Bill Nye Is Not the Science Guy We Need Now

He's become 'too jaded, exasperated, strident, and partisan' to be effective
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 27, 2017 5:51 PM CDT
Bill Nye prepares for an interview at during the March for Science last Saturday in Washington DC.   (AP Photo/Sait Serkan Gurbuz)

(Newser) – Bill Nye may be the Science Guy, but is he the science guy we need? Emily Atkin at New Republic argues the longtime TV personality has recently become "too jaded, exasperated, strident, and partisan" to be a successful defender of science—which is horrible timing because science is under attack by the Trump administration and Nye is increasingly seen as its "national spokesman," even leading the charge during last weekend's March for Science in Washington DC. But Nye isn't really a scientist, Atkin says. He has a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering but hasn't worked as an engineer for more than three decades. He's an entertainer first and foremost.

An even bigger sin for Nye as ostensible lead defender of science is that he simply isn't very good at it anymore, Atkin argues. Nye got where he is by effectively explaining scientific facts, but that's not what he's been doing recently. Instead of countering a climate-change denier's point with facts during a CNN appearance, Nye attacked the network for having a climate-change denier on in the first place. Nye also tried to change the subject on Fox News when pressed by Tucker Carlson on how much of climate change is being caused by humans. There were scientific facts Nye could have used in both cases, but he didn't. Whatever the reason for the change, Atkin says science needs a spokesperson who is "more effective, less divisive." And there were plenty of actual scientists at last weekend's march who fit the bill. Read the full piece here. (Read more Bill Nye stories.)

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