Emergency blog: Climate Change and Sheldon Cooper

So I’m standing in the petty cash office at work and there’s a TV droning CNN nonstop.  I was playing Flappy Bird (ha!) and overheard some stats about people who don’t believe in climate change (something along the lines of “only 42% of Americans believe in climate change that’s influenced by man”).

People who deny climate change are right wingers/dolts (mutually inclusive). I’m paraphrasing some of the rest of what I heard:

  • “There are facts that unequivocally point towards climate change, yet people like Marco Rubio still deny it exists.” Also, sky is blue.
  • “I don’t think most Americans can name a single scientist.” If true, this is more a black eye on Americans than anything else. If asked, you can say your buddy govinbhai is a (fledgling) scientist.
  • And here’s the quote that really pissed me off, “The scientists most Americans are familiar with is the fictional Dr. Sheldon Cooper [of The Big Bang Theory], who is brilliant, condescending, and narcissistic. Given this representation of scientists it is understandable that scientists do not inspire confidence in many Americans.” This was infinitely more infuriating than Flappy Bird.

Working in academia I tend to spend a lot of time will well educated, scientifically literate people (scientists).  Ask any faculty member at Temple University or elsewhere and they will be in staunch agreement that humans have have influenced our climate to our own detriment. Climate change deniers are their own special type of stupid, but CNN brought up a thoughtful point (for once): that the general public woefully misconstrues climate change and the scientific community at large because most of their exposure to “scientists” is a terrible fucking television show.

Not only does The Big Bang Theory incorrectly stereotype scientists, lack any sort of meaningful character development, rely on terrible writing and a forced laugh track.


But in general, it isn’t a show about real scientists. Physics PhDs aren’t spending their free time at comic book stores or arcades. They aren’t entirely socially inept losers. If the show was accurate, the PhDs on the show wouldn’t be relatable, white Americans. Look at this faculty directory  and tell me how many Sheldon’s and Leonard’s you see.  A show about reading scientific journals, developing and testing experimental hypotheses, and examining evidence to draw conclusions wouldn’t be too popular (that’s an indictment of the American public and mainstream media).

Misrepresenting the scientific community has a negative, cascading effect on very real issues that threaten our way of life.  97% of climate scientists agree that climate-warming has been influenced by human activity.


Though if you’re stupid enough to enjoy the Big Bang Theory, you likely don’t have the cognitive capacity to understand what I’m angry about.


2 thoughts on “Emergency blog: Climate Change and Sheldon Cooper

  1. I started watching BBT when I saw actual science being at least referred to in the show. I got very excited and hopeful when the first lines uttered in the entire series were a description of the Double-slit experiment.

    I stopped watching when it degenerated into just another sitcom of mean barbs and sex jokes. Now, BBT’s real science is about as relevant as the Muzak piped into elevators–it fills the gaps but is ultimately unnecessary to the ride, which is rushed and boring at the same time. Considering Chuck Lorre also created Two and a Half Men, it isn’t hard to follow the inanity to its source. There’s a reason they have to use a laugh track.

    I’d hate to see what the writers would come up with now if the words “Double-slit” were reinserted into the dialogue. I doubt any respectable physicists would be laughing.

  2. Come on guys. The most impressive attribute of science is openness. Without it, no progression could be made.
    On the other hand, keep yourselves in check when closing your heart.

    A. I do fully agree that BBT paints a poor picture of the scientific community.
    B. I also can observe that the show is categorized as comedy.
    C. It is also fictional.

    Point being, let it go guys. At the very least, it IS putting science in front of people. Period.

    Implore yourselves, and more importantly others, that greed is what drives this motivation to strike the show down.
    Much the same as it is to cast out that 15%.
    Greed is also what led our environment to its current situation.
    Tesla presented an option for free energy, for the ENTIRE world. Greed within the few who successfully sought to destroy that option to pursue fossil fuels, did this purely out of greed. They saw an immediate option within fossil fuels create monetary and material wealth.

    ‘Freedom’ has always been a great catalyst for action. Give freedom, but give it freely. These people are allowed to believe as they wish, without our judgement of character. Same goes for the show. Those that don’t truly understand science, or whom it comprises, now have a good show to present the opportunity to spark that interest. Not if, but when, that spark ignites in some viewers, they’ll begin the journey those within science have already been on. Don’t turn your shoulder to them, rather extend your hand in guidance.

    Have not only an open mind, but an open heart to compliment.

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