In this election year, as we debate what kind of leaders we want to represent us, as well as what differing visions we’d like to see carried out, famous astrophysist and speaker Neil deGrasse Tyson just stirred the pot by tweeting his thoughts on an ideal form of government:
Earth needs a virtual country: #Rationalia, with a one-line Constitution: All policy shall be based on the weight of evidence— Neil deGrasse Tyson (@neiltyson) June 29, 2016
Tyson’s viral tweet has generally been received with mixed emotions as people aren’t sure how “Rationalia” would work and are immediately seeing some kind of fascist regime with eugenics on its mind. Or maybe something with communist underpinnings. Much of the doubt stems from the lack of confidence in the basic rationality of our species.
Presumably, Tyson does not see it that way and simply wants a government that is based on scientific evidence and reason.
In Tyson’s videos for BigThink, he touches upon several topics relevant to this discussion. Here he talks about the intersection of science and faith:
If you dissect the tweet further, you can notice that he’s calling for Earth to have a “virtual country” with an evidence-based directive in its constitution. Perhaps, he’s not saying this should be the only country in existence but it may be a sort of affiliation for all rational people (whatever physical country they might actually inhabit). This could lead to an interesting, internet-based experiment.
To further bolster the case for Rationalia, Tyson already recruited some of its first citizens. Namely, a host of famous "rational" people like Richard Dawkins and Brian Greene.
What, in particular, does Tyson like about rationality?
He goes into more detail in the video below. As he says towards its end (around 8:28) - it is unstable to build a government on a belief system. Religion or matters of belief or disbelief in provable issues (like the mountain of data suggesting climate change), do not have a place in government.
“what you want is objectively verifiable truths, that we can all agree - that’s what you build your economic system on, your government system.”
And if you wouldn’t mind having a President Tyson, you might want to check out his views on why STEM is important in boosting America: