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Neil deGrasse Tyson's Provocative Christmas Tweet Kicks Off Twitter Storm: Are Christians Overreacting?

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Muslims and Jews merely called Dec. 25 by its day of the week, Thursday, instead of Christmas or anything else, tweeted renowned astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson in the first of a string of incendiary tweets that melted the snow off some nativity scenes.

Playing the role of Grinch, troll, truther or sage -- it's all about perspective -- Tyson's first Christmas Day tweet was shared nearly 4,000 times, but the more provocative follow up was retweeted roughly 70,000 times and favorited nearly as many times.

"On this day long ago, a child was born who, by age 30, would transform the world. Happy Birthday Isaac Newton b. Dec 25, 1642," stated Tyson's next tweet.

From there, Tyson alluded to Christianity's pagan roots. Christmas was a pagan holiday before the time of Christ, a Christian holiday after the birth of the world-changing philosopher, and a shopping holiday once the U.S. got its hands on it, according to the next tweet in the series.

After having his fun with Christians, Tyson toned down the jokes and tweeted one any observer of Christmas could enjoy.

"Santa knows Physics: Of all colors, Red Light penetrates fog best. That's why Benny the Blue-nosed reindeer never got the gig," stated Tyson in the tweet.

Some Twitter users pointed out that Newton's birthday falls on Jan. 4, according to the Gregorian calendar that the world uses today. But going by the Julian calendar, which was still in use in England in Newton's day, the legendary mathematician, a Christian himself, emerged from the womb on Dec. 25.

Outside the bounds of Twitter's 140 character limit, Tyson explained each of his Christmas Day tweets -- interested individuals can click here to review his Facebook posts. He discussed how the move away from Julius Caesar's Julian calendar shifted Newton's birthday when the date was converted to fit into the Gregorian calendar.

The Hayden Planetarium director also warned that he has another salvo for Twitter for the new year, as he'll tweet about the Earth's perihelion. Earth reaches its perihelion, the point in its orbit when its closet to the sun, on Jan. 3 of each year.

"Happy Holidays to you all -- and a humble thanks for your continued interest in what I have to say about life, the universe, and everything," states Tyson in the Facebook post. "But most importantly, enjoy a Happy New Year. A few days after, I'll be tweeting about Earth's perihelion. Just a head's up in case people want to avert their eyes over that one."

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