Bill Nye must be pulled from television for the sake of science. Even if you believe every word that he espouses, he is no longer an effective messenger for those beliefs.
Nye is not a serious scientist. He has a bachelor’s in engineering. He spent his twenties trying to become either a comedian or an astronaut, and he failed at both. He wasn’t smart enough to make serious contributions to science, and he wasn’t talented enough to make it as a comedian.
Eventually, Bill Nye completely lucked out and found his way into children’s television – where he wouldn’t have to be particularly funny or brilliant to succeed. In an industry where children were being forced to watch a sixty year old woman sing creepy songs to a sock, Nye seemed downright cool.
Nye should be thanking his lucky stars every day that the television show came along. The fact that the guy who gave the cringe-worthy stand up performance below ever became a household name is proof that anything is possible. He should admit he’s had more luck in his career than David Spade has had in dating.
Unfortunately for science, Nye is back to explaining things again – only now he’s not just trying to explain reptiles to children, he’s trying to effect policy on the world’s biggest issues. He’s become the go-to authority on climate change largely because of a children’s program – even though his chief competitor, Beakman from Beakman’s World, was not a physicist or a neurologist, but a man whose terminal educational credential was an artists in residency at a puppet theater.
Nye is the science equivalent of “‘member berries,” pushed back into the spotlight due to 90’s era nostalgia. The kids who used to watch his show are now adults. Rather than act like adults and read actual science papers prepared by actual scientists, viewers prefer to snuggle back into their mom’s womb and remember how great life was when Nye was explaining science to them. So now the same person who explained to them the tough science of “spiders” is the person they trust to deliver every scientific phenomena.
Because of all this nostalgia, like Gilmore Girls and Will and Grace, Nye’s show has been revived on Netflix and modestly re-titled “Bill Nye Saves The World.” And if you watch the show, you get the sense that Nye truly believes he is the person to save the world – even though he’s just an episode of Fuller House wearing a lab coat. And just like the girls on Fuller House can’t act on an adult level, Nye cannot explain science on an adult level.
While the media presents Nye as the foremost expert on global warming, his experiment with Al Gore (that other pre-eminent American physicist) totally misconstrued the effects of carbon dioxide and warming. He thinks researchers who question climate change should be jailed, and shouts down anyone questioning the economics of green policies (a genuine inquiry) as a climate change denier. He also somehow assumed that pro-life advocates believe intercourse always leads to a baby.
Attempting to tackle the science of sexuality, Nye’s new show tried to explain homosexuality by literally showing gay ice cream flavors rape a straight ice cream flavor in order to make it gay. Most scientific journals offer statistics or experimental results, or at the very least, something other than a forcible cartoon ice cream orgy.
Nye’s new show also included a similarly confusing and derided sexuality video called Sex Junk, which features a rap from Rachel Bloom that has been disliked on Youtube at a rate of 75 to 1. During the video, Bloom spends three minutes comparing her vagina to a bagel (but also claiming that her vagina doesn’t have to be a bagel). At no point does she ever touch on anything that could in any way be confused with research, evidence, logic, or common sense; however, when Nye returns to the stage (after awkwardly head banging at the DJ booth), he proudly exclaims, “that’s exactly the right message Rachel!”
And that’s the problem with Nye. He doesn’t want to put in the work to actually teach real science – he just wants to deliver the “right message” in order to increase his fame.
That’s why if you agree with him that climate change is the most serious threat that mankind has ever faced, you should be even more outraged that Bill Nye is becoming the face of it. Serious threats call for serious responses. They don’t call for a fame hungry idiot wearing a bow tie trying to profit off of 90’s nostalgia.