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 Rob Klaers on May 5, 2012 at 11:56am

Steve.. it's the other way around. He said that the moon didn't generate it's own light, but reflected that of the sun. Thereby contradicting the Genesis 1:16 "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."

Comment by SteveInCO on May 5, 2012 at 5:07pm


I am afraid that doesn't answer my question.  What Bill Nye said is not in question, it's the crowd's precise motivation for booing him.

It was suggested three pages back or so that the crowd was unhappy with him for saying Genesis says the moon shines by its own light when of course the moon doesn't--in other words, they perceived he was mischaracterizing Genesis.  (Much as we get annoyed when they accuse atheists of being mad at God, or of eating babies.)  And not for making the (true) claim that the moon shines by reflected light.  [One can argue about the interpretation of Genesis here.]

Or to put it in other words, if someone had interviewed one of the booers afterwards, would they have said "It says here in the Bible that the moon shines by its own light so I booed Nye for trying to say otherwise" or would he have said, "The Bible doesn't say that the moon shines by its own light so I booed Nye for saying the Bible was stupid."  The second possibility implies more brain cells reside in their skulls than the first.

Comment by dataguy on May 6, 2012 at 10:16am

SteveinCO, I think you are partially correct in your assertion, but in the big picture the Science Guy was not saying the Bible was stupid, he was pointing out that people who base their opinions on the Bible often have to go back and re-assess what they say the Bible says, so it's not a good foundation for science.  This whole experience made his point well.

The purpose of the meeting was to discuss Global Warming and there sure are a lot of Global Warming skeptics who believe their anecdotal evidence is more reliable than science.  It's likely that someday those Global Warming skeptics (if they are intellectually honest) will have to say that they were wrong.

History is full of examples of how this has played out in the Bible.  Are people with darker skin inferior to those with lighter skin?  Are women inferior to men?  Is it good-parenting to beat a child?  Is it ok to own slaves?  Does the Sun revolve around the Earth?  Should heretics be put to death? Are women bad for menstruating?  All of these things were commonly held beliefs for centuries at a time because the Bible said it was so.  Some Christians still believe some of these things, but most will now say they are wrong.

Bill Nye was pointing out this shell game is common when religion meets logic.

Comment by archaeopteryx on May 7, 2012 at 5:27pm

Ian - RE: "America scares me"

How do you think WE feel --?!

Comment by G. Michael Williams on May 7, 2012 at 8:33pm

@Ian Beveridge, it's nothing to do with climate preservation, it's about bankrupting developed countries so everyone is equal in poverty, except the ruling elite of course.

Comment by KaraC on May 9, 2012 at 2:43am

This is disturbing at so many levels.

Comment by Chad Vieth on May 9, 2012 at 8:17am

Kind of scary having people who thinks that way, what is next burning people at the stake for being left handed?

Comment by Damon Ross on May 15, 2012 at 7:47pm

I hope they nuke this town to quarantine and contain the stupidity...

Comment by Courtney Hammett on May 27, 2012 at 3:23am

This is the reason I couldn't be Christian anymore. People clearly wrote the Bible before we knew anything about the world.
And by the boyfriend's 6-year-old brother knows the Moon reflects light. Geez. 

Comment by alex on June 19, 2012 at 9:12am

well no where in that blog did it say they didn't believe that the moon reflects light..they simply got angry coz he brought up religion and tried to mishap the bibles make god out to be an idiot to their children. the moon is a lessor light. its a mixture of the same light from the sun granted, also with star light and eartlight  but it is still correctly termed a lessor light to the suns.


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