Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Bill Nye: The Best Idea We've Had So Far

A fabulous, funny speech by Bill Nye from The Humanist.

The Best Idea We've Had So Far (a small excerpt):
...The big unsatisfying thing for me is when you have a bumper sticker that says, “God said it, I believe it, and that settles it.” It doesn’t settle it for me. I was giving a talk in Texas a couple of years ago—this still circulates on the web—at McLennan University, which is a very interesting college near Waco and Crawford. I’d pointed out that it seems reasonable to me that whoever wrote Genesis, as translated into English, where God made the sun to light the earth and the moon to light the night, probably didn’t have the whole story. Because, first of all, the moon doesn’t always light the night. And even ancient Greeks realized that the moon was an object that reflected sunlight. So this woman in the audience picked her kids up by the wrists and dragged them out of the room, shouting, “I believe in God! Bill Nye, you are evil!” That may be, but the moon doesn’t give off its own light. I’m sorry. There’s nothing I can do there. And we all laugh at that, but what we have to do is find the story that is more compelling. And I think we can find that if, instead of focusing on the truth, we focus on the pursuit of it. We focus on the scientific method, the way to find the truth...

7 comments:

dbackdad said...

You beat me to the punch. I saw this tweeted from Richard Dawkins and was going to put something up.

Bill Nye's great.

wunelle said...

I just experience a wave of energy each time I get a taste of rationality. It's an antidote to the insanity that we're in the grip of.

dbackdad said...

There is a list of smart people that I just love to read or listen to including Nye, Sagan, Hitchens, Sam Harris, Dawkins, Neil DeGrasse Tyson, Ira Flatow, etc. They help to keep me from going bat-shit crazy with the things I hear on a daily basis.

wunelle said...

Yeah, amen to all of them (if I might co-opt a phrase). When I think of the forward intellectual and emotional energy that come from these great thinkers--and contrast it with the dark age of a thousand years ago to which the republicans wish to send us--I mourn for the loss of all that might have been.

Again and again I'm struck that the "utopia" envisioned by Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck and all the rest of them is like a hell to me--I want nothing to do with this vision.

CyberKitten said...

I'm constantly amazed that people can deny simply truths because they seemingly disagree with their beliefs.

When belief and truth conflict I pick truth.

wunelle said...

I think there must be some psychological thing going on which I'm not grasping, since I think mass insanity--which is what it looks like--cannot really be possible. Cognitive dissonance or contrarianism or something.

Matt Taibbi's great Rolling Stone exposé of the Tea-Baggers shows that many of them don't really believe in actuality what they seem willing to kill people for in theory. People with "Keep your government hands off my Medicare" signs and anti-government folks using many government services, etc. When he asked them, they thought THEY weren't the problem, as though there were lots of people using services much more extensively (and expensively) than they.

They yell about principles without seeming to have any themselves. I wonder at all this.

shrimplate said...

Truth is constantly subject to change as new information is developed and diecovered.

Belief isn't like that. It is unswerving.