The Bill Nye Video: What He Got Wrong About Creationism
The Bill Nye video (Creationism Is Not Appropriate For Children) has made quite a splash on the internet in the last week. The video, first shared on August 23rd, 2012 now has over 2 million views. In it, Bill Nye pleads with Creationist parents to not pass their beliefs along to their children. Wow.
Above is the video and in the toggle bar below is the full transcript taken from YouTube:
The Bill Nye Video Transcript: Creationism Is Not Appropriate For Children
Denial of evolution is unique to the United States. I mean, we’re the world’s most advanced technological—I mean, you could say Japan—but generally, the United States is where most of the innovations still happens. 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.
As my old professor, Carl Sagan, said, “When you’re in love you want to tell the world.” So, once in a while I get people that really—or that claim—they don’t believe in evolution. And my response generally is “Well, why not? Really, why not?” Your world just becomes fantastically complicated when you don’t believe in evolution. I mean, here are these ancient dinosaur bones or fossils, here is radioactivity, here are distant stars that are just like our star but they’re at a different point in their lifecycle. 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, itself inconsistent.
And I say to the grownups, if you want to deny evolution and live in your world, in your 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 taxpayers for the future. We need people that can—we need engineers that can build stuff, solve problems.
It’s just really hard a thing, it’s really a hard thing. You know, in another couple of centuries that world view, I’m sure, will be, it just won’t exist. There’s no evidence for it.
The Bill Nye Video: What He Said and What I Say:
So let’s look at a few missteps in the Bill Nye video. He starts off with this statement:
“Denial of evolution is unique to the United States. I mean, we’re the world’s most advanced technological [country] … where most of the innovations still happens. People still move to the United States. And that’s largely because of the intellectual capital we have, the general understanding of science.”
Even in his opening statement he betrays the fallacy of his logic. We are the place where “most innovations still happen” and we are also the country with the largest population of Young Earth Creationists… Perhaps having an open, heterogenous forum for scientific and theological thought is a strength, not a weakness. And maybe taking a more homogenous cosmological view would create a weakness, not a strength.
The second fallacy in his argument is that he equates Creationism to Young Earth Creationism. He blithely washes over the spectrum of Creation Science with blanket statements aimed only at Young Earthers. Where is his treatment of Old Earth Creationism, Evolutionary Creationism, Corcordism, and more? Here he shows his tone deafness to the landscape of ideas for Creationism. He has taken no time to look at the ideas of Hugh Ross, Darrel Falk, and others that see great agreement with the Bible and modern science. It is disappointing that the Bill Nye video would show such ignorance to the spectrum of theories that he claims to dispute.
The third fallacy is that you need evolution to be an engineer. Here is his quote:
“We need people that can—we need engineers that can build stuff, solve problems.”
Here he overstates the problem. The last time I checked, you do not need to believe in evolution to design a building. You do not need to believe in evolution to design a car, build an iPhone, or launch a rocket. In fact, the industrial revolution happened before Charles Darwin was a twinkle in his father’s eye. So to say that somehow the U.S.A. will lag because there is a wide range of thought on the origins of life is silly.
The Heart of the Matter:
Keep in mind, I am not defending/disagreeing with the Young Earthers. My beef is with Bill Nye. The Bill Nye video is poorly conceived and ill advised. If you are going to attack evolution deniers, do so. But do so with evidence and sound logic. Do not make blanket statements and do not attack an individual’s right to raise their children in the way they see fit. To me, his appeal is half hearted and smug. His assertion that Young Earther’s should not pass on their beliefs is ridiculous. Should Young Earthers treat their beliefs like they are some sort of virus or genetic defect? it is simply beyond the pale.
Give me your thoughts on the Bill Nye video. Share this post with friends and keep the conversation going.