Bill Nye is coming back to TV! The man who every substitute science teacher thanked the gods for in my middle school years has been given his own show at Netflix called Bill Nye Saves the World. With his background in both comedy and science (a BS in Mechanical Engineering and about six honorary advanced degrees), Bill Nye knows how to make science fun, interesting, and best of all, understandable.
Nye had this to say about what we can expect in his new show:
"I’m excited to be working with Netflix on a new show, where we’ll discuss the complex scientific issues facing us today, with episodes on vaccinations, genetically modified foods and climate change. With the right science and good writing, we’ll do our best to enlighten and entertain our audience. And, perhaps we’ll change the world a little."
Not that I don't love Neil deGrasse Tyson explaining the cosmos to me, but Bill Nye is the everyday scientist that can tackle those science rumors your aunt keeps spreading on FB. Here's a few such conspiracies Nye could tackle in his new show.
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1. The Great Wall of China Can Be Seen From Space
Here's something we've heard people claim for years and it's less crazy-conspiracy than just general fallacy but it could be a fun opener for Bill Nye. This one is an easy explanation that would work great for TV because it's literally a matter of scale. The Great Wall may be 13,171 miles long, but it's less than 20 feet wide. From as far away as space that's just a tiny sliver. Show us, Bill Nye!
2. Everything Related To Genetically Modified Organisms
Lucky for us Nye has already promised to cover this controversial topic. Clearly science has brought some amazing changes to how humans live through modification such as transplants, grafts, creating new foods, and gene targeting. And it may just be that altering life as we know it feels morally iffy to people, or maybe stirs thoughts of soulless, sci-fi style genetically enhanced beings, but it would be nice to get the facts — for one, if there's any merit to the theory that GMOs are linked to things that harm humans. While he's at at it, maybe Bill can explain why my organic food lasts way longer if it's supposedly not any healthier?
3. The Large Hadron Collider Will Destroy Earth
This may just be your classic "fear what you don't understand" situation, and let's be honest, what normal person does fully understand particle physics? So come on, Bill Nye, break down what exactly this sucker does, why it's important to science (and thus humans), and maybe throw in a reminder to the lay person about just how exactly black holes are created. Hint: Definitely not by slamming particles together.
4. The Placebo Effect
Alternative medicine has always been a popular side-industry to Westernized medicine but some of its success stories aren't always easily explained. Mr. Science Guy could help explain the placebo effect of the mind manifesting physical responses, but also give us some scientific reasoning behind why certain alternative practices do work so well. One of the best things Nye does is explain how science is often a part of things we consider mystical, it's just a matter of breaking things down.
5. The Vaccination-Autism Link
This one has gained some serious traction in recent years and despite the scientist who originated the theory being literally stripped of his medical license, it remains one of those ideas that some groups of people hesitate to dismiss. Bill Nye is just the guy to break down the brief history of the science that led us to question vaccinations and what proven science there is backing up a debunking.
6. Mankind Faking Space Travel
As a comedian AND a scientist I'm dying to see Bill Nye poke fun at the elaborate theory that governmental agencies have lied to us for years about space travel. Like the theory that we never landed on the moon but faked the telecast. And the theory that all that Mars footage we've seen lately is really just New Mexico. Or even the theory that traveling past Earth's orbit is literally impossible. (I'd link to these theories, but honestly don't want to give them any viability. Google if you dare.)
7. How Human Brains Make Erroneous Connections & Conspiracies to Begin With
If the man is going to break down science myths to us there is no more perfect a science lesson than teaching us why they exist in the first place. Humans are so prone to latch on to the explanations that make sense to their worldview and that validate their own ideas and beliefs, there's a science lesson in there for sure. Why DO our aunts share all those fake science headlines on social media??
If Bill Nye wants to get into the safety of nuclear power or the roundness of the Earth, I'll take it. I'd listen to the man explain how babies are made. With his sense of humor and generally awesome bedside manner Bill Nye might just be the reliable source we depend on to give us some solid arguments when we hear another person espouse one of these ridiculous conspiracies.
What's the craziest conspiracy theory you've ever heard? Let me know in the comments!