Sarah Palin Debates Cardboard Cutout Of Bill Nye, Science Guy, On Climate Change. Loses.

Bill Nye has had quite enough of your bullshit

[wonkbar]a href=""[/wonkbar]Hey, wouldn't you just love to see Bill Nye debate Sarah Palin on the topic of climate change? He'd completely obliterate her, patiently taking her word salad, reducing it to its constituent molecules, and distributing them out into the Cosmos where they could eventually form a nice star or something useful. It would be even more epic than that time he went to the Creation Museum and showed creationism was a crock!

Thanks to a misleading press release for a misleading new film, a whole bunch of people were under the impression earlier this week that Nye would be "debating" Palin. Ah, but no, it was merely the first salvo of bullshit from the producers of a bullshit anti-science "documentary," Climate Hustle, which pretends to be a fair and balanced answer to An Inconvenient Truth -- if you don't mind getting your science from people who think science is all a scam in the first place.

Some weaselly language in a press release from the filmmakers said the May 2 premiere of the film would be followed by a panel discussion "headlined by Governor Sarah Palin," and including "a special appearance by Emmy Award-winning educator Bill Nye the Science Guy." Then the updates started getting posted: not so much a "debate" as a panel that would include "a special video appearance" by Nye. And even that's a stretch: Variety's corrected story clarified that producer Marc Morano, publisher of the "skeptical" blog Climate Depot, would be showing "clips of Bill Nye." A representative for Nye confirmed he wasn't even invited to participate in the panel.

What Variety didn't mention is that Morano's organization, the Committee For a Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT), which funded the film, is funded in part by the oil industry and is listed by Mother Jones among the "Dirty Dozen of Climate Change Denial."

As it turns out, the conversation between Morano and Nye isn't especially "exclusive," either. Nye met Morano in a public park in late March, where Morano showed Nye some clips from his movie and asked Nye to comment on them. The conversation was also filmed by Jason Sussberg and David Alvarado, who are making their own movie about Bill Nye, with the perhaps too prosaic title The Bill Nye Film. They released a portion of the encounter to the Actual Science website DeSmog Blog, and here's that excerpt, free for nothing, without any "Special Event" tickets for a crap movie:

The clip includes a bit where Morano refuses to accept two $10,000 bets from Nye: that 2016 will be one of the ten hottest years on record, and that the decade 2010-2020 will be the hottest in human history. Morano refused to take the bet, because he knows scientists just lie all the time to keep getting all that big research grant money, and they'll probably say there was warming of some tiny fraction of a degree.

Morano has a terrific "gotcha" question for Nye: "Do you acknowledge fossil fuels have been one of the greatest liberators of mankind? Nye replies with a parable: Hey, take a look at Pompeii, where the Romans built a fantastic city thanks to their limitless energy source: Human slaves. "Having limitless energy for your populace is great," Nye says, "But you don't want to have it to the detriment of the future." Nye even challenges Morano to embrace real science: "Just think of the good you could do! I'm not kidding, I'm not joking with you. Just think what you could do for the world if you came around." Eh, it was worth a try.

On Thursday, Morano released his version of the conversation: A clip showing Nye appearing to endorse the idea of jailing climate "skeptics" for being bad people:

No, that doesn't look carefully edited at all.

The film's producers did what they could to lend legitimacy to their parade of discredited nonsense. They arranged to screen the film on Capitol Hill, and following the screening came the panel discussion, featuring Sarah Palin and her trademark frontier gibberish, plus Morano and one of the "skeptical scientists" from the movie.

At the panel, Sarah Palin -- that mavericky outsider who isn't impressed by credentials -- tried to make Bill Nye the issue, declaring, "Bill Nye is as much a scientist as I am ... He’s a kids’ show actor, he’s not a scientist." If you want to get really technical, he's a bit more of a scientist than she is, with a degree in mechanical engineering from Cornell. But it's true, he's not a published climatologist. Not that it would matter to Palin, since professional scientists are all scamming America anyway:

Palin said behind the “alarmism” that the climate is changing is a “predetermined” and political agenda “of those, I think, who are controlling the narrative right now on changes in the weather.”

She repeatedly dismissed climate change as changes in weather, and said scientists who believe the consensus that humans are the main cause of global warming are trying to shut down human progress.

Palin encouraged parents to teach their children to doubt climate change and to “ask those questions and not just believe what Bill Nye the Science Guy is trying to tell them.”

She also offered this head-scratcher: We need to de-politicize climate science by injecting it into the presidential campaign:

“It’s something that our candidates should be talking about, and giving us their view on and hopefully acknowledging that it needs to become, in the science community, less political,” she said. “Otherwise, it leads us to believe that so many things coming from perhaps the scientists could be bogus. If this is bogus, you know, what else are they trying to tell us and trying to control us around if they can’t get this one right?”

Food for thought! If climate science is a crock, then maybe all other science is, too! Of course, that's one hell of an "if," and if the only experts we had on climate were Sarah Palin and Bill Nye, we really would be in trouble. Of course, as Nye and John Oliver demonstrated in 2014, the "debate" isn't actually between two equal sides:

As for Climate Hustle, once the movie has screened in theaters for a single day with its important follow-on panel discussion, it appears to be headed straight to DVD and then the bargain bin.

[Patheos / Mediaite /DeSmog Blog / Variety / CFACT press release / The Hill / Forbes]

Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.


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