Bill Nye vs Creationism: A Video Gone Viral

Bill Nye is a terrific teacher. He can take a difficult concept in science and make it clear as crystal to students. What gives him even more of an edge as a teacher is that he makes learning fun and interesting. It’s no wonder that the TV show “Bill Nye The Science Guy” became a very popular show with many fans.

However, Bill has recently found himself in the middle of a raging controversy as the result of his inappropriate warnings to parents about creationism on a video-gone-viral. The YouTube video, “Creationism Is Not Appropriate for Children,” was posted by the online forum Big Think in August.1  It has already counted almost 5 million viewers and logged thousands of comments.

In the video, he tells parents that they can deny evolution and live in a world that is completely inconsistent with everything scientists observe in the universe if they want to. However, they shouldn’t make their kids do it, because “we need them.”

In another comment he mentions that once in a while he meets people who claim they don’t believe in evolution. He tells them when they ignore the scientific evidence, their worldview becomes crazy, untenable, and inconsistent. He said, “Your world just becomes fantastically complicated when you don’t believe in evolution . . . . The idea of deep time, of this billions of years, explains so much of the world around us.”

He believes that evolution is the basics of everything in life science, and if you don’t accept evolution, “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.”

In a subsequent interview he also said, “If we raise a generation of students who don’t believe in the process of science, who think everything that we’ve come to know about nature and the universe can be dismissed by a few sentences translated into English from some ancient text, you’re not going to continue to innovate.”

These comments have caught the attention of America. Some parents are outraged while others vigorously support Nye’s comments. It is difficult to be on either side of the origins debate without stirring up passionate emotions. Or, perhaps it’s the audacity of telling parents what to teach their own children about personal beliefs that is making this debate such a big deal.

I consider Bill Nye to be well informed in matters of science, but I believe he is way off-base on his comments about evolutionism and creationism and needs to reconsider the following points.

First of all, the “process of science” is not dependent upon whether or not one believes in millions of year of evolution. Scientific processes and methods were birthed in a Christian culture long before Darwin proposed his ideas. Many of the early scientists were also Christian pastors and ministers who believed in a God of order and dependability. They felt that discovering the order and predictability of nature was a way of honoring the Creator.2

Early scientists such as Isaac Newton, Johannes Kepler, and others freely expressed praises to God as they discovered new ways that showed the precision and order of the natural world. More recently, the rocket scientist Wernher von Braun said, “One cannot be exposed to the law and order of the universe without concluding that there must be design and purpose behind it all.  . . . It would be an error to overlook the possibility that the universe was planned rather than happened by chance.”3

Scientific advancements can only occur where nature is viewed as predictable and organized. A body of scientific knowledge has never emerged from cultures who believed that their lives were controlled by unpredictable capricious spirits, but science is a natural fit with Christian culture.

The second thing Bill needs to consider is that evolution is not an umbrella that covers all fields of science. He says, “We need scientifically literate voters and taxpayers for the future. We need people that can . . . build stuff, solve problems.” I totally agree with this comment; but people can become many kinds of scientists and engineers without endorsing Darwinian evolution.

Darwinian evolution is a part of what is known as historical sciences. Evolutionists try to reconstruct the past by means of natural explanations, using whatever clues are available, which are mostly fossil remains.

The majority of scientific fields are known as operational sciences. These scientists  look for natural explanations of how and why things work as they do in nature. Operational sciences use methods that help control the factors being tested and minimize the biases and guesswork of the researchers. They can generally be repeated by other scientists who will obtain similar results. However, the methods used by operational sciences are not usually suitable for trying to reconstruct the past, especially Darwinian evolution.

The third thing Bill needs to reconsider is that the backbone of science is skepticism, scientific critique of research, and open debate. Vigorous debate of ideas and critical peer reviews are a normal and essential part of science. This step is what prevents a few science “experts” from being the determiner of what is true. It’s what gives science a high level of credibility.

It’s easy to think that all of the scientists in America and the world are in full agreement about millions of years of evolution because the evidence is overwhelming. But, that is not the case at all. Thousands of scientists have doubts about Darwinian evolution! Unfortunately, doubts and challenges to evolution tend to be minimized by academic institutions of science and education, but challenging voices are getting louder.

A fourth thing Bill needs to realize is that American people are an independent bunch when it comes to what they believe. It hasn’t been an easy task for Darwinian evolutionists to try to persuade Americans that all life evolved from a one-celled organism or that new species evolved through changes that occurred randomly over millions of years.

Opinion polls have been gauging what Americans believe about origins for many years. Amazingly, only a small percentage of Americans (about 10% + or – a few points) believes the “standard” evolutionary model that life arose through natural processes, particles, and random chance over millions of years.4

References:

1. The video, “Creationism Is Not Appropriate for Children,” was posted on
YouTube on Aug 23, 2012 by the online knowledge forum Big Think.

2. The Soul of Science, Nancy R. Pearacey and Charles B. Thaxton. Wheaton,
Illinois: Crossway Books, 1994.

3. konig.org/wc179.htm (Dr. von Braun’s letter to California School Board in its entirety)

4.  Gallup Poll, June 1, 2012.  “In U.S. 46% Hold Creationist View of Human Origins”