Bill Nye – The Science Fraud Guy

Bill Nye is not a scientist, yet passes himself of as the science guy.

His defining experiment for proving the greenhouse effect is junk science. He took two glass jars, and filled one with CO2.

Then he put heat lamps over the two jars, which shone thermal radiation towards both jars.

At the end of the experiment, he claimed that the CO2 filled jar was hotter than the one without CO2, due to the CO2 absorbing the thermal radiation.

But Bill made a fatal mistake in his fake experiment. The theory behind the “greenhouse” effect is that shortwave (sunlight) radiation passes through glass, but longwave thermal radiation coming up from the ground does not pass through glass.

Nye’s experiment depended on thermal IR from the heat lamp passing into the glass chambers. But glass is opaque to thermal IR.

How Does a Greenhouse Work?

In a greenhouse, radiant energy passes through transparent material into an area where plants, soil and other objects absorb it. They then re-radiate that energy in the form of infrared heat. Because infrared has longer wavelengths, it cannot go out back through the material through which it came.

How Does a Greenhouse Work? | Sciencing

Most glass is effectively opaque to thermal IR. (This is another reason that thermal imaging cameras are expensive; they need lenses made of materials transparent to thermal IR: typically germanium or quartz are used.

Infrared Myths

Nye’s experiment to prove the greenhouse effect, fundamentally violated what he was trying to prove. The greenhouse effect made his experiment useless. Whatever Bill Nye did, it most likely wasn’t what he claimed he did.

h/t to Dr. William Happer at Princeton, for pointing out Bill Nye’s junk science.

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48 Responses to Bill Nye – The Science Fraud Guy

  1. R. Shearer says:

    He basically faked the data (what a surprise). The experimental setup shows two separate thermometers, but the photo is the identical thermometer, look at it in detail, smudges, defects, etc.

    WUWT has an extensive critique of his “experiment.”

  2. mkelly says:

    The reason is that it failed is simple. Using the standard specific heat formula, Q = Cp * m * dT, shows that for any given Q, CO2 will have a lower temperature than air.

    The mass of CO2 is so high it over comes the lower specific heat.

  3. Dan says:

    Actually heat lamps produce a range of wavelengths from 600 nm (red/near-IR) to 1400 nm or so. Red light is 600-700 nm, and can pass through glass. So, actually some — but not all — of the light emitted from that lamp makes it through the glass and is absorbed/re-emitted by water molecules. But, that’s just some pesky science getting in the way. Not that visitors to this site grok something like that though so I’m just wasting my time.

    On a related note, any of you guys seen an echo chamber around here?

    • tonyheller says:

      Dan intentionally conflates H2O with CO2, and red light with thermal IR – and then calls his deception”science.” Typical climate alarmist. None of the wavelengths Dan mentioned are in the CO2 spectra.

      Who knew that red light passes through glass? Perhaps Dan wants to ban di-hydrogen monoxide.

      The bottom line of Dan’s comment is that heat lamps don’t emit light of wavelengths in the CO2 spectra, so he is confirming my point that Bill Nye’s experiment is fraudulent.

    • R. Shearer says:

      He cheats, you’re ok with that?

    • AndyG55 says:

      “seen an echo chamber around here”

      Yep, between your ears.

      Seek and you will find. !!

    • Edmonton Al says:

      Dan…. It is a closed system experiment.
      The atmosphere is a open system………… No?

    • Robert B says:

      The pesky science is that any IR loss from the contents is stopped by the glass.
      Argon is used in double glazing (not IR absorbing) and a cheaper alternative is CO2 but nothing to do with IR. Conduction of heat from the solid object inside to the glass is slowed by having CO2 instead of just air but that is irrelevant in the atmosphere and not actually going to be picked up by that experiment.
      You’re not really good at this science thingy are you, Dan?

  4. richard verney says:

    There are two big problems with this type of experiment.

    First, CO2 is not controlled at say 250 ppm, 500 ppm, 1000 ppm. Usually the amount of CO2 is orders of magnitude more than in Earth’s atmosphere.

    Second, it is not replicating emission temperature and spectra of surface emissions say at a range between -70 degC to 60 degC (being the approximate range of Earth’s surface), nor is it replicating what is said to be happening in Earth’s atmosphere, namely back radiation from the coldness of high altitude .

    It is an embarrassment to call that type of experiment science.

  5. richard verney says:

    Further to my comment above, one really also needs to replicate night and day.

    Contrary to K&T’s energy budget cartoon, the sun does not shine 24/7 but rather energy is received in packages, and the question is whether the energy built up during the course of the day has time to dissipate during the hours of the night when there is no incoming solar.

    No attempt is being made to replicate that factor.

  6. Robertv says:

    I did not know the Earth’s atmosphere was covered by glass. How do spacecrafts get out ?

    So the experiment should have been done outside with open jars


    I remember reading about this on Anthony Watt’s blog a few years ago. Watts even tried to replicate the results. More than likely, they photoshopped the thermometer. Shame on them. Any other field of science, they would have been thrown out on their bums.

  8. CO2isLife says:

    Tony, I expanded upon your great work here to explore a few of the concepts you mentioned. Note, Tufts University debunked this experiment.

    Bill Nye, The Sophistry Guy: The Truth is Out There, Only No One is Listening

    • JCalvertN(UK) says:

      The Tufts experiment is beautiful in its simplicity. They did two identical experiments, one with CO2, the other with Argon. Argon is not a greenhouse gas, but it has a very similar density to CO2.
      The results were very similar.
      The Tufts authors conclude, “Our results apply only to the interpretation of classroom-scale demonstrations; they do not call into question the effects of anthropogenic greenhouse gases on the Earth’s climate or existing models of those phenomena. . . . the experiment we have considered and related ones are valuable examples of the dangers of unintentional bias in science, the value of at least a rough quantitative prediction of the expected effect, the importance of considering alternative explanations, and the need for carefully designed experimental controls.”

  9. John B., M.D. says:

    “Comments are disabled for this video.”

    Nye didn’t want to be challenged.

  10. arn says:

    Well- if Bill Nye would have filled one glas with air
    and the other glass with air+ 0.01% co2
    i wouldn’t have stopped watching.
    But it seems he “filled” one glas with air and the other with 100% co2.
    And 100% co2 is 10000x more than man made co2 is in our atmosphere
    and 2500x more than overall co2 is in the air.
    Therefore the temperature increase in our atmosphere should be 2500-10.000.
    There is a huge difference when radiation get reflected by an atmosphere filled
    with 100% climate gas while the other has almost none.

    (and btw-there are about 100 ways to manipulate this stupid test.
    It would be enough that one of the glasses is just slightly darker(even just the bottom/cap of the glas) to show warmer results.

    • arn says:

      “the temperature increase should be 2.500-10.000x less”

    • Luke of the D says:

      Yeah, that is my impression too. The experiment should be undertaken with air in both jars, one with atmospheric carbon dioxide levels at 0.03% by volume and another by 0.04% by volume. That would be somewhat fair, although as others have correctly pointed out, the atmosphere is not bounded by glass thus the experiment is moot to begin with.

      • arn says:

        The experiment is BS anyway
        but falsifying the co2 share by 1.000.000%
        (that’s how you get from man made 0.01% to 100% )
        shows how incredibly shameless and crazy these people are and that they don’t even care about the lowest standards to promote their bullshit.
        (and btw if 0.01% co2 was able to cause so much warming we would have started long time ago to use this gas to
        store energy or lower our heating costs significantly by simply having devices in our rooms that keeps co2 at 1%(=100* more than 0.01%) so that these molecules could store the heat all night and day long.
        Can you imagine what an amazing isolator co2 would be.
        We would replace walls with double glazed windows filled with pure co2.

    • Adrian Roman says:

      Has nothing to do with gases IQ absorption spectrum (in this experiment, the glass takes care of that, acting like the mythical ‘blanket’ they talk about in the greenhouse fairy tales, for both jars), but with the different specific heat and heat conductivity, which reduces to the fact that the CO2 molecule is quite heavier than other molecules in the air. It’s either a dishonest pseudo-experiment, those that do it are crooks, or they are plain stupid.

      Honest, intelligent people would use a jar with something comparable with CO2, but non-greenhouse, such an Argon control.

      • Adrian Roman says:

        “such an” should be read as “such as an”. Btw, that experiment was done – by physicists, even avoiding the IR non-transparent glass issue – and guess what? There was no ‘catastrophic’ warming due of CO2. They couldn’t find experimental evidence for it.

      • Adrian Roman says:

        IQ should also be read IR, apparently I’m tired, I’m going to sleep :)

        On top of that, I guess the Bill Nye, the pseudo science guy, also measures temperature by exposing the thermometer to the sun-light. Probably he paints it black, too, to show some catastrophic globullshit warming.

        • arn says:

          Well-the biggest ‘problem’ is that they try to create a blanket out of something that is just one part out of 10000.(even if the rays are instructed by the sun
          to find this superrare mann made one in 10.000 molecule to be reflected back most of them would not find it)
          That’s like saying :our oceans will get darker because fish are shitting in the water and the poo will darken the oceans.

          but let’s be hoenest:
          The global elite wants global controle.
          Global controle is impossible without a global tax.
          Try to take peoples money away and they’ll kill you
          -tell them they’ll save the world by paying a tax and they won’t complain.
          (the same trick is used with war:
          Attack a country and call it war=you’ll be called massmurderer and criminal.
          Call this procedure humanitarian help(and the terrorists moderate rebels) and you’ll be called saviour.

          It is just about selling evil as good.

          • Robertv says:

            The global elite wants global controle saving all your data following every move you make. Direct taxation climate change fraud state terrorism and the safety of the children gives them the right to oppress. They want to make the world one big zoo.

  11. John F. Hultquist says:

    The actual connection between a GreenHouse and CO2 is that the gas has to be introduced to 1000 ppm or so, on a regular basis, to provide food for the plants.
    A open air field of growing corn will use up the CO2 when the air is very still. At least a slight wind is necessary to replenish the air-born food.

    I’ve written to them about the poor editing.

    • AndyG55 says:

      “A open air field of growing corn will use up the CO2 ”

      Yep, there were actually measurements done abut crop drawdown of CO2.

      Can’t really remember much detail, but started at something like 600ppm in the morning, plants sucked on that until it was around 200ppm middayish, and went no further.

      So effectively, plant were only feeding for 4 hours or so.

  12. JCalvertN(UK) says:

    What was the humidity in each of the two vessels?
    If they didn’t measure it, the experiment was worthless.

  13. Joe says:

    ‘The debate is over’ on Youtube guys, “Comments are disabled for this video.” Lol

  14. Gamecock says:

    ‘Bill Nye is not a scientist.’

    Yes, he is. Not a very good one, though.

    Not being very good at it or making huge mistakes doesn’t make you not a scientist.
    When a baseball player strikes out, he is still a baseball player.

    Perfection is not a defining requirement. Indeed, we see massive imperfection in climate ‘science.’ The “you don’t believe in science” can only be sold if there is a belief that science is perfect. But most scientists are human.

  15. The Other Brad says:

    Another interesting video. They proved the Greenhouse affect because they built Greenhouses.

  16. My mantra continues to be : Show Us The Equations .
    The CO2 absorption lines contribute to the overall spectrum of the planet as seen from space and thus affect the radiative equilibrium — which is claimed to be ~ 28 degrees below the gray body temperature in our orbit which ranges from about 276.3 to 280.9 from aphelion to perihelion .

    The approximately 33K difference between the radiative equilibrium and surface temperature is rather well quantified by the gravitational energy acting on the mass of the atmosphere but inexcusably missing from the entire GHG paradigm .

  17. Kent Clizbe says:

    There’s a Greenhouse Gas experiment that’s already been done, in our atmosphere, that mimics the “Science Guy’s” glass jar sophistry.

    Mother Nature performed it. But she did it on a grand scale. In Mali, next to Lake Nyos, she filled a valley with CO2:

    “…in Mother Nature’s experiment, she created a 160 foot thick, 14 mile long atmospheric concentration of CO2.
    “The research that needs to be done would involve collecting temperature readings from before, during, and after the CO2 cloud covering the area.”

    Where’s a real scientist when you need one?

    The experiment’s been done. Just need to find, collect, and analyze the data.

    But I can give you a hint already–there were no reports of temperature increases in the valley during the CO2 blanketing.

    There were massive deaths of people and animals, though.

    Any real atmospheric scientists ready to find the reality of the effects of increased CO2 on temperature on Earth?

  18. David Wieland says:

    It continually astounds me that supposedly scientific explanations such as the Sciencing site provides (which seem to always assume a glass covering) don’t describe the actual effect of a greenhouse in providing a warmer environment for plants. A greenhouse’s relative warmth has little or nothing to do with blocking IR radiation but is simply due to blocking convection and advection. I use clear plastic film for a small greenhouse or even smaller row tunnel to get the GHE my veggies like. And black film spread on the ground and staked down lets the sun bake a weedy patch while blocking light, so it’s cleared for the next season.

  19. Evan Pallesen says:

    No. Bill Nye is not a scientist, he plays a scientist on TV. Just like the guy selling medical insurance plays a doctor by wearing a white coat and a stethoscope…

  20. face masks says:

    I figure that you might be trying to be PC with this subject, but please know that the more controversial details sometimes promote awesome dialogue when argued respectfully..and this IS your blog so let your “take” set the tone here!

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