Fresh off battling creationism, Bill Nye debates climate change

He taught science to kids—adults should be easy, right? 


Sarah Weber

Internet Culture

Published Feb 16, 2014   Updated May 31, 2021, 6:10 pm CDT

Everyone’s favorite kids-show scientist Bill Nye went on Meet the Press this morning to debate conservative congresswoman Marsha Blackburn on the issue of climate change.

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It’s the second time in recent days that Nye has tried to explain science to America, fresh off of his debate over the question of evolution versus creationism earlier this month with Christian fundamentalist Ken Ham.

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That’s no small feat in a country where 26 percent of the people surveyed by the National Science Foundation thought the sun travels around the earth. (For the record, it does not.) 

Sparking Sunday’s debate: The wacky weather patterns across the globe that have left the Northern U.S. chattering in freezing temperatures and buried under snow while the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, are a balmy 46 degrees.

Blackburn, who represents Tennessee’s 7th District, has made it clear that she’s skeptical of climate change.

“There is not agreement around the fact of exactly what is causing this,” she said on the political show Sunday morning. “Even the president’s own science and technology office head Mr. [John] Holdren said no one single weather event is due specifically to climate change.”

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While it’s true there isn’t unanimous scientific endorsement for the idea of human-caused climate change, a Pew Research study found that 84 percent of the members of the American Association for the Advancement of Science supported the theory.

“What people are doing is introducing the idea that scientific uncertainty in this case about cold weather events… is the same as uncertainty about the whole idea of climate change,” Nye said. “This is unscientific, it’s not logical. It is a way, apparently, that the fossil fuel industry has dealt with our politics. And this is not good—you don’t need a PhD in climate science to understand what’s going on.”

Of course, this being an ideological debate, the Internet weighed in.

@c_largoRN @jayrosen_nyu I couldn’t keep a straight face like #BillNye spewing lie after straight up lie & pitching debunked data. #ProgsLie

— Vern Demerest (@TxAv8r) February 16, 2014

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Kudos to @TheScienceGuy for fighting against misinformation and standing up for the facts.

— Sarah Stauffer (@SarahkStauffer) February 16, 2014

When did #BillNye get crazy creepy old man eyebrows?

— Mike Damone (@MikeDamoneHB) February 16, 2014

Well done, Internet. Well done.

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Photo by Ed Schipul/Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

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*First Published: Feb 16, 2014, 2:41 pm CST