I used to like Bill Nye. I thought he what he did to help introduce an entire generation of kids to science was a very worthy thing. It was only when he began suggesting jailing people who disagreed with him that I realized what a putz this man is.
Let’s start with the facts. He’s not a scientist. As Sheldon Cooper from TV’s Big Bang Theory would sneer, he’s a mechanical engineer. (And he doesn’t even have a master’s degree like Howard Wolowitz.) Here’s Mr. Nye’s actual science credentials, courtesy of Jeff Dunetz:
Nye who has been a vocal supporter of the climate change hypothesis isn’t more qualified to speak about climate science than any other non-scientist. He has a B.S. in mechanical engineering from Cornell University, and worked at Boeing in the mechanical engineering department. His entry into TV was not because of any science expertise but because he won a Steve Martin look-alike contest and began moonlight as a stand-up comic by night. Eventually he quit Boeing and became a comedy writer and performer on a sketch comedy television show in Seattle, Washington, called Almost Live! The host of the show, Ross Shafer, suggested he do some scientific demonstrations in a six-minute segment, and take on the nickname “The Science Guy”.
Recently, this non-science (or is that nonsense?) guy appeared on Tucker Carlson’s show on Fox News. Carlson and Nye spent an entire segment sparring about the value of skepticism in science. Nye’s constant refrain about “climate change” was that “The science is settled.” Doing so underscored Carlson’s point: it’s the scientific equivalent of sticking your fingers in your ears and screaming “La la la la I’m not listening la la la la!” You can watch the segment here:
One of the big questions Carlson had for this climate change zealot was, “What would the climate look like today without human activity?” Nye’s answer was telling. He said:
“The climate would be like it was in 1750. And the economics would be that you could not grow wine-worthy grapes in Britain as you can today, because the climate is changing.”
Naturally, Carlson was skeptical about this answer. Because it’s unknowable. There is absolutely no way to know for sure what the climate would be like today without people living on the earth. As I point out in my piece, A Modest Proposal for Climate Change, every single model proposed by climate scientists to predict the future has been an abject failure. They’re laughably inaccurate—mostly because they’re all rigged to “prove” political points rather than scientific ones.
Regardless, it’s interesting that Nye put so much emphasis on the cultivation of wine grapes in England. If you watch the segment above, you’ll see he actually makes this point twice during the segment. You know, like a talking point. This made me curious.
So I started Googling. And guess what I found? A history of wine grapes in Britain from EnglishWineProducers.co.uk.
Yes, there is a British grape-growing industry. According to the industry association’s website, “Viticulture and winemaking in England and Wales boasts a long and rich history. From pre-Roman times to the present day, there has been winegrowing in Britain.”
“But wait!” you cry. “Bill Nye says English winemaking is only a recent thing, and is only possible because of human-caused global warming!”
You have to remember that Bill Nye is a big fat liar. And apparently, he doesn’t expect anyone to Google the crap that spews out of his mouth. (And if you do, he’ll call you a “denier” and try to put you in jail.)
Back to the people who actually know about wine production in Britain. Here’s what they say:
The Romans liked their wine – whether home grown or imported. After invading Britain in AD 43, wine drinking became more commonplace and whenever Roman villas, houses and garrisons have been excavated, there is nearly always archaeological evidence of wine amphorae and drinking cups, and occasionally grape pips and stems of bunches of grapes.
… The Dark Ages followed the Romans. Invasions by the Jutes, the Angles and the Saxons destroyed much of the limited civilisation that the Romans had established during their 300 years of occupation. These warring tribes neither had the time nor the inclination to settle down and set up vineyards, and whatever vineyards there had been undoubtedly became neglected. The early Christians, fleeing from these tribal disturbances, retreated to the corners of these islands, in many cases settling in areas that were unsuitable for vineyards.
With the spread of Christianity in the sixth century to the south and east of the county, old skills were revived and there is some evidence that vineyards were established. However, trade with mainland Europe also increased, including that in wine, which is well documented, and vinegrowing in this country would therefore have been limited.
The Viking invasion in the late eighth century destroyed many monasteries and with that once again vinegrowing and winemaking skills were lost.
Winemaking in England was eventually revived in the monasteries that flourished after William of Normandy conquered England in 1066. Fast forward to the 16th century, when winemaking in England once again took a nose dive.
Although the Dissolution of the Monasteries in 1536 is often cited as being the single event that destroyed winegrowing and winemaking in England, it would appear that by this time, many monasteries had given up. The new landowners who had been handed these religious assets, proved reluctant to indulge in viticulture.
It is also said that the British climate underwent some change at this time, becoming generally wetter, with cooler summers and milder winters, leading to less ripe grapes and more fungal diseases, both of which would have been disincentives to profitable winemaking.
Wait just a minute … climate change in the 1500s? We can only assume it was all of the factories, cars, and other industrial activity going on during that time that caused the cooling. Because after all, according to a certain “science guy,” natural climate change takes hundreds of thousands or even millions of years to happen. And here England experienced enough cooling to impact its grape harvests in a relatively brief period of time.
So given all the human-caused global cooling happening during that time, it’s virtually impossible that wine grapes were being grown in England a few hundred years later, during the magical 1750s that Bill Nye uses as a benchmark for climate perfection:
… In 1666, John Rose, Gardener to Charles II at His Royal Garden in St. James’s, wrote a treatise on the cultivation of vines in this country called “The English Vineyard Vindicated”, in which he discussed the question of site selection, vine varieties, pruning and training and care of the vines up to the harvest.
One of the most famous vineyards of this era was that at Painshill Place, Cobham, Surrey, which was planted by the Hon Charles Hamilton in 1740, who was clearly ahead of his time. The property still has a producing vineyard to this day….
“But wait!” you cry. “Bill Nye said wine grapes are grown today because the climate has changed, implying that during the magical 1750s, “wine-worthy grapes” simply didn’t grow in Merry Olde England.
You have to remember that Bill Nye is a big fat liar. He’s a climate zealot who isn’t an actual scientist. A simple Google search makes all of that very clear.