Why Bill Nye Thinks You’re an Idiot

Mark Beuving —  September 4, 2012 — 2 Comments

I recently came across the following video clip. It’s Bill Nye the Science Guy talking about science. He’s the guy who teaches kids fun facts about science and the way the world works. But this video is a bit different. Here he candidly shares his thoughts on people who don’t believe in Darwinian evolution.

Here’s the gist: if you don’t believe in evolution, you’re an idiot. Of course, you’re entitled to your opinion. If you’d like to ignore all of the evidence in the universe and believe your idiotic beliefs, go for it. Be an idiot. But don’t teach your kids to be idiots. We need them for the cause of evolutionary science. Bill Nye says it in a polite voice, but that’s pretty much what he’s getting at.

Nye’s thinking on this issue is actually very common. I can’t speak to the evidence for or against evolution, but I can say that things are not as obvious as Nye claims. Good and respectable scientists fall adamantly on either side of the issue.

What I think is worth pointing out, however, is Nye’s argumentation. According to Nye, creationism is not scientific. Why? Because science is based on Darwinian evolution. “Evolution is the fundamental idea in all of life science, in all of biology.” In other words, science is built on evolution. If you are assuming evolution, you are being scientific. If you reject evolution, you are being unscientific.

So before the debate can even begin, the terms have been set in a way that assures the crazy creationists will be laughed out of the room. But isn’t Nye’s argumentation crazier? Evolution is more scientific, he says. Why? Because it is based on the foundation of evolution. The logic is completely circular.

Nye points to the existence or dinosaur bones, radioactivity, and distant stars as phenomenon that apparently fit perfectly within an evolutionary framework yet are somehow incomprehensible to creationists. Really? “Your world just becomes fantastically complicated when you don’t believe in evolution.” Really? How complicated is it to believe that each of these things was created by an intelligent designer rather than an impersonal force? (For more on that, click here, here, and here).

If you want to explore the logic of Darwinism, I recommend Darwin on Trial by Phillip E. Johnson. Johnson is a lawyer, not a scientist, so he is addressing the argumentation rather than the scientific evidence. I think this is the right approach because vague appeals to “all the evidence in the universe” from either side don’t move the debate forward.

In any case, Bill Nye thinks that we are idiots, and urges us not to idiotize our kids. Why bring them in on a dying way of thinking? Nye confidently asserts that “in another couple centuries that worldview won’t exist.” People have been making this claim throughout history, and yet Christianity proves incredibly resilient. People continue to look at our world and see the fingerprints of a Creator. Maybe we are suffering from mass hysteria. Or maybe the heavens actually are proclaiming the glory of God.

 

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Mark Beuving

Mark Beuving

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Mark Beuving currently serves as Associate Pastor at Creekside Church in Rocklin, CA. Prior to going back into pastoral ministry, Mark spent ten years on staff at Eternity Bible College as a Campus Pastor, Dean of Students, and then Associate Professor. Mark now teaches online adjunct for Eternity. He is passionate about building up the body of Christ, training future leaders for the Church, and writing. Though he is interested in many areas of theology and philosophy, Mark is most fascinated with practical theology and exploring the many ways in which the Bible can speak to and transform our world. He is the author of "Resonate: Enjoying God's Gift of Music" and the co-author with Francis Chan of "Multiply: Disciples Making Disciples." Mark lives in Rocklin with his wife and two daughters.
  • Peter J Story

    Interesting piece. Well written and well thought.

  • Michael Snow

    I,too, heartily recommend Philip Johnson’s refreshing book!
    A big problem with these discussions is definitions. I hate that “creationism” now equals belief in a 6,000 year old earth [give or take a couple thousand]. And in that respect Nye is right–we Christians can play the idiot well.

    And a big part of the problem is that our discussions are guided by people like Nye the non-scientist or Ken Ham the high school teacher or a geologist or an astronomer, etc. Christians don’t really start with Scripture no matter how much we superficially quote it. And we need to be clear about what the creation account says and what it does NOT say.
    http://textsincontext.wordpress.com/2012/05/03/in-the-beginning/