Monday, October 15, 2012

GOP needs to respect science if it wants 'jobs, jobs, jobs': Bill Nye

On Saturday, Bill Nye, AKA "The Science Guy," appeared on MSNBC (video embedded) and questioned the logic of several prominent GOP lawmakers who have publicly doubted or even disavowed evolution. Nye saying that such disbelief in science is completely wrong.

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"Bill Nye the Science Guy," or William Sanford "Bill" Nye, 56, is best known for his Disney/PBS children's science show "Bill Nye the Science Guy," which ran from 1993–1998.

Nye was addressing the statements made last week by two congressman, both of whom, ironically - or perhaps, dangerously - enough are on the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology. Why these two could possibly be on that committee is beyond us, and beyond Nye, and shows the issues with the House now that the GOP controls it.

One of the two was Missouri Rep. Todd Akin, currently running for the Senate in that state, who earlier said that a woman's body could tell the difference between legitimate rape and regular sex and reject the sperm. In this case, he said,

"I've taken a look at both sides of the thing and it seems to me that evolution takes a tremendous amount of faith. To have all of the sudden all the different things that have to be lined up to create something as sophisticated as life, it takes a lot of faith. I don’t see it as even a matter of science because I don’t know that you can prove one or the other."

Meanwhile, Georgia Rep. Paul Broun, who is ironically a doctor, said the following at Liberty Baptist Church in Hartwell, Georgia on Sept. 27 (the video was unearthed Friday).

"God's word is true. I've come to understand that. All that stuff I was taught about evolution and embryology and the big bang theory, all that is lies straight from the pit of Hell. It's lies to try to keep me and all the folks who were taught that from understanding that they need a savior.

"You see, there are a lot of scientific data that I've found out as a scientist that actually show that this is really a young Earth. I don't believe that the earth's but about 9,000 years old. I believe it was created in six days as we know them. That's what the Bible says."

When asked what he thought of such opinions, Nye said he thought it meant one thing:

"First of all, I, as a science educator, have failed."

He went on to explain how science and nuclear physics prove that the world is 4.5 billion years old, not 9,000, adding:

“That’s science. Those are facts. You can’t just close your eyes and make them not true.”

He added,

“This is always a troubling thing. Our ancestors have made these discoveries. This is the best idea humans have had, this process of science, and the way we understand our world around us and our place in it. And to set aside those discoveries, arbitrarily, betrays, really, the best in us; it betrays the best use of our brains.

"Furthermore, what are the three worship words this fall? (They are) Jobs, jobs, jobs. If you want jobs in the United States, you have to have technological innovation. We are no longer the world's most economical manufacturer of certain goods. We are the technological leaders. Inventors who come from the United States understand science."

This isn't the first time in recent memory Nye has spoken up about science. In late August, Nye starred in a video for Big Think in which he warned parents not to teach their children creationism because, he said, it does them - and the U.S. - a disservice. He said that the U.S. needs "scientifically literate voters and taxpayers for the future" and "engineers that can build stuff, solve problems."

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