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DeGrasse Tyson says Superman vs. Batman may come down to public opinion

Technically Incorrect: Speaking about many deep scientific matters with Jon Stewart, the astrophysicist tries to answer society's big question.

Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that's taken over our lives.


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Neil DeGrasse Tyson appearing with Jon Stewart. Comedy Central screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

Neil DeGrasse Tyson believes that never before have humans wanted to learn so much about science.

Woopy-doos.

Neil DeGrasse Tyson believes that we won't be living on Mars "any time soon" because we can't breathe there.

Oh, OK.

Neil DeGrasse Tyson believes that geeks are coming into their own as a species.

Oh, alright. But that's not a good thing, is it?

Now to the important part. Neil DeGrasse Tyson has an incisive opinion about Batman vs. Superman. Who would win?

Jon Stewart, with whom the astrophysicist was speaking tonight to hype his TV version of "Star Talk," thinks Batman is just a guy with a fancy belt whereas Superman is invincible.

DeGrasse Tyson, however, was a touch more nuanced. He asked the question about whom Batman reported to. Commissioner Gordon, of course. He then explained that Superman reports only to "no one we know." Yes, some guy in an ice castle.

Ergo, he reasoned, Superman "behaves in whatever way he wants."

"And so at the end of the day, what might matter," he said, "is the public reception of the superhero's conduct. And if Batman executes our wishes in the city and Superman does whatever the hell he wants, that's a conflict."

Some will be moved by DeGrasse Tyson's logic. Others might be disturbed by it.

If Superman doesn't get the public's support, so what? He's Superman. It's not as if any member of the public can do anything about it, is there? Superman can fly rings around the Earth. He can make it spin backward.

He is a lone wolf. He is a flying Edward Snowden, ready to act in whatever way he thinks is right.

Honestly, we should be grateful that our superheroes seem reasonably well adjusted. Mentally, that is. Because we know that if they decide to be ornery, we might as well all move to Mars.

Whether we can breathe there or not.