More than 15 years after his educational PBS series went off the air, Bill Nye is still making a big impact in the scientific community. The former mechanical engineer, once the star of Bill Nye the Science Guy, is not mincing words about his support of human-made climate change theories, nor can he resist scoffing at the idea behind creationism.
Nye has been in the public eye frequently of late, debating evolution with well-known creationist Ken Ham a few weeks ago and more recently battling Republican representative Marsha Blackburn about what the cause behind the global climate change is. Nye also appeared on comedian and self-proclaimed atheist Bill Maher’s HBO program on Friday to discuss his recent exploits.
The engineer turned actor first got into the entertainment industry after performing in a local comedy show based in Seattle. He eventually developed the idea for the character Bill Nye the Science Guy, leading to the educational television program of the same title, which aired on PBS from 1993-1998. The show would go on to win 19 Emmy Awards during its time in syndication.
While discussing creationism with Ham, Nye brought up a variety of topics meant to support evolution, ranging from limestone that dates well beyond the time frame of biblical creation theories, kangaroos, and fish sex. The consensus was that there was no clear victor in the well-attended debate, but Nye left with the statement that he respected Ham and felt that overall their views were more similar than different.
However, this polite tone shifted considerably when Nye met with Maher on his show, Real Time with Bill Maher on February 14. The scientist expressed a significant level of concern for the kids that were growing up and potentially being taught what he views as obviously incorrect educational material. When the host informed Nye that 46 percent of all people believe in the story presented in Genesis, Nye called this fact “astonishing.” In addition to scoffing at creationism, Nye also took aim at those who do not support the evidence of human-created climate change, likening it to denying that smoking causes cancer.
Nye’s Sunday debate with Blackburn on Meet the Press focused not just on the presence of climate change, but whether or not humans are causing it. Blackburn asserted that not even the scientific community agrees on the cause, while Nye vehemently insisted that the evidence humans were behind it was overwhelming. Believing any other belief regarding global climate change to be denial, Nye used the debate with Blackburn to make a call for action. The more time denying the obvious cause, the scientist claimed, the less time there is to do something about it.
While Nye’s outspoken support for humans causing climate change and open scoffing at creationism have caused his number of opponents to surface in large numbers, his passion is unquestionable. These recent debates show that Nye is more than willing to stir the pot in the process of getting the scientific community’s concerns addressed, even if the result of his efforts create thousands of Bill Nye the Science Guy boycotters.
By Spencer Hendricks