Neil deGrasse Tyson - Comments before the Senate Commerce Committee, Regarding the Future of the US Space Program

It seems to me that Senators and Congresspeople must be trained in the dubious art of ignoring wisdom ... because if they could listen to what Dr. Tyson says here and NOT be moved and motivated into action, then I have to wonder what it is that moves them at all.

Dr. Tyson has a lust for knowledge and learning which is both enlivening and infectious, even in the dry atmosphere of a Senate committee meeting, and I would love to join him in recapturing the excitement and sense of discovery which were the early days of NASA, because that IS where the future lies.

Tags: NASA, Neil deGrasse Tyson, U. S. Senate

Views: 446

Replies to This Discussion

Loren, you pose the the statement that those in Congress must be trained to ignore wisdom. Hit the pause button on the very 1st second of this video. Then, look at the number of empty seats for committee members. And, in Dr. Tyson's introduction, he only mentions 3 who are present. It's easy to ignore wisdom if you don't even bother to show up and listen to it in the first place. Rather than listening to a person who is probably one of the most astute and brilliant promoters of a science based American future, with all the concomitant benefits that come from that, the representatives are probably in the hallway, pushing each other to get 5 minutes in front of a TV camera so they can whore themselves for votes. The lack of attendance, and action, by them is utterly disgusting.

Thank you for posting this video Loren. I swear every time Neil opens his mouth, wisdom and common sense just falls out.

It is scary to think that we waste so much money on the research and technology of things like 'pink slime' and how to extract and rape fossil fuels from the earth, or to make snuggies or diet cola and yet we want to do away with the space program which is ultimately our future.

It is sad that the only motivation to 'go to the moon' is for war and greed and not for the experience and learning.

I am so tired on the ignorance here on Earth.

There are those that look at things the way they are, and ask why? I dream of things that never were, and ask why not?
-- Robert F. Kennedy

Maybe that's it. Maybe the malaise of the day-to-day has so stultified the thinking of our politicians that they've forgotten how to dream. Certainly, as Pat suggests, they seem to dream more about money and another term in office more than anything else.

Maybe Dr. Tyson needed to put the current situation in terms of a war of a different sort, or at least certainly a competition. The playing field now is far more level than it was 50 years ago; technology has spread across a large portion of this planet, and those who value the advantage technology brings, like China and India, are milking that advantage to its utmost, while America sits back on rusty laurels.

What if, rather than speaking to an ill-attended committee, Tyson spoke to a joint session of Congress, at the invitation of the president. What if he gave the same talk in that session, but with more of a firebrand attitude and, please pardon the expression, a bit of pulpit-pounding thrown in. What if the numbers could be crunched, impact on the economy, unemployment, job growth and so on could be figured in and presented as a credible program, not just for the benefit of the US space program, but for that of the US as a whole. What if we had a 21st-century equivalent of John F. Kennedy's speech which propelled us to the moon half a century ago, delivered by a man who has the expertise, the credibility and the passion for the matter, could make it clear the imperative and the penalty for falling behind (which we are these days).

Do you suppose it would sell ... or have we become too lazy, jaded and jaundiced to take the lead again? To be honest, that question and its potential answer scare the crap outta me.

What is not to love about this man?  Our congress is full of idiots and opportunists.

Science over Snuggies!

Love your icon.

Sadly, the way politics run, brilliant minds are opted out under the greed for power and money. Bullies aren't just in the schools. :/ (I'd love to see someone with his brilliance run for office! Can you imagine? Oh well. Guess we're stuck with Mad Men.)

I've listened to this man talk about NASA and the lack of support for scientific efforts many times.  He's so passionate about it and he's completely right!  The weaving of religion into our politics is to blame for that. Science says religion is wrong and we have proof.  If the theocrats have the laws on their side, then we're screwed no matter what evidence there is.  America, with a theocratic government, will fail because they refuse to see reality.  We used to be the leaders in science and now there are several countries passing us by on innovations that change the world because they embrace truth instead of hanging on to myths that hold back the progress of civilization as we know it.  Theocrats would rather poison children with lies and condition them to ignore their observations of the world around them because the bible already has all the answers, giving rise to the next generation of deniers.

Tyson has such an elegant way of speaking and, I agree, Loren, that his passion is infectious!  I adore listening to him talk about anything!  He's all about simple answers and putting things in "plain English".  I love when he goes to shows for interviews and points out things that are wrong.  For example, he told Jon Stewart that his Earth was spinning the wrong way or when he told Conan O'Brian that his Moon was  too big, facing the wrong way, and was in the wrong part of the sky.  He doesn't do that because he likes to correct people.  I think he does that because he wants to make sure people have correct information.  He knows a lot and he likes sharing it.  I agree with Pat that it's very sad and disappointing to see so few people there to hear what he has to say.  If they would only listen...

An address to a joint session of Congress, during prime time, covered by the major networks would be great. But I strongly suspect even if it could be pulled off, half the members would either, 1) not attend since there's no votes to be gained, 2) heckle like that bigot Wilson from South Carolina, or 3) get their mugs plastered on FAUX News because he didn't talk about American "exceptionalism," American science (like there even is such a thing), and no mention of faith in a supreme being who will take special care of America (like Rep. John "Dipshit" Shimkus from Illinois).  Ohh, and I can think of one more objection by the bigoted Teabbagers. A black president promoting a black scientist - it must be reverse discrimination.

My level of confidence in the US Congress hovers somewhere around zero degrees kelvin.

The kind of "American exceptionalism" in evidence THESE days is nothing I would boast about!

And if some redneck congressman wants to get bent out of shape about something as superficial as skin color, the next time they want to come over for dinner, I'll serve them a recording of the steak sizzling ... while I eat the steak.

Late 1950s - scientists who developed atomic energy, "formally trained to explore".

When a nation allows itself to dream big, John Glenn's beginning space journey.

Promise of wealth, "motivates" as well as war. 

Cultural shifts, broke, jobs going over seas, collective consequence of absence of dreams. 

Epic dreams plant seeds of exploration, innovation ...

Transform the nation, reclaim dreaming ...

Tyson's magnificent voice, his enthusiasm, his train of thinking just gets my blood pumping and my mind revving. 

Thank you, Nontheist Central, for pointing a reality that other posters here don't see: theocracy and its need for an ignorant America. Repubs in Congress fear the theocrats whose votes they need, and they "whore themselves" to get those votes.

Dems, who also "whore themselves" to get votes, support science more but we who know how important science is need more than an enthused Dr. Tyson.

A challenge to the folks here: What, besides Dr. Tyson, will persuade Congresscritters to vote the necessary money?

If they don't want to be persuaded, Tom, not even the august Dr. Tyson could bring them to recognize the facts on the ground ... because THAT is what it takes: a clear-eyed, untainted understanding of the situation as it is and that inaction will swiftly relegate the US to second-class status, if not worse.

Facts talk.  Bullshit walks.  I don't see that truism as being subject to change.

I'd have to totally agree with that.  Even if they were there, they don't understand things well enough, so they sit there, mentally rolling their eyes and waiting just so they can vote no.  It's the lack of a grip on reality that is to blame here.  There is no logical reason to ignore evidence and statistics unless you already have it in your head that you have the answers.  Only believers would be so bold...

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