Did Bill Nye get booed by a room full of Texans for saying that the moon reflected the Sun's light instead of coming from God? This is a well-known internet rumour. Is there any evidence proving/refuting it?

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    Anyone attacking Bill Nye for any reason, whether valid or not, makes me angry. The man is a saint I say! :) – Mark Rogers May 19 '11 at 18:00
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    @Mark I agree. Bill Nye is the Man. This whole thing makes me want to shoot a kitten. see my cats land on feet answer for specifics on cat shooting weaponry – Rusty May 19 '11 at 18:38

No. Understandable ? Sure.

Well maybe by one lady and there was a low murmur.

Looks like everything started with this article...

"The Science Guy is entertaining and provocative at MCC lecture"
Thursday, April 06, 2006
By Tim Woods Waco Tribune-Herald

The original article is behind a pay wall. A good facsimile might be here.

Dylan Otto Krider has a series of posts explaining how the whole thing went down.

Even though the bulk of his story talked about how most everyone enjoyed the show, people latched onto the country bumpkin angle. Compounding the problem was that the 2007 post mentioned the story had been "removed" and people were left with BSAlert's interpretation of events. The wording of the post, in fact, was identical to a post that would surface again on ThinkAtheist in February 2009, which was latched onto by this Examiner.

From Krider's interview with Woods...

"There was some mischaracterization of what happened," Woods says. It seemed like the story was always construed in such a way to make his hometown look like backwoods idiots. "The one that always floors me is they say, oh, he was booed. No, he wasn’t booed. I've gone back through the story, and nowhere does it say he was booed."

"Would you describe it as a huff?" we asked.

"No," Woods says, "More of a low murmur."

Skeptics take note...

So, in the end, it is an illustrative story worthy of posting on, but not the booing crowd we made it out to be. A few religious people in a crowd of 600, storming out, visibly angry, and the lecture went on.

For Skeptics, it's not just an example of this kind of conditioning that allows people to close themselves off from any contrary evidence to their views, no matter how obvious and common sensical, but how, in the Internet age, stories take on a life of their own and are more likely to catch fire because they are cast in their most sensationalistic light.

Being from Texas...

I made this comment on the question shortly after it was posted...

How about making that "Did Bill Nye get booed by a room full of religious fundamentalists nut-job freaks that wear animals as hats insane types from the backwoods of Texas for using complete sentences, having an IQ greater than his shoe size and not being a member of their insane cult ?" Some of us here in Texas are fighting against these inbred morons and their constant attacks on freedom and democracy. I wouldn't want people thinking all Texans condone this violently anti-American behavior :) sorry if I got off on a rant

Not all Texans are wackos*.

*The term "wacko" was coined in 1869 by Texan Billy Joe Sue "Sweets" Lufkin.
Apparently he was in Waco at the time.

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    +1 Nicely done! I mean, for someone from Texas:) But hey. I live in Chicago, I should get to vote twice. – Monkey Tuesday May 20 '11 at 0:24
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    @Monkey I did go to college in New York :) – Rusty May 20 '11 at 2:45
  • You from Austin by any chance Rusty? – Mark Sep 7 '12 at 0:37
  • @Mark Not currently. Unfortunate that. – Rusty Sep 7 '12 at 0:47
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    -1 for spending less on the answer and more on personal ranting and promoting stereotypes. – vsz Nov 27 '12 at 16:59

Bill Nye Source

What happened:

The Emmy-winning scientist angered a few audience members when he criticized literal interpretation of the biblical verse Genesis 1:16, which reads:

God made two great lights - the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars.”

He pointed out that the sun, the “greater light,” is but one of countless stars and that the “lesser light” is the moon, which really is not a light at all, rather a reflector of light.

This happend in 2006, but the story resurged in 2007 and then again in 2009.

But according to the reporter who wrote the original article for the Waco Tribune the later retellings overplayed what happened:

"There was some mischaracterization of what happened," Tim Woods says. It seemed like the story was always construed in such a way to make his hometown look like backwoods idiots.

"The one that always floors me is they say, oh, he was booed. No, he wasn’t booed. I've gone back through the story, and nowhere does it say he was booed."

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    Social IQ Lady (a blogger) looked into this story as well. blog.socialiqlady.com/2011/05/16/… She basically said the same thing about it being overblown. Although, some wacko Texans did grumble and did leave the presentation according to her. – JasonR May 19 '11 at 18:27
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    Am I the only one who finds the expression "The Emmy-winning scientist" somewhat... unusual? – user5341 May 19 '11 at 19:06
  • Maybe unusual, but true – Oliver_C May 19 '11 at 20:16
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    The Emmy is beyond dispute. Calling a comedian/engineer/kids'-science-show-host a "scientist" might be a bit of a stretch. – mmyers May 20 '11 at 20:12
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    Well on the face of it, that sounds much more like they were upset because he was dissing the Bible, not because they believed light comes out of the moon. Talk about a storm in a teacup... – Benjol Feb 10 '12 at 7:47

The original article is here. It is archived and unfortunately you have to subscribe to access the full article which you may want to do depending on how much you want to find out.

It does say in the brief description that he "ruffled a few religious feathers along the way" so it would be fair to believe that the moon comment was not the sole reason for the booing however it would be the most outrageous objectionable point (for them of course) to pick up on for a perplexing news article, and it would also contribute to the crowds reaction.

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