Bill Nye appears on Fox News and it doesn't go well

Commentary: The Science Guy and Fox News' Tucker Carlson don't get along as they try to discuss climate change.

Chris Matyszczyk
2 min read

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They don't get along.

Klay/YouTube screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

Scientists sometimes have a difficult time communicating.

Bill Nye, however, has found a niche in representing science by articulating its basic tenets in reasonably comprehensible language.

It doesn't always work.

On Monday, the Science Guy appeared on Tucker Carlson's Fox News show to discuss climate change. It was a spirited discussion, the essential spirit being: Carlson thinks Nye is full of it, and Nye thinks Carlson is full of it.

This didn't entirely lend itself to education. Carlson wanted precise numbers on how human activity is affecting global warming. Nye explained that the climate is changing within decades, rather than thousands of years, and this is being caused by human activity.

Nye insisted this was now settled science and that perhaps this science just doesn't fit with Carlson's world view. Carlson claimed the mantle of fair balance. The problem was that the mutual contempt between them prevented any mutual acceptance of each other's arguments.

The whole thing devolved into Nye using his cellphone to time how long it took for Carlson to interrupt him.

It made for entertaining but not enlightening television. Rationalists are finding it very hard these days to get their arguments heard in an era where facts have dual personalities and emotions drive thoughts.

Should you wish to take a break for primal screaming after watching the video, perhaps NASA's site is as good a place as any to learn, for example, that the rate of of global warming is currently far higher than at any time in the last 1,300 years.

If you want hope, then let me remind you of the words of Masayoshi Son, CEO of SoftBank. Speaking at Mobile World Congress on Monday, he said that, in 30 years time, "one of the chips in our shoes will be smarter than our brain. We will be less than our shoes, and we will be stepping on them."

At least then, we'll be able to let our shoes tell us what's true.

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