Bill Nye “the Science Guy” will debate climate change with Tennessee Republican Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn, a “proud climate change denier,” and Vice Chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.
The debate is scheduled to happen this Sunday on the NBC news program “Meet the Press.” Earlier this month, Nye successfully debated Ken “Answers in Genesis” Ham on the merits of evolution and creationism.
GOP congresswoman Blackburn staunchly denies climate change, calling it an “unsettled science.” While Nye claims: “Climate change is happening, humans are causing it, and I think this is perhaps the most serious environmental issue facing us.”
Like the recent evolution vs. creationism debate, some object to Nye’s participation in a debate on climate change. Those that object to Nye participating in a debate on climate change seem to offer two reasons:
- Nye is not a climate scientist, but rather a science educator/entertainer; thus, if a debate is to take place a climate scientist should argue the case for climate change.
- Like creationists, climate change deniers do not represent a legitimate scientific position; thus, they should not be given the platform and credibility a debate offers.
As for the first objection, the fact that Nye is a science educator/entertainer should actually work to his advantage in explaining often complex and counter-intuitive scientific concepts to a general audience.
However, the second objection seems to offer more weight, and in fact at one point Nye seemed to agree:
“I appreciate that we want to show two sides of the stories — there’s a tradition in journalism that goes back quite a ways, I guess — but the two sides aren’t equal here. You have tens of thousands of scientists who are very concerned and you have a few people who are in business of equating or drawing attention to the idea that uncertainty is the same as doubt. When you have a plus or minus percentage, that’s not the same thing as not believing the whole thing at all.”
Yet all things considered, it is a positive thing for Nye to confront and correct the climate change deniers. The anti-intellectual forces in this country that reject science in favor of religious superstition and denial are strong, and they are not going away. We need people like Bill Nye to stand up and speak out on behalf of reason and science. Afterall, the future of the planet hangs in the balance.
Pass the popcorn, it should be fun.