Friday Funny – Advice from another scientist to Neil DeGrasse Tyson @neiltyson – ‘stick with eclipses’

From “the stupid, it burns” department. Earlier this week, WUWT carried a story about why we should trust climate scientists – because science is able to predict the eclipse years ahead.

Never mind the fact that orbital mechanics is a precise calculation with essentially zero uncertainty, because the motions, masses, and speeds of bodies in the solar system aren’t fraught with the chaos and uncertainty that we see in the weather and climate system. Nooooo, let’s ignore the “uncertainty monster” and pretend that climate prediction is as certain as orbital mechanics.

Along those lines, Neil DeGrasse Tyson beclowned himself today:

Neil of course doesn’t seem to understand that the National Hurricane Center has operational meteorologists, not climate scientists. But when you believe weather is climate, I guess anything goes.

Sheesh. Pretty soon he’s going to outshine Bill Nye in the science stupidity category.


124 thoughts on “Friday Funny – Advice from another scientist to Neil DeGrasse Tyson @neiltyson – ‘stick with eclipses’

  1. It’s only idiots who think people like de Grasse and the other clown with the bow tie, whose name escapes me, have anything meaningful to say.

    • jimmy. Is it an unwritten rule that when a scientist becomes a darling of the left he becomes incompetent and silly in his inability to comprehend science? Or do those type of people who are left and admired by leftists start out silly?

      • Is it an unwritten rule that when a scientist becomes a darling of the left he becomes incompetent and silly in his inability to comprehend science?

        your need to look at the phase relationship before inferring causation.

        A scientist becomes a darling of the left he AFTER he becomes incompetent and silly in his inability to comprehend science gives in to political advocacy.

      • The problem with Climate Scientists is:
        You must first eliminate all those that are Right
        and the remainder is those who are Left

      • I think it’s more of the latter. Only clowns would allow themselves to be used as entertainment to the point of loosing essentially all objectivity and self respect.

      • I must urge you to consider the career path of Andrew Weaver. If a scientist ( climate modeller in this case ) becomes a politician, does that not mean he forfeits scientific credibility and is now into the realm of advocacy? Call me crazy, but,…..

    • I have a theory about these sort of high IQ people. High IQ comes with additional risk of that intelligence being narrow banded so we end up with the ‘Rain Man’ syndrome in some of them. In this case the narrow bandedness is all concentrated around the self. It is also known as narcissism. I think there is a lot of it about especially in certain commuities. In times past such communities might be a royal or imperial court say, Versailles perhaps being an exemplar.

      These days I think it is mainly due to the ubiquity and sheer volume of the visual image forming a virtual hall of mirrors out of everywhere and everything. The internet doesn’t help in that respect.

      All in all its a bit like Thalidomide, used to address nausea and other symptoms of morning sickness (as an over the counter would you believe) but those old unintended consequences became a real nuisance….and are malforming and distorting the public discourse on matters of substance.

    • He is a pompous ass, who makes himself credible by linking himself to Carl Sagan, he apparently met Carl once, but he makes it seem like they were best buds. Of course he is half black and rides the global warming wave, so of course gets lots of money. Of course if Carl were alive he would call this douche bag out!

      • My old shop teacher said shop teachers (and engineers) wear bow ties so they don’t get their ties wrapped around the axle. Apparently that can happen to bow ties, too.

  2. When it suits the narrative, it’s climate; when it doesn’t, it’s weather. “Climate” is becoming an increasingly malleable, slippery concept.

    • In the beginning, when it was full on GLOBAL WARMING, the narrative from the Warm Alarmists was that you cannot conflate weather with climate. Oh what a tangled web they weaved.

    • Thanks for posting. Great photos and video–not sure I can see the shadow bands. I had a good view of totality from Bowling Green, Kentucky. I was surprised at the number of sunspots (given the recent frequent ‘blank sun” solar minimum days) visible with my Coronado PST. Crash course in using my Canon Rebel T2i; now its Lightroom and figuring out the HDR bracketing merge, etc.

  3. ….or it can just as easily go the other way too
    When they have the cone of death from Rio to Maine

  4. Of course we can predict eclipses! It’s all to do with gravity. Unfortunately the surface temperature of the earth has NOTHING to do with gravity AT ALL, just like all the other rocky planets or moons with gaseous atmospheres. No, the fact that all Earth’s atmospheric molecules are in a strong gravitational field has absolutely nothing to do with temperature on the surface of the planet, gravity does nothing here (apart from the lapse rate of course but that’s not really primarily about temperature more to do with pressure and density).

  5. Neil De Who?

    Sorry, I’m a Brit, we have our own whacko’s who like to conflate weather with climate.

    Like the BBC.

    • Neil DeGrasse Tyson is PBS’ current favorite talking head on “science”, which is whatever politics PBS wants to push.

    • Tyson makes a habit of making a twit of himself. Here is one he made soon after Trump was elected

    • Accurate comment. Two point penalty, however, for improper apostrophe use and failure to use a (.) period.

  6. This is why I don’t do Twitter. I got no sense at all from the three comments in the head post.

  7. There is something to be said for people like Tyson, who is incapable of experiencing embarrassment.

    Not something nice, mind you.

  8. The thing with weather is that we can mostly see it coming. That’s been the case since the invention of the telegraph. If it was raining cats and dogs in Podunky Hills, it was a near certainty that there would be a downpour in Skunk Mills twenty minutes later. link Long term forecasting, on the other hand, hasn’t improved much since Ben Franklin’s day. link

    • commieBob,
      And, there is a geostationary weather satellite in orbit taking pictures of storms as they progress. On the other hand, climate is an abstraction that cannot be imaged directly. Climate has to be inferred from a complex assortment of sometimes conflicting and always uncertain information. It is disappointing that Tyson doesn’t seem to understand that!

      • Tyson only understands that running his mouth gets him attention and increases his income. Just like Mike Tyson, huh.

  9. Look at 15 days ago, and see who thought it would be a cat3 storm and hit where it did. Look at the spaghetti map from that time – looks like the climate models – all over the map, literally. If prediction was so good, why are hurricane hunters in the sky constantly to update the data on the storm? Without those, there would be no prediction. Fools and Idiots.

  10. I remember when I used think that people with PhDs were incredibly smart and perceptive… then I got one myself and started working with some that were, well, not so smart and perceptive.

    DeGrasse Tyson is an entertainer. He should stick to narrating programs at the Hayden Planetarium.

    • Actually all PhDs are smart but you have to be within the beam width to see it. If you are on a side lobe of one of the high gain versions the phase distortion makes them look like idiots. And the nulls are something else! Finding the few with a more omnidirectional intelligence is tricky. Feynmann wasn’t even a dipole. Hawking has a shorted feeder.

      • RB: Nice antenna-humor!! And applicable to a fair number of Nobel prize winners who, despite their brilliance in one particular direction, had little to offer in other areas of science, let alone public policy.

  11. Like the US govt, it is often hard to tell if they are incompetent or stupid. But, I then embrace the healing power of “and”. This is actually accurate, because only a corrupt organization promotes and retains incompetents.

    • So true.

      The easiest way to get rid of your incompetents in an organization in which firing is practically impossible is to promote them into somebody else’s department.

      • Incompetent entry-level employees that for whatever reason aren’t easily fired will often be “kicked upstairs” to management, in order to minimize the mayhem they cause. An underlying cause for why managers so often seem less than useless.

      • Please don’t forget the Inverse Peter Principle. It takes effect after the Peter Principle has run its course. Once someone has reached his level of incompetence he is then promoted to a position where his incompetence is no long as obvious. That explains the upper level management in several organizations I worked with (consulting) and for (employee).

  12. He has to say “climate scientists” because everyone on his side of the debate has made public statements of one sort or another degrading “meteorologists”.

    He’s such a tool.

  13. It seems to me that the argument that science can predict eclipses therefore climate science makes totally accurate predictions too, is a gift to the sceptic side because it is so easy to debunk. Debunking it with ease is a win on its own, but it then follows that the alarmists are actually prepared to use any argument, no matter how weak, to promote their cause. Surely they have some better ones that they could use instead, otherwise why use this one?

  14. So, Mr. Kneel in the Grass, equates predicting the trajectory of celestial objects with predicting the actions of a chaotic system.
    I guess he’s just way smarter than a laymen like myself, cuz it sounds like standardized opportunistic BS to me.

  15. Hmm, don’t see many climate models which predicted hurricane Harvey.

    Strange that because all climate models predicted the last solar eclipse.

  16. A metaphor:

    Weather Forecasting


    Climate “Projections”
    (and, yes, I realize that climate is even more chaotic and less predictable than predicting the position of each marble at a given time — it is only an analogous metaphor)


    • Wrong analogy. Climatology would be predicting average time for a marble to descend the run … without knowing the size , number and position of the obstacles.

      • Greg. I see your point, which is a good one. HOWEVER (ahem), an analogy need not be perfect to be useful and not “wrong.” (Doyourealizehowharditistofindgoodvideostomakeapoint??????)

      • A comparison is to communicate or illustrate a point. It is not proof of the point being communicated.
        A flaw in the analogy does not disprove the point.

        The being, these guys have a few loose marbles. 8-)

      • Mods! Help!

        “The being, these guys have a few loose marbles”.
        Should be”
        The POINTbeing, these guys have a few loose marbles. 8-)

  17. The eclipse was predicted from our understanding of the Theory of Gravity.

    Theory of Gravity vs Theory of Climate Change

    While we still do not fully understand how Gravity works, humans have quantified how it behaves with such precision that we can predict eclipses with great accuracy and we knew that the planet Neptune existed before it was ever seen. We’ve developed applicable scientific Laws that allow us to apply them and make these predictions.

    With the Theory of Climate Change, we have elaborate descriptions of how it works, but we are incapable of quantifying it. Since we can’t quantify anything we’re unable to produce any science to apply, and we’re left with a vacuous theory. If we had any science to apply, we could easily determine the amount and duration of heat being trapped on Mars with its 95% CO2 atmosphere. It must resolve to something and yet we can’t even derive an equation.

      • True. There is not even a testable hypothesis of “climate change” (note: this term as commonly used means human-induced climate change; we all know, seaice, et al., that climate changes).

      • Greg,
        There isn’t even a Hypothesis of Climate Change in any concise sense.

        We know ‘things’ that affect climate.
        CO2 is in there – probably at about 94th place. I think WUWT had a long post on the other 94 or 95. Can’t find it – I thought I had bookmarked it.

        It is a chaotic system, as noted above, and so – today – we have not got a clue about where it will be in – say – twenty years.
        Me – I hope it is a bit warmer.
        I fear it might be a bit cooler; if so, poor folk in even countries like the UK will die from “eat or heat” dilemmas.


    • You are too gracious when you say “Theory of Climate Change.” It is barely an hypothesis. Once you have enough observations to develop the hypothesis, you test the hypothesis. If your testing reveals that the hypothesis has useful predictive ability, then you can start building your theory. So far, no gots.

    • You don’t need to understand gravity to predict an eclipse. Thales did it about 585 B.C. A record of observations appears to be sufficient.

  18. Heck, the Egyptians, Babylonians, Sumerian… predicted eclipses.

    Like climate scientists today, the prophets and heads of state used them to terrorize their citizens if the didn’t obey or pay homage. I’m surprised
    a) prescient climate scientists like Neil was taken by surprise by the he eclipse
    b) Al Gore didn’t use this harbinger of bad times a head in promoting his climate port show.

  19. Hurricane path prediction is notoriously bad. Can’t believe we have a poor rebuttle to an outlandish proposition.

    • Actually, m2, path prediction has gotten pretty good couple of days out. Cone of uncertainty has shrunk by well more than half since I moved to South Florida. Its intensity where the NHC predictions are still dicey.

      • So far, Joe B seems close, but we’ll see….Be a blessing if he is wrong of course. Like his use of antecedents.

      • Agreed. And worth pointing out that the improvements have as much to do with better data (vertically resolved pressure gradients, etc) as with better modeling. Which highlights perhaps the biggest practical difference between climate science and hurricane/weather prediction. For any given predictive period (say, 5 to 10 days for a tropical storm track) the instrumentation doesn’t change and we can at least trust the repeatability of the measurement. For models built on past measurements and hind casting, one is dealing with instruments and measurements that are changing over time. Which leaves far too much latitude to the ‘scientists’ who are tempted to ‘correct’ past instrumental records to match the expected behavior.

  20. A while back, an animal rights campaigner said that since we have climate models that are so accurate, we should just make a computer model of the human body and use that for medical experimentation and not experiment on animals. Nobody took him seriously. He was a nut job. So, about this Neal guy, what does he do for a living again?

  21. Neil DeGrasse Tyson doesn’t do science anymore. He is a celebrity now and gave up science a long time ago.

    A scientist knows what the scientiic principle is, plus it takes long hours and lots of work to be a good scientist.

    Not so much to be a celebrity.

  22. You ought to check out his CV. Just a bunch of committee papers, nothing original. The dude is an amateur.

    • But he’s got SO many media gigs on his day planner, how can we expect him to work in even a little original research? He’s important and his time is valuable. :]

  23. This is all showbusines. This is all strategy. This is all rhetoric, and poor rhetoric at that.

    This is a common strategy of the “progressives:” those who believe they know better than the rest of us, and so should be able to rule over us. Nothing new since Plato’s Republic.

    Nye, Tyson, and others have the same formula. The idea is to create the impression that there are scientists, and then there are the rest of us. The scientists are this one unified, homogenous group who access the same facts and come to the same conclusions, by some processes of consensus (that they will NEVER identify). And, the peculiar thing about them is that their processes are infallible, so they are always right, and we should therefore trust them.

    A few examples or claims are supposedly sufficient to reassure the rest of us to allow the self-appointed in-group of scientists to keep hold of the reigns of our society. “We get eclipses right. See? Just leave us in charge.”

    Go look at Tyson’s videos on youtube or wherever. This is his “line.” The same line as Bill Nye. And, the same line as Jerry Coyne, who says, “There is no need to question ‘us scientists’ on anything we say about evolution (even though we keep figuring out we are wrong, and re-arrange the various family trees every time we find a new fossil), and if you are skeptical of what ‘we’ say, you simply deserve nothing more than scorn.”

    They all follow this same model. The sad part is: if you look at that model, there is nothing in there that is orthodox science.

    There is no division between “scientists” and the rest of us. I am a scientist with great knowledge and abilities in my areas, Tyson knows his, and Coyne knows his. But we do not all get together and take votes on what we will ordain as truth. The scientific community is a loose concept, it is diffuse, and there is no clear demarcation of when you are or are not one. We don’t all interact or otherwise participate in some democracy-style voting on facts and theories – how we work is quite different, with norms, zeitgeist, factions, cliques, etc. when I speak to student groups, they are VERY surprised to hear that, when I submit a manuscript to a peer-reviewed journal, I often am asked to nominate three or four potential reviewers. They are astounded. But this is normal in some areas. Norms. Not monolith.

    And, it is simply the case that ANY layman can question what any of us say at any time, any day. Under some circumstances, such as forming EPA policy, some scientists can come in and explain prevailing beliefs, and the evidence for them (ozone hole, global warming, lead in fuel and paint, phosphates in detergents, etc.) to the laity.

    We scientists can either follow the idea that if you cannot explain it to uninformed but intelligent people, then you don’t really know it that well, or we can say that there are some things that are so complicated or elaborate that you simply cannot get it across in a one hour talk in a congressional hearing. Consider that trials may take weeks, and jury deliberation may take weeks. That is just the way it is. But, ultimately, hiding behind “it is too hard for you to understand so don’t try” is not a principle of science.

    Either way: saying a layperson must believe you because you are a “scientist” is not science. Period. Claiming “science” is some monolithic group is inaccurate. Period.

    And, these guys play it both ways: one, their view is so obvious “everybody” gets it, and two, at the same time, they give the story that things are so advanced that laymen cannot possibly understand it, and therefore should just trust the scientists. “You are not a climate scientist so your views are not valid.” <–and so we get in the game of bickering over who is a climate scientist.

    If man-made global warming were so simple, then as many times as someone is skeptical, they could come out and show where a skeptic's thinking or logic is off, and run through how models predict, etc. And, have an answer for questions such as "how can you model global temps with so few temp stations, and such short and interrupted sampling across time?" <–A perfectly fair question. Or, "why have the predictions turned out to be way wrong, thus far?" <–A perfectly fair question.

    This "trust us we got the eclipse right" bluff is not science. It is, however, the EXACT strategy of con men and child abusers as they recruit their next mark. The "I got the eclipse right" is the foot-in-the-door. Then, once you accept that, it is the switcheroo to the next thing. "Trust me. Don't I always look out for you? Would I lead you wrong? No. Wasn't I right about the eclipse? Yes. So, trust me. And, you would be foolish or stupid to defy me." I live in the suburbs, and am on the grid, so con men are always trying to con me. I don't want their tree-trimming or window replacement, then they try to make me feel dumb for declining what they pretend to see as an obvious good deal. It boils down to ridicule. Ridicule is not part of how science advances.

    Tyson, Nye, and Coyne all do the Ridicule. And, all are anti-God. If you watch a youtube video of an equally well-informed, well-educated Christian defender, you see an emphasis on logic, argument, data, and being very clear about various claims. It is all step by step. AND, you see civility. Examples are Frank Turek or Jason Lisle or Wm. Layne Craig. You may think Turek or Lisle or Craig are wrong, but you can sketch out their arguments very easily. I have watched Tyson, Nye, Coyne, R Dawkins, etc. They do pretty good, but always resort to bluster and this con game "trust us" defense. Dawkins will at least at times say "I don't know."

  24. Prior to Carl Sagan in the 1970s, the great majority of scientist shunned media attention because their colleagues considered it undignified and suspicious. Go on tv and you were criticized and laughed at behind your back.

    • In the early years of these United States, it was considered undignified for a political candidate (especially a presidential one) to campaign personally. This attitude persisted for the next 60-70 years, until eventually “stumping” for oneself became not only acceptable in polite company, but expected.

  25. Let’s see, scientist can predict an eclipse but somehow totally screwed up predicting the size of the latest solar cycle (and they were absolutely sure they had the model of the sun right). And the sun is just a ball of hydrogen and helium with a bunch of trace elements.

  26. I hate to spoil Neil’s day, but I’m sitting here a hundred miles away from what might be landfall and the “NOAA climate scientists” have no idea of where it’s going or when it’s going there.

    • Quite. And astrophysicists can also successfully predict the next eclipse, while cli-sci alarmists have not yet successfully predicted anything of note. The whole body of human scientific endeavour is being sucked dry of credibility by these leaches, tics, and mites. They are not just draining the vitality of science, they are poisoning the body scientific with nasty infections.

  27. Tyson, Nye, Kaku, Suzuki, Gore, Decaprio, these are self appointed climate experts. I doubt any of them ever stayed at a Holiday Inn Express

  28. I note that Mr.Tyson has much to say about the Multiverse.
    I believe that many people have reservations about his views on this topic also.

    • Which multiverse? There are a number of theories, all of which have less supporting evidence than human-caused global climate change.

  29. Was anyone else confused when after making a point in his early video work Neil would bite his bottom lip like a sexy scientific super model ;0)

  30. Tyson almost ruined Carl Sagan’s good name, at least in regard to Sagan’s classic COSMOS series. Tyson’s version was abysmal.

    Tyson needs to STFU.

  31. Real science makes accurate predictions, like an eclipse is going to happen at a precise time and location. Pseudoscience makes predictions of events that do not come true. It is clear that the “science” being defended by hanging on to the skirt tails of real science has some rather inconvenient limitations.

  32. What NHC wasn’t able to predict until yesterday was Harvey’s rapid intensification. Ability of prediction in this field is similar to that of the climate, i.e. little to none.

    • Actually the models were showing rapid intensification and that is why they predicted Major hurricane. Not to take away anything from this thread, but dems da facts.

  33. NdGT is a brilliant astrophysicist and communicator, but not so hot (ho, ho) on the biochemical processes on Earth that buffer the effects of radiative gases, nor the buffering effects of radiative gases themselves.

    • I’d hold off on the “brilliant astrophysicist” accolade. If you look at his C.V., you’ll see that he has 13 published papers listed. Four of them don’t list him by name; he’s one of the “et al” after the author. He’s one of 40+ contributors on another paper. Three were published before he received his Master’s degree, and three more before he got his PhD.

      I’d say his biggest claim to fame is being Carl Sagan’s protégé, because I’d imagine there’s a lot of unknown astrophysicist PhDs out there with more research output than NdGT.

  34. I challenge Tyson to debate Pielke Sr. on climate change. Is he a real astrophysicist? I thought he’s a lousy comedian. He’s not even funny, probably why Seth Shostak is often in his show. Seth is a real astronomer and funny too

  35. Surely this is proof we should consign climate science to the bin. Orbital mechanics produces answers and predictions that are if not utterly accurate more accurate than we need for most purposes. Climate science has produced predictions like no snow which turned out to mean we were stranded for several hours because we has more snow that usual and no clearing equipment.
    We have spent billions on renewable energy compared to the cost of the best sources based on the theory that if we did not we would have uncontrolled GLOBAL WARMING not climate change which was a switch sell after the failure to deliver of the original product. A prediction even after the rebranding that has turned out to be totally wrong in spite of the considerable “adjustment ” of the data to match their predictions.

  36. Repeating my previous comment, for those who understand French, de grasse refers to his head.


  37. Legend has it that two Chinese astrologers, Hsi and Ho, were executed for failing to predict the solar eclipse of October 22, 2134 BCE. What a nice custom – how about the Arctic being ice free in the summer by 2014, the snows on Kilimanjaro melting, snow being a thing of the past …

  38. It is no surprise Tyson took that position. He and Bill Nye are both members of a socialist pseudo-scientific organization that gets a lot of air time with the media because they are great spokespersons for socialist agendas. The organization was founded by the American Humanist Association, which is a thoroughly socialist/Stalinist style communist organization and said organization is staffed with socialist “humanists”. The organization is CSICOPS or CSI as it currently calls itself. Carl Sagan was a member and Tyson, who has replaced Sagan on the new COSMOS, works for Sagan’s widow who produces the show AND she too is a member of CSI. The organization is a cult that pretends to be scientific when in fact they are pushing a secular religion of Scientism firmly planted in Socialist ideology. Hence, it is no wonder Tyson would be a firm believer in man caused global warming via release of Co2,

    To paraphrase the words of a REAL scientist, (one of the three greatest physicists of all time), Richard Feynman; a scientist looking at scientific problems outside his area of expertise is just as dumb as the next guy.

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