Rush Limbaugh, in the last hour of his show today, unhappy about Bill Nye’s views on global warming, said the following: “Bill Nye is not a scientist!”
Is this true?
If Nye’s Wikipedia page is to be believed, it is not. Nye, by any reasonable definition, is a scientist as well as a science educator. Here are a few highlights from his career:
- He majored at Cornell in engineering (one of the sciences), graduating in 1977.
- He “developed a hydrolic pressure resonance suppressor still used in the 747.”
- “In the early 2000s, Nye assisted in the development of a small sundial that was included in the Mars Exploration Rover missions.”
- He holds a number of inventor patents.
- “From 2001 to 2006 Nye served as Frank H.T. Rhodes Class of ’56 University Professor at Cornell University.”
- “From 2005 to 2010 Nye was the vice president of The Planetary Society, an organization that advocates space science research and the exploration of other planets, particularly Mars. He became the organization’s second Executive Director in September 2010 when Louis Friedman stepped down.”
- “In May 2011, he received an Honorary Doctor of Science degree from Willamette University.”
In other words, Nye has not functioned throughout his life as an entertainer playing a scientist. He really is a scientist. If Rush Limbaugh had wanted to offer fair pushback to Bill Nye, he might have pointed out that Nye’s opinions on global warming need carry no more weight than those of any other informed person because Nye is not a climate scientist. But then Limbaugh isn’t either, nor does he ever have climate scientists on his show to discuss the issue.
But wouldn’t it be nice if more climate scientists actually did take to the airwaves on the issue of global warming? Maybe it’s not a good idea to have Nye out front on such an issue. In the below interview with Nye, for example, Rachel Maddow asks him questions that really ought to be directed to a climate scientist.