Friday, April 29, 2011

Bill Nye Said What about the Moon?!!! Time to giterdone!

Ok, I can understand when a 2 year old gets confused and maybe a bit flustered by basic science but adults? Oh come ON! Have you heard the latest incident? My nephew posted this link to with the headline:
  • Bill Nye Boo'd In Texas For Saying The Moon Reflects The Sun
Oh yeah, you read right! And there is more of this idiocy! Again from the article:
  • Nye was in town to participate in McLennan Community College's Distinguished Lecture Series
  • (Waco Texas residents) were "visibly angered by what some perceived as irreverence," according to the Waco Tribune.
Nye was referring to Genesis 1:16 that speaks about a greater and lesser light, (the greater light of day and the lesser light of night, or moonlight) people in the audience were enraged, with several leaving the lecture all together, when in passing Nye said that moonlight is not a light at all, but only a reflector. article here
You can read the original Waco Tribune article here


Anonymous said...

There are seven moving objects that can be seen in in the sky from the surface of the earth. These are Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn. The days of the week were named after these objects. Only one of these, the Sun, produces its own light. The rest shine by the diffusely reflected light from the Sun. However, you can still refer to each of these objects as a source of light illuminating the earth.

Dave Tackett said...

Hi Paul,

If you want to demonstrate that the Bible can't be "absolutely literal truth," Rev 7:1 "I saw four angels standing on the four corners of the Earth" would be a much better example.

Now, having demostrated that I'm not a "fundy," I have to admit I have a few serious problems with this (Not your posting the article, of course, but with the credibilty of the sources and the logic of what was allegidly said.)

The original quote was "A number of audience members left the room at that point, visibly angered by what some perceived as irreverence" not as bsalert "several people in the audience stormed out in fury" That's not paraphrasing, that's exaggerating. Other examples abound. It's much clearer in the original article (via the Internet Archive's wayback machine] that it wasn't the moon reflecting light that angered those, but his anti-Christian rant that was, not surprisingly, percieved as irreverant.

Bsalert is not a reliable source for unbiased reporting; it is a left wing equivelant of the right wing Free Repulic. Both love to commit strawman falacies [an example, the top tweet at Bsalert's twitter feed states the GOP is against "low energy light bulbs" because "progress" is "partisan" while not mentioning the legitimate concerns about the Mercury in them (Read the breakage instructions. Scary!) and the fact that the mandate caused the last lightbulb factory in the U.S. to close.]

More importantly, what Nye apparently said was an oversimplification to the point of facetiousness. Yes most of the light from the moon is reflected, but trace amounts are re-emmitted, and emmitted - due to low levels of radiation in certain areas. While this isn't "man on the street" knowledge, Nye had to know this.

Just as bad, he trips himself up by relying on only one definition of a "light." One of the World English Dictionary definitions of the noun "light" is "anything that illuminates" and from the same dictionary the verb illuminate "to supply or brighten with light" The Moon certainly brightens the Earth with light, even though it it is not the original source of the extreme majority the light.

There are days I hate being an agnostic and a poiltical centrist and want to flip off (nice non-violent rhetoric) all fundamentalists (both Christian and Athiest) and wing-nuts (both left and right wing). [Friends excepted]

The only way to be completely wrong is to be completely certain - I think. :-)

Beam Me Up said...

I did get the impression that the alert posting was a bit slanted so I went to the Waco post which seemed to say pretty much the same thing. I may have exaggerated a bit, but it has been my experience that there is often no middle ground. A truly religious person is often on a life long search for enlightenment. Often these are the exception. I like Nye, he is a great showman it is unfortunate that he can be be a bit rigid.

Dave Tackett said...

"A truly religious person is often on a life long search for enlightenment. Often these are the exception."

Well said!! And the same could be said for scientists, statesmen etc.

And I like the term "rigid" I think we are living in a an age that is becoming far too rigid. (I'm sure I'm guilty too, despite my attempts at a Taoist outlook).

John said...

"A truly religious person is often on a life long search for enlightenment."

Enlightenment... Pun? LOL

You know... Yesterday when I read this is it said 1 thing, now it says something different. Originally what I took from the article was that they were insulted because he was dumbing down the lecture as "everyone knows light from the moon is a reflection".... Now I'm reading that a woman was insulted because she believes he was trying to disprove a quote from the bible?

I guess at this point I'm confused on which it is... Perhaps I misread the article?

Whatever the case... If people were insulted by the fact that he was dumbing down the lecture, then I can understand that... But I wouldn't rip Nye a new one for it either simply because there are a lot of ignorant people out there who don't understand basic science... That being said, that is NOT a regional thing as there are idiots all across this great nation, YES, that includes the northern and western states. ;)

If however it was about 1 or 2 nut jobs who didn't understand what he was trying to say and took it as a religious attack, well... Again, this shouldn't be confused with a regional ignorance as (again) we have idiots all across this great land. And, for that, I call fowl on the article for being bigoted against the south. This is just another example of northern-western-liberal bias-Ignorance.

Beam Me Up said...

John, there are ways to take the article, but I think the Waco Tribune seem to report it with as little spin as possible. My take was that it was more than just a few, I didn't get the impression that they were angry that they thought they were being talked down to. It seemed to me that they were upset that Nye's talk was at odds with their belief. Who knows their level of education in basic science, but to take a stand on what I consider very fundamental seemed so wildly out of context.

Anonymous said...

Doesn't everybody realize that the Earth is flat and is the center of the universe? Afterall, what are inquisitions for?

Beam Me Up said...

Did somebody call for the inquisition?
sorry, Monty was an influence in my formative years....

John said...

... That's a fair cop...