Bill Nye: The (Pseudo-)Science Guy
Many of us who are scientists grew up watching “Bill Nye the Science Guy,” and learned to love science in the process. Sadly, Bill Nye came out recently with a video that indicates he is vehemently opposed to parents who teach children that evolutionary theory is false. In a YouTube video posted by BigThink.com, Nye said:
wikipedia.org (Ed Schipul) 2012 CC-by-sa-2.0
Denial of evolution is unique to the United States…. People still move to the United States, and that’s largely because of the intellectual capital we have—the general understanding of science. When you have a portion of the population that doesn’t believe in that, it holds everybody back. Really. Evolution is the fundamental idea in all of life science. In all of biology. It’s like, it’s very much analogous to trying to do geology without believing in tectonic plates. You’re just not going to get the right answer. Your whole world is just going to be a mystery instead of an exciting place…. Once in awhile I get people that really, or, that claim, they don’t believe in evolution. And my response, generally, is, “Why not? Really. Why not?” Your world just becomes fantastically complicated when you don’t believe in evolution. Here are these ancient dinosaur bones or fossils. Here is radioactivity. Here are distant stars that are just like our star but that are at a different point in their life cyle. The idea of deep time, of this billions of years, explains so much of the world around us. If you try to ignore that, your world view just becomes crazy. Just untenable. It’s self-inconsistent. And I say to the grown-ups: If you want to deny evolution and live in your, in your, uh, world that’s completely inconsistent with everything we observe in the Universe, that’s fine. But don’t make your kids do it. Because we need them. We need scientifically literate voters and tax payers for the future…. We need engineers that can build stuff—solve problems…. In another couple centuries, that world view, I’m sure, will be, just won’t exist. There’s no evidence for it (Fowler and Rodd, 2012).
Such comments, though not surprising, certainly are unfortunate, since so many young people have long hung on Bill Nye’s every word about science.
Several points are worthy of mentioning in response to Mr. Nye. It is true that widespread denial of evolution seems to be somewhat unique to the United States (see Miller, 2012), although there are other contenders (cf. Le Page, 2008). It is also true that many people clamor to get into the United States and that the United States has been the leader in the technological revolution over the last century. What’s unfortunate is that Nye totally ignores the fact that America has become the superpower that we are in science and in every other field—while largely not believing in evolution. America has historically been Christian and pro-Bible (and thus, anti-evolution), and in truth, it is due to that stance that America has flourished. Becoming more pro-evolution would actually move us in the opposite direction from the direction that has made us great in the first place. Believing in evolution will actually “hold America back”—while believing in Creation has not.
Nye believes that dinosaur fossils, radioactivity, distant stars, and deep time prove evolution and disprove Creation. As you know, we address such matters on a regular basis (e.g., Lyons and Butt, 2008; DeYoung, 2005; Lyons, 2011; Miller, 2010) and have shown that the scientific evidence supports the Creation model rather than the Evolutionary model. The Creation model can offer reasonable explanations, in keeping with the scientific evidence, for the existence of matter, energy, life, the laws of science, design, beauty, religious intuition, morality, “anomalies” in the geologic column, and many other things, while the Evolutionary model falls far short. It is the Evolutionary model that is “completely inconsistent” with much of what we observe in the Universe. In truth, it is the Evolutionary model that is holding back the progress of science. If evolutionary scientists would stop spending time and money in pursuit of unscientific notions (like trying to figure out how abiogenesis could happen, even though science has already disproven that idea time and again; or how something material could come from nothing or exist forever, even though science has already disproven those ideas time and again; or trying to find “missing link” fossils that prove that we came from ape-like creatures, when over 130 years of exploration into the geologic column has not helped in that pursuit), and begin interpreting the scientific evidence in light of the Creation model, much more progress could be made.
Evolutionary theory spawned the false concept of vestigial organs. That idea would have all but stopped scientific research on those organs, since according to evolutionary theory, those organs are now useless or nearly so. Now we are realizing that those organs are not vestigial, but important, and we are reaping the effects of evolutionists’ lack of emphasis on those organs for over a century. Little research has been done on many of those organs in the past century due to the vestigial argument. On the other hand, when scientists have turned their attention towards the created order for scientific inspiration—as creationists do since we understand that the Chief Engineer designed it—they are discovering that the Universe is replete with fully functional, amazing designs worthy of mimicking. The Creation model is hardly a hinderance to scientific progress. Contrary to Nye’s charge to parents—we encourage parents to continue to advocate the creationist mindset! The fruit of that pursuit has been the emergence of the most advanced and prosperous country in the history of mankind (cf. Skousen, 2009). Teach your kids the truth! “We need scientifically literate voters and tax payers for the future. We need engineers that can build stuff—solve problems.”
In a CBS interview after the release of the video, Nye talked about his passion concerning evolutionary theory.
I feel passionate about it for the betterment of the United States, the United States economy, and our future. What makes the United States great—the reason people want to live in the United States, move here still—is because of our ability to innovate. This goes back to Ben Franklin and Thomas Alva Edison and George Washington Carver, let alone landing on the moon—Neil Armstrong. All these people believed in science (“Bill Nye on Creationism Critique…,” 2012).
While we disagree that the “reason people want to live in the United States” is solely our ability to innovate, we certainly agree that the freedom and encouragement to engage in innovative endeavors in this country is a significant perk in coming here. However, Nye has failed to realize that the freedom to innovate in this country stems from the fundamental belief held by the Founders of this country—that men have been “endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights,” including life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. These unalienable Rights, according to the Founders, were derived from the God of the Bible, in which, the Founders, en masse, believed (see Miller, 2008b). Belief in the Bible has resulted in fewer evolutionists in America—since Darwinian evolution and the biblical account of Creation cannot be harmonized (see Thompson, 2000). And yet, again, America is still greater than, perhaps, any other country in the history of the world.
Ironically, Nye mentions Franklin, Carver, and Armstrong among the great scientists of history. Franklin, though less religious than many of the Founders, was still a strong proponent of biblical morality in America and believed in the God of the Bible. Carver was a well-known Creation scientist, and Armstrong was among this country’s pioneering astronauts who even read from the Bible from space during television broadcasts (see Miller, 2008a). Nye failed to mention the fact that many great scientists from history have made significant contributions to the field of science, even though they were firm believers in God and Creation. Johannes Kepler, the father of modern astronomy and modern optics, was a firm Bible believer. Robert Boyle, the father of chemistry, was a Bible believer. Samuel F.B. Morse, who invented Morse Code, was a believer. Wernher Von Braun, the father of the space program at NASA, was a strong believer in God and creation, as well as Louis Pasteur, the father of biology, Lord Kelvin, the father of thermodynamics, Sir Isaac Newton, the father of modern physics, and Faraday, the father of electromagnetism. Dozens of other well-known scientists from history could be cited (see Morris, 1990).
Although numbers ultimately mean nothing in regard to truth, creationists can certainly come up with an impressive list of qualified scientists living today who have examined the scientific evidence and concluded that the evolutionary model falls short in explaining our existence. Creation Ministries International posted a list of some 187 scientists alive today (or recently deceased) who believe in the biblical account of creation (“Creation Scientists…,” 2010). The scientists who are listed all possess a doctorate in a science-related field. Over 90 different scientific fields are represented in the list, including several types of engineers, chemists, geneticists, physicists, and biologists. Astronomers and astrophysicists; geologists and geophysicists; physicians and surgeons; micro-, molecular, and neurobiologists; paleontologists and zoologists are represented, and the list goes on. Jerry Bergman amassed a list of more than 3,000 individuals. Most have a Ph.D. in science, and many more could be added, according to Bergman.
On my list I have well over 3,000 names including Nobel Prize winners, but, unfortunately, a large number of persons that could be added to the public list, including many college professors, did not want their name listed because of real concerns over possible retaliation or harm to their careers (2006).
For over 30 years, we at Apologetics Press have conducted numerous seminars and published hundreds of articles by qualified, credentialed scientists who speak out in support of the biblical account of creation as well—scientists with graduate degrees in geology, astrophysics, microbiology, neurobiology, cell biology, biochemistry, aerospace engineering, nuclear engineering, and biomechanical engineering. Creationists can certainly speak with credibility in scientific matters—and we can show with confidence that the scientific evidence does not support Bill Nye and his evolutionary theory.
Concerning a recent NASA conference he attended, Nye noted how extraordinary it is that anybody in the world could attend that conference in a sense, since it was broadcast all around the world using technology that did not exist in the past, but now does, thanks to science. “That’s a result of science. That’s not a result of thinking the Earth is some extraordinarily short number of years old” (“Bill Nye on Creationism…,” 2012). It is true that our technology is a result of science, and in a sense, it is not necessarily all due to “thinking the Earth is some extraordinarily short number of years old,” since not all technological breakthroughs or hang-ups are necessarily the result of one’s belief on the age of the Earth. However, technology is also not a result of thinking the Earth is some extraordinarily long number of years old either. One’s belief about how old the Earth is does not necessarily directly affect the findings of science. Even prominent evolutionists recognize that one does not need to believe in Darwinian evolution in order to be a scientist. Richard Dawkins of Oxford University said, “a student of, say, nerve cells, might decide that he is not aided by thinking about evolution. The nerve specialist agrees that his nerve cells are the products of evolution, but he does not need to use this fact in his research…. That is a defensible position…. A physicist certainly doesn’t need Darwinism in order to do physics” (1996, p. 283, emp. added). A person’s stance on evolutionary theory may not directly affect his scientific findings, but it certainly can indirectly affect his findings through God’s Providence—as has been manifested throughout the history of this country and the blessings that Almighty God has bestowed upon us through scientific advancement. When God is happy with the decisions of a country, the country is blessed with prosperity and advancement (Psalm 33:12). So, Bill Nye and people like him are a hindrance to scientific progress. Why? (1) Because his views foster the acceptance of false information and hinder the free exchange of ideas; and (2) Because his unbiblical view of the origin of the Universe will ultimately lead to the drying up of the fountain of God’s providential scientific blessings in this country. May God help us to boldly fight this war for the soul of America.
Bergman, Jerry (2006), “Darwin Skeptics,” http://www.rae.org/darwinskeptics.html.
“Bill Nye on Creationism Critique: I’m Not Attacking Religion” (2012), CBS News, August 28, http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-505270_162-57501492/bill-nye-on-creationism-critique-im-not-attacking-religion/.
“Creation Scientists and Other Specialists of Interest” (2010), Creation Ministries International, http://creation.com/creation-scientists.
Dawkins, Richard (1996), The Blind Watchmaker (New York: W.W. Norton).
DeYoung, Don (2005), Thousands...Not Billions (Green Forest, AR: Master Books).
Fowler, Jonathan and Elizabeth Rodd (2012), “Bill Nye: Creationism is Not Appropriate for Children,” BigThink.com, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gHbYJfwFgOU.
Le Page, Michael (2008), “Evolution Myths: It Doesn’t Matter if People Don’t Grasp Evolution,” New Scientist, 198:31, April 19.
Lyons, Eric (2011), “Common Sense, Miracles, and the Apparent Age of the Earth,” Apologetics Press, http://www.apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=9&article=4082.
Lyons, Eric and Kyle Butt (2008), The Dinosaur Delusion (Montgomery: AL: Apologetics Press).
Miller, Dave (2008a), “American Astronauts: From Belief to Unbelief,” Apologetics Press, http://www.apologeticspress.org/apcontent.aspx?category=12&article=2490.
Miller, Dave (2008b), The Silencing of God (Montgomery, AL: Apologetics Press).
Miller, Jeff (2010), “Inevitable—Given Enough Time?” Apologetics Press, http://www.apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=12&article=3729.
Miller, Jeff (2012), “Literal Creationists Holding Their Ground in the Polls,” Reason & Revelation, 32:94-95, September (Montgomery, AL: Apologetics Press).
Morris, Henry M. (1990), Men of Science Men of God: Great Scientists Who Believed in the Bible (El Cajon, CA: Master Books), third printing.
Skousen, W. Cleon (2009), The 5000 Year Leap: A Miracle That Changed the World (Malta, ID: National Center for Constitutional Studies), 17th printing.
Thompson, Bert (2000), Creation Compromises (Montgomery, AL: Apologetics Press), second edition, http://www.apologeticspress.org/pdfs/e-books_pdf/cre_comp.pdf.