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How Did Bill Nye Become the Science Guy? 220

Posted by samzenpus
from the origin-story dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Whether he's debating creationists, taking selfies with President Obama, or 'Dancing with the Stars,' Bill Nye the Science Guy is no stranger to the spotlight. But what about the man behind the public persona? How did Bill Nye become the Science Guy?(video) Bill Nye has made his debut on the PBS series, The Secret Life of Scientists and Engineers, to reveal the story of how he rose from being a young comedian from Seattle to becoming a science icon. In his profile, Bill Nye talks about his early days impersonating Steve Martin, why bow-ties are important in the lab (and with the ladies), and how Carl Sagan's advice helped to shape his hit television show."
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How Did Bill Nye Become the Science Guy?

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  • Re:His debate (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ShanghaiBill (739463) on Thursday March 20, 2014 @11:14PM (#46540485)

    Most scientists told him not to debate the creationists as it only brings more attention to them.

    They already have plenty of attention. More than half of Americans believe in some form of creationism (young earth creationism, intelligent design, or "evolution guided by God"). The percentage in many other countries is even higher. "Ignoring them" isn't working out so well.

  • by Handover Phist (932667) on Thursday March 20, 2014 @11:19PM (#46540515) Homepage

    Need I say more?

  • Re:His debate (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Charliemopps (1157495) on Thursday March 20, 2014 @11:38PM (#46540587)

    Yea, but Bill Bye fell into the same trap all sciency types do. He didn't argue evolution, he argued against the creationists idea of Intelligent design. There is nothing incompatible with Intelligent design and evolution. If there is a God that created the universe then, that God also created evolution and therefor science is simply discovering Gods work. He should have made that point and left it at that. You can't invalidate theology with logic. But you can validate science with it. Evolution is a fact. If you believe in god then evolution is his work, stop denying Gods work you pagan.

  • In Summary.. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by formfeed (703859) on Thursday March 20, 2014 @11:38PM (#46540591)

    ...he's not much of a "science" guy, ...
    ... captain obvious ...
    ... He's no scientist. ...
    ... Bill Nye the Attention Whore ...
    ... Mr. Bill Nye is NOT and has NOTHING to do with science ...

    This out of 31 posts so far.
    This on a guy who makes science fun for kids.

    Beta might not be Slashdot's biggest problem,
    but going the way of kuro5hin is.

  • Re:WTF (Score:5, Insightful)

    by hey! (33014) on Friday March 21, 2014 @12:11AM (#46540697) Homepage Journal

    He's a science educator. Some science educators *are* bona fide scientists, like Carl Sagan; but science is not mysticism. String theory might be beyond most people, but there's a lot of basic stuff most people can explore and understand, and if you can do that you can explain it to others.

    If you think about it, a background in comedy is a very good preparation for being an educator. First you have to get and hold their attention. Second, you have to make really, really sure they get your point. People don't laugh at jokes they don't understand -- at least not the kind of laughter they paid to come experience. So comedy is all about making sure people get the point and are entertained along the way.

  • by CohibaVancouver (864662) on Friday March 21, 2014 @12:16AM (#46540715)

    Why do we need to tear him down?

    Because, according to a bunch of Slashdot neckbeards, he's not a 'real' scientist.

  • Re:His debate (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 21, 2014 @12:53AM (#46540827)

    There is nothing incompatible with Intelligent design and evolution. If there is a God that created the universe then, that God also created evolution and therefor science is simply discovering Gods work.

    I've never heard intelligent design described that way before. Intelligent design is the idea that biological organisms required an intelligent entity to create them, that it is unlikely that complex organisms could exist without a designer, which is an idea fundamentally contradicted by evolution. It sounds like you are describing deism, not intelligent design.

  • Re:His debate (Score:0, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 21, 2014 @01:37AM (#46540949)

    The vast majority of old school mainstream christian religious people (eg. Catholics Anglicans, etc) hold that evolution is a scientifically established principle (supported by both observation and related scientific theories).

    But they don't believe in evolution, they believe in theistic evolution, that is, evolution guided by god, which is not really evolution. One of the fundamental aspects of evolution is that it does not require a guider, just chemistry, statistics, and time.

    The concept of 'evolution guided by God' is simply a restatement that scientific evidence guides the description of how the universe works, and the random events that coincided to an eventual outcome may have been influenced or set in motion by some divine force.

    It sounds like you are describing a god whose existence is indistinguishable from it's non-existense. How would you ever tell if that god exists? Why should anyone believe in it if you can't tell?

  • Re:WTF (Score:0, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 21, 2014 @02:11AM (#46541039)

    He is a circus act, not an educator.

  • WTH is Bill Nye? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Martin Spamer (244245) on Friday March 21, 2014 @02:21AM (#46541085) Homepage Journal

    Massive cultural assumption or what. What about international science presenters like David Attenborough or Brian Cox

  • by MouseTheLuckyDog (2752443) on Friday March 21, 2014 @02:54AM (#46541169)

    First of all, the Science in "Bachelors of Science" means nothing. Many scientists do not have Bachelor of Science degrees they have Bachelor of Arts degrees -- usually referred to as a BA. Many non scientists have Bachelor of science degrees. It mainly depends on where you get your degree.

    Secondly, much of what Nye does is not science but engineering. Blurring the distinction like that is harmful to science.

    For example an older child may try to build a robot using an Arduino and fail. He correctly deems his project a failure. But then he hears ( assuming of course that the Higgs did not exist ) that LHC failed to find the Higgs, and determines that the money on LHC was wasted. WHen the opposite is true, that proving the Higgs does not exist is just as important frrom a science view as showing it does.

  • by Ozoner (1406169) on Friday March 21, 2014 @03:04AM (#46541195)

    I totally agree. I had never heard of Bill Nye until this debate controversy blew up.

    One thing I notice with Americans is that their whole conversation is based around U.S. TV shows.
    Unless you watch USA TV, their conversations make very little sense.

    In the rest of the world, TV just isn't that important. It certainly doesn't inform intelligent debate.

  • by Karmashock (2415832) on Friday March 21, 2014 @03:21AM (#46541247)

    he's now more about harassing religious fundamentalists and flame baiting people in the climate change debate.

    I have very little regard for any of the so called scientist media personalities that spend most of their time engaging in various topics that are unproductive and rarely about science.

    Religious fundamentalists cannot be argued against with science. Its utterly pointless. Their interpretation of their religion means they will not agree. End of story.

    Possibly they can be argued off of it on philosophical, ideological, or theological grounds. But science is utterly futile in dealing with this issue. Yet many do this, piss off the fundamentalists for no reason, accept the applause of some atheist supporters, and then take a victory lap like they accomplished something.

    As to the climate debate, that isn't a scientific debate either at this point. Its a political, economic, and ideological debate. Science doesn't even really come into it.

    You have one faction that says the solution to fixing the climate is to nationalize everything, give the government sweeping control over the economy, jack up taxes hugely, and grant lots of power to non-democratic international organizations.

    So... spoiler alert... many people have a problem with that. If you removed all of that from the climate change rhetoric, most of the opposition would be gone tomorrow. Yet, it is pretended that the issue can be solved by explaining the science again. Waste of god damn time.

    Bill Nye was fun once... when he explained little science experiments on tv. He was great. But he hasn't done that in a long time and frankly since he stopped doing that I fail to see why anyone should give a damn about him.

    Now I'm about to get attacked by some people that think I'm supporting creationism or anti global warming science or both. Right off, anyone that makes that accusation after reading the above post is a fucking retard. But this site is full of them. So let me explain again, IT DOES NOT MATTER and THAT IS NOT MY POINT. My point is that indifferent to the science, science is often not a viable answer to various debates. In matters of belief, politics, or economics you can't just cite the science and expect everyone to fall into instant obedient lockstep with whatever you want. That's foolish.

    If you ACTUALLY want to solve the creationism issue... you need to respect the religious rights of people that find evolution to be a threat to their theology. We have a freedom of worship in this country which means people can believe the universe came from a cooked potato if it makes them happy.

    Yes... public schools and public money... well, that's a problem because the government isn't allowed to infringe on their beliefs. Which means you might need to give them money to run their own home schools or whatever. I know... you're not happy about that. But you'd only need to give them their share of the education money which after all came out of their own taxes. So they're hardly taking anything away from you.

    That is how you coexist. You either are happy to grant that or you want to dominate people and force your own beliefs on people... yes, your beliefs are backed by science. Show me where in the constitution that matters. It doesn't. Being right doesn't mean you get to force people to agree with you. They're going to be contentious. Tolerate their differences and demand the same in return.

    In regards to climate change... We really need to go over some solutions to the issue that don't instantly piss everyone off.

    Obviously we need to reduce our usage of sequestered hydrocarbons. So... to that end, nuclear power really needs to be put back on the table. If only as a stop gap until energy storage systems become more practical.

    Doubtless that makes some people unhappy... its called a compromise... you're not supposed to be happy. In addition to that, we should look at syngas/biogas to produce carbon neutral hydrocarbon fuel. That will further reduce our dependence on sequester

  • by aaaaaaargh! (1150173) on Friday March 21, 2014 @05:52AM (#46541605)

    Really, news for nerds? I've never heard that name before in my life. And what is a "science guy" anyway? Sounds pretty stupid to me.

    Anyway, got to go to work now - science calls.

  • by CaptainLard (1902452) on Friday March 21, 2014 @10:52AM (#46543277)
    Oh don't get your bloomers in a bunch ol' chap. I don't bother when TopGear has some random nobody (otherwise known as a British Celebrity) on as their guest or continues to use the word Lorry. Perhaps you can convince Brian Cox (who is no slouch) to do a "how did I become a physicist" over some tea and crumpets and then that story will be posted too. Do you feel at home now? (note: I'm assuming you're British since both of your "international presenters" are from England. Apologies if you're a true international citizen).

"Let every man teach his son, teach his daughter, that labor is honorable." -- Robert G. Ingersoll

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