Bill Nye Round Two

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.


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10 thoughts on “Bill Nye Round Two

  1. I did have a look in one of the science essentials that popped in your ICR twitter stream and it was just a link back to old articles. Not really sure if that’s worth your time.

    • The tuesday articles certainly aren’t, but once in a while something of interest crops up (I was going to use an Ask Dr Rhonda post as a launcher to talk about how we know there were multiple glaciations, for example, but I never got around to finishing it).

    • It might provide an excuse to look at some of the older stuff they’ve put out, but most of their links seem to be to the ol’ “wiki” you pointed me to earlier. And after looking at it I agree with your assessment: it’s mostly bollocks (mostly due to the lack of citations). When all is done and dusted I don’t think it’s worth much of your time but hey, if you find yourself bored for a day “occasional refutation of past baseless claims” sure is a fun title.

  2. The Creation Museum have produced a claimed rebuttal to Nye’s first video – see Ken Ham’s blog post for 29 August. Yesterday I made the following comments about it on the BCSE Community Forum:

    “The Creation Museum have – allegedly – rebutted Mr Nye and the Ham Facebook fans show by many of their wild comments (also on the AiG Facebook page) that they don’t care about facts they just care about telling the world that science is wrong.
    http://blogs.answersingenesis.org/blogs … Ken+Ham%29
    David Menton does NOT address Nye’s point that the creationist (specifically young Earth creationist) viewpoint is ‘untenable’ and ‘self-inconsistent’. Instead he picks up on an inaccurate opening claim by Nye, sidesteps his main point by alleging that the evolutionist viewpoint (also) leads to complication or confusion, and generally waffles.
    And Georgia Purdom LIES her mouth off.
    (1) That there is a lack of any genetic mechanism for organisms to gain genetic information in order to become more complicated over time;
    (2) That there is a significant distinction between ‘observational’ science and ‘historical’ science, and the latter depends on ‘worldview’;
    (3) That observational science confirms the literal history of Genesis.
    Like I said, Mr Ham’s biased fans are either joyously ignorant or they simply place faith over facts.”

  3. “Many evolutionists believe that the earth is indeed 4.54 billion years old. But this certainly wasn’t determined “by diligent investigation.” It is believed due to arbitrary philosophical preferences: assumptions of uniformitarianism and naturalism, and failure to consider contrary evidence (such as high quantities of helium in rocks which should have leaked away if they were billions of years old).”

    What SHAMELESS LIARS the ICR are.

  4. Bill Nye, the Atheistic Naturalist Guy

    In the August 23 video clip now approaching 5 million views on Youtube
    [“Creationism Is Not Appropriate For Children”]

    Bill Nye said, in part:

    1. “Denial of evolution is unique to the United States.”

    A national poll discussed in The Globe and Mail (March 21, 2011) indicates
    14% of Canadians think God created humans in their present form within the
    last 10,000 years. And a 2011 poll conducted by Ipsos for Reuters News in
    24 countries found 28% of respondents identified themselves as creationists.

    2. “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.”

    Nye echoes what prominent evolutionist Theodosius Dobzhansky declared:
    “Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution.”
    (American Biology Teacher, March 1973). But as Jonathan Wells replied in
    Icons of Evolution: Science or Myth? (2000): “A true scientist would say
    that nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evidence.”

    Dr. John Baumgardner is a young-earth creationist who believes in tectonic
    plates. In U.S. News & World Report (June 8, 1997) Baumgardner is
    described as “the world’s pre-eminent expert in the design of computer
    models for geophysical convection”.

    3. “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.”

    Atheistic naturalism is the view that God doesn’t exist, there is no real
    design (only apparent design) and nature is all there is. Sagan: “The
    Cosmos is all that is, or ever was, or ever will be.”

    4. “I mean, here are these ancient dinosaur bones or fossils…”

    How does geology explain dinosaur bones with soft tissue, supposedly dated
    at “80 million years”? (Schweitzer et al., Science 324:626-631).

    5. “The idea of deep time, of this billions of years, explains so much of
    the world around us.”

    In 2006, a kimberlite crater in the Northwest Territories, dated at a
    supposed 53.3 million years, yielded exquisitely preserved unfossilized
    wood which challenges the paradigm of deep time. One study reports the
    half-life of wood cellulose at 19 C. ranges from 200 years to 8,000 years.
    If the wood is 53.3 million years old, then no detectable cellulose should
    exist.

    6. “We need people that can–we need engineers that can build stuff, solve
    problems.”

    The late Jules H. Poirier was a senior electronic design engineer
    responsible for many innovations which helped the U.S. defence department
    and the space program. For example, the Saturn radar pulse altimeter and
    other navigational equipment, including special circuits used in Apollo
    moon missions. Poirier, a young-earth creationist, was fascinated by the
    design features and navigational feats of the monarch butterfly, and wrote
    two books on the subject.

    On Nov. 7, Nye remarked at the University of North Carolina (Chapel Hill)
    that he looks at the solar system just like he looks at the story of
    Goldilocks and the Three Bears: “Mercury is too hot, Mars is too cold,
    Venus is way too hot–but the Earth is just right.” Watch the clip
    “Golilocks Planet” http://vimeo.com/52726150

    For more info, read “Bill Nye Fails Baloney Detector”
    http://crev.info/2012/08/bill-nye/

    • I find it hilarious that somebody would be said to “believe in tectonic
      plates.”
      Given a number of your examples I suggest you take a look at some of my other posts rather than just spamming your stuff here – for one, I have most definitely seen the “Golilocks [sic] Planet” video. I hadn’t heard the kimberlite tree thing before though, I must admit.

  5. C.J.: A taste for wry from ham Bill Nye
    http://www.startribune.com/entertainment/176117021.html

    [snip]

    Q Where does George Washington Carver rank among scientists, in your opinion?

    A George Washington Carver, not a Minnesotan, my understanding, went to
    Iowa State — not that there’s anything wrong with that — and INVENTED
    peanut butter! What more do you want? What greater value could a person be
    to humankind? What, invent popcorn? That is so worthy [he said bowing
    down]. I cannot say enough good things. Let alone my current obsession
    with almond milk and soy milk and all these other nut things. I love the
    guy.

    George Washington Carver (1864 – 1943)

    http://creationsafaris.com/wgcs_4.htm#carver

    http://creationsafaris.com/pdf/carver.pdf

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