On Tuesday, Bill Nye, The Science Guy Who Is Not A Scientist, decided to define what science is with one badly-considered aphorism:
Remember, this is the same guy who hosted a Netflix special called Bill Nye Saves The World, in which Crazy Ex-Girlfriend actress Rachel Bloom, given a glowing endorsement by Nye, sang, "My vagina has its own voice / Not vocal cords, a metaphorical voice / Sometimes I do a voice for my vagina.”
Let’s make a list of what Nye would consider “science,” beliefs from some that they are “solving the problem”:
Telling a young male child who likes dolls instead of toy soldiers that he’s really a girl, and arranging for his transitioning to another gender;
Deciding that those who don’t practice your particular form of Radical Islam should be eradicated;
Stealing money from the wealthy, who have earned it, so that those who are not earning as much can level the playing field;
Taking religion out of the public square so that those inconvenient unborn children can be properly dealt with so they don’t complicate the lives of their mothers.
Why, there are all sorts of wonderful beliefs like these that can now be called science!
Of course, a true definition of science, such as, “The intellectual and practical activity encompassing the systematic study of the structure and behavior of the physical and natural world through observation and experiment,” is not about belief, but rather process.
Belief is the engine that starts the scientific process, but science is the active process by which belief is tested.
Besides, if science is “belief that you can solve the problem,” here’s one example of Nye’s kind of science: In April 2016, Nye posited that those who didn’t believe in climate change could go to jail, asserting:
Was it appropriate to jail the guys from Enron? We’ll see what happens. Was it appropriate to jail people from the cigarette industry who insisted that this addictive product was not addictive, and so on? In these cases, for me, as a taxpayer and voter, the introduction of this extreme doubt about climate change is affecting my quality of life as a public citizen. So I can see where people are very concerned about this, and they’re pursuing criminal investigations as well as engaging in discussions like this.
So how about this proposition for Nye: I believe I can solve the problem of great stupidity by proclaiming him too dumb to be listened to.
Now I’m The Science Guy.