Tag Archive | Bill Nye the Science Guy

Bill Nye is Anti-Science

When I first noticed that people were using the descriptor “intelligent” not to denote people who seemed to have higher-than-average levels of intelligence, but to mark allies in political agreement, I posted that something was wrong and that it was going to get worse:

Intelligence has become the new deity.

“If you believe what I believe, then you are smart. If you are smart, then you will believe what I believe.”

An outward thing from which a person derives their own net worth–the problem is that the “outward thing” is actually an inward thing. In true Dunning-Kruger fashion, people judge their own intelligence by their own ideas, and since they always believe their own ideas to be correct, they always judge themselves to be intelligent.

I’m sure we’ve all run into this. At some point, someone has surely said something to you that was similar to, “You seem really smart… You should read this” or “… You should watch this video.” It carries with it the most dangerous of subtleties: “If you are actually smart, then you’d agree with me. Maybe you don’t have the information that I have. Here’s that information. If you still don’t agree, then I was wrong about you being smart.”

In fact, I’ve been called an “idiot” probably more than anyone I’ve ever met, and this insult has never been thrown at me in any context other than political disagreement. No one could ever possibly mistake me for an idiot. Whether I’m correct or incorrect is unrelated to that. In reality, if I say something and someone thinks I’m an idiot for it, then the much more likely answer is that they simply didn’t understand what I said in the first place.

Intelligence isn’t a prerequisite of being right, and neither is being right an indicator of intelligence. Some of the greatest minds in human history were wrong about any number of things. Being correct is a factor of knowledge and nothing else. Even someone with an IQ of 250 will be wrong about any number of things, simply because we lack a lot of information, and their unnaturally high IQ will do nothing to prevent them from being wrong.

Once more, it’s all about the Dunning-Kruger Effect, which is one of the most breathtaking psychological breakthroughs in human history. A person judges their own understanding of who is and isn’t intelligent relative to their own intelligence. I pointed out yesterday that we judge value systems relative to our own value systems–all of this is obvious, and the ties to Nietzsche’s philosophy and Austrian economics are equally obvious. We judge the value systems of other cultures by our own value system, and compare them relative to our own; ours are our own, so we like ours, and the more different the other systems are to ours, the more we dislike them. It’s impossible to escape from this, because my love for liberty-oriented value systems forms the basis that I use to assess the value of other systems. It’s also the case with intelligence: my only gauge for assessing other people’s intelligence is my own intelligence.

Several “celebrated scientists” have been exhibiting exactly the behavior that Murray Rothbard and others wrote about. They have become pimps of their scientific credibility in the employ of the state and the status quo. In fact, they have sacrificed their right to call themselves scientists and are about as anti-science as any group of people could be.

These guys.

Modern priests

What is this illustrious word “science?” What does it mean? What does it entail? If it is to be anything more than just a cheap and gaudy rubberstamp that we apply to whatever ideology we happen to believe, then it must have an actual meaning–which, ironically, is a statement that any scientist would agree with. Definitions are important, because they form the basis of the words that we use to understand and communicate the world. A simple Google search gives us:

the intellectual and practical activity encompassing the systematic study of the structure and behavior of the physical and natural world through observation and experiment.

I can’t help but wonder if that definition makes Stephen Hawking, Bill Nye, and Neili deGrasse Tyson blush and feel ashamed. It should.

Of course, my argument against them is part of the problem, isn’t it? I have no problem recognizing that. In the vein of any actual scientist, I see my own bias and absolutely insane demands of these human beings, that they must apply the scientific method in all areas of their lives, and that they aren’t allowed to deviate from it. In fact, it is I who is accusing them of heresy, isn’t it? They have violated my religion of Science by disgracing its methods, much like a Christian violating Christianity by disgracing the teachings of Christ.

My problem with them is that they should apply the Scientific Method and don’t.

This combines with the masses’ misunderstanding that they do apply the Scientific Method.

In effect, I’m demanding of them what the masses of people think they are already doing. “Surely we can trust Neil Tyson’s statements about art and science funding! He’s a scientist!” Of course, it was not terribly long ago that Neil Tyson asked his many, many Twitter followers if they truly wanted to live in a world without art, framing all of reality as a false dichotomy built on the idea that if the government doesn’t do something, then it can’t be done. The obvious problems with this stupidity don’t need to be pointed out–didn’t I just buy tickets to see a musical concert? The government didn’t buy those tickets.

Bill Nye went on CNN and made the statement that the Constitution authorizes Congress to fund the sciences, and made mention of Article I, Section 8. It’s true that this is the section that enumerates Congressional power, but nothing else that Nye said is remotely true, as the passage that Nye quotes leaves off highly significant data. What do we call a “scientist” who discards a large part of the data because it isn’t convenient to his hypothesis?

“Formerly employed,” perhaps.

“Not a scientist.” Yes, that’s another option.

In fact, the section of the Constitution to which Bill Nye refers explicitly enumerates Congressional power without ambiguity, and the full passage asserts that Congress may promote the arts and sciences by securing patents for the respective authors and inventors. It is authorization to issue patents, not authorization to issue money. There’s no way that Nye could have accidentally read the first part of the sentence and not the second part. This was, we must conclude, an intentional ploy to convince the people who take him at his word as a reliable source that the Constitution authorizes Congress to fund scientific research. In the interest of scientific integrity, I will provide the evidence to support my contention:

Congress shall have the power…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;

So this is two “celebrated scientists” who have been thoroughly disloyal to the precepts of science–the Scientific Method, the Bible of Science. Since so few people are calling them out on their heresy, allow me to do so:

Bill Nye and Neil deGrasse Tyson, you have betrayed your church, and you should both repent and make restitution. This restitution should come in the form of public apologies on no less than six occasions throughout the next six weeks–two in written, two in aural, and two in video form. That shall be your penance.

I may sound like I’m joking, and I am, to a degree. I don’t expect Nye and Tyson to ever back down from their arrogant betrayal of the scientific method and wanton displays of the Dunning-Kruger Effect, much less to ever issue a single apology for the stupid shit they have said. However, I’m serious about my loyalty to the scientific method, to reason, and to evidence, and I’m serious that clearly these three men cannot say the same.

What of Hawking? Well, Hawking has repeatedly waxed at length about the evils of capitalism and how only world government can save us from its oppressive destruction. Never mind that anyone who has taken even a single introductory college-level economics course can attest to the scientific fact that we do not have capitalism anywhere on planet Earth. So I’m calling out Hawking on clearly never studying economics, yet routinely attempting to talk about economics as though he has any idea what in the hell he’s talking about. Clearly, he doesn’t, and any first-year college student could confirm that.

So to these three heretical priests, I say:

Repent! The end is Nye.

What we’re seeing is a more of an revival than a renaissance, as the precepts of science have been tossed in the trash with reckless abandon. What else can we conclude, when “celebrated scientists” make claims that they either know to be false, trusting that the masses will believe them, or are simply too ignorant on the subject to know whether their claim is false at all?

Yet this hasn’t stopped the masses–the precise characteristics which makes them “the masses,” after all, is that they aren’t interested in independently discovering truth and will blindly follow whatever ideology is handed down to them from “trusted authorities”–from swallowing all of it, with Tyson’s demonstrably false, fallacious, and erroneous spiel seeing tens of thousands of retweets by people who have no desire to think the matter through for themselves.

Trust has been placed in these three people, by the masses of people, who, again, are defined “as the masses” precisely by their lack of interest in pursuing these matters intellectually, and these three people have utterly betrayed that trust. Yet the masses don’t know it, do they? No, because the masses aren’t interested in scrutinizing the words of their favorite priests. For the masses, these poisoned, fallacious ideas enter the mind unchallenged, and there they embed themselves; the masses never stop to ponder the false dichotomy that Tyson has proposed, or what credentials Stephen Hawking might have to discuss economics rather than cosmology.

And I’m as qualified to call myself a scientist as Bill Nye.

I haven’t researched this recently, and seem to recall Nye having a Master’s, but maybe not.

In fact, if a “scientist” is someone who liberally applies the scientific method to questions, then I’m infinitely more qualified. Bill Nye has the advantage in that this actor and performer managed to get a kids’ show where he cheaply purchased credibility among the masses and became a trusted authority figure. Indeed, I find myself wondering whether Bill Nye was purposely planted there when we were kids precisely for this purpose–precisely for using him to peddle statism and the status quo once we became adults. It wouldn’t be the most extravagantly dangerous thing the state ever did. After all, they took control of the entire education apparatus and have been using it to manipulate the masses for 60 years. Now those people raised by the state education are adults and in charge, and the idea of dismantling that apparatus is met with knee-jerk angry reactions; the idea is rejected without consideration.

Give me their minds through their formative years, and by the time they’re adults I can have them convinced of anything. I can have them saying it’s okay to kill people who disagree with them, that people of one race deserve to be annihilated or enslaved, that it’s okay to steal things if they want those things… The mind of a child is not critical. By the time they are able to think critically, the ideas I plant will already be firmly in their minds, forming the very lens through which they view the world.

We have rarely been in more danger of a religious sentiment overtaking reason, and Nye, Tyson, Kaku, and Hawking are leading the charge. “Science” isn’t a set of beliefs that one must adhere to or be a heretic. I’ve seen “pro-science” people do the metaphorical equivalent of burning people at the stake for dare challenging one of the items in their set of beliefs, and I’m sure you’ve seen the same. “Science” is a methodology. Anyone who demands that you acquiesce to a set of beliefs and ideas that they have put forward is peddling religion, not science.

If they can’t present evidence, if they can’t present a reasonable argument, and if they can’t prove their position, based on all available evidence, is sound, then they are unworthy of trust. If they ignore huge amounts of information simply because it’s inconvenient to their hypothesis, then they are engaging in cherry-picking, another hallmark of religion, rather than science.

When Scientists Become Pimps

Michio Kaku, Stephen Hawking, Neil DeGrasse Tyson, Bill Nye–

I’m looking at you.

I see you; I see what you’re doing, and it needs to stop. Your scientific credibility isn’t a whore for you to pimp you to lend weight to your political positions. There is no correlation between physics and immigration, yet that hasn’t stopped Michio Kaku from coming out and discussing how Trump is wrong about immigration*. The headline for the article? Why, of course! “This celebrated scientist says Trump is wrong!”

And? This celebrated scientist knows no more about immigration than any layperson who has read a few articles or books on the subject. But because he is a “celebrated” physicist, as there’s no such thing as some generic “scientist” except as a catch-all term for people who study a hard science, the media and the public treat his political position as though it has scientific weight behind it, as though being able to say “I’m a celebrated physicist” makes his statements about economics, government regulation, or immigration any more worthy of being accepted.

While obviously, Kaku, Hawking, Tyson, and Nye–and others, of course–it’s not your fault that the media chooses to treat your words in this way, but you know they do, and you know the public does. You know that if you say something about economics or the evils of capitalism–as Hawking has done–that your words will be taken to be truth as a given, and from there will become popular arguments for or against whatever it is you’re advocating. In this way, you have sacrificed your integrity. You have turned your scientific credibility into a whore, to be pimped out at your leisure in support of whatever Popular Opinion of the Day you think will help you sell books.

Don’t bullshit me, man.

There’s a reason that virtually every popular YouTube personality through 2016 came out in support of Bernie Sanders, and the reason isn’t particularly hard to see. Hell, half of those YouTube personalities couldn’t give a single, solitary reason, when confronted, why they supported Sanders. Yet they supported him anyway. Why? Because it was the popular thing to do. They’d have lost subscribers for coming out in support of Hillary or Trump–Stein and Johnson became more or less neutral. YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, and Reddit, where your words circulate the most, are overwhelmingly dominated by younger millennials, the same people who cast their lot in with Sanders whether they had any articulated reason to or not.

You’re doing the same crap. It doesn’t matter to me if you can pseudo-rationalize your positions, but I’m willing to bet that most of you can’t. Why? Because “scientists” today, as a class, have totally forgotten what the Dunning-Kruger Effect is, and seem to think that being an expert in physics makes one an expert in economics, politics, and the nature of the state. This, of course, despite the fact that all hard sciences are increasingly specialized, and a scientist in one larger field–say, “physics”–may be only marginally less ignorant than a layperson on some subfield–say, “plasma physics.”

Oh, here’s a shock for you: Bill Nye is pro choice. Well, I’ll be! Who would ever have guessed?

And while I’m pro-choice, too, I’m not out there pimping what little scientific credibility I had–because, let’s face it, Bill Nye is an engineer without an abundance of credibility to pimp out–to cast my lot in with a political side in the hopes of rekindling or enhancing my popularity. When I say something about abortion, I give fair treatment to the other side, and provide a logically consistent explanation for my position. I don’t say, “Hi, I’m Bill Nye the Science Guy. Here are some scientific facts interwoven with arbitrarily defined concepts presented as scientific facts, which combine into a pro-choice position. Good luck separating the arbitrarily defined concepts from the actual science, because I’m going to present this information in such a way as to make them indistinguishable to a layperson. Why? Because I’m Bill Nye the Fucking Science Guy, and if there’s anything worth pimping out for popularity and fame, it’s scientific credibility.”

You remind me of the left-wing media. And I’m curious, actually, whether the four of you would even admit that the dominant media outlets lean hard to the left, with the sole exception of Fox, which leans hard to the right. John Stossel recently wrote about his time at ABC, and reported that he was the only one who was stated to lean any direction; everyone else insisted they didn’t lean at all. Except they did–they leaned hard to the left, and they continue to. But that sort of bias is common–we know people don’t generally see or acknowledge their own biases. My father doesn’t think Fox News leans to the right. A colleague of mine thinks that Fox News is probably “as close to fair and balanced” as any media outlet is. They’re wrong, of course. Fox is right-wing. There’s nothing fair and balanced about any of it.

I would be fucking floored if the four of you didn’t honestly believe yourselves to be neutral politically. But you aren’t. You’ve jumped on the left-wing bandwagon. You’ve engaged in too much “What does my gut tell me about this?” thinking. You’ve mistaken your emotions for rational positions. And even if, by some freak chance, you do end up saying something that isn’t demonstrably false, you end up being right for the wrong reasons, which is only a little better than being wrong for the right reasons.

So here’s what you guys should do–I mean, assuming your scientific credibility and integrity are important to you. You should use some of that fame and popularity you’ve acquired by jumping on leftist bandwagons to remind people that, when discussing areas outside of your expertise, you are no more or less knowledgeable or insightful than any other layperson. You should take the time to remind the public that education and intelligence aren’t necessarily the same thing, and that holding a doctorate doesn’t mean you’re one of the smartest human beings alive.

Maybe you’ve studied some of these matters. That would be fantastic–but it would also show in your words and actions. For example, we know that Hawking hasn’t studied capitalism; he doesn’t even seem to know what capitalism is. However, this has not stopped him from repeatedly waxing on about the evils of capitalism and how it will bring about the destruction of humanity.

But no. He’s not biased at all. That’s totally not an alarmist, radically leftist position based on gut feelings, assumptions, and ignorance. How could he be biased? How could he be an alarmist, radical leftist basing his statements on gut feelings, assumptions, and ignorance? He’s Stephen Hawking! He’s a scientist! Surely he knows what he’s talking about!

* And yes, I agree–Trump is wrong about immigration. But the reason Trump is wrong about “immigration” is that “immigration” is an arbitrarily-defined concept based around arbitrarily-defined borders that don’t exist in the real world and that serve only to divide people. Borders are human inventions; they aren’t real. We simply treat them like they’re real, and they end up doing tons of damage. Trump is wrong about “immigration” because there’s no such thing as an immigrant; there’s only a human being who decided to exercise his innate right to travel.