Bill Nye Fights Back

The culture wars in America continue to no end. And the September, 2014 issue of Popular Science magazine highlights that division with a cover story on Bill Nye “The Science Guy”, and how he plans to “save science in America.”

Such a polarizing statement is typical of what real science is up against, and it demonstrates a lack of understanding of what science actually is (and isn’t). In order for one to “save science,” one must understand what science is, and it would be helpful to understand the history of science as well.

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One of the first questions I’m asking myself is, “How could a magazine that calls itself ‘Popular Science’, fail to understand what science is?” I think the answer to that requires an understanding of human nature. You see, the war isn’t really about science- it’s about a worldview, and which worldview will influence the most people.

Francis Bacon, the man most responsible for the formation of the scientific method, was a young earth creationist who believed God created a consistent universe that could be studied and understood. So it was a Christian worldview that gave birth to science, and now science has been hijacked by those, like Nye, with a secular worldview.

To demonstrate this hijacking of science, I’ll provide a few definitions. The word ‘science’ comes from the latin, ‘scientia’, which means, “to know”. The Oxford Dictionary defines science as, “The intellectual and practical activity encompassing the systematic study of the structure and behavior of the physical and natural world through observation and experiment.” And, according to the Oxford English Dictonrary, the scientific method is “a method or procedure … consisting in systematic observation, measurement, and experiment, and the formulation, testing, and modification of hypotheses.”

Unfortunately, a new definition of science and the scientific method has arisen, and it’s this new definition that is causing so much confusion and scientific illiteracy. The National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) now defines science as, “a method of explaining the natural world… Because science is limited to explaining the natural world by means of natural processes, it cannot use supernatural causation in its explanations. Similarly, science is precluded from making statements about supernatural forces because these are outside its provenance.”

Notice how they have purposely removed God from the equation, defining science in such a way as to deny him any involvement. No longer can anything be considered science if God is the cause. So when Popular Science talks about “saving science in America”, it’s talking about protecting and insulating their worldview from God. But the problem with this is, that if God is the cause for the existence of the universe and all life, and if God is excluded from the discussion, and if only naturalistic explanations are acceptable, then won’t that lead to an incorrect understanding of our world and a false view of science? The answer is yes. Scientists, then, would be forced to go on a wild goose chase and interpret the data by only naturalistic explanations that may have nothing to do with reality.

And this brings us back to Nye, a man whose lifetime work is being countered by young earth creationists like Ken Ham and myself. He’s frustrated because he’s not getting his way and is ready to throw a temper tantrum. According to his worldview, he feels responsible to defend “reason in the face of extreme faith”. Ironically, Ken Ham feels the same responsibility. The only difference is how each of these men defines “reason” and “extreme faith”. Ken Ham would consider Bill Nye as the one who exhibits the kind of extreme faith that must be countered, while Ham’s own faith is reasonable, especially in light of what everyone else believes (according to a 2014 Pew poll, 64% of Americans don’t believe in Darwinian evolution).

In the article, Nye (a former engineer who worked at Boeing designing screws for hydraulic systems) is making a pizza and explains the science behind it: how the yeast is transformed to cause the dough to rise, and how the warmth of the electronics speed the reaction of the yeast enzymes. Cool stuff, no doubt. But such an explanation demonstrates what true science is: a process that can be understood through observation and experimentation. But the problem with Nye’s understanding of science is that he goes from that which can be observed, to that which can only be believed by faith. That which happened in the distant past cannot be observed or tested in the same way we can observe and test the properties of yeast while making pizza! In other words, while God didn’t make the pizza in the same sense that Nye did, creationists do believe that God created the entire universe not that long ago, and to refuse to consider that possibility is actually anti-science; and that’s because it’s impossible to observe what happened at the very beginning. There’s no experiment that could cover all the unknown variables. Scientists would be forced to make assumptions about the distant past without the ability to confirm if those assumptions were correct. Therefore, those like Nye do possess a worldview and faith (even though they hate admitting such). And if they will not allow for any alternative explanations, then their faith has become extreme, intolerant and arrogant- the very things they accuse creationists of. Funny how that works.

Another indication of Nye’s secular faith comes from the revelation he received while making the pizza: “We are literally made of the stuff of stars… It gives me the willies- how can this be? How can we know our place in the universe?” The very act of making a pizza becomes a religious experience for him.

According to Nye, science is under siege, and he’s not going to let creationists ruin his career! However, considering that science is historically a Christian establishment, science is actually under siege by those like Nye, and it’s up to creation scientists to defend science from extremism of this kind. Science has been hijacked by secularists, and they’re angry that we’re not letting them get away with it. That’s downright horrible, isn’t it?

Despite secular science having the bully pulpit and political power, they readily admit that America is becoming more scientifically illiterate. But I would suggest that’s directly attributed to the rise of secular science and its false premises. Creationists are actually teaching students and adults how to think, instead of telling them what to think. Today’s secular science is all about indoctrination and telling people what they must believe. And that’s why American education standards are dropping. Students don’t know how to think for themselves; their minds are being shaped by secular propaganda, and since those standards are false, they’re ill-equipped to deal with reality. In this instance, Popular Science is attempting to shame its readers into accepting their position by painting Nye as a man of reason, giving him down-to-earth qualities and traits that would have its target audience gush in reverence, but then it treats Ham with contempt, claiming that his success comes from his faith and flock.

I find it insulting when someone like Nye lectures us with words like, “We would not have this [cool technology] without the body of knowledge of science… And to have people suppress that, ignore that, it’s certainly their First Amendment right, but it’s not in our best interest.” Nobody needed to believe in evolution or the Big Bang in order to make the technology he’s referring to. He clearly doesn’t understand what science is.

Therefore, I find it all the more important to engage in this culture war over science and faith, and it’s my hope that others will be open to discovering the truth, while rejecting the false portrayal of science by Nye.

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11 thoughts on “Bill Nye Fights Back

  1. “while Ham’s own faith is reasonable, especially in light of what everyone else believes (according to a 2014 Pew poll, 64% of Americans don’t believe in Darwinian evolution).”

    Am I to infer from this statement that what is popular is automatically correct? Aside from the blatant fallacy here, why not extend this logic to any hot button scientific issue. The majority of scientists agree that climate change is a man-made phenomenon–so why don’t you believe that? Moreover, America is not “everyone else.” In fact, we’re only 5% of the world’s population. Why not extend the logic here to religion itself: the majority of people in the world are non-Christians, therefore Christianity is incorrect.

    Aside from that, I don’t think anyone can really “own” science. If science really is a methodology, then it should work in any situation under any condition. You’ve pointed out Nye’s “faith” in things like the Big Bang because we can’t observe them. Any scientist, however, would tell you that there is ample physical evidence to support that hypothesis–an expanding universe, things get “younger” the father out we go in the universe, the gravity waves discovered earlier this year, etc.

    However, there is no evidence to support that existence of God or the veracity of the events in the bible. Nobody has found the Garden of Eden. Nobody has found the skeletons of Adam and Eve, of Noah, or anyone else in the bible. Nobody has found the remains of Noah’s ark. There is no geological evidence that a world wide flood occurred in the last 6,000 years. Nobody alive on this planet now or in recent history has seen God, met God, or spoken to God. The only “physical evidence” that exists to support the existence of Christian God is scripture–which, ironically, you can’t test, measure, or observe.

    That’s not to say that there can’t be or even isn’t any physical evidence to support the existence of a god, and we either haven’t found it or aren’t able to detect or measure it. I’ll fully and readily admit that’s a possibility. And frankly it’s one that I think science would welcome, since it would answer questions scientists are trying to answer and most scientists have a natural sense of curiosity. And that’s not even to say that one cannot be a scientist and be religious.

    • No, no, no. You’re not supposed to infer that what is popular is automatically correct. That’s what evolutionists think. I’m merely countering their argument. You know- fighting fire with fire. Bill Nye lamented several polls showing that nearly 45 percent of Americans believe humans came to be by a process other than evolution, and that one in two Americans don’t believe that humans are causing climate change, and then they pointed out the “fact” that 98 percent of all scientists do believe that humans are causing climate change, despite the fact that they’re wrong about that fact. Even your statistics (5%) are way off the mark. Anyway, I’ve always been opposed to this type of blatant fallacy in logic, as you so nicely put it, but instead of being critical of me for using their own tactics against them, you should be critical of them for actually using that fallacious tactic in the first place.

      Yes, I agree that no one can really own science, but, again, if secular scientists like Dawkins and Nye attempt to claim science for them and their own, then creationists certainly have a right to stake their claim. And I do agree that science should work in any situation under any condition, and this is what creationists have been attempting to get across to the public, and it’s what Ken Ham mentioned in his debate. So I’m happy that you seem to agree with Ham more than Nye or Dawkins 😉

      I think there’s plenty of evidence to support the existence of God. As I’ve said before, you simply choose to reject that evidence. I previously pointed out the complexity of life and DNA as an example, knowing very well that a true atheist would never accept such evidence despite the logic. Another piece of evidence is the fine-tuning argument, which I think is also logical.

      We wouldn’t expect to find the Garden of Eden, or the skeletons of Adam and Eve after the flood, or Noah, or anyone else in the bible for that matter (although I haven’t done any research to verify such a claim). I do know there are claims that the ossuary of James, the brother of Jesus, was found (I don’t think that is conclusive). We wouldn’t expect to find Noah’s Ark because we don’t know where it landed, it’s probably concealed in snow, ice and rock, and it was probably scavenged for its lumber and firewood. There’s plenty of evidence for a global flood, and that’s why we have the geologic column and fossils. Without the flood we wouldn’t have the geology or landscape we see today. You’re assuming that nobody alive today has ever seen, met or spoken to God. There are people who claim to have seen him after they have died, although I don’t necessarily believe those stories and haven’t authenticated them. But just because we don’t know of anyone personally doesn’t mean that it’s not happening right now. Although we can’t test, measure or observe the history of Scripture in the scientific sense, we can measure it like we would any other piece of historical literature, and many historians have found it to be first rate and historically accurate.

      And that’s great that you don’t have qualms with people having their faith, but, unfortunately, those like Dawkins and Nye don’t allow for that, and they’re quite outspoken.

  2. I should add that if people want to believe in god or a specific religion, that’s fine. I have no qualms with that. People can have faith in whatever deity they want or whatever scripture they want. But unless there is physical evidence in the real world to back it up, that’s all it is–faith. It isn’t fact and it isn’t science.

  3. I have all of my good ideas when I’m running, apparently. While I was contemplating this post, I thought of three things. I would like to present them to you in the form of questions.

    1. “according to a 2014 Pew poll, 64% of Americans don’t believe in Darwinian evolution.”

    I decided to look at this through a different lens, and I have a statistic that I would like to throw into the mix here. According to a National Geographic survey, 77% of all Americans “believe there are signs that aliens have visited Earth.” If your Pew poll was accurate, shouldn’t that number be a lot closer to 36%? Because if you do not believe in Darwinian evolution, then either a) aliens shouldn’t exist, or b) God also created aliens. The latter option is not supported by young earth creationists like Ken Ham. So if we combine the two statistics, we’re left with 13% of Americans that believe that God created aliens.

    I would argue that these two statistics are reflective of the fact that it isn’t as simple as either you believe in Darwinian evolution or you believe that God created man. To me, these two statistics would suggest that religious/spiritual and scientific beliefs lie on a wider spectrum.

    What are you thoughts on this data?

    2) I mentioned cosmic expansion or inflation earlier. In this sense I’m not talking about inflationary theory–that everything suddenly expanded at a distant point in the past but after the big bang occurred. In this sense, I’m talking about the fact that things in the universe are moving away from each other.

    This is observable by anyone. You can look into a telescope and observe the red/blue shifts that denote movement. The Doppler effect has been scientifically demonstrated to accurately explain such shifts in relation to movement. Again, we can verify this in a lab.

    This is my question to you: if the bible is a literal document–it historically and scientifically represents an accurate account of how the universe can to be and why it is the way we see it (this last part is particularly important), can you provide evidence in scripture for an expanding universe?

    3. This last question deals with evolution. A common criticism leveled at scientists who support evolution is that it has never been observed. But just because something has never been observed does not mean it can’t happen. Saying something did not happen is NOT the same thing as saying something CAN’T or WON’T happen.

    So consider the following. Organisms can physically change in response to their environments. We can and have observed this happening: appendages or sensors can change length, color patterns and the like can change, etc. While this is not in and of itself “proof” that evolution is a real process in nature from the standpoint of a young earth creationist or other fundamentalist, in that light it WOULD be proof that God created the creatures on the earth so that they may physically change in accordance with a change in their environment.

    If that is true or at least possible, is it not then possible that God designed the creatures on the earth to be able to change to such an extent that they become a “new” creature if necessitated by future environmental changes?

    • 1: I think we need to be careful with polls. I usually only use them to counter critics, or as data that can be analyzed. Unfortunately polls can mean whatever pollsters want them to say, and sometimes they’re meaningless. People can be polled to obtain a specific response by framing the question, or the poll can be interpreted to mean something that was never intended. Politicians do this all the time in order to win support. So I’m not too concerned about the inconsistency of unrelated polls unless we have more data to analyze. For instance, what are the demographics of that 77%? I’ve discussed alien polls before, and there’s a difference along denominational lines and various belief systems. But again, I agree with you that the statistics aren’t as simple as evolutionists like Nye believe. As I pointed out, it was Nye who was using polls to win support for his belief in global warming, as if anyone who doesn’t believe it is an uneducated idiot. I was merely countering his fallacious logic by using other polls that support my beliefs to demonstrate that anyone can play that game. So your criticism was aimed in the wrong direction.

      2: Yes, I can point out evidence from Scripture that the universe is expanding, which I have previously done: The Lord wraps himself in light as with a garment; he stretches out the heavens like a tent (Psalm 104:2). And I’m not even absolutely certain that the universe is expanding, or if the red/blue shifts could be interpreted to reach other conclusions. I’m inclined to believe it, but I’m cautious about it.

      3: I suppose, theoretically, that it’s possible. After all, God is all powerful and can do anything. But the real point is that God didn’t design the creatures on earth to be able to change to such an extent that they would become a new creature. According to Genesis, God created vegetation, plants, sea creatures, birds, and land animals to reproduce “after their kind”. This is repeated 10 times in chapter one, as if to get the point across. So while it’s possible that God could cause organisms to evolve, he didn’t. One of the things I keep pointing out is that we observe exactly what the Bible tells us, which is further evidence that the Bible is true. So while organisms can and do change over time, they’re still reproducing after their kind.

      • I’m definitely inclined to agree with you about the validity of polling. At least we agree on that!

        With regard to expansion and scripture. I will admit that I can see how that could be interpreted as being congruent with expansion. However, I am hesitant about this for two reasons. One being translation. I am always dubious about how metaphors and similes translate across languages. Historically, the metaphors, similes and axioms of one language rarely if ever line up with those of another.

        But secondly and perhaps more interesting, I interpret that statement as having occurred in the past. That is to say, God stretched the heavens when he created them; there is nothing inherent in that passage that would imply or suggest that the universe should continue to expand like we see it today, merely that it “expanded” in the past (and even then, possibly only in a metaphorical sense given the language used).

        Of particular interest to me, the interpretation that I take, while not congruent with the expansion that we currently observe, COULD be construed as pretty close to cosmological inflation–the idea that the universe rapidly expanded in the past but after the big bang.

        Anyway, interesting things for me to ponder. I thank you for answering the questions with such detail and vigor! 🙂

      • After considering this, I am hesitant to see the idea of animals reproducing “after their kind” as evidence that animals cannot evolve. To my ears, at least, what that seems to be saying is that a bird cannot mate with a fish–not that DNA cannot be selected by environmental pressures to produce a different phenotype. Those are two completely different notions.

        Of course the idea that a bird can’t mate with a fish and produce a viable organism is correct, and it something that would have been well known to people during the era in which the bible was written, seeing as how we had domesticated animals by then and were practicing animal husbandry. So I guess I’m not really questioning to accuracy of that statement in the bible, just it’s selective application to evolution.

    • I think it’s fair to be dubious about Psalm 104 referring to expansion or inflation. You make some valid points, but there are theologians who have studied this verse and, while they’re not dogmatic about it, they see it as a valid interpretation. And if God did stretch out the heavens, there’s no reason why it couldn’t continue.

      I wrote an article touching on a lot of this titled, Search for the Big Bang. It is fascinating stuff to think about.

      https://sixdaysblog.com/2014/04/15/search-for-the-big-bang/

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