Bill Nye. Regular Guy.


Every time I read or hear something Bill Nye says, I have an instant flashback to this 1990s video of him wearing jogging shorts and a cape, hands on hips, valiantly announcing: “This looks like a job for SPEED WALKER!!!” (You’ll have to click over to youtube to watch. Embedding is disabled.)

And then I find myself thinking of that 80’s Vicks 44 commercial tag line:

“I’m not a real doctor, but I play one on TV”

Bill Nye has a B.S. in mechanical engineering, so when I saw his face onscreen as the virtual tour guide to building a virtual roller coaster at DisneyQuest’s CyberSpace Mountain, I thought, yeah. okay. That makes sense.

But outside of that – he’s a regular guy, with the same ability to research and form opinions as anyone and everyone else.

Why would I give his opinion on global warming preference over someone with a Ph.D. in ecology?

or the historical record:

“From 1910 to 1940, there was an increase in global average temperature of 0.5°C over that 30-year period.

Then there was a 30-year “pause” until 1970.

This was followed by an increase of 0.57°C during the 30-year period from 1970 to 2000.

Since then there has been no increase, perhaps a slight decrease, in average global temperature.
This in itself tends to negate the validity of the computer models, as CO2 emissions have continued to accelerate during this time.

The increase in temperature between 1910-1940 was virtually identical to the increase between 1970-2000.

Yet the IPCC does not attribute the increase from 1910-1940 to “human influence.” [Source]

When I see Bill Nye (or read about him) talking about politics or global warming or gender or abortion or cognitive dissonance or other topics completely outside his field, his opinion doesn’t have credibility with me. Not because he’s “just an entertainer” but because he doesn’t have any more specialized knowledge or experience supporting his opinion than the average person who is interested in the same humanitarian issues.

I don’t understand why he gets interviewed and quoted so often about politics and other issues outside his field. Please tell me it’s not because the kids who grew up watching him on TV look to him as a subject matter expert now that they are adults.

He hasn’t established credibility as a subject matter expert in any of these areas.

Three final thoughts:
1. There are many more credible sources.
2. Do your own research – a celebrity’s opinion should never hold greater weight than your own.


3. I bet Bill Nye could build a cool Rube Goldberg machine.

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