1. Peej says

    If a white guy was terrible, and a mixed race guy was just disappointing, maybe a totally black guy would be OK.

  2. Dianne says

    No, I would not. It would only distract him from updating Cosmos, which is a more valuable use of his time and talents.

  3. Doug Little says

    He is definitely passionate about science, he would have my vote. I just hope that when push comes to shove they find a way to save the James Webb. Maybe the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation can kick in some cash to get it launched.

  4. Dianne says

    Hmm…last attempt to comment appears to have failed. Plus I misremembered the title as “would you vote for Neil Tyson for president”. To correct: No, Neil should not run for president. It would only distract him from finishing the updated Cosmos, which is a more important use of his time and talents.

  5. Susan says

    I’d vote for him in a heartbeat. If nothing else he has a vision and he is rational.

  6. Lord Shplanington, Not A Frenchman says

    Damn it, Glen.

    For a split second, I raged at that.

    Stop being so good at this shit.

  7. Zinc Avenger says

    [Heavy Sarcasm tag]
    Of course they need to cancel the James Webb telescope. If Teh End of Teh World is coming, we have no need to invest in research and science and things to dream about. We need to give the money to those poor bankers so they can roll around on it while we prepare for the second coming of Teh Lord in appropriate godly poverty.
    [/Heavy Sarcasm tag]

  8. Celeste says

    @Dianne, I thought about PZ too, but then I realized Bill Nye might be the best choice, since he has to sit through the Senate sessions. Maybe he’d be able to use his experiences teaching children to explain complex issues to the morons in Congress in a way that makes them realize that not all issues can be solved with solutions that come in the primary colors of red or blue.

  9. Alan says

    I don’t know. Neil certainly would have all the characteristics necessary to be a great leader.

    But part of me can’t help thinking that Michelle Bachmann would be the funniest president to ever be elected. Sure she would destroy the country and probably take the rest of the human race with it – but we would all die laughing.

  10. Dave, the Kwisatz Haderach says

    …but we would all die laughing.

    I’m sure that if Bachmann had her way, atheists would end up in internment camps. Its a fair bet that most of the denizens of this website would die screaming.

  11. greame says

    Unfortunately I recall him saying in one interview or another that he has no intrest in joining politics.

  12. Susan says

    Celeste makes an excellent point about teaching science to Congress. We have our ticket-Tyson and Nye in 2012!

  13. Maidentheshade says

    Neil was awesome on Real Time. I think that aired last Friday. It was a good show & worth catching either in repeats on HBO or on YouTube.

  14. J Bowen says


    I am currently reading Tyson’s The Sky Is Not the Limit: Adventures of an Urban Astrophysicist and I highly recommend it. I think I will jump right into The Pluto Files next.

  15. Mike de Fleuriot says

    and if I may, you folk need to find somewhere to put AronRa in government, maybe education or somewhere like that.

  16. ButchKitties says

    There’s a rumor that I tried to high five Neil through the TV when this episode of Real Time first aired.

    *whistles innocently*

  17. Dr. I. Needtob Athe says

    No! It’s a silly fantasy.

    Consider this video of Neil deGrasse Tyson criticizing Richard Dawkins for his lack of “sensitivity to (other’s) state of mind”, and how “articulately barbed” he can be.

    Neil deGrasse Tyson seems likely to exhibit those same Obama-like characteristics, such as pandering to conservatives and endorsing “bipartisan compromises”, that are frustrating us liberals so much today. I want a president who will be less tolerant of the greed, heartlessness, outrageous lies, and patently flawed policies of the Republican Party, and who won’t hesitate to speak out against them and help prevent our country from slipping even further toward fascism.

  18. Tualha says

    I’d vote for him, but really, I’d hate to see him trying to play politics with all the bastards in Washington. He’d probably have a stroke.

  19. Moggie says

    It depresses me that we speak of wanting a scientist to be president, as if that’s the only answer. I think I’d prefer a talented scientist, or science communicator, to stick with what they do best – science – rather than spend an exhausting 4-8 years of their life on the interminable unscientific crap which inevitably dominates a president’s time. No, what I’d settle for is a president who champions the value of evidence and expertise, and who listens to scientists.

    Remember the US Office of Technology Assessment? There was a time when the US Congress at least paid lip service to the principle that government should be informed by objective scientific advice. But Newt Gingrich killed that.

    (Incidentally, here in the UK we’ve had a government led by a scientist. You may have heard of her. Didn’t turn out so well for us)

  20. says

    Yes! Scientists tend to have higher standards of integrity. Career politicians are probably one of the lowest forms of humanity you can get.

  21. cynic04 says

    There was a time I thought academics should be politicians, but after Obama’s clear inability to maneuver in a political space I’ve come around. What we need is kindhearted con men, not well spoken scholars.

  22. Aquaria says

    Neil deGrasse Tyson seems likely to exhibit those same Obama-like characteristics, such as pandering to conservatives and endorsing “bipartisan compromises”, that are frustrating us liberals so much today.

    Did you see him in the talk about how the universe isn’t fine-tuned for life? He was anything but pandering compromising.

    I think Neil would be a lot more passionate than Obama–and a lot less prone to bullshit. He certainly couldn’t be a worse negotiator.

  23. says

    Zinc Avenger: If Teh End of Teh World is coming, we have no need to invest in research and science and things to dream about.

    Some of us are old enough to remember when the execrable James G. Watt served as Reagan’s Interior Secretary. Watt was a Christian nutcake who wore his religion on his sleeve and told Congress, “I do not know how many future generations we can count on before the Lord returns.” We therefore didn’t need too much environmentalism — just enough to ensure we could eke out an existence until Jesus came flying through the murky air to rescue us.

    The Constitution provides that there shall be no religious test for public office. It would make more sense to say that religion is a disqualifier from public office. (We could make an exception for lip-service religionists.)

  24. atomic1973 says

    posted @ the other site first… forgot about this one. Trust reposting here isn’t in bad taste?

    I’d settle for him doing the Fox News circuit…

    I’d love to see someone like NDT in the big chair… in addition to all the positives he’d bring to the office (what’s already been mentioned here plus more)… it would REALLY tick off the Teabaggers and their ilk; black, atheist, “edu-ma-cated” with lots o’ book learnin’, articulate, passionate about reason and happy to call bullshit when it’s seen (check out his comments on the 2012 foolishness)

    Their heads would explode.

    Figure out a way to make my Canadian vote count and I’m in…

  25. Alleyprowler says

    I wouldn’t vote for him if he ran because he is apolitical and if he ever accepted a nomination then I would know that it wasn’t really him, but a Tyson-shaped pod person that we should kill with fire. He should just stick to being awesome.

  26. Antiochus Epiphanes says

    At this point, if a marshmallow ran with a stick of celery in the VP slot, I would consider that ticket very carefully.

    So, obviously, NDG would get my vote.

  27. Gsquared says

    If we continue to bankrupt ourselves intellectually, you will, in the near future, see a brain drain the likes of which this country has never imagined possible, and the like of which the world has not seen since the exodus of intellectuals and scientists from Nazi-held Germany in 1930s and Nazi-held Europe in the 1940s. Those of you who truly believe in intellectual freedom, brush up on your foreign languages, because if that gerkin from Tejas wins the Presidency, we’ll all be persona-non-grata.

  28. R4v3nh34rt says

    Absolutely. This guy is both funny and competent in his own field and that’s not everything: He also appears to be very SMART, as he can be funny and at the same time clear in his answers (and, most importantly, in his questions).

    he’s definetly the right guy as he seems good, honest, smart , just.

    But that’s not everything. His interests I think, are beyond politics. I think he wouldn’t be interested. That’s a shame, as such a guy as president would make a change!

  29. David Marjanović, OM says

    Yes! Let’s all write him in for 2012.

    If enough people do it…

    I don’t know, PZ. Do you think America is ready for a black president?

    Thread won.

    a single atheist-flesh-golem



    The Bierce-Hartman-McKean-Skitt Law of Prescriptivist Retaliation states that every statement about correct spelling, punctuation or grammar is bound to contain at least one eror. :-)

  30. Snake says

    I used to work for a scientist who dabbled in politics. As a scientist he was about as successful as you could ask for (Prof and head of department at Cambridge, FRS, knighted for contributions to science, head of a national funding body). He got out of politics (he said) because the decisions were too hard. As a scientist you can always defer if your data aren’t good enough, whereas as a politician you MUST come up with an answer. It gave me a new-found respect for politicians. Unfortunately this lasted until the next self-serving, corrupt pronouncement that one of them made.

  31. RahXephon, un féminist nucléaire says

    I’ve fallen out of love with most of the Horsemen (even if he’s not straight-up Islamophobic, I don’t like some things Harris has said, and I also think he’s philosophically overrated, and with Dawkins, well, my ass is still thoroughly chapped from Elevatorgate) so Neil is my new atheism/science crush. I started listening to his StarTalk podcast and even watched the Nova ScienceNow show he’s hosting.

  32. says

    It sounds like the audience are ready to carry him right to the polls. Damn, I’d vote for him for President and I’m not even American!

    But for a serious answer: what Moggie says, #28.

    As an aside, the following video I got was Bill Nye (Science Guy) being interviewed on Fox News. Now there’s an intellectual disconnect if you ever want a demonstration. :-)

  33. Francisco Bacopa says

    Thanks for mentioning the two excellent politicians in in comments #45 and #47 I strongly recommend checking out the links.

    It’s really sad that Jordan had to retire from politics because of MS, she could have gone on to so much more.

  34. says

    I’d vote for him. Wouldn’t you?

    I would prefer Neil deGrasse Tyson’s spending priorities which would probably be scientific progress and science education instead of never ending wars.

    Of course in Idiot America millions of tards wouldn’t vote for him just because he’s not insane (not a theist). Candidates for president of this backward hick-infested asylum have to at least pretend to believe in a magical invisible fairy hiding somewhere in the universe.

    Here’s something Neil deGrasse Tyson wrote which most people here have probably already read. Theists, also known as gullible cowardly lazy uneducated morons, should read it but they probably wouldn’t understand it.

    The Perimeter of Ignorance — A boundary where scientists face a choice: invoke a deity or continue the quest for knowledge

  35. Aliasalpha says

    Seems like a decent enough guy with a long lens view on whats wrong with his country, he’d probably have no chance in politics…

    Althought his tendency towards gestural emphasis would certainly make him popular with impressionists if he did get in

  36. says

    The first time I watched this the comparison of the bank bailout to the entire history of NASA spending blew me away, though upon further reflection I realized that you can’t really compare the importance of NASA to the bailout—without the bailout it seems likely we’d be in a global depression.

    The other comparison (that the JWST budget is a month in Afghanistan) is however still really depressing.

    I’d vote for Tyson if I thought he had any reasonable chance of winning—but talk about pipe dreams, half our country still thinks republicans are viable!

  37. says

    At this point, I’d vote for just about any legitimate scientist. But, I think Dr. Tyson would be at the top of my list if I could choose someone to run this country.

  38. Random Excess says

    NdGT is not an (admitted) atheist, he has stated publicly that he is claimed by atheists, but that he is agnostic.

    There is a very interesting comment over on the other version of this blog railing against NdGT for demoting Pluto. Some people are very sensitive about things that have nothing to do with science.

    Neil is a great communicator, well versed in pop culture, very broad base of general knowledge, and one of the important public faces for cosmology and, indeed, all the sciences.

    Vote for him for President? In a NY minute. If you are on twitter and do not all ready follow NdGT he is at @NeilTyson (he is very funny)

  39. Baktru says

    Theists, also known as gullible cowardly lazy uneducated morons, should read it but they probably wouldn’t understand it.

    The only word I would leave in there to describe theists, is gullible. What you are doing here is a vast over-simplification.

    I know the religious affiliation of some of my colleagues, and one was very easy to spot now during Ramadan, and clearly not all theists are cowardly lazy uneducated morons. Some of them are, for sure, but far from all.

    The first time I watched this the comparison of the bank bailout to the entire history of NASA spending blew me away, though upon further reflection I realized that you can’t really compare the importance of NASA to the bailout—without the bailout it seems likely we’d be in a global depression.

    That global depression is pretty close though. Eurozone economic growth has dropped to 0.2% for instance. It’s still growth, but that is hardly what one would call ‘prosperous’.


  40. Tim DeLaney says

    NdGT would obviously make a better president than anybody currently on the political horizon (or in the rear-view mirror for that matter).

    At the very least, he probably be better able than most candidates to set national priorities rationally on:

    * Climate Change
    * Energy policy
    * Tax policy
    * Military actions
    * Every ramification of human sexuality
    * Religion in the public sphere

    Of course, I don’t know that his tax policy would be any better than what we’ve seen to date, but it could hardly be worse. And I’d bet he’d think the right thoughts and ask the right questions.

  41. blbt5 says

    Neil’s appearance on Real Time was painful to watch-pathetically pretentious, off-point and politically naive. A far cry from his informative and entertaining public lectures on astrophysics. He’s a great cheerleader for his own narrow professional society but oblivious to the real world and problems of everyday people, thank Him Who Isnt he’s nowhere near the levers of power.

  42. Erik says

    A black atheist for president? Have we forgotten that atheists are the singled most hated identifiable group in this country? Not a snowball’s chance in hell of ever happening…

    Besides, I want my president to be well versed in the backdoor diplomacy and underhanded dealings of Washington. I know that sounds perverse, but any one who takes office and doesn’t know the game is going to get his ass handed to him and become completely ineffectual while probably being unwittingly manipulated to make major mistakes by his political enemies in order to prove how evil teh scientists really are. It would be a disaster.

  43. Passerby says

    His speech reminded me of something I saw as a kid. Had to hunt it down to get the transcript:

    “A boy has the right to dream.
    There are endless possibilities stretched out before him.
    What awaits him down that path, he will then have to choose.
    Children leave their homes in search of this quest.
    As they search, they are always asking questions.
    What is out there?
    What is waiting for us?
    Believe in yourself, and create your own destiny.
    Don’t fear failure.”

    As he said [And as the title of the video states], we stopped dreaming. We stopped asking questions. We feared failure.

    And we’re the worse for it.

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