In an interview with Vox, Bill Nye argues that politicians who deny man-made global warming are violating their constitutional duties to the American people. Nye then misconstrues a clause in Article 1, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution to support his point.
“Well, first of all, I think denying climate change is in nobody’s best interests,” Nye told Vox in a recent interview. “But I also think denying science in general is in no one’s best interests.”
“When you have people denying this basic process, and how we all got here, it’s offensive to me intellectually,” Nye added. “And I happen to think it’s unpatriotic. Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution says the government shall ‘promote the progress of science and useful arts.’”
“So if you’re a politician looking to derail the progress of science, I think you’re not doing your job,” Nye said. “I want voters and taxpayers to recognize this. Do you really want to vote for somebody who doesn’t believe in the scientific method — and doesn’t believe that we defeated smallpox? Do you really want that person running your government?”
Nye’s invocation of Article 1, Section 8 to shame lawmakers skeptical of global warming — basically a tactic to shame Republicans — omits a key part of the section that sort of ruins his point.
Here’s Section 8 in its entirety: “To promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries.”
The clause does not relate to Congress deferring to the scientific method, but rather it allows lawmakers to create a system of patents and copyrights for inventors. In fact, this part of Section 8 is referred to as the “Copyright Clause.” It is not in fact called the “Scientific Method Clause.”
Aside from misconstruing the Constitution, Nye also mentioned he applied to be an astronaut four different times — all four times, he was rejected by the U.S. government because he didn’t have the required levels of education.
“I applied to be an astronaut four times, but I never got the gig, because I just don’t have the PhDs,” Nye told Vox, adding that he started doing stand-up comedy instead.
“I won a local Steve Martin lookalike contest, and I started doing some standup comedy on the side,” Nye said. “So I was volunteering at the Pacific Science Center, and I thought a lot about how young people really were the future, and I wanted to affect them. I felt that during that era, there was a systemic problem in our society. In all sorts of ways, we were satisfied with mediocrity. And I really wanted to change that.”
“The show was basically an effort to affect kids and change the future,” he said. “And the kids who watched the show, they’re coming of age now and are starting to run the world. I’m waiting to see if they can cure cancer and invent a better battery.”
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