No Science Please, We’re Fox

Bill Nye, who started his career explaining science to children, finds it harder to explain the subject to a Fox Business Network Host

H/T: Mediaite

FILED UNDER: Environment, Media, Quick Takes, Science & Technology
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Well part of the problem is that Nye seems more interested in advocating a particular viewpoint than actually explaining the science. As he eventually concedes, it’s not clear right now how global warming would impact hurricane formation. Some research suggests hurricanes will become more common and grow stronger. Some research suggests hurricanes will become less common and weaker. And even if we knew the true answer to that question, the effects of global warming are aggregate changes over the course of the entire season. The idea you can look at a specific hurricane and say it’s global warming related or not is ridiculous.

    Nye could easily have made both those points and then gone on to talk about the potential aggregate effects of global warming. Instead, he starts out talking like it’s definite that Irene was worse because of global warming and that in a few months, will have some sort of measure of exactly how much worse. Then when the anchor points out that the last few hurricane seasons have been below predictions, Nye does a complete 180 and starts saying that global warming definitely makes hurricanes weaker.

    This makes him look like he’s just making stuff up to fit whatever facts are thrown at him.




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  2. Scott O. says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    Then when the anchor points out that the last few hurricane seasons have been below predictions, Nye does a complete 180 and starts saying that global warming definitely makes hurricanes weaker.

    No, he didn’t. He said global warming may decrease the frequency of hurricanes, not make them weaker.




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  3. MarkedMan says:

    There is really no point to appearing on Fox. These guys aren’t interested in the truth, only in reinforcing their beliefs. The same can be said for most of their viewers.




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  4. Derrick says:

    So, Bill Nye’s been explaining science to children 5 days a week for at least a decade, but the Fox News audience is still very confused. I think that about sums up their demographic.




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  5. @Scott O.:

    No, he didn’t. He said global warming may decrease the frequency of hurricanes, not make them weaker.

    Okay, I took a different interpretation of what “decapitating” a storm meant. But either way, you’re missing my point. He still should have discussed that the link between hurricane formation and global warming is an open area of research up front. One way people like Nye hurt their case when advocating about climate change is that they tend be over definite in their pronouncements.




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  6. legion says:

    The host, along with Fox’s main demographic, clearly already has a lot of preconceived notions about the subject. Nye is simply telling him he’s mistaken. That’s not the same as being confusing.




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  7. mantis says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    Some research suggests hurricanes will become more common and grow stronger. Some research suggests hurricanes will become less common and weaker.

    This isn’t accurate. There is no consensus on the effect of warming on the frequency of hurricanes, as you note, but there is plenty to suggest that warming increases the strength of hurricanes.

    The evidence shows that since our current warming period began in the mid-1970s, there is a significant trend of hurricanes increasing in energy, giving us bigger storms with longer durations. Rising sea levels combined with increased evaporation, which means more water vapor in the warmer atmosphere, increases the intensity of the storms. This is caused by warming.




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  8. Scott O. says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    I agree his answers could have been better.




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  9. @mantis:

    The evidence shows that since our current warming period began in the mid-1970s, there is a significant trend of hurricanes increasing in energy, giving us bigger storms with longer durations.

    Well, ACE for Atlantic storms have been increasing, but the ACE for Pacific storms has been declining. It’s should also be noted Atlantic storms are heavily cyclical, so there isquestion if this is the result of an actual upward trend, some change in the nature of the cycle, or noise and what exactly the trade off between number of storms, duration, and intensity is.

    And again, my issue with Nye isn’t that he said we should be concerned with potential effects of climate change on hurricanes, it’s that he made it sound like there’s a clearly defined conclusion as to what that effect is. He was, in his desire to over simplify, making a prediction that may not be backed up by science. If that prediction fails to pan out, he ends up discrediting legitimate science work.

    I guess the real problem is that Bill Nye isn’t actually a scientist, he’s a pundit pretending to be one and in his eagerness to make dramatic prediction to get himself on TV more, he ends up spreading the very confusion he claims to be fighting. It’s sort of the rhetorical equivalent of spraying water on an oil fire.




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  10. john personna says:

    To understand GW and Hurricanes, you have to understand statistical variations. That’s actually pretty hard for most people. Statistics are under-taught.

    (It’s now about the frequency or power of future hurricanes, it’s about the frequency and power of future maybe-hurricanes, rare events that happen on the statistical fringe.)




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  11. @mantis:

    In the 1970s the panic was over global cooling, not warming.

    Oceans have been cooling, not warming, since 2003.

    Global hurricane intensity is not increasing.

    Sea levels are actually falling.

    “Facts are such inconvenient things.”




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  12. mantis says:

    @Donald Sensing:

    “Facts are such inconvenient things.”

    I posted actual scientific studies. You posted propaganda. Don’t lecture me on facts. You wouldn’t know one if it hit you in the face.

    One Newsweek article does not a “panic” make. The vast majority of climate studies predicted warming in the 1970s, and we knew much less about climate then.

    Oceans are indeed warming.

    Hurricanes are absolutely increasing. See the scientific studies I linked above, not your bullshit propaganda blog.

    Sea levels are absolutely increasing. You point to a chart that identifies a small dip in mid to late-2007. That was short lived. Sea levels have continued to rise since.

    Sell your crap to people as gullible as you, Donald. I ain’t buying.




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  13. Lit3Bolt says:

    @mantis:

    Grifters gotta grift…




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