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Is Bill Nye a bad influence on science?
in Science

By funpersonfunperson 49 Pts
I try to find value in everyone, but I cannot see much in him. So he's a science communicator, right? Problem is, he seems to just communicate elementary chemistry, biology, etc. and not the more complicated concepts that high schoolers and adults actually need help with. He professes to care about science, but if that is true then he wouldn't just be talking about creationism, flat-earth, and climate change all the time; he would be educating people on a much broader spectrum of concepts. He also mocks people for being skeptics, as he does with climate change a lot, even though skepticism is a core value of the scientific method. That's one problem, the other is that he allows the media to prop him up as some kind of expert when he has not shown to be one, on any topic. He's just featured in a lot of YouTube videos and talks, talking about science in America, answering people's questions, etc. even though he's not more than a random guy on most topics. Now people are putting their trust in him to answer some complex ethical/philosophical issues (such as abortion, science & morality, etc.) when his only merit is teaching science to children and helping design a thing for a plane and a Mars rover. This sways people toward a sort of argument from authority; people don't have a need to analyze his arguments because they think he's an expert, and nobody wants to argue with an expert. My point is, are his actions detrimental to scientific progress?
SonofasonErfisflatEvidence



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  • CYDdhartaCYDdharta 735 Pts
    edited May 5
    He isn't a scientist, and never was;

    Nye, who has been a vocal supporter of the climate change hypothesis, isn't any more qualified to speak about climate science than any other non-scientist:


    He has a B.S. in mechanical engineering from Cornell University, and worked at Boeing in the mechanical engineering department,

    -  His entry into TV was not because of any science expertise, but because he won a Steve Martin look-alike contest and began moonlighting as a stand-up comic by night,

    -  Eventually, he quit Boeing and became a comedy writer and performer on a sketch comedy television show in Seattle, Washington, called Almost Live! The host of the show, Ross Shafer, suggested he do some scientific demonstrations in a six-minute segment, and take on the nickname "The Science Guy."


    In other words, Nye's qualifications as a climate scientist are based on the fact that he looked like Steve Martin and did comedy about science. If he looked like Rodney Dangerfield, Nye might still be working as a mechanical engineer.
    https://www.mrctv.org/blog/bill-nye-whos-not-scientist-guy-wants-throw-manmade-climate-change-skeptics-slammer

    SonofasonErfisflat
  • sadolitesadolite 38 Pts
    Anyone with a political agenda to control the behavior of people is poison to science. The scientific method is to try and disprove not find ways to show by any means necessary notwithstanding even altering data to make it show.   
  • He has good videos for teaching children, but it's probably a bad idea for him to get into political topics, because people are going to think that whatever he says is scientific.
  • SonofasonSonofason 96 Pts
    funperson said:
    I try to find value in everyone, but I cannot see much in him. So he's a science communicator, right? Problem is, he seems to just communicate elementary chemistry, biology, etc. and not the more complicated concepts that high schoolers and adults actually need help with. He professes to care about science, but if that is true then he wouldn't just be talking about creationism, flat-earth, and climate change all the time; he would be educating people on a much broader spectrum of concepts. He also mocks people for being skeptics, as he does with climate change a lot, even though skepticism is a core value of the scientific method. That's one problem, the other is that he allows the media to prop him up as some kind of expert when he has not shown to be one, on any topic. He's just featured in a lot of YouTube videos and talks, talking about science in America, answering people's questions, etc. even though he's not more than a random guy on most topics. Now people are putting their trust in him to answer some complex ethical/philosophical issues (such as abortion, science & morality, etc.) when his only merit is teaching science to children and helping design a thing for a plane and a Mars rover. This sways people toward a sort of argument from authority; people don't have a need to analyze his arguments because they think he's an expert, and nobody wants to argue with an expert. My point is, are his actions detrimental to scientific progress?
    Because I believe that what you say about Bill Nye is true, I believe that he is not only a detriment to scientific progress, but also a detriment to human progress.
    funperson
  • MayCaesarMayCaesar 756 Pts
    Bill Nye is not a scientist, albeit he likes to talk about science. I do not think he has a significant influence on science with that in mind: he popularizes science, which is always good for science overall, but I do not see how he can possibly harm science by a few imprecise statements made in popular media.

    The problems begin when less informed/critical people start taking people like Nye as authorities on science. Then a lot of scientifically unverified, but popular narratives can become a part of governmental policies, because a charismatic person who is taken seriously has a good chance to override the authority of actual, but less outspoken specialists. 

    And it is definitely true that attempts to silence skeptics, instead of genuinely engaging with them and proving them wrong, is harmful for science. However, it is worth noting that some skeptics simply cannot be reasonably interacted with. When someone who does not know elementary math starts talking about how all math is an irrelevant made up construct, for example, there is not much you can do to convince them otherwise: they are ignorant, but feign being informed, and in such cases mocking them is the only way to contest their authority left.
  • ErfisflatErfisflat 1618 Pts
    Bill Nye is a paid actor, like Neil Degrasse Tyson. 

    Pseudoscience: noun; a collection of beliefs or practices mistakenly regarded as being based on scientific method.

    Scientific method: noun; a method of procedure that has characterized natural science since the 17th century, consisting in systematic observation, measurement, and experiment, and the formulation, testing, and modification of hypotheses.

    https://www.gofundme.com/mwmvf-is-the-earth-flat

    The highest form of ignorance is when you reject something you don't know anything about.

    Wayne Dyer
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