Bill Nye is taking on pseudo-science in his new Netflix series “Bill Nye Saves the World,” and that includes the big players in the field like Tony Robbins.
In one episode, Nye and his team address the spiritual practice of walking on burning hot coals. While people pay for retreats to learn how to do this, Nye proves that it’s possible mostly with physics.
The episode features guest Donald Faison (“Scrubs”), who you can see in the trailer attempting the feat.
“People will charge you $5,000 for a weekend where you learn to be spiritually prepared to walk across wooden burning coals. You don’t have to do that — you can just walk across wooden burning coals,” Nye said in an interview with TheWrap.
Nye doesn’t specifically say whether he’s directly referring to Robbins. However, the famous self-help guru holds a special three-day event called “Unleash the Power Within,” which his website says will help to “unlock and unleash the forces inside that can help you break through any limit and create the quality of life you desire.”
This includes helping people to walk over hot coals, apparently.
Multiple big names have used Robbins’ program, including Hugh Jackman, Melissa Ethridge and Maria Menounos, according to the official website.
However, it is simple to walk over burning coals. As scary as it may seem, basic physics makes it so a person doesn’t get burned. According to David Willey at the University of Pittsburgh, the foot is never in contact long enough to induce a burn, and the burning wood that heats the coals is a good insulator and never heats up too much.
That doesn’t mean walking on burning coals is harmless. Around 30 to 40 people were evaluated for injuries and at least five were hospitalized after an incident at an “Unleash the Power Within” event in Dallas, Texas, last June. However, Robbins claims it was a miscommunication and nobody was injured.
“Bill Nye Saves the World” premieres Friday, April 21 on Netflix.