Planetary Society CEO Bill Nye told “Real Time With Bill Maher” that his biggest concern about creationism and climate change denial is what children are being taught in school.
Having recently debated Creationist Museum president Ken Ham, Nye says he worries future generations will be “scientifically illiterate.”
Nye says if that happens "we're not going to have the next iPhone, we're not going to have the next innovation."
“Mr. Ham and the grown-ups, they can do what they want, but my concern is for the students, for the kids in the commonwealth of Kentucky [where the museum is located] … that are brought up with this,” Nye told Maher on Friday. “Then they’re taught, ‘Oh yes, people are going to oppose you as you grow up’ … because they are wrong and unsupportable.”
During the evolution debate, Ham said, "I believe the word 'science' has been hijacked by secularists.”
"If we accept Mr. Ham's point of view ... that the Bible serves as a science text and he and his followers will interpret that for you, I want you to consider what that means," Nye argued. "It means that Mr. Ham's word is to be more respected than what you can observe in nature, what you can find in your backyard in Kentucky."
“I think what was difficult for me was not slapping my forehead, not freaking out,” Nye told Maher about the debate.
“And that’s good because I agree that we do have to engage people,” Maher said. “My great friend Richard Dawkins says, ‘No, ignore them,’ and I say ‘Not as long as they are a majority – you still have to engage.”
“Or a significant fraction,” Nye agree.
“If people believe the world is 6,000 years old, I don’t know if that hurts us. You know what does hurt us?” Maher asked. “People who don’t think climate change is real.”
“People like Ted Cruz – his big joke now is whenever it snows, you know, ‘Al Gore told me this wouldn’t happen,’” Maher said, adding that temperature and weather are completely differently things.
Maher said people who don't believe in evolution are threatened by being compared to an ape.
"Okay, we give that to you. You are different than an ape," Maher said.
"Somewhat different, yeah," quipped Nye.