Neil deGrasse Tyson Ignites a Christmas Brouhaha

With a tweet about Isaac Newton
By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 28, 2014 11:44 AM CST
Neil deGrasse Tyson Ignites a Christmas Brouhaha
Neil deGrasse Tyson, the astrophysicist who hosts "Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey."   (AP Photo/Fox, Patrick Eccelsine)

Neil deGrasse Tyson's Christmas musings might not have made it to the cosmos, but the Twitterverse is buzzing with them: As CNN reports, Tyson on Thursday tweeted out birthday greetings to a babe who went on to rock planet Earth. Except not that babe."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," he tweeted in a post that as of this writing has been retweeted almost 74,000 times. CNN notes that Tyson was on something of a Christmas roll, also tweeting, "QUESTION: ThIs year, what do all the world's Muslims and Jews call December 25th? ANSWER: Thursday" as well as, "Merry Christmas to all. A Pagan holiday (BC) becomes a Religious holiday (AD). Which then becomes a Shopping holiday (USA)."

The tweets went over with a thud among many Christians, reports the New York Daily News, which notes that of the "more than two billion Christians worldwide, some were not pleased with his joke." Per CNN, reaction ranged from accusing Tyson of being "Overly reductive, deliberately cynical and unnecessarily provocative," to "trolling Christmas today to show you how smart he is." Counters Tyson via a Facebook post: "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." (Read more Neil deGrasse Tyson stories.)

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