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Scientists blast Bill Nye for attending State of the Union

February 14, 2018 GMT

A group of female scientists is condemning Bill Nye, “The Science Guy,” for his plan to attend President Trump’s first State of the Union address.

Mr. Nye will be the special guest of Rep. Jim Bridenstine, Oklahoma Republican, Mr. Trump’s nominee to head NASA. He said his attendance should not be seen as an endorsement of the president’s “recent attacks on science and the scientific community.”

In the pages of Scientific American, however, a group called 500 Women Scientists argued Mr. Nye “has tacitly endorsed those very policies” and “put his own personal brand over the interests of the scientific community at large.”

“As scientists, we cannot stand by while Nye lends our community’s credibility to a man who would undermine the United States’ most prominent science agency,” the female scientists wrote. “And we cannot stand by while Nye uses his public persona as a science entertainer to support an administration that is expressly xenophobic, homophobic, misogynistic, racist, ableist, and anti-science.”

500 Female Scientists was started by four women who met at the graduate school of the University of Colorado Boulder. The group’s mission is to “serve society by making science open, inclusive, and accessible.”

The female scientists said it is impossible to separate science from “other pressing issues like racism, bigotry, and misogyny.”

“No amount of funding for space exploration can undo the damage the Trump administration is causing to public health and welfare by censoring science,” they wrote. “No number of shiny new satellites can undo the racist policies that make our Dreamer colleagues live in fear and prevent immigrants from pursuing scientific careers in the United States. And no new mission to the Moon can make our LGBTQ colleagues feel welcome at an agency run by someone who votes against their civil rights.”

Mr. Nye has abused his “position of privilege and public popularity,” the female scientists contend, and “continues to wield his power recklessly.”

“Bill Nye does not speak for us or for the members of the scientific community who have to protect not only the integrity of their research, but also their basic right to do science,” the scientists wrote. “We stand with others who have asked Bill Nye to not attend the State of the Union.”