Citing the 45th anniversary last week of the Apollo 11 landing on the moon, Bill Maher on Friday night sneered: “I always hear that the moon landing was the last great thing that America did. I think the last great thing America did was giving health care to 30 million people.”
That prompted a roar of applause from the Los Angeles audience for Maher’s July 25 Real Time show on HBO, and after it died down a bit, Maher insisted: “I find that to be so much more of a significant achievement than landing on the moon.”
An astonished Neil deGrasse Tyson wondered: “Really?” Maher affirmed: “I really do” and challenged Tyson to answer “which do you think is the greater achievement?”
Audio: MP3 clip
Tyson, an astrophysicist who is popular with liberals and who recently narrated the Cosmos series on Fox, launched into a retort against Maher’s misunderstanding of the importance of scientific inquiry:
I’d like to comment that people who go to the moon come from a community of people who want to explore where we’ve never been before. Not only places, but ideas, and that frontier, especially when it’s in the sciences, arrives at discoveries, some of which have transformed medicine. In fact, you go into a hospital, every machine with an on-off switch, brought into the service of diagnosing the condition of the human body, is based on a principle of physics discovered by a physicist who had no interest in medicine. Because they had the freedom to explore the frontier. So to pit one against the other, as if you could even have health care in the absence of these machines!
A nice push back against Maher, who is constantly condescendingly ridiculing conservatives for not valuing science.
And, of course, the relationship between ObamaCare and a net gain of 30 million insured people is highly dubious.