Hey Bill Nye! Our Brains Are All the Same, So Why Aren’t People Identical?
Human minds are all powered by the same organ, so why do we have such strong preferences and diverse favorite things? Bill Nye lets us in on an example from his life.
Bill Nye, scientist, engineer, comedian, author, and inventor, is a man with a mission: to help foster a scientifically literate society, to help people everywhere understand and appreciate the science that makes our world work. Making science entertaining and accessible is something Bill has been doing most of his life.
In Seattle Nye began to combine his love of science with his flair for comedy, when he won the Steve Martin look-alike contest and developed dual careers as an engineer by day and a stand-up comic by night. Nye then quit his day engineering day job and made the transition to a night job as a comedy writer and performer on Seattle’s home-grown ensemble comedy show “Almost Live.” This is where “Bill Nye the Science Guy®” was born. The show appeared before Saturday Night Live and later on Comedy Central, originating at KING-TV, Seattle’s NBC affiliate.
While working on the Science Guy show, Nye won seven national Emmy Awards for writing, performing, and producing. The show won 18 Emmys in five years. In between creating the shows, he wrote five children’s books about science, including his latest title, “Bill Nye’s Great Big Book of Tiny Germs.”
Nye is the host of three currently-running television series. “The 100 Greatest Discoveries” airs on the Science Channel. “The Eyes of Nye” airs on PBS stations across the country.
Bill’s latest project is hosting a show on Planet Green called “Stuff Happens.” It’s about environmentally responsible choices that consumers can make as they go about their day and their shopping. Also, you’ll see Nye in his good-natured rivalry with his neighbor Ed Begley. They compete to see who can save the most energy and produce the smallest carbon footprint. Nye has 4,000 watts of solar power and a solar-boosted hot water system. There’s also the low water use garden and underground watering system. It’s fun for him; he’s an engineer with an energy conservation hobby.
Nye is currently the Executive Director of The Planetary Society, the world’s largest space interest organization.
Bill Nye: Shouldn't we all have the same favorites? Aren't we all the same? Don't our brains all grow the same? The answer is no and yes. That is to say we have much more - we are much more alike than we are different. This old question if I see red is it the same to you as it is to me like what I think is red is really green and your brain learns to call what your green is my red and so on? Okay these are good questions, but I think the reason we have favorites is that we all are slightly different. We do not look identical. We are not biological clones. Everybody is a little different. Everybody is exposed to different experiences and different chemicals, different things in the air and water as you grow up. So what you prefer in food could change from one place to another based on your environment. And everybody's genes are different. One exception might be identical twins. But everybody's genes are different and so what we prefer, what we like, what we find as favorites is different from one person to another. But if nothing else I have learned in life people are a heck of a lot more alike than they are different.
You'll find that if you like a yummy chocolate dessert it's very likely that someone else will like that yummy chocolate dessert. That your favorites you maybe surprised are favored by a great many people. When you get into disagreements it's often I think a result of your experiences. Like I've had great experience eating ice cream with honey, vanilla ice cream with honey. Every time I think about it I think about my dad and I have good thoughts. But there's other people who think vanilla ice cream, that's not interesting enough to me. Honey, that's too commonplace. I won't say I feel bad for you but that means more vanilla and honey for me. You'll find people are more alike than they are different and enjoy the favorites, celebrate these little differences. It's part of what makes life fun. Carry on.
Our brains are the same organ, but no way are we all the same people. So why do we like different things, if we’re all made of roughly the same parts? Everybody’s brain development is a little bit different, explains Bill Nye, whether that’s physiologically through chemical variations in air, water, and agriculture; or culturally through societal influence and tradition. Our genes too are different, determining what tastes, sounds, and other stimuli we might like. Our differences usually reside in those trivialities – we have favorite flavors of ice-cream, we find harmony in radically different music, we either love or hate chili. But when you take a wider view and examine our emotional lives, ambitions, and sense of self, those predilections fade away. "If nothing else," says Nye, "I have learned in life people are a heck of a lot more alike than they are different." Bill Nye's most recent book is Unstoppable: Harnessing Science to Change the World.
Bill Nye's most recent book is Unstoppable: Harnessing Science to Change the World.
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