Bill Nye was one of my childhood heroes, and is greatly responsible for me being who I am today. I grew up in what is often referred to as the Bible Belt of the United States, where being questioning and quizzical and curious was berated out of children by preachers, principals, and teachers alike in favor of what is frequently called “obedience” by the extremely conservative Christians that live where I live. To punish a child for questioning the world around them instead of taking everything said by grownups at face value seems so intellectually dishonest to me as an adult that sometimes I have a hard time believing that the places I grew up even have running electricity.
I had very few positive role models that encouraged scientific thinking and inquisitiveness. But I would watch Bill Nye like my own personal gospel. He taught me that it was okay to be smart, no matter what anybody else said.
A choice quote:
“And I say to the grownups, if you want to deny evolution and live in your world, in your world that’s completely inconsistent with everything we observe in the universe, that’s fine, but don’t make your kids do it because we need them. We need scientifically literate voters and taxpayers for the future. We need people that can — we need engineers that can build stuff, solve problems.”