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Bill Nye the Faux Scientifique Guy

June 3, 2015

Up to now I have had only the slightest, vaguest awareness of Bill Nye. Readers have occasionally pointed me to video clips of him in one context or another, but none made a lasting impression. What mainly registers is the bow tie, which stirs in my breast a faint, fleeting flicker of tribal solidarity: I wear bow ties, too.

Googling around I see that Nye got his epithet from the title of a TV show he hosted in the 1990s. The show was targeted at a preteen audience, aiming to show them that Science Is Fun!

Is it? Should it be? My ideal for science education would be for those who want it to prove their ardor by being kept waiting outside the monastery gates for a month, suffering stoically in rain and sleet while those inside jeer at them and dump ordure on their heads from the ramparts … I speak as an enthusiast, a science geek from infancy.