlier this year.

"Pat Robertson illustrates one of the biggest problems we have today in the church — people like Robertson compromise the Word of God with the pagan ideas of fallible men!" Ham posted on Facebook in May.

Protestant pastors in the U.S. remain split on the age of the Earth, according to a 2011 LifeWay Research poll. While 46 percent of pastors who responded to the poll said that they believe the earth is approximately 6,000 years old, another 43 percent disagreed.

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