A few days ago Bill Nye did an interview with CBS, following up on his earlier comments on not teaching creationism to children. Your Origins Matter has once again produced a (partial) transcript, writing Rebutting Bill Nye – Round 2. There’s a little less crazy here than in last ’round,’ so I’ll go into a bit more detail on the actual arguments.
Once again, YOM misses the point. Nye is apparently fine with people believing in creationism, he just doesn’t want kids taught it. His argument rests on the fact that he wants said children to grow up to become scientists. YOM claims that you can be a creationist and a scientist, but they have missed why you don’t want the kids being indoctrinated if that’s the outcome you want.
To become a scientist or an engineer like Nye wants you to be, you really need a passion and appreciation for the subject. Being brought up using the instructions of Rhonda Forlow (the ICR’s ‘education specialist’) and others is as close to a sure-fire way to kill off such a passion as any other, and that is the real danger here. It doesn’t even need to be intentional – that doesn’t matter. While an engineer might decide that he has ‘doubts’ about evolution, due at least in part to the worldview that profession tends to give you, it would be somewhat harder for a person raised a creationist in this manner to get there in the first place.
Creationist educational materials attack much, much more than just evolution. There’s a page from a ‘textbook’ floating around the internet that talks about how electricity is some kind of mysterious force. The field of mathematics known as set theory allows us to, among other things, compare infinities: this is theologically inconvenient for those that believe that their God is the one and only Infinity, and therefore some popular creationist materials dismiss set theory as ‘modernist’ (as in the early 20th century philosophical and artistic movement, which they don’t like either). I haven’t covered the goings on at Forlow’s Science Essentials nearly enough in the last few months – she’s just returning to normal posting levels this week after a lengthy summer, and we can expect the bad educational advice to return in full force. And of course you’re all reading Johnny Scaramanga’s blog, I hope – that’s a goldmine if you’re looking for more examples of flawed creationist education.
If a child has a passion for science and yet is raised on these undeniably anti-science principles then they are only to be pitied. They are certainly at a disadvantage when it comes to actually becoming a scientist, even in a field irrelevant to evolution and an old Earth, and it is this that justifies Nye saying that he feels “passionate about [this] for the betterment of the United States, the United States economy, and our future.”
In this new post YOM also continues to say things like this:
We are glad that Mr. Nye is concerned for kids – so are we. But we must point out that such concern makes no sense given Bill’s professed outlook on life. Evolution implies that kids are just chemical accidents, the eventual outcome of mindless chemistry acting over deep time.
If the author has such a fundamental inability to understand the worldview of his opponents, then he really needs to step back and work out what it is rather than blundering on with such nonsense. If I were to write about how for creationists the only ‘meaning of life’ is to serve the whims of a tyrannical God, for example, I could be attacked merely on the grounds of “I don’t believe that, don’t say that I do.” The same applies in this situation.
Relevant external blogposts:
- The Sensuous Curmudgeon discusses Ken Ham’s response to Nye
- Why Evolution is True takes a peek at the bottom half of the internet
- Uncommon Descent takes their own crack at it (H/T Neil Rickert)
- Evolution News and Views joins the fun