NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – Neil DeGrasse Tyson voiced frustration with politicians who would ignore or cherry-pick science in a video interview on HuffPost Live, warning that it could lead to dire consequences.
"If you start cherry-picking science, that's the beginning of the end of an informed democracy," Tyson said. "If today you're gonna say, 'I'm gonna pick that and not this because this blends with my political, social, cultural, religious philosophies and that doesn't,' I don't know what kind of country that is, and I don't know what kind of future world that would create," he said.
Host Jeff Zepps prompted Tyson with a tweet from Associated Press science reporter Seth Borenstein, who said he sat down to fact check the recent Republican Party primary debate, but had nothing to do because scientific issues weren't addressed.
Tyson noted that American presidential hopefuls weren't the only politicians ignoring science, citing Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott's refusal to appoint a minister for science in his first cabinet.
But politicians haven't always been so apathetic towards science. Tyson pointed out that Abraham Lincoln, the granddaddy of the GOP, established the National Academy of Sciences in 1863. "[He] founded the National Academy of Sciences on the grounds that the government needs science advice," Tyson said, with an added emphasis on "needs science advice."