(Daily Beast) -- On many mornings, I wake up and think, “You know what this country needs? More culture war.” As I scramble up a couple eggs, I find myself wishing—fervently wishing—that we could spend more time reducing substantive issues to mere spectacle. Later, as I scrub the pan, I’ll fantasize about how those very spectacles might even funnel money toward some of the country’s most politicized religious groups.
Fortunately, Bill “the Science Guy” Nye has heard my wish—which, really, is the wish of a nation. Why else would he have traveled to Kentucky this week in order to debate Ken Ham, the young-earth creationist founder of Answers in Genesis, about the origins of the world?
Actually, there are two other reasons that Nye might have done so, and I’ve given both possibilities a great deal of thought in the past few days. The first is that Nye, for all his bow-tied charm, is at heart a publicity-hungry cynic, eager to reestablish the national reputation he once had as the host of a PBS show. When his stint on Dancing With the Stars ended quickly, Nye turned to the only other channel that could launch him back to national attention: a sensationalized debate, replete with the media buzz that he craves.
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