“When you’re in love, you want to tell the world.”
So said Bill Nye in Tuesday night’s debate, quoting his famous mentor Carl Sagan to explain his own personal commitment to science education.
The aspect of Nye’s performance in the Creation Debate that most impressed me had nothing to do with his scientific arguments, his command of logic, his skilled rebuttals, or even his patience. What has stayed with me is the enthusiasm and passion with which he communicated. It’s the same passion — that unabashed sense of “Wow, isn’t this stuff neat!” — that made me a fan of his television show all those years ago. Put simply, I love that Bill Nye is in love.
That passion matters. The debate we saw may have been about facts and logic, but the real fight (which Nye referenced more than once and has spoken about in the past) is for the future of society. Will we continue to learn about the world around us in ways that let us explain, predict, and problem-solve? Or will we cling to superstitions that stunt the growth of our knowledge, preferring to find our answers in literalized ancient mythology?