Bill Nye

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Bill Nye, popularly known as "Bill Nye the Humanist[1] Science Guy," is an American science educator, humanist,[2] television host, comedian, and mechanical engineer, most popularly known for his children's educational television program Bill Nye: The Science Guy.[3] A fellow for the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry, he is most well known, in the years since his Science Guy program, for making television appearances questioning the existence of UFOs as well as being a heavy critic of global warming denialism. Nye points out vast numbers of scientists agree global warming is real and man made. Nye agrees with an interviewer the real conspiracy involves fossil fuel industrialists deceiving the American public over climate change so they can continue burning fossil fuel and maintain profits.[4] That has not kept Nye from questioning and critiquing other pseudosciences as well.[5]

Television programs[edit]

Bill Nye's most notable for his Bill Nye: the Science Guy children's television series. In this series, he melded humor and entertainment with actual teaching about science and scientific concepts. This often included watering down complicated scientific theories, such as evolution, into easily understandable, "do-it-yourself at home" sketches. Being a skeptic himself, he once dedicated an entire episode of his program to the exploration of pseudoscience.[6]

Nye starred in the 2017 Netflix series Bill Nye Saves the World with a 78% Rotten Tomato score,[7] it's set for another season.

Some interesting personal appearances[edit]

  • On 5 April 2006, Nye made two public appearances at McLennan Community College in Waco, Texas. During both lectures, he mentioned Genesis 1:16, which states "And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also." He then stated that the "lesser light" was, in fact, not a light, but a reflector. During the evening (7 p.m.) lecture, some audience members started booing him at this point. One woman with three kids yelled "We believe in Gawd[sic]" at him, then dragged her kids out of the building.[8] During the afternoon (1:30 p.m.) lecture, Nye had given the same lecture to about 600 appreciative school children, their teachers and a few of their parents. So, it's possible that this was a flash mob organized by a few incensed fundies upset by Nye's contradiction of Genesis (The Waco Tribune-Herald published this story in their 6 April 2006 edition, but pulled the story from their website soon after it got international attention[9]).
  • On 27 July 2011, Nye appeared on Fox News' Happening Now with Jon Scott. During the interview, Scott wondered how the moon could have had volcanoes billions of years ago if there were no fossil fuels being burned up there back then. Nye was momentarily stunned by this query.[10]
  • On 29 August 2011, Nye appeared on Fox Business Network to talk about Hurricane Irene and the effects of global warming on weather patterns. Being well practiced at discussing science with children, Nye talked to the FBN host and viewers as if they were ten-year-olds. Host Charles Payne did his best to lead Nye down a few blind alleys, including showing a video of Al Gore comparing global warming denialism to racism, then asking Nye to comment on it. Then, when they ran short on time, Payne said that "the route that (Nye had) taken (to explain the matter) is still confusing some of the viewers."[11]
  • On July 29, 2011, Nye (wearing his classic bow tie) was on Countdown with Keith Olbermann (with a guest host) on a "Screwy Science" segment in which Nye discussed with the host about illuminated puppies in which Nye was interrupted several times... and they also discussed a "solar panel bikini." Nye was cut off at the end. This was essentially fodder to fill the show.[12]

Current activities[edit]

Bill Nye has long been a member of the Planetary Society, an international NGO supporting the exploration of the Solar System, and in 2011 became the CEO of that organization. He regularly appears on the Planetary Society's podcast, Planetary Radio which interviews a prominent scientist every week.

Bill Nye also makes appearances at geology and astronomy conventions and occasionally lobbies Congress for NASA funding.

Creationism is not appropriate for children[edit]

In 2012, Nye came out with a video[13] in which he eloquently argued against the teaching of creationism to children. According to Nye, "your world just becomes fantastically complicated when you don't believe in evolution." This video, of course, was met with typical ad hominem attacks by promoters of nonsense that he was stifling "academic freedom."

Debate with Ken Ham[edit]

See main article: Bill Nye debates Ken Ham

On January 2, 2014, Answers in Genesis announced that Ken Ham and Bill Nye would debate on "Is creation a viable model of origins in today’s modern scientific era?" on February 4, 2014 at the Creation Museum.[14] Ham whined about criticism of the debate on his blog, stating, "You see, the atheists are actually insecure in their beliefs. Not only that, but atheists in many ways have managed to censor information concerning creation from the public" (on a blog with no comments, of course).[15]

RationalWiki's commentary on the debate may be found here.

Pro-Choice Viewpoints[edit]

Spending time with Big Think again, Nye spent a few moments speaking the abortion debate.[16] His scientific dissection of fertilized eggs is pretty spot on.

Flipping on GMOs[edit]

Nye at one point was skeptical about genetically modified foods, producing a short video segment on how there is uncertainty about the science. In 2014 using his first book Undeniable: Evolution and the Science of Creation, he reiterates this point. In 2015 after first round publishing, Monsanto's chief technology officer Robb Fraley invited him to the campus to alleviate Nye's fears and educate him on the current state of GMO science. To follow up, second edition books going forward have the chapter about GMOs revised to be positive based on these experiences.[17]

Big Think video on philosophy[edit]

As an example of an inverse stopped clock on a subject outside his area of expertise, Nye made some rather embarrassing statements about philosophy in a Big Think video.[18]

External links[edit]

References[edit]