Both sides will claim victory. The one certain positive effect will be this.
Somewhere, in this audience, is a kid — more than one kid — who was dragooned into going by his family. This child probably believes. He wants to be good. He does not react to Nye’s bowtie jokes. He wants to show that he knows better than to laugh with the devil. But Nye’s mild and genial voice, the facts, the pure clarity and wonder of what he has to say, is flowing over him. Later, this kid will pray; he will beg God to drive away the ideas he is beginning to have. For a while, this will work. But the more he prays, the less it will work, the less help he will have in driving away his doubts, his awe, his curiosity about what Bill Nye had to say. And someday, months or years from now, that child’s mind will flower.