Not only did I get to see the stunning new “Bill Nye Phenomenon” in person last Saturday, we now have (below) the first hand testimony from “the enemy,” uber-climate skeptic Marc Morano, who is seeing the results of Bill’s apparently very savvy decision to do the Ken Ham debate. The “don’t engage” advice some scientists offered up might have seemed like the safe pathway, but the truth is the only long term hope for evolution winning the popularity polls in America is for there to be some BRAVE leadership. Bill Nye has demonstrated this by taking a major chance, defying his critics, and is now rightly collecting his accolades. In the bigger picture, the science world needs to realize that communication does not follow the same dynamics as research — it’s not about peer review, it’s about courage.
NEWFOUND RESPECT. Bill Nye is becoming the 500 lb. media gorilla the science world has dreamed of.
THE POWER OF A POWERFUL VOICE
As if my witnessing “The Bill Nye Phenomenon,” in person on Saturday at the “Decoding Science” event at University of Missouri wasn’t clear enough proof of his new-found success, now I have testimony from “the enemy.”
Marc Morano was one of the stars of my 2008 movie, “Sizzle: A Global Warming Comedy.” I have never agreed with his politics and even challenged him in the movie. But I have a great deal of respect for his basic intuitive understanding of how mass media works in America. He understands it is first and foremost an entertainment medium. As does Bill Nye.
Look at what Marc said to me this morning in an email:
MARC MORANO: Randy, you are spot on about Nye being a rock star now. I witnessed it first hand yesterday during the Fox news taping. Nye was also a guest on this libertarian show, The Independents, and the hosts were so enamored with him they did not really challenge him on global warming because they were in awe of him. Nye is given access to Fox now to promote global warming uncritically due to his new status. I was skeptical of your blog a few days ago, but now I saw it first hand. The show will air Friday night at 9 pm and 12 pm EST, and you can watch Fox hosts coddle Bill Nye for first time ever. Stop the presses!
FROM THE CLIMATE SKEPTIC HORSE’S MOUTH: BILL NYE IS ON FIRE
Academics endlessly want TV and the movies to be informational media where they can just “present the facts” and have everyone take notes. Carl Sagan knew it wasn’t that simple. Neil Degrasse Tyson knows this. And now Bill Nye has demonstrated that he knows it better than anyone else in the world of science.
And yes, I still trade emails with Marc Morano. There is nothing immoral about this. Lots of academics think it is. They desperately seek a villain for their basic narrative. One fundamental rule they gave us in film school is that “your story is only as good as your villain is evil.” So they do their best to make their story better by making Morano as evil as possible.
But he’s not evil. He is a long time libertarian, and as such does his best to fight the government’s effort to respond to climate change. Which draws him into televised debates about global warming. Which has paired him up with Bill Nye on several shows.
I think it was reasonable for some scientists to take an initial shot at discouraging Bill Nye from taking part in the debate. My first instinct was to question it as well. But it’s now time to concede that he was right, the critics were wrong. 100% Bill addressed the criticism on Saturday — the suggestions that of his debate with Ham supposedly “helped the enemy” with the funding of their creationism park. The amount of money the creationists have been able to raise off the debate is not significant. And more importantly, it’s trivial compared to the media boost Bill has now received.
At this point scientists should simply quit trying to negate Bill Nye’s efforts and instead do what they always dream other people will do for them — “take notes!”