Bill Nye Boo'd In Texas For Saying The Moon Reflects The Sun

Bill Nye, the harmless children's edu-tainer known as "The Science Guy," managed to offend a select group of adults in Waco, Texas at a presentation, when he suggested that the moon does not emit light, but instead reflects the light of the sun.

As even most elementary-school graduates know, the moon reflects the light of the sun but produces no light of its own.

But don't tell that to the good people of Waco, who were "visibly angered by what some perceived as irreverence," according to the Waco Tribune.

Nye was in town to participate in McLennan Community College's Distinguished Lecture Series. He gave two lectures on such unfunny and adult topics as global warming, Mars exploration, and energy consumption.

But nothing got people as riled as when he brought up Genesis 1:16, which reads: "God made two great lights -- the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars."

The lesser light, he pointed out, is not a light at all, but only a reflector.

At this point, several people in the audience stormed out in fury. One woman yelled "We believe in God!" and left with three children, thus ensuring that people across America would read about the incident and conclude that Waco is as nutty as they'd always suspected.

This story originally appeared in the Waco Tribune, but the newspaper has mysteriously pulled its story from the online version, presumably to avoid further embarrassment.

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Comment by Robert Karp on April 25, 2011 at 8:39am
@Johnny.  It's funny with all these discussions and posts from people trying to explain and interpret what people say and the definitions and trying to make us admit that in fact the bible is true etc...they miss the simple fact that you covered in your last paragraph.  This is not a contest, this is not a matter of interpretation, this is a matter of the religious believing one thing and will do anything to convince themselves they are right, and us who are simply noticing and reporting facts. Bill Nye made a scientific comment about light. Most of the herd believes in the literal version of what god did, not the inferences that are thrown out there about what god might of metaphorically said.  It's pointless arguing with these people.  Your last paragraph was perfect. Short and to the point of the whole matter.  A couple of wackos in Waco felt violated when science was evoked. Simple. End of discussion.
Comment by Ryan E. Hoffman on April 25, 2011 at 10:13am
I thought on this overnight. This type of behavior is the next level of evolution denialism. If you allow people to refute scientific fact with mythical creationism, it will progress further until simple facts like the moon reflects light are refuted. This story alone should be the backbone for why we need to put our foot down. I'm about ready to let China take over. They've earned it.
Comment by Colonel Sun on April 25, 2011 at 11:09am

Original Bill Nye Waco Tribune article on the Wayback Machine:



Comment by Horacio Martinez on April 25, 2011 at 1:45pm
If the Moon WAS emitting it's own light instead of being a Reflector, I am curious to know how these crazy Christians can explain the Lunar Phases. If the Moon is making it's own light, how is it possible for only half of it to be emitting light? Or how it is possible for any part of it to be emitting light while the other part is dark? What? Does the Moon change shape as well?
Comment by James Zimmerman on April 25, 2011 at 3:20pm
As a scientist in higher education, the behavior exhibited by the woman in this story is all too familiar. The relevant research on conceptual change tells us that it's hard enough to get people to change their thinking about issues that do not directly intersect with their religious beliefs (see It is frustrating to see just how unwilling to analyze the origins of understanding of the world around them. Ugh.
Comment by M on April 25, 2011 at 4:45pm

It is hardly Bill's fault god was wrong when documenting the moon in his holy book.  Even my girls, who are little, know the moon reflects the sun's light.  Lordy, lordy.  :o)

Comment by Barbara Swindol on April 25, 2011 at 7:04pm
Are you sure Bill Nye didn't accidentally walk onto the set of "Are You Smarter Than A Fifth Grader"?
Comment by Darrell Hobbs on April 25, 2011 at 10:03pm
It's simple to prove that the moon produces no light of it's own. Just watch a lunar eclipse. That, of course, is assuming one knows that the cause of an eclipse.
Comment by Heather Spoonheim on April 26, 2011 at 1:55am
I don't even believe in the moon - I think it's just the other side of the sun.
Comment by William C. Walker on April 26, 2011 at 10:51am
Why do you think it's called Waco ?


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