“Innovation is what’s going to make the United States’ economy grow and in order to have innovation you have to have scientifically literate students being graduated from all kinds of schools,” was how Bill Nye “The Science Guy” started his discussion of science in America’s classrooms. It should be a very non-controversial statement to make. If you want people who can create new technologies you need people in your society who are scientifically inclined and understand the concepts. However, as Nye said, there are forces at work — particularly in red states — to inject creationism into the classrooms and that’s where Bill Nye draws the line.
At one point in the conversation, Maher said to Nye, “You’re used to explaining things to children; explain to Republicans right now who may be watching…” Which got a huge laugh and applause break from the studio audience. Nye then went on to relate a hilarious story about his attempts to teach an audience at an event one small thing about astronomy — that the moon doesn’t in fact glow with a light of its own — and the bizarre audience reactions since that fact sort of runs counter to a biblical scripture Nye had just quoted.
As “The Science Guy” pointed out, religion or religious people are not the problem in academia, it’s the supplanting of facts for spiritual hypothesis, or in the case of something like the age of our planet — outright lies — that causes the most consternation for members of the educational community.
Watch the clip of Nye and Maher on Real Time below.