While the world’s attention was momentarily diverted to the sudden Twitter feud that sprung up between Kanye and Wiz on Wednesday, another just as contentious (but slightly loftier) war waged on between rapper B.o.B and scientist Neil deGrasse Tyson.
B.o.B and Tyson have been trading jabs over the artist’s insistence that the Earth is flat, an argument he began making over Twitter earlier this week. “A lot of people are turned off by the phrase ‘flat earth’ … but there’s no way u can see all the evidence and not know” B.o.B tweeted, to which Tyson responded by tweeting evidence of the Earth’s curvature. But B.o.B wasn’t buying it. In fact, he then dropped a diss track called “Flatline” in which he complained that “Neil Tyson need to loosen up his vest/They’ll probably write that man one hell of a check.”
Well, the astrophysicist isn’t letting the rapper off that easily. Tyson stopped by The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore on Wednesday to directly address B.o.B’s outdated claims. After explaining the science behind why the Earth looks flat to the “little creatures who crawl upon it” (a phrase that the hooting audience clearly interpreted as a comment on B.o.B’s height), Tyson went political when he placed the rapper’s thinking in the context of “the growing anti-intellectual strain in this country.”
“If you think the world is flat and you have influence over others, as would successful rappers or even presidential candidates, then being wrong becomes being harmful to the health, the wealth and the security of our citizenry,” he warned.
Paraphrasing Isaac Newton, he ended his scientific sermon with this: “That’s right, B.o.B. If you stand on the shoulders of those who came before, you might just see far enough to realize the earth isn’t fucking flat.”
“And, by the way, this is called gravity,” Tyson said, before, quite literally, dropping the mic.