Neil DeGrasse Tyson Responds to Critics of His Controversial Christmas Comments

The famed scientist was attacked for statements that were seen as belittling the holiday and Christian beliefs

Neil deGrasse Tyson Cosmos

Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson isn’t building bridges between science and religion during the holiday season.

The famed scientist is under fire for making statements his critics said belittled Christmas and shows a lack of respect for Christians, which included a tweet that recognized the birthday of revolutionary physicist and mathematician, Isaac Newton, on Christmas day.

“On this day long ago, a child was born who, by age 30, would transform the world. Happy Birthday Isaac Newton b. Dec 25, 1642,” deGrasse tweeted, among other statements.

On Saturday, deGrasse decided to address the controversy and what he’s referred to as his “most retweeted tweet.”

“My sense in this case is that the high rate of re-tweeting, is not to share my enthusiasm of this fact, but is driven by accusations that the tweet is somehow anti-Christian,” he wrote on Facebook. “If a person actually wanted to express anti-Christian sentiment, my guess is that alerting people of Isaac Newton’s birthday would appear nowhere on the list.”

DeGrasse said that he received requests to delete the tweet. But instead of doing so, he tried the logical approach with his critics.

DeGrasse, who has longed challenge the logic surrounding religion, then wondered how other tweets that actually namecheck Jesus and Santa Claus on Christmas day or over several years of his criticism on Twitter weren’t retweeted as much as the Newton one.

“So I can honestly say that I don’t understand the breadth and depth of reaction to the Newton tweet relative to all my other tweets over the years,” he wrote.

Here are the other tweets deGrasse sent out on Christmas:

And here is a sample of the criticisms against the Newton tweet: