Science Facts Bill Nye Has Gotten Wrong

Before we start roasting Bill Nye, we'd like to make it very clear that we believe the man is a national treasure. He's a legit mechanical engineer, and is currently the CEO of the Planetary Society. He's not just some kids' show host in a funny bowtie, is what we're saying. That said, even the Science Guy screws up his facts on occassion. Here are some of Bill Nye's more notable faux pas:

He completely botched the science behind DeflateGate

The 2015-2016 NFL season was marred when a freshly invented compound word invaded our lexicon: deflategate. The scandal erupted after it was revealed that Patriots quarterback Tom Brady probably, maybe, who knows for sure, might have been aware of crew members deflating footballs to possibly make it easier to complete passes to his top notch receivers. Despite the lack of damning evidence, and the reality that all football teams cheat, Brady took a ton of heat for the scandal. This possibly had something to do with widespread envy for his winning record, or perhaps the "haha, balls," element this whole thing had.

But does deflating a football really make a difference? Nye jumped right into the debate to offer his scientific perspective, when Pats head coach Bill Belichick offered his also-scientific explanation to the whole ordeal. Nye argued that Belichick's remarks made no sense, and that we should all listen to what the non-football expert has to say, because he's wearing a lab coat or something. Only problem was ... Belichick's response actually did make sense. Belichick said that, when balls are transported from one area to another, decrease in temperature will cause the balls to lose air pressure. That seems legitimately scientific enough of an explanation, right? Unfortunately, Nye decided to chime in and yell "NO!" despite the mountains of scientific evidence that actually prove decreased temperature actually does cause balls to lose air pressure.

Bill literally claimed that "in order to change air pressure, you need one of these," and pulled out an inflation needle. That's true Bill, but there are other ways to deflate footballs too. Ever run over one with your truck? We're sure this had nothing to do with Nye being a fan of the Seahawks, the team the Pats faced in the Super Bowl right after the whole Deflategate thing broke. Probably, Nye should have stayed away and spent his day picking out new bowties instead.

When you're both wrong and right in different universes

Quantum entanglement sounds like one of those phrases that makes your brain want to tangle itself up in knots and cry, so let's break it down simply in the best possible way: with a cat. Schrödinger's cat is a cat that is both dead and living simultaneously, but not that, nor is it some kind of zombie cat. Instead, we have two alternate universes, where in one universe the cat is still alive, and in the other, it is dead. So in quantum entanglement, there are two quantum objects that are separate and yet together, because if the cat is neither live nor dead, and secretly in two separate universes, two objects can both be connected and separate, with the magic of trippy physics. (The cat's still a jerk in either universe, though.)

Sounds complicated enough not to pretend to know why that cat isn't a zombie right? Not for the Science Guy! Nye was asked in a video interview segment for Big Think about how quantum entanglement will change the world, but makes a major whoopsie, after he started with a pretty legitimate answer regarding quantum computing. And he's right — quantum entanglement will make our computers very fast, but instead of delving deeper into this statement, he goes straight into black holes and makes less sense than your roommate after ten beers. Rather than continuing with the incredible potential for quantum computing, Bill Nye starts rambling about time travel instead, and urges Tom (the dude giving the interview) and all of us to continue to explore, and ultimately answer, this question for him, because he has no idea what he's talking about either.

Although it sounds like a totally awesome movie, we totally cannot harness energy out of black holes to go back in time. But if quantum entanglement is so unpredictable and misunderstood, couldn't Bill Nye also be both correct and a dead cat? Meowing rules!

He got weird about GMOs really fast

Bill Nye conveniently changed his opinion on genetically modified organisms right before he got his sweet new Netflix show. Once vehemently opposed to GMOs, Nye even wrote about his opposition in his book ... which he later revised accordingly to align with his new difference in opinion. It was the weirdest thing: Nye visited Monsanto and immediately changed his mind! (We imagine there were probably TONS of people in lab coats there.)

Basically, Nye got a behind-the-scenes look at exactly how the scientists at Monsanto extract the genes from crops to engineer genetically modified ones, and was amazed enough from what he witnessed to change his entire perspective on the science of genetic modification in food.

That's not even why he's wrong on this whole thing either (maybe). After Bill Nye returned to his daily routine of bow ties and edutainment, he started urging companies to label their GMOs products with the mark of "Proudly GMO," because if people knew their products were GMO's, they would be safe in this bizarro-world scenario ... or something. As you probably expect, Nye was heavily criticized for this absence in judgement, because growing a food a certain way is still an unlikely indicator of a food's overall nutritional value. Because, believe it or don't, nutrition is a much more complicated science than any one label can contain.

His Super Bowl commercial science was debunked by ... science

Super Bowl LI was riddled with hilarious commercials that were pretty unforgettable. Unfortunately for Nye, one of those commercials was for Persil, that he starred in, and which also contained some jarring errors about chemistry. In the commercial, clumsy Nye spills grape juice all over his precious lab coat. Flabbergasted by his absentmindedness, and surrounded by some nefarious lab smoke, he is intercepted by his loyal partner who saves the day pp and Nye's lab coat — with some Persil detergent.

We have to admit that the exchange is pretty adorable, but if you take a closer look at the periodic table hanging in their lab, you'll notice that it's out of date, because four new elements were added to the periodic table in 2015. These four new elements are absent from the Science Guy's lab! Sure, it was the stage manager's fault, or the producers', or maybe Warren Beatty! Either way, this error was overlooked by our lovable bow-tie in a labcoat, and this boo-boo was viewed by 111 million people.

But while we're taking a closer look at his physical lab, we'll also notice that his volumetric flasks are also a hot mess. Volumetric flasks are supposed to be used for taking super-precise measurements of liquids. The liquid occupying the interior of such a flask should only be filled to the line, because that's just how measuring works. But in this case, any additional liquid would throw off the precise measurement happening, so again, why didn't he notice this?

Sure, it was just a commercial. But it's not every day we see a guy in a lab coat standing in front of an out-of-date visual aid while standing behind mismeasured flasks, especially when that guy in a lab coat really ought to know better.

Want the buzz on how bees fly? Don't ask him

The only thing more annoying than bees is when someone is straight-up wrong about their science. Bees fly! We all know this! They fly through the flowery spring breeze, they fly right up onto our hands while we're outside trying to get tan, but the bottom line is that bees actually fly.

If you've ever wondered how they fly, despite looking far too big and fat to do so, especially on such little wings, don't ask Bill Bye to explain. Nye's explanation during a Reddit AMA, regarding his take on the issue, is much more hyperbolic. According to Nye, the wings contain tiny little springs with halters behind them, providing vertices that work to eliminate aerodynamic drag. Unfortunately for the Science Guy, the only insects that have halters like the ones he described are flies, and they're absolutely not attached to tiny springs either.

Here's how it really happens: bees' little wings beat really fast, and their whole flying system is much more sophisticated than you think. A bee is not a helicopter, nor is it an airplane. It is an insect. Years of scientific research went into separating bees from our traditional knowledge of flight and accepting that yes, their wings are way more awesome than you thought they were. It's not just the speed of the bee's wings that makes them fly so awesomely, either. The bee flaps each wing at an angle of less than 90 degrees in a regular environment but, when exposed to environmental changes, like fluctuations in gasses in the air, the bee flaps its wings using wider strokes, in order for them to maintain maximum productivity with each flap.

Every scientist gets stuff wrong occassionally, but in this case? The Science Guy wasn't even close.