Michael Bastasch, DCNF
Bill Nye the “Science Guy” tried claim the U.S. Constitution supported the concerns of thousands of scientists and environmental activists who took to the streets on Earth Day to protest the Trump administration’s proposed budget cuts to federal agencies.
“If you suppress science, if you pretend climate change isn’t a real problem, you will fall behind other countries that do invest in science, that do invest in basic research,” Nye told CNN Saturday as the “March for Science” took place.
The march took place in dozens of cities across the world, and the main march took place in Washington, D.C. Saturday. Nye spoke at the rally where thousands carried signs deriding skeptics of global warming and cuts to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and other bureaucracies that fund or conduct scientific research.
“And it is interesting to note, I think, that Article 1 Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution refers to the progress of science and the useful arts,” Nye said.
“Useful arts in 18th Century usage would be what we call engineering or city planning or architecture,” Nye said.
Nye’s used the argument before to underscore how “unpatriotic” it is to not have the federal government hand out billions of taxpayer dollars to universities, corporations and research institutions.
“Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution says the government shall ‘promote the progress of science and useful arts,’” Nye told Vox in 2015 — Vox didn’t correct him or fact check his claim.
“So if you’re a politician looking to derail the progress of science, I think you’re not doing your job,” Nye said.
And, like last time, he’s 100 percent incorrect.
Nye is referring to the Constitution’s Copyright Clause. The clause is one in a laundry list of Congress’s enumerated powers.
It reads: “To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries.”
The Copyright Clause has nothing to do with government-funded science, but everything to do with establishing a legal framework to protect intellectual property rights.
This is why Nye is not known as the “Constitution Guy.”
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