Beginning on Sunday and continuing through Monday and most of Tuesday, rapper Bobby Ray Simmons, Jr., better known as B.o.B., engaged in a social media feud with anybody who has studied science since the 3rd century B.C.E. His position can be summed up in the following posts:
Some people appeared to think that B.o.B was on to something and had opened their eyes to a new truth but this radical take on undisputed physics was not met without criticism:
Generally speaking, I'm about the farthest thing away from a scientist, much less an astrophysicist. Truth be told, I didn't even take physics in high school and thankfully my collegiate liberal arts majors kept me on the end of campus opposite the science building. But taking such a radical stance, and challenging basically any educated person to prove that the truth of a fact that no reasonable person disputes, seems slightly extreme. But this is not an isolated incident.
The reality is that this is the natural result of two forces coming together to create a perfect storm. First, through the power of social media, anyone and everyone has the ability to reach out to millions of people with whatever thought crosses their mind. The second, less benign factor, is that ignorant or misinformed opinions and perspectives tend to get weighed with the same value as actual knowledge of the subject. Historic examples of the ignorance/knowledge struggle are referred to as "conspiracy theories" like holocaust or moon landing deniers (a group that can also claim B.o.B. as one of its own). More recent examples are embodied with the anti-vaccination movement, climate change denial, and now apparently, denying that the world is round.
All of this is nonsense. Anyone not named Jenny McCarthy (former host of my all-time favorite MTV throwback dating show Singled Out) knows that there is absolutely no link between vaccines and autism. Anyone not having their campaigns bankrolled by the oil and gas industries has come to grips with the reality that the earth's climate is changing. And anyone who was not raised by a pack of wolves should know that the earth is round (or, if you're being technical, an ellipsoid). Yet, here we are in 2016 and the BBC had to remind us of this undisputed truth.
Fortunately, there are those who chose education paths different than mine and will happily take people to school when needed. In the realm of science, specifically astrophysics, one voice dominates any public debate on the topic and he thought it appropriate to contribute his two cents:
B.o.B., not to be outdone, fired back directly at Mr. Tyson from a more comfortable medium:
But Tyson was not afraid to enter the rap game himself and dropped his own diss-track taking shots at B.o.B.:
Unlike those who claim to know something that they don't, I'll sit back and let the Hip-Hop experts determine who won this rap battle. In the meantime, I'll be holding out hope that B.o.B. & Company's wild brand of pseudo-intellectualism goes the way of the dodo bird...
Or that the whole thing was an epic troll.
Update - After publication, B.o.B. pulled his diss track towards Mr. Tyson off Soundcloud. Maybe we don't need hip-hop experts to figure out who won the battle.