On Fox last night, Tucker Carlson skewered “Science Guy” Bill Nye as “Bill Nye the Psychoanalyst Guy.” Take a few minutes and watch it (click on the image above). It’s a gem. Nye’s new line on science “deniers” is that they are in the grip of “cognitive dissonance,” a psychological condition that allows them to disregard scientific evidence in deference to their “world view.”
The specific subject of the conversation is climate “denial” but no doubt Nye would extend the courtesy of his psychoanalysis to evolution skeptics as well. Carlson strikes back by putting the question to him: Granted that the climate is changing and granted that it may well be a product of human activity, that’s different from Nye’s insistence that blaming humans is “settled science.”
Carlson wants to know, if it’s really so “settled,” then tell us as a matter of science, not as an exercise in political rhetoric, what the climate would look like now were it not for human beings. There should be a “settled” response, but there isn’t and couldn’t be. Instead, Nye talks about how, absent humans, it would be like the year 1750. But transparently, this is speculation, not science, much less “settled science.”
Nye speaks pompously about “we in the science community,” but Carlson points out he isn’t a scientist but merely a “popularizer.” And isn’t science supposed to encourage “extreme skepticism,” asks Tucker, rather than marginalize it with invidious pop psychology labels?
Good for Tucker Carlson. More speculation: We’ll likely be seeing more of Nye — even more, I should say — as the debut of his new Netflix series, Bill Nye Saves the World, on April 21 approaches. Coincidentally or not, that’s the day before the March for Science in Washington, D.C., which Nye tells the New York Times he’s “thinking about attending.” Watch the trailer for Saves the World and see if you can get through without gagging.
His main theme will evidently be calling out science deniers. Nye will treat viewers to a monologue, “comedy bits” that are “brilliant!,” and some chatting with celebrities including “model Karlie Kloss, the actor Rachel Bloom and the fashion consultant Tim Gunn.” Schmoozing with models and fashion consultants — it’s what they do in the science community.
The New York Times appears to be living in an alternative universe, meanwhile, praising Nye for his subtlety — he “approach[es] hot topics like climate change and the reproductive rights of women with a measure of restraint, deliberately showing respect for opposing viewpoints even when they frustrate him.”
Really? Restraint? As Tucker Carlson points out, Nye has mused on camera about the idea of jailing climate deniers. Well, imprisonment is a kind of restraint, I suppose, but not the kind that the NY Times seems to have in mind.