Bill Nye Debates Climate Change with a Congresswoman

The Science Guy doesn’t get to grace TV screens on this side of the pond too often, but even our very own Prof. Brian Cox will tell you that climate change is no longer up for debate. In the last couple of years (or so), scientists have pretty much slammed the lid shut on the matter. But as I blogged way back in 2009, the controversy doesn’t revolve so much around the possibility that change is taking place, but how apocalyptic it could be. Some of us simply aren’t altogether certain bunking down with migrant polar bears and penguins will catch on in the foreseeable future.

Fast forward to present time, and the argument still hasn’t blown over…though my mounting obsession with reusable shopping bags now appears to be directly proportional to our rising carbon footprint. I’m sure the penguins will approve.

With everyone more or less firmly entrenched in two separate camps as before, perhaps it would be better for us to turn towards something we can all agree on – finite resources. By conserving the one, we would also alleviate the other (and I’m not talking about monthly bills here).

Our planet is only this big, so what we have isn’t going to last forever. We don’t need science to tell us that. When giant corporations start to consider mining asteroids, you know we’ve got a big problem. However, take comfort in the news that enough progress has been made on the fusion front to prove it’s a viable alternative to current energy sources. This could be reality in a few decades…but not if we can’t get past the bickering.

“The Australian Aboriginals think that the first humans were regurgitated by a great rainbow serpent in the sky, the people in Thailand think the beginning of the world was a huge pool of milk and a snake was pulled by demons, and the milk coagulated and that formed human beings and there was a time, two and a half to three thousand years ago, when people on the east end of the Mediterranean thought woman was made from the rib of the first man. If somebody says to me I believe every word of the Bible is true, you can’t argue against that degree of irrationality…there is actually a way of looking at the natural world and seeing the evidence and it’s all there. And what’s more it’s the same evidence whether it’s in Australia or Northern Europe or wherever. It’s all the same—it all produces the same answer and you can all see the evidence—if you reject that then there’s nothing I can say.”Sir David Attenborough

Incidentally, Bill Nye wiped the floor with Creationist advocate Ken Ham in another recent debate. I suspect some religious resistance might stem from the way we refer to evolution. “Why is it just a theory then?” is a popular refrain I’ve encountered. What many don’t seem to realise is that the scientific definition of ‘theory’ is practically the opposite of how it is used in a colloquial context.

Whilst a part of me agrees with Dawkins, and believes that it’s not possible for a true debate to take place when one side takes exception to logic and reason, finding out that a number of Christians favoured Bill Nye’s approach did leave me feeling the sort of high I imagine would result from a massive hit of Blue Sky.


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