President Barack Obama asked “Science Guy” Bill Nye how to promote science education in a video released by the White House on Friday, while also taking a shot at lawmakers who have argued against the existence of climate change.
“When I see members of Congress being part of the climate-denier clubs and basically stiff-arming what we know are facts — and not rebutting them with other facts but rebutting them with anecdote or just being dismissive,” Obama said before Nye interjected.
“‘Oh, I’m not a scientist,’” Nye said, sarcastically repeating a common conservative argument against the phenomenon.
“I’m not a scientist, either, but I know a lot of scientists,” Obama replied. “I have the capacity to understand science. The capacity to look at facts and base my conclusions on evidence. Part of shifting our political culture I think, is we’ve gotta model for our kids that facts matter.”
Nye also encouraged the president to promote “science every day in every grade,” calling it a huge opportunity.
“Teaching science [at] elementary level is very inexpensive,” he said. “We fight these surprising problems about reading and arithmetic and standards problems and so on, it seems like a very solvable problem. We have to invest in the elementary grades.”
“Part of it is also, I think, our culture has to support and elevate science,” Obama said, adding, “Sometimes what we see in the popular culture is, if not a denigration then not an emphasis on science.”
Nye told CNN before the video was posted that the White House asked him to join Obama in the Florida Everglades to film the video.
“[Obama] knows I’m like-minded when it comes to the environment,” Nye said. “He didn’t bring in Marc Morano or somebody like that. I think it’s cool.”
Morano, who has been featured on Fox News on several occasions, is a blogger whose parent organization, Climate Depot, has ties to the oil industry. On Wednesday, Fox News host Greg Gutfeld argued that global warming was a trumped-up threat because the president and the former TV host flew there on Air Force One.
Watch Obama’s discussion with Nye, as posted by the White House on Friday, below.