On TV and the Lecture Circuit, Bill Nye Aims to Change the World

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As the car pulled into the parking lot of a Starbucks, William Sanford Nye unknotted his trademark bow tie and slipped it off.

“This might buy us a couple of minutes,” he said.


Roughly two minutes later, before his drink was ready, he was recognized anyway. Two awed young women approached to ask if he was really Bill Nye the Science Guy. Like more than a dozen other college students who would approach him over the next several hours, they asked if they could take a picture with him. He smiled, took a proffered iPhone, scooched the students in and, in a practiced gesture, stretched out his arm to take a shot of the three of them that you just knew was totally going on Facebook.

Mr. Nye had come to talk to them, and a few thousand of their friends, at Iowa State University. If he were a politician, college students would be his base. Instead, he is something more: a figure from their early days in front of the family TV, a beloved teacher and, more and more these days, a warrior for science. They, in turn, are his fans, his students and his army.

They have gone from watching him explain magnetism and electricity to defending the scientific evidence for climate change, the age of the earth and other issues they have seen polemicized for religious, political and even economic reasons.

He takes on those who would demand that the public schools teach alternative theories of evolution and the origins of the earth — most famously, in a video clip from the site BigThink.com that has been viewed some five million times. In it, he flatly tells adult viewers that “if you want to deny evolution and live in your world — in your world that’s completely inconsistent with everything we observe in the universe — that’s fine. But don’t make your kids do it, because we need them. We need scientifically literate voters and taxpayers for the future.”

Written By: John Schwartz
continue to source article at nytimes.com

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  1. When I was younger I did not particularly like Mr. Nye. I felt he was dumbing down science. He was acting as if he thought science was boring and need a shovel full of sugar to force it down. I wanted him to take the spotlight of his manic antics and put it back on the fascinating science.

    As he has got older, he has mellowed and got better and better.

    I really enjoy Dr. Dawkins’ lectures. He a bit of a poet, where his exuberance comes out of his discovery, not from personal performance.

    • The show is for children. Children are uneducated, thats why they go to school. Do you think that American Elementary schools were pumping out high quality academia? And it has to be made accessible to those children who dislike science, make it fun for them. We don’t live in a world where science is respected and cherished by everyone.

      In reply to #2 by Roedy:

      When I was younger I did not particularly like Mr. Nye. I felt he was dumbing down science. He was acting as if he thought science was boring and need a shovel full of sugar to force it down. I wanted him to take the spotlight of his manic antics and put it back on the fascinating science.

      As he…

    • In reply to #3 by ThereIsGrandeur:

      How like Fox News to stream “Believes in man-made Global Warming” under Mr. Nye’s name…

      My thought:

      Bill Nye Believes in man-made global warming.

      Bill O’Reilly Disbelieves man-made global warming.

      • In reply to #5 by Uriel-238:

        In reply to #3 by ThereIsGrandeur:

        How like Fox News to stream “Believes in man-made Global Warming” under Mr. Nye’s name…

        My thought:

        Bill Nye Believes in man-made global warming.

        Bill O’Reilly Disbelieves man-made global warming.

        It occurs to me that as religious people assert atheists must prove there is no god, climate change deniers must prove there is no climate change.

      • In reply to #5 by Uriel-238:

        In reply to #3 by ThereIsGrandeur:

        How like Fox News to stream “Believes in man-made Global Warming” under Mr. Nye’s name…

        My thought:

        Bill Nye Believes in man-made global warming.

        Bill O’Reilly Disbelieves man-made global warming.

        Should be:

        Bill Nye accepts overwhelming evidence for man-made global warming.

        Bill O’Reilly refuses to accept overwhelming evidence for man-made global warming.

    • In reply to #3 by ThereIsGrandeur:

      How like Fox News to stream “Believes in man-made Global Warming” under Mr. Nye’s name. It implies that trust in observation and evidence requires blind adherence.

      FYI fox news is the conservative republican channel. It’s not for real news. MSNBC is the liberal democrat news channel. It’s amazing that ‘news networks’ have a freaking agenda other than NEWS.

      • In reply to #10 by ThereIsGrandeur:

        The link doesn’t work!

        In reply to #7 by GPWC:

        I know it’s off topic, but there is a much more important story in the same paper:

        I re-typed the link, but the mods have evidently taken it down – it was comment 9. Anyway, you can link from the bottom of the article or try again here.

  2. A good story? I am impressed! It’s good to hear that the younger kids are shaking off their parents superstitions, and actually using their brain for rational thought, rather than head stufffing.

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