Bill Nye “The Science Guy” (who is not a scientist) does not appear to have handled very well being turned into a social media meme in his first attempt to debate Tucker Carlson. On Saturday, Nye decided to post a video response/challenge to the combative Carlson that almost immediately devolved into a bizarre, rambling rant on the Women’s March, fruit flies, baseball, $40,000 bets, and the need for more people to subscribe to The New York Times, or something. He ends the rant by declaring he’s ready to take on Carlson again, saying, “Bring it on man!”
As The Daily Wire and others reported, Nye’s appearance on Carlson’s hit Fox News show in February did not go particularly well (video below). The problem came down to Nye’s inability to answer some very fundamental questions on the theory of man-made global warming, on which Nye presents himself as somewhat of an expert, despite not being a climatologist, meteorologist, or any other kind of -ologist for that matter.
“To what degree is climate change caused by human activity?” Carlson asked Nye. “Is it 100 percent caused by human activity, is it 74.3 percent? It’s ‘settled science,’ please tell us to what degree human activity is responsible.” That question proved to be a bit too direct for Nye, who eventually resorted to: “100 percent! If that’s the number you want. Humans are causing it to happen catastrophically fast.”
In response to the disastrous interview, Nye produced the following “round two” vs. Carlson — who is noticeably absent this time in the “showdown” (full transcript below):
A few thoughts: Note that he does not actually address the key question that was the sticking point between him and Carlson. The one “fact” that he actually cites in the entire response is that “97 percent of the world’s scientists, very close to 100 percent of the world’s scientists are very concerned about climate change.” Here’s a fact check on that dubious “fact.” As for the rambling nature and strange delivery of the response, why did he not insist on some better editing and do a few more takes? He moves from “fruit flies” and “dandelions” to the World Cup to an incomplete reference to the Trump inauguration crowd size debate. His comments on the freedom of the press and the need for the establishment media to reassert itself are equally incoherent.
Transcript via Big Think (fact-check hyperlink added):
NYE: Mr. Carlson. What happened to you man? You used to be affable. You used to be friendly. You used to wear a nice tie. Now you wear one of those bibs and I don’t know. So I don’t know what happened to you man but I want you to consider that from a scientific perspective pick the number you like, 97 percent of the world’s scientists, very close to 100 percent of the world’s scientists are very concerned about climate change. And so why aren’t some people concerned about it?
When media outlets were allowed to be consolidated in the 1980s. Then it developed these two factions like I don’t remember it having. And by that I think two factions are a normal course of events where you have males and females, you have boys and girls whether it’s fruit flies or dandelions or you and me. And in the World Cup soccer you end up with two teams. The World Series baseball you end up with two teams. It’s really hard to have three teams. And two political parties nominally. So somebody who understands this better than I do may observe that the media have divided into two camps. But from our point of view on the science and engineering side you’ve got to respect the facts at some level. You’ve got to respect what is scientifically provable. And then speaking of authorities and mistrust of authorities, the crowd at the inauguration. It was an objectively smaller crowd than the crowd the next day at the women’s march.
If someone asserts that the crowd is bigger when it was clearly smaller then everything else he or she says is subject to question. And this had led to a lot of trouble. So I think though that built into the U.S. government which includes the First Amendment of the Bill of Rights is freedom of the press. Built in is change. So I’m very hopeful, I’m optimistic that things will change. That my understanding is subscriptions to so called mainstream media, Washington Post, New York Times and so on have gone up in response to this approach to objective truths. So that will probably be to the good. But how fast will it happen and what will go wrong in the meantime? These are big questions.
And then as far as my thing with Mr. Carlson, I don’t know. He used to not interview that way. He used to not just talk the whole time.
I’d go back again in a second Mr. Carlson. If you had me on again I will come right back on. Bring it on man. And you know what else Mr. Carlson, I’ll bet you $10,000 that 2010-2020 will be the hottest decade on record. I offered a bet of $10,000 to Joe Bastardi who is a Fox news contributor and Marc Morano who I’m not sure is a contributor but used to appear on your station routinely, your network routinely. I bet them each $10,000 bucks 2010-2020 would be the hottest decade on record. I bet them each another $10,000 bucks on the decade, $10,000 bucks on the year 2016. 2016 would have been among the top ten hottest years on record. Wait, there’s more. 2016 was the hottest year on record. And your guys, the people that Fox News heretofore supports in this would not take either bet – $40,000. Wouldn’t take the bet. Could have been theirs. I’m good for it.
And here is Nye’s appearance back in February on Carlson’s show:
This article has been expanded to include more details and commentary.