Celebrity Mike Rowe took to his popular Facebook page this week to address — using his trademark humor — calls for him to be fired from “How the Universe Works.”
The man who became a household name with “Dirty Jobs” parlayed that early success into hosting gigs on shows like “Somebody’s Gotta Do it,” along with the creation of the mikeroweWORKS Foundation. America’s “every man” also narrates Science Channel’s ongoing “How the Universe Works,” but a viewer named Rebecca said he should be fired for being an “anti-education, science doubting, ultra-right wing conservative.”
Mr. Rowe, who often shares fan feedback with his five million followers, gave Rebecca an extended response on Thursday. He used the latest episode — “Are Black Holes Real?” — to demonstrate the absurdity of his critics’ claims.
“The existence of black holes has never been proven,” Mr. Rowe wrote. “Some cosmologists are now convinced they don’t exist at all, and the race to prove their actuality has become pretty intense. Why? Because so much of what we think we know about the cosmos depends upon them. In other words, the most popular explanations as to how the universe actually works are based upon the existence of a thing that no one has been able to prove. …”
“If I said I was skeptical that man-made global warming was going to melt the icecaps, that doesn’t make me a ‘doubter of science.’ Once upon a time, the best minds in science told us the sun revolved around the Earth. They also told us the Earth was flat, and that a really bad fever could be cured by blood-letting. Happily, those beliefs were questioned by skeptical minds, and we moved forward. Science is a wonderful thing, and a critical thing. But without doubt, science doesn’t advance. Without skepticism, we have no reason to challenge the status quo.”
Mr. Rowe added that reporting changes to existing theories, which were relayed to producers by top scientists, results in charges of “doubting science.”
“Let’s consider, for a moment, your very best efforts to have me fired,” he continued. “You’ve called me an ‘ultra-right wing conservative,’ who is both ‘anti-education,’ and ‘science-doubting.’ Interestingly, you offer no proof. Odd, for a lover of science. So I challenge you to do so now. Please provide some evidence that I am in fact the person you’ve described. […] Questioning the cost of a college degree does not make me ‘anti-education.’ Questioning the existence of dark-matter does not make me a ‘dark-matter denier.’ And questioning the wisdom of a universal $15 minimum wage doesn’t make me an ‘ultra-right wing conservative.’”
The host then joked that requesting actor Morgan Freeman as a replacement might prove to be problematic for her, as he “publicly claimed to be a ‘believer’ [in God].”
The sixth season of “How the Universe Works” airs Tuesday at 10 p.m. EST. on Science Channel.
• Douglas Ernst can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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