William Nye, who goes by the nom de plume, “Bill Nye, the science guy,” was interviewed on the Tucker Carlson program on Monday and fell victim to Carlson’s brilliant interview style–generally Carlson takes his guests points as true, and asks questions that that anyone generally interested in learning more may ask, but those questions usually expose the holes in the guest’s logic.
When one considers that Nye is children’s TV entertainer not a scientist, and has at times, been ridiculed by climate experts, it’s not surprising that Carlson asked Nye some basic questions which Nye couldn’t (or didn’t want to) answer.
After introducing the subject, including Nye’s call to send skeptics to jail, Carlson explained that we’ve always have had climate change so the real question is why is it happening and who is causing it.
To what degree is climate changed caused by human activity? Is it a hundred percent caused by human activity, is it 74.3%? It’s “settled science,” please tell us to what degree human activity is responsible?
A simple question that Nye didn’t want to answer so he started playing games with the words Tucker Carlson used:
“So the word ‘degree’ is a word that you chose, but the speed that climate change is happening is caused by humans. Instead of happening on time-scales of millions of years, or let’s say, fifteen thousand years, it’s happening on a time-scale of decades, and now years.”
“To what extent is human activity responsible for speeding that up?” Asked the host, “100%” Nye answered, “If that’s the number you want. Humans are causing it to happen catastrophically fast.”
Carlson continued, “OK so at what rate would it have changed without human activity? You look annoyed that I’m asking these questions, but they’re very basic questions. They’re not denial.”
“OK,” answered the not a science guy as he went on to give an answer that proved his lack of science training, “so, basically, the cycles of climate change, the last ice age we had was tens of thousands of years ago.”
Er..Bill, the last ice age we had ended a bit less than 12,000 years ago. That is something Nye would know if he was a climate scientist, or if he took Earth Science 101 as a college freshman as I did.
Nye continued, “So, uh, bear in mind that in ancient dinosaur days there was more carbon monoxide, the world was warmer than it is now, there was an inland sea in what is now Wyoming. I understand you have a member of Congress from Colorado used to be underwater and you can go to Dinosaur National Monument to see it, but that was millions of years ago.”
Carlson interjected, “You just said it was tens of thousands,”
“That was the ice age,” Nye corrected “The rate, the rate is the problem. Now here’s the thing – half of the people in the world live on sea coasts. As we get the ocean a little bit warmer, the ocean is going to expand, and people on the sea coast are going to be displaced.”
‘OK, but you’re changing,” Carlson corrected him, “you’re not answering my question.”
Tucker Carlson asked the question a different way. Pointing out that Nye contends the rate of climate change is accelerating, the Fox host asked how much of that acceleration is caused by humans. Getting semantically snobby to cover up the fact he didn’t have the answer, Nye said “The word ‘accelerated’ is an understatement, It’s happening extraordinarily fast.”
Okay Mr Nye, then let me ask you something Tucker didn’t. If the speed of climate change is accelerating, why does the satellite data show there hasn’t been an increase in temperature for the past 18 years? That seems to me as if it was slowing down…