Basic Facts Neil deGrasse Tyson Has Gotten Wrong

Neil deGrasse Tyson made a name for himself as director of the Hayden Planetarium and host of NOVA ScienceNOW for PBS. But in recent years, he's garnered a reputation as the guy who ruins your favorite movie by pointing out everything wrong in it. But the good doctor shouldn't be too quick to judge, as he's gotten some things wrong in his time, too. Here's just some of the basic facts perennial bubble-burster Neil deGrasse Tyson has outright botched.

His comment about animal reproduction

Neil deGrasse Tyson made a pretty big faux pas when he commented on sexual intercourse on March 11, 2016. For some reason, Tyson thought it would be a good idea to tweet the following: "If there were ever a species for whom sex hurt, it surely went extinct long ago." In addition to revealing Tyson's ignorance about biology, this caused some of the more prominent members of the scientific community, such as Kyle Hill and Rachel Feltman, to almost instantly jump on his back, providing reminders for Dr. Tyson about the reproductive nuances of cats, snails, spiders, and ducks. Not to give too many graphic details, but those nuances include spikes, things snapping off, and other things shaped like corkscrews. Maybe the good doctor should stick to simple things he's good at, like physical cosmology.

His comment about helicopters crashing

On July 20, 2015, Tyson tweeted the following: "FYI: An airplane whose engine fails is a glider. A helicopter whose engine fails is a brick." (Incidentally, this was in response to something comedian Chuck Nice tweeted.) Tyson's tweet not only resulted in dozens of responding tweets informing him of his error, but also inspired one daring YouTube video. In true don't-try-this-at-home fashion, Engineer and Smarter Every Day videographer Dustin Sandlin jumped at the chance to prove Tyson wrong. In the video, Sandlin goes into an in-flight helicopter to prove that it is possible to safely land a helicopter if the engine dies. Like a true gentleman, Tyson took it all in stride and even welcomed the opportunity to be proven wrong.

When he misquoted President George W. Bush

Nothing invokes red-state ire like bad mouthing a popular Republican official. Tyson learned this the hard way in 2014, when he was called out for fabricating numerous quotes by former President George W. Bush. In particular, The Federalist co-founder Sean Davis took issue with Tyson claiming Bush said, "Our God is the God who named the stars," which has been interpreted as a bash on Muslims. Davis found no record of Bush ever having said this. In turn, numerous other tweeters jumped on the bandwagon and joined in with some deGrasse bashing. To his credit, Tyson admitted he was wrong, in this instance. However, he never owned up, or even mentioned, the other quotes he'd been accused of fabricating. And the deGrasse slamming continues.

When he shared how he thinks politics works

May 9, 2016, Neil deGrasse Tyson voiced his displeasure with celebrity political endorsements. Via Twitter, he said, "Candidate Endorsements matter if you'd rather have a famous person, an organization, or media entity do your thinking for you." At a glance, this looks like something most would agree with, but not the folks at Vox. According to them, endorsements are a vital part of the campaign process "because people don't have time to think for themselves about everything." They go on to say that a person thinking for him or herself has no place in voting, at least not in how it takes place today. Unfortunately, they have a point, so with this one, let's hope Tyson becomes right someday soon.

His defense of Scientology

One of his more stunning actions, in 2015, Neil deGrasse Tyson defended Scientology, making him probably the only non-Scientologist to ever do so. When Daily Beast reporter Marlow Stern asked Tyson his thoughts on the controversial faith, Tyson responded, "You can believe whatever you want, otherwise it's not a free country—it's something else ... I don't care what the tenets are of Scientology. They don't distract me. I don't judge them, and I don't criticize them." Though his defense of freedom of faith is commendable, what Tyson fails to consideration here is the psychological and physical trauma the religion has, allegedly, inflicted on some of its followers, as well as their families, whether they're members of the church or not. Or maybe this is a sign that they've gotten a hold on him.

His timing when he decided to celebrate Sir Isaac Newton's birthday

Tyson probably thought he was being clever when he decided to send out this tweet on December 25, 2014: "On this day long ago, a child was born who, by age 30, would transform the world." It all seems well and good, until you read the other half of it: "Happy Birthday Isaac Newton b. Dec 25, 1642." Yikes. What he failed to take into account was that there are lots of people out there who take Jesus' birthday very seriously. Not long after that, he got hit with a hate-storm of comments, accusing him of being anti-Christian. Though all Tyson wanted to do was share a bit of info he thought the public was unaware of, he simply showed his ignorance of how passionate people are about their religious holidays.

When he weighed in on Deflategate

Everybody and their grandmother felt compelled to chime in during the ridiculousness following the 2015 AFC Championship game. Not wanting to sit out on the fun, Tyson decided to join the fray. However, his science wasn't up to snuff when he did so. According to Tyson, "For the Patriots to blame a change in temperature for 15 percent lower-pressures, requires balls to be inflated with 125-degree air." Later that day, the folks at A.V. Club stepped in to deflate Tyson's comment. According to them, and science, Tyson failed to convert gauge pressure into absolute pressure when he did his math. It was a truly disappointing mistake on Tyson's part, but not as disappointing as his feeling the need to take part in this sportsball disaster, when he should've been making awesome scientific discoveries.

His tweet about penguins

Don't worry, Neil deGrasse Tyson didn't slander penguins. He did, however, show his ignorance of their habitats. In 2014, amidst the chaos of his George W. Bush comment, he tweeted, "Some of us in the North are jealous that 100 percent of the world's population of free Penguins live in the Southern Hemisphere." Sean Davis, who was then raking Tyson over the coals for his comments about Bush, wasn't about to let this slide. In a response tweet, Davis informed Tyson of the existence of Galapagos penguins, found on the Galapagos Islands, located smack dab on the Equator. That's right, penguins that don't live in the southern hemisphere. Talk about an embarrassing thing to not know.