Disclosure: The authors’ viewership of Bill Nye Saves the World consists only of the clips contained in this article.
Climate change awareness propagandist Bill Nye the Science Guy has really [SETTLED SCIENCE ALERT] evolved from the days of his 1990s eponymous, taxpayer-propped series (used to fulfill the Children’s Television Act requirements of TV stations that air children’s programming, levied by the Federal Communications Commission).
His new gig on Netflix, Bill Nye Saves the World, is rated “TV-14.” It is not difficult to see why.
Mother Jones brought us a couple excerpts:
According to the episode list on Wikipedia, Bill starts by exploring (relatively) innocuous and arguably essential public awareness topics such as climate change and genetically modified organisms (GMOs). The series then addresses the “sexual spectrum” and “Earth’s people problem.”
Conservative National Review reports the latter episode involves Nye and his guests contemplat[ing] a thorny “scientific” question: How can the state stop people from having “extra kids”?
New York Post had more on that controversial exchange:
[Nye]: “Should we have policies that penalize people for having extra kids in the developed world?”
Travis Rieder, a bioethicist at Johns Hopkins University, said he believed it was a good idea.
“I do think that we should at least consider it,” he told Nye.
“Well, ‘at least consider it’ is like ‘Do it,’” Nye said.
Rieder replied, “One of the things that we could do that’s kind of least policy-ish is we could encourage our culture and our norms to change, right?”
Presumably this is all in pursuit of conserving resources:
Before Nye posed the controversial question, Rieder had claimed that children in developed countries such as the United States typically used 160 times more resources than those elsewhere.
Gender identity is not necessarily relevant to the sexual spectrum episode from the clip we viewed, but can also be a divisive issue politically. Divisive, like telophase of the chromosomes! Nye went back in time to do some editing of his past belief in chromosomes determining a person’s gender.
[YouTube bowed to political pressure and struck the damning video from its streaming servers. The Guardian has what appears to be the entire original episode that includes the chromosome conundrum at 9:07:
On May 3, Washington Free Beacon reported:
A segment saying that chromosomes determine one’s gender on an episode of the educational children’s show “Bill Nye the Science guy,” is cut out on the Netflix version.
Netflix did not edit Bill Nye The Science Guy. The series was delivered that way by Buena Vista TV, according to a Netflix spokesperson.
[I]n the version of the episode uploaded to Netflix, the segment [asserting genetics determine gender] has been cut entirely. While noncontroversial at the time, the 1996 segment appears to contradict Netflix’s new series “Bill Nye Saves the World.”
The new show endorses a socially liberal understanding of gender, under which gender is defined by self-identification rather than genetics and there are more than just the two traditional genders.
Update May 5, 2017 9:28 a.m.: This post has been updated to reflect comment from Netflix, which says it did not have a role in cutting the segment from the episode.
Left-wing Vox notes the intended target audience is “skeptics”: Bill Nye Saves the World’s agenda is explicitly skeptical — that is, it’s geared toward debunking false assumptions about science, bad pseudoscience, medical quackery, and harmful non-scientific beliefs.
A longstanding criticism of the skeptics community is that its members often profess mocking or condescending attitudes toward anyone who believes in things skeptics are opposed to — primarily religion, the paranormal, and pseudoscience.
This attitude is prevalent on Nye’s show, which frequently takes a scathing and dismissive tone toward non-scientific belief systems.
At one point during a demonstration of Earth’s origins, Nye banishes from his diorama of early life on the planet a small model of Noah’s ark, declaring, “there’s no freaking Noah’s ark, I’m sorry,” as he tosses it aside.
Vox further exposes Nye’s hypocrisy on GMOs: the D.C. dandy hosts a Monsanto cheerleader in his series:
Nye recently reversed his entire stance on GMOs following a visit to Monsanto, and it quickly becomes evident that [Monsanto chief technical officer Robert] Fraley is there not just to defend GMOs, but Monsanto itself.
[Keep those Federal farm subsidies coming, they’re definitely lifelines for struggling small farmers and not benefiting Big Agriculture and gene-splicing plant technology giants like Monsanto. Hundreds of millions of dollars in farm subsidies are claimed annually by people that have never set foot on a farm according to Environmental Working Group. Oops. Bill the taxpayers.]
Even more to their credit, Vox reports:
[Nye] does briefly bring up that Monsanto produced Agent Orange, but fails to explain what it was: a chemical defoliant used strategically during the Vietnam War that decimated the environment, exposed millions of US soldiers to cancer-causing toxins, and caused hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese children to be born with birth defects. Instead, he lobs a softball question at Fraley in which they both treat Monsanto’s production of Agent Orange as an unfortunate accident from a bygone historical moment — when in fact, Agent Orange continues to impact both the country and Vietnam veterans to this day. Nye also sort-of brings up Roundup’s role in decimating the Monarch butterfly population, yet neglects to mention that Monsanto is the company that makes Roundup.
All emphasis is ours.
Thanks to our sources: