#BiologistSpaceFacts: A Parable on Doing Your Research

Dr. Neil DeGrasse Tyson is one of the most well-known public faces of science in the world. He’s an astrophysicist and author, Director of the Hayden Planetarium in New York, and host of Fox’s Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey. He knows an awful lot about space.

However, today he left his lane: he tweeted “If there were ever a species for whom sex hurt, it surely went extinct long ago.” Now, maybe this was a joke. Maybe it was just an idle musing. But it is definitely incorrect, as many were quick to point out.

For most people, this would be a simple mistake, easily corrected; but Dr. Tyson is a trusted source for scientific knowledge for many people who may not otherwise know or care. He should, in my personal opinion, hold himself to a higher standard. He should have done his research before he tweeted, or else stayed in his own lane.

When it comes down to it, though, Twitter is Twitter, and scolding anyone over a single tweet doesn’t tend to be useful or productive. Having a good laugh, though? Science Twitter never skips an opportunity to have a good laugh. Thus #BiologistSpaceFacts was born, demonstrating the dangers of pontificating outside our realms of expertise. With jokes. Read on: https://storify.com/DownhereonEarth/biologistspacefacts.


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