The White House


THE PRESIDENT: Our culture has to support and elevate science. And part of the concern that I get sometimes is that historically America was built on innovation, science --

BILL NYE: Well, I grew up with the space program. I’m all about science.

THE PRESIDENT: And everybody talks about the space program, which was so inspiring to your generation, but it goes a little bit further back than that. You’ve got Benjamin Franklin with a kite, and you’ve got Thomas Edison --

BILL NYE: Absolutely, Thomas Edison.

THE PRESIDENT: -- and the Wright Brothers. And so that has always been in our DNA.

BILL NYE: Absolutely.

THE PRESIDENT: And yet, sometimes what we see in the popular culture is a -- if not denigration, then not an emphasis on science.

BILL NYE: But it’s changing.

THE PRESIDENT: But it’s changing, and that’s the good news.

And it says in the Constitution, Section 1, paragraph 8: “Shall promote the progress of science and the useful arts.” Along with everything else you’ve got to do --

THE PRESIDENT: That’s part of our constitutional duty.

BILL NYE: It really is.

THE PRESIDENT: But you’re right in terms of -- and that’s why I think it’s so important for our political leaders to not just talk about STEM and education and talk about basic research in the abstract, but, number one fund it -- so put your money where your mouth is.

But number two, when you’re making decisions around important issues, make sure that you take science seriously. I mean, when I see members of Congress being part of the climate-denier clubs and basically stiff-arming what we know are facts, and not rebutting them with other facts but rebutting them with anecdote or just being dismissive --

BILL NYE: And, “Oh, I’m not a scientist so therefore --“

THE PRESIDENT: Well, I’m not a scientist either but I know a lot of scientists. I have the capacity to understand science. I have the capacity to look at facts and base my conclusions on evidence.

BILL NYE: That’s right.

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The White House

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