Bill Nye Boo’d In Texas For Saying The Moon Reflects The Sun (Really???)

Bill Nye Boo’d In Texas For Saying The Moon Reflects The Sun (Really???) May 7, 2012


Bill Nye, the harmless children’s edu-tainer known as “The Science Guy,” managed to offend a select group of adults in Waco, Texas at a presentation, when he suggested that the moon does not emit light, but instead reflects the light of the sun.

As even most elementary-school graduates know, the moon reflects the light of the sun but produces no light of its own.

But don’t tell that to the good people of Waco, who were “visibly angered by what some perceived as irreverence,” according to the Waco Tribune.

Nye was in town to participate in McLennan Community College’s Distinguished Lecture Series. He gave two lectures on such unfunny and adult topics as global warming, Mars exploration, and energy consumption.

But nothing got people as riled as when he brought up Genesis 1:16, which reads: “God made two great lights — the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars.”

The lesser light, he pointed out, is not a light at all, but only a reflector.

At this point, several people in the audience stormed out in fury. One woman yelled “We believe in God!”



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  • Ridiculous.

  • Jwenns

    Waco, Texas? Yeah…that doesn’t suprise me in the least bit…

  • Girlparadox

    Wacko TX? Why does that not surprise me at all?

  • Ahernandez

    Next he’s going to tell us the world was created in six NON-consecutive days…

    • Ahern, you don’t believe that nonsense about the 6 days and all that, do you? If you do, please point out heaven and where Adam and Eve came from.

  • ozonator

    The Washington Times would delete all these comments, include a picture of Reverend Moon with a light-bulb in his butt like Santa, and wash down a handful of fresh-baby remains tablets with Kool-aide.

    • SO?

      • ozonator

        Wow! You invented a time/whine machine.

  • It should probably be noted this happened 6 years ago, not that it changes how shockingly ridiculous the story is, but it is worth noting this isn’t recent news.

  • I hope he didn’t try to tell them that the earth isn’t the center of the universe. HERETICK!!

  • Jesse T Reese

    I’m sorry, but the reaction to this is a bit ridiculous.  Imagine a pastor walking into a group of scientists and giving a sermon in which he unnecessarily and offhandedly dismissed global warming, in a situation in which science clearly has no defending voice.  Bill Nye set himself up here.  You don’t put yourself in Waco, TX (or anywhere in the Bible Belt) and make a point in such a way that it sounds like you are offhandedly dismissing the Bible. 

    If he wanted to point out that the moon is a reflector, fine, but why did he have to quote Genesis as part of his point?  Should not respect between religiousity and science go both ways?  It seemed like he could have thought through that approach just a bit more.  IMO, the rest of the article and the comments on the website make it clear that those who wrote have absolutely missed the point and do not have any respect whatsoever for religiousity as a legitimate way of life.

    • Thank you Jesse! You are SO RIGHT!!! Bunch of idiots we have here…

    • Itslikeduh

      Your argument here would be valid had he walked into a church. However, a lecture series at a college would presumably contain a different audience.

    • TheDudeofDudes

      “Should not respect between religiousity and science go both ways?”: No, if the religiosity doesn’t conflict with factual scientific observation and isn’t pushed on children and the public in mass. However, this is not the case in America. Religion is taught to children in place of science and there are constant attempts to override science with religion in the political arena. So; no, religion deserves no respect outside of a church. It deserves the right to be practiced, but not respected by anyone.

  • Perry/Norris 2012

    If only Rick Perry had been there, he’d have kicked Nye’s ass for his insult to Baby Jesus, and been clear, God made the moon light, so it’s light.

  • Bakerpadre

    The irony in all this is that Bill Nye is guilty of the exact same thing that those who booed him are guilty of, reading the Bible from a 21st century perspective rather than that of the original audience. To think that the ancient people writing and listening to (yes, most go them were illiterate so these were likely stories told around the campfire at night) these stories would distinguish between light coming directly from a source vs. being reflected is absurd. Remember, these people had no artificial light sources or mirrors.

    • Had no artificial light sources? You said they were sitting around a campfire which is an artificial light source. Every object around them would have been reflecting light or they wouldn’t be able to see it. Still water is an excellent mirror and has been available for billions of years. Chrystal faces reflect light images. Manufactured mirrors have been dated back to 6000 BC.

      I don’t want to offend you but you wouldn’t by any chance be a Christian would you?

      • Let me venture to say that there are no “artificial light sources”. If it gives off light, then by golly it’s a gen-u-ine light source, I reckon! THis being said… it’s alllllllllll a matter of perspective. And people should quit calling people idiots for their beliefs

  • Moknowz

    Wow! He blinded them with SCIENCE!

  • John

    This makes me embarrassed to live in this city… I wish i had been there. I would’ve told those people to shut the hell up.

  • heresy

    Furthing backing my recent idea that god is poison for your rationality… I don’t really want to share a planet with these plebs anymore.

  • solar eclipse
    debate over lol

  • i live in texas andd these people make dogs seem smart nd rational

  • This is just simply outrageous! Deliberate ignorance and not even ashamed of yourselves. What is the matter with your religious leaders? Are they some hicks who couldn’t make it in the real adult world and so took up religion to put food on their tables and roofs over their heads. Well, people, you had better grow up because the world doesn’t need eternal children. Where are my dear relatives and friends who put their faith into beliefs and that will sit silently while such nonsense happens. Those who didn’t know the moon was not a source of light should have to go back to school before they can sign any documents requiring an adult signature. I suppose you believe the Earth is only 6,000 year old, too. Good grief! Disgusting! Do you burn witches at the stake, press warlocks to death, put people on the rack and pull them apart? The Dark Ages continue in Waco, Texas?

    • dan

      What frightens me is that these people are allowed to vote.

      • Mike Roberts

        Vote? It offends me they are using up oxygen…

  • He’s so smart he’s dumb. What kind of reaction did he expect? Plus, (I’m not Christian) but wouldn’t the sun and the moon STILL be a source of LIGHT? If the moon uses the sun to light up…so be it….the moon still lights up! I don’t see what he was trying to prove…he didn’t prove anything but piss people off and sound like yet another stupid atheist trying to make a scientific point…when we have NO idea about ANYTHING….

    • The Evil-Good guy

      Are you retarded? Do you know the definition of source? “A place, person, or thing which something comes from or can be obtained” “which something comes from” What you’re stating is like saying you’re going to cut yourself and let the blood flow onto the concrete floor, and saying the source of the blood is the concrete, and not the cut. I don’t know how people like you even function in daily life.

    • The moom doesn’t light up anymore than the earth does. you people need to go back to school

    • corey

      hey michael

  • Thank you Bill Nye. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you.

  • Sarah

    This store is from 2009 or before, please don’t repeat things from half a decade ago as news…it makes it look like you are just trying to drum up reactions instead of telling the current events. Thanks.

    • Sarah

      store = story

      • Sarah

        PS Bill Nye is still awesome 6+ years later.

  • wow, I cant believe that people there dont know simple science and boo’d someone with 3 times the ed cation they have. I have to say this is yet another example of how stupid and embarrassing America is…

    • you mean Texas, home of the Bush’s

  • What do we expect? It’s Waco………and………it’s Texas.

  • JamieHaman

    That’s Waco, Home of the Wackos for you.

  • These people were not angry because Nye said that the moon reflects sunlight, religious people, including fundamentalists understand that. They were angry because they understood his dig at the bible, which was gratuitous and provocative. The headline writer and the author of the article are being just as provocative by promoting the belief that the audience’s anger was about the science, when it was really about the insult. I’m an atheist with an education and career based in science, but I would have joined the booing too.

    • TheDudeofDudes

      A dig by a scientist at a book that leads most of America into believing nonsense with no rationality or scientific inquiry…no say it ain’t so! If people can observe that the bible is wrong on the moon, why do other tenants and tales remain sacred?

      • Soge King


        The whole moon thing….Whether you believe that the Bible was written by a bunch of dudes sitting around a table or that it was written over the course of centuries by divinely inspired people….There is no logical way they would have known about the whole bit about the moon not being a light in and of itself. What a lot of people don’t understand (on either side of the fence, despite Atheists’ love of calling us Christians stupid) is that the Bible also carries a lot of culture in it. For example, the institution of slavery did exist in Biblical times, but not as we understand it today. Either way, tenets involving slaves don’t really have much relevance to modern times….Because the culture of humanity as a whole has changed and moved away from slavery. Similar things crop up throughout the Bible.

        • TheDudeofDudes

          Ah, but this is where christianity falls short on the Bible’s importance and “truth”. How is it that a divinely inspired book that contains the instruction from God to all humanity manages to get so many things wrong? You can’t use the excuse of ignorant authors because that negates the credulity of the entire book. Additonally, the “slavery wasn’t the same then”, therefore it is okay to have passages on how to beat and own your slaves is okay is laughably ignorant. The morals in the bible are supposed to be the eternal word of God and should not be subject to revision by different changes in social norms. There have been opponents to slavery throughout human history, and it would be another conflict in your bible for a lowly human to realize the disgusting moral position of allowing the owning of another person as property while the all powerful god sanctioned it. Society may have somehow not realized the moral depravity of slavery, but there is no excuse for an all knowing god to overlook this massive stain on human history. This is why people are calling out the stupidity of Christianity. And this is not just an ad hominem attack, but actually calling it out as what it is: willful ignorance of the its short comings, which is plainly stupid. You cannot say that people should lead their lives by the messages contained in this book, as they are the true word of God if they are obviously false and immoral. An all knowing omnipotent being could not have revision in its own morality or edicts. If you know everything that has ever been or will ever be then it is an impossibility for you to have ever been wrong, therefore everything you would do would always be the best course of action possible. Jesus would be unnecessary, and slavery would be moral. However, we know that to be untrue as slavery is disgusting.

        • Mike Roberts

          So, the book by a Deity who is eternal and knows all things future is stuck in a culture that is archaic?

  • I would bet that they weren’t booing the fact that the moon reflects the sun – EVERYBODY knows that. I am quite certain they were booing Dr. Nye’s attitude and disdain for Christianity and the Bible.

  • True2theDivine

    Sad that they may have missed the point of that however But what was let out is this is an extremely old story and the boo’s were clearly to the disrespect of the book of genesis. I’m a wytch and I even knew that. Sad that you fished up an old story took it out of context just to fish for reactions and disparaging remarks to Christians in Texas. No wonder no one takes pagans seriously.

    • How can it be disrespectful when he was clearly stating facts? You probably think george Bush jr was a good president too.

      • True2theDivine

        Yeah No. He sucked, but nice try at rippin at me 🙂 have a wonderful day 🙂

  • labman57

    Come on now. Everyone knows that the moon is made of cheese, and its light is generated by bioluminescent bacteria living just beneath its surface.

    On a more serious note — sanctimonious, scientifically-illiterate, theocracy-minded politicians and pundits such as Palin, Santorum, Perry, Bachmann, and numerous socially-regressive state legislators have redefined what constitutes science to fit their own point of view. Therefore, they equate real science with natural phenomena under the control of God.

    What they don’t understand is that science is not merely a body of knowledge accumulated over the centuries, it is also the process through which this knowledge is attained. And so simply declaring that something is true because it says so in the Bible (or any other literary source) cannot be construed as science if that “fact” or “idea” was not the result of a valid, structured, self-critical scientific process.

    “God works in mysterious ways” is a religious rationalization for what these folks really mean: “I have no freaking clue how natural phenomena happen, nor how the process of scientific observation, experimentation, analysis, deduction, and discovery further our understanding of the universe”.

    The allegories and parables presented in the Bible are akin to a docudrama — a fictional account of early human history inspired by and loosely based on actual events. These scriptures were designed, in part, to provide answers for people who asked questions about matters which they could not yet comprehend and to provide guidelines for expected moral behavior as determined by the religious order of the time.

  • porgiefirefighter

    You do know you are re-posting a 2009 story, right?

  • Ruth M Reagle

    Um…..believing in God differs than belief in a literal translation of a text written by
    man,….ppl r sheep.

    • MoodyFoodie

      Actually there are many people who don’t distinguish it at all, they are called fundamentalists. And if someone told them otherwise, well you see what happens, they’d say that person is blaspheming.

  • Ray

    Bill Nye may be right about the moon reflecting sunlight, but he’s wrong about the moon not emitting any light. Everything emits some form of blackbody radiation. Even the universe emits light in the microwave region of the light spectrum (look up

    Holmdel Horn Antenna on Wikipedia).

  • RogueR

    Everyone knows the moon glows. Reflect sunlight? That’s ridiculous!

  • Bigbic

    This is why I lie and tell people i was born in California

  • Bigbic

    This is why I lie and say I was born in California

  • Chris W

    It sounds more like they were protesting his usage of the bible in that context than the actual fact that the moon reflects light from the sun. Of course, I could be wrong, but Waco is where Baylor University is located so I would have to assume that the people that live there are at least moderately educated.

  • The earth is flat.
    The earth is a flat sphere surrounded by ice.
    The sun and moon are only about 3000 – 5000 miles from earth. They are about the size of earth.
    The earth is flat.
    The moon creates it’s own light.
    The light of the moon behaves differently from the light of the sun.
    Google search and YouTube search “evidence for a flat earth”.
    The moon creates its own light.
    Bravo to the Texans for boo’ing Bill Nye.

  • Adarious

    Are you sure you spelled the city right? I thought it was Wacko TX