Bill Nye has had it with flat-earthers and other science deniers.
While humanity is landing robots on Mars and breaking open the mysteries of the universe, there continues a social trend of "science denialism." From opposition to handwashing in the 1800s to modern climate deniers, anti-maskers and "flat-Earthers," or people who believe that planet Earth is actually flat ( it is not), "anti-science" movements aren't new, but they are a problem facing us all today, according to Nye..
"The flat-Earthers, the anti-vaxxers, the anti-maskers are not on board with the progress of science. And the thing is, it affects all of us," Nye told Space.com. "When you deny the body of knowledge that's been discovered through the process of science, you're holding all of us back, and this is why it's such an important time."
He added to this reporter: "Chelsea, are you gonna vote? Please vote. My goodness." (Reader — and Bill Nye — fear not, I am voting.)
Related: Bill Nye Tackles Time Travel (and Pot) in 2nd Netflix Season
"There are people running around in the United States, or in the world, on the electric internet, thinking out loud ... that the Earth might be flat," Nye told Space.com. "What?! It's the 21st century … just that anybody would even joke about it is weird. And so this anti-science movement that we have in the United States, well, in the Western world right now, is bad for everybody."
"That's why I did, or we did, the show the Science Guy show years ago was out of concern for the future of the United States especially," Nye said.
Nye referenced the importance of a number of science advances including relativity. "Your mobile phone depends on Einstein's theories of both special and general relativity to get the right answer, to get it to work. And so we take all that for granted," he said.
He added that we all also depend on the science behind genetically modified food, which stems back thousands of years and is as advanced as ever today. "I just like to remind everybody ... farming is not natural. If you stop farming, it goes back, the land goes back to something else … so this is all science."
Nye added that "it's the exploration of space that led to these profound, profound improvements for quality of life for so many of us."
"I'm excited about the future. I mean, when the young people are running the show ... things are gonna improve or change for the better very rapidly," Nye added. "But it's, you know, as we always say, it's going to be a close call ... if we go get the climate so far out of control."
You can see Bill Nye discuss science and more online at tin a replay of this year's virtual New York Comic-Con. Nye talked about his book "Bill Nye's Great Big World of Science (opens in new tab)," with coauthor and science journalist Gregory Mone.
Email Chelsea Gohd at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter @chelsea_gohd. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom and on Facebook.
Science went from a method to a fundamentalist belief system in under 400 years.
The year was 1660. London. Europe had been ravaged for centuries by the black plague, but even worse by regressive theocracies. This is the year that the first organization of scientists associated under the name The Royal Society. The entire spirit of the enterprise could be summed up by the three words they chose as their motto — NULLIUS IN VERBIM. “Take nobody’s word for it.”
Their mission statement was crystal clear in their intentions for science. Science was to be a method by which individuals investigated phenomena, not a priesthood of infallible experts whose authority became law. That is what state churches had done for centuries throughout Europe, and the Protestant Revolution that disrupted theocracy had also informed academia and planted the seeds of modern science. It was to be the end of dogma and the frontier of self-ownership and critical thinking.
360 years later it started taking its final breathes. In 2020 the majority of humanity collectively ceased skepticism. They became more afraid of other peoples paranoia than their own potential gullibility and blind faith. They began taking the authorities word for just about everything. Almost none of them could understand enough to determine if the information that corporate owned and sponsored media/government officials saturated their newly digitized world with was valid. They didn’t know nearly enough about science to verify the data, let alone to do their own independent observations, testing and interpretations. They were happy to believe what they were told.
This was largely due to three factors. First of all they couldn’t all possibly investigate for themselves. They had become so specialized and buried in the endless loop of pointless labor and consumption that drives capitalism, it wasn’t possible for them to understand. So they decided to take experts words for it. Why would the oligarchs lie to them in scientific terminology?
Secondly, they mostly didn’t even know what science was. They just knew that it often got the job done, and falsely believed it was the only view one could hold except for religion. It was the one true way.
Finally, and most importantly, they got scared. Out of fears that had been concocted by the perilous sophistry of statistics, and often without any personal experience to confirm the veracity of the boogeyman allegedly stalking them, they gave fully into a new priesthood and insisted the state follow its edicts. The scientocracy was born.
Doublespeak, absurdity and fanaticism gripped the scientocracy. Self-righteous fervor fueled its supporters, and they reaffirmed their piousness with the self-congratulatory heroism of obedience and performative goodness.
R.I.P. Science 1660–2020
To be fair, it had already nearly committed suicide in previous years. Quantum mechanics began pointing impeccably towards an observer created reality. The realism and materialism which had driven science was being made scientifically obsolete by the discovery that our experiences are shaped by our beliefs and expectations. So science sorta nibbled at the crust of its death before ever taking the slice. We need not mourn it.
But mark my words, the scientocracy, which need only appeal to science in order to manufacture consent, that situation is going to get bleak fast. Welcome to The Dark Ages 2.0.
(This one sounds like the Ghost of Vonnegut!)
This has been a plan for quite some time. Ike Eisenhower noted to the nation the importance of educating the masses so that they would make good decisions when voting for leadership. We all know how that worked out.
He also noted a growing threat within the country, a threat he termed"The Military-Industrial Complex."
It is still with us. As are so many other threats, known and unknown. And as you no doubt are aware, some threats are created more equal than others.........
Only those who don't understand or stubbornly won't "believe" (but it is NOT a belief system) Science would call it Scientocracy!!!
No. It is absolutely impossible for each of us to verify the knowledge that Science gives us. We need to accept that there really are experts who really do that work. BUT if you can't understand any of it... that is YOUR fault and not the realm of science!!! It is pretty understandable on many fundamental levels if you but only look and study!
Thanks for your "words of wisdom"?
But to be the devil's advocate of your devil's advocate, you would think that even if you do end up going off course or even over the cliff, science and the truth does not die. That is the beauty of science and the scientific method. It is not infallible, but lives on. And it affords you the means to reverse course, then discover and move forward along the "correct" path.
Now I want to preface this by saying that years ago I'd have never thought I'd see myself providing a defense for anti-vaxxers but I find myself here now in that I found one example that I can't particularly argue against and that is the Tuskegee Syphilis Study. Those that were sick were told they would be recieving treatment for their infection but were injected with a placebo treatment instead. I would hope anti-vaxxers aren't claiming that vaccines themselves do not work since they obviously do. Their issue is that they don't trust those that provide the vaccines since there is no way for the average person to check the integrity of the vaccine they are being given other than just simply taking the word of the group providing it (in this case the US Public Health Service). I fully understand how that isn't enough for some people and I feel these organizations could do better in fostering the trust they need rather than simply dismiss them as "dumb anti-vaxxers" and laugh.
Anti-maskers is a prickly one because it's so recent that the science itself is not all that clear. We both know that always takes time and money. We will see scientists and scientific studies backing both sides of this for a while until it eventually gets cleared up. Myself personally am in the camp of the mask isn't as effective as its claimed to be and that social distancing itself has been carrying the brunt of the weight of slowing the spread of the virus. I'd rather see 3 people in a room meters apart not wearing masks than 10 people clustered together wearing masks. Thats the conclusion I've ended up drawing off of the data I've been exposed to.
1. Flat Earthers do NOT have any photos showing flat expanses of Earth that is flat because the Earth is not a perfect sphere. The reason the Earth appears flat anywhere on the surface is that the planet is humongous. It only appears flat, but ask any civil engineer - even over short distances, you MUST account for the curvature of the Earth in their work.
2. As far as masks, peer reviewed scientific studies overwhelmingly indicate that masks are effective in reducing transmission of the virus. They are not perfect. You are wrong when you state that there are as many studies that indicate masks are not effective. That is simply false. You may be thinking of the early studies which claimed that the virus can pass through masks and that only N95 grade masks block the virus. That was actually true. But what scientists had eventually found is that the wearing of masks greatly diminish the transmission of the virus by INFECTED people. So the reason to wear a mask is not to prevent yourself from inhaling the virus, but to prevent yourself from exhaling the virus in droplets of spittle, thus protecting OTHERS from having to inhale infected droplets. This is why, in countries where the usage of masks was widespread, the incidence of virus transmission was low than countries where mask wearing was not widespread. Frankly, the scientists also indicated that it is not simply the wearing of masks that reduce contagion rates, but a combination of measures. In other words, over 10 months the studies and learnings have evovled! There is no longer a question about whether masks are an effective part of the measures needed to combat the problem of coronavirus.
3. The antivaxxer debate is more complicated when it comes to the coronavirus. There is no debate whether the methodology of vaccination is effective or not. The issue is whether or not the correct methodology is being pursued for coronavirus vaccines. It typically takes years of scientific study to determine whether a vaccine is safe or not (i.e., whether there are dangerous side effects). I will personally NOT be taking any vaccine that was rushed out over 3 months of phase 3 studies. I am not an antivaxxer, but I am also not going to trust any study that did not COMPLETELY follow the scientific method. These short time frames for phase 3 testing and analysis are a sign of political desperation...not science.