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Instead, Tyson cited his home nation of the United States as a place where politicians, media and pop culture are often scientifically ignorant or even hostile.

To highlight how nations and cultures can lose their focus on science, he gave the example of the Islamic world around 1000 AD, "one of the most intellectually fertile periods in the history of the human species."

"Mathematics, agriculture, engineering, medicine, navigation—all of that happened while Europe was disemboweling heretics at the same time. So what happened? Well, it wasn't forever."

The rise of one influential philosopher, Al-Ghazali, early in the 11th century popularized the idea that "manipulating numbers was outside your spiritual accountability." The result, Tyson said, was a centuries-long evaporation of scientific emphasis in Muslim culture.
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