Earlier this year, Bill Nye didn’t sound very happy to have to rebut Kyrie Irving’s suggestions that the Earth is flat. In a recent interview, the artist formerly (and pretty much still) known as “The Science Guy” appeared ready to get physical with anyone still questioning our planet’s spherical shape.
The 62-year-old Nye was speaking with Complex’s Khal and Frazier Tharpe, who said they were “conspiracy theorists” and noted that there were “influential” people, such as Irving and rapper B.o.B., who were “very invested” in flat-Earth theories.
After making clear his exasperation with such people, Nye made a smacking motion with his right arm while saying, “If only there were 60 people who we could just give the whistling backhand.” Cocking his arm back again, he added, ” ‘Hey, you want a fresh one?’ Then they’d shut up, and we could move on.”
Since his 1990s “Science Guy” run, Nye has stayed a TV personality and an advocate for science-based initiatives while remaining more than irked by Irving’s flat-Earth commentary. In February, after the all-star point guard made that claim on a podcast, Nye described Irving’s remarks as “heartbreaking,” even if the player was “joking about it.”
Since then, Irving has hinted that he was just trolling everyone, but he subsequently waded into those waters again, claiming “there is no real picture of Earth.” In a recent ad he directed promoting his new Nike shoes, Irving tossed in a flat-Earth … joke? Not really a joke?
Either way, Irving has said his main intention is to question things presented as “universal truths,” but Nye wasn’t having it. He wondered aloud why basketball players who accept the scientific process and its benefits in other aspects of life would be skeptical about the Earth’s shape.
“They think about basketball defense — complicated business,” Nye said. “They think about their statistics constantly. They’re constantly evaluating their shooting percentage, their field goal percentage. They get to the court early, and they dribble the ball to see which parts of the court are kind of dead compared to the lively parts, from somebody who spilled a soft drink five years ago that didn’t get wiped up fast enough. Yes, they think about that.
“Yet, they’re somehow able to look at pictures of the Earth from space,” he continued. “They’re somehow able to accept weather forecasting from satellites. They’re able to listen to CNN from the other side of the world bounced off spacecraft, and yet conclude that, since they can’t see Florida from Manhattan, the world must be flat or some freaking thing.”
Getting more animated, Nye exclaimed, “It’s just weird! It’s the 21st century, people! People navigated around the world using the stars, with full knowledge that the Earth was a ball, seven or eight centuries ago. This is not a new idea, people!”
After offering his “whistling backhand” comment, Nye asked, “Can I say dumba–? Are we taping this? My career just ended.”
Trying to get into a hypothetical discussion, Complex’s Khal began a question with, “Let’s say the Earth is flat …” However, he was cut off by Nye, who exclaimed, “No, it isn’t! … The Earth is not flat, people. What is wrong with you?”
“The dismissal of so much human knowledge is crystallized [in] this idea that the Earth might be flat. It is just saying, ‘Everybody who came before me is a dumba–,’ and that’s wrong,” Nye said.
So who wants to see Kyrie go one-on-one with The Science Guy?
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