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Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Bill Nye the Confused Guy: A Response to Bill Nye on Darwinism.

While this post may be "a day late and a dollar short", I finally got around to watch the "controversial" Bill Nye the Science Guy video by "Big Think" on "evolution deniers" and decided to offer some thoughts on the video.

Bill makes writing a response to the video difficult because he refuses to define his terms and let the listener know just what exactly he's talking about.

When he says evolution does he mean simple change over time (which all sides agree is indicative of life) or the idea that life on earth originated from a primordial common ancestor and has progressed by way of billions of years of random mutation dictated by natural selection (an idea of which there is debate).

Here's the video: 

At one point in the video, Nye says that "your world just becomes fantastically complicated when you don't believe in evolution" and then precedes to put forth a line of evidence that has nothing to do with proving Darwinian evolution, but is best suited showing that the earth is not young.

He references things like "deep time", "ancient dinosaur bones", "radioactivity", and "distant stars" and then says "[these things] explain so much of the world around us. If you try to ignore that, your worldview just becomes crazy".

Certainly Nye does not equate disbelief in Darwinian evolution with a belief in a young earth, for such an assumption would be hopelessly false.

What Nye fails to grasp is that all of those things mentioned above only imply an old earth and can be rationally affirmed apart from belief in Darwinian evolution.

Nye also suggests that adults who "deny evolution" are living "in a world that is completely inconsistent with everything we see in the universe."

I beg to differ.

In his ground breaking new book "Mind and Cosmos: Why the Materialist Neo-Darwinian Conception of Nature is Almost Certainly Wrong" Dr. Thomas Nagel (B.A. Cornell 1958; B.Phil. Oxford 1960; Ph.D. Harvard 1963) lays out the case for why  Darwinian evolution cannot adequately explain the most integral parts of human experience.

The book description is as follows:
 The modern materialist approach to life has conspicuously failed to explain such central mind-related features of our world as consciousness, intentionality, meaning, and value. This failure to account for something so integral to nature as mind, argues philosopher Thomas Nagel, is a major problem, threatening to unravel the entire naturalistic world picture, extending to biology, evolutionary theory, and cosmology.

Since minds are features of biological systems that have developed through evolution, the standard materialist version of evolutionary biology is fundamentally incomplete. And the cosmological history that led to the origin of life and the coming into existence of the conditions for evolution cannot be a merely materialist history, either. An adequate conception of nature would have to explain the appearance in the universe of materially irreducible conscious minds, as such.

Nagel's skepticism is not based on religious belief or on a belief in any definite alternative...
(emphasis mine)

And in Nagel's own words, taken from chapter one of his book:

In thinking about these questions I have been stimulated by criticisms of the prevailing scientific world picture... by the defenders of intelligent design. Even though writers like Michael Behe and Stephen Meyer are motivated at least in part by their religious beliefs, the empirical arguments they offer against the likelihood that the origin of life and its evolutionary history can be fully explained by physics and chemistry are of great interest in themselves. 

Another skeptic, David Berlinski, has brought out these problems vividly without reference to the design inference. Even if one is not drawn to the alternative of an explanation by the actions of a designer, the problems that these iconoclasts pose for the orthodox scientific consensus should be taken seriously. They do not deserve the scorn with which they are commonly met. It is manifestly unfair. (emphasis mine)

I'm sure that Nye would not dare condescend to a man who has a far more impressive educational background than himself.

In addition, Nye makes this claim about doing biology without believing in Darwnian evolution: 

"It's very much analogous to trying to do geology without believing in tectonic plates: you're just not gonna get the right answer; you're whole world is just gonna be a mystery instead of an exciting place". (emphasis mine)

Can a person not believe in Darwinism and still do science or, more specifically, biology?

 Dr. Hugh Ross of "Reasons to Believe", who rejects Darwinism and believes in progressive creationism says yes!

 In an article titled "Origin-of-Life Predictions Face Off: Evolution vs Biblical Creation" Dr. Ross compares biblical creation and Darwinian evolution to see which paradigm’s predictions hold up to recent scientific discoveries concerning the origin of life and he shows conclusively that the "biblical creation" model comes out on top.

I highly recommenced the article!
Furthermore, Nye tells us that "evolution is the fundamental idea in all of life science".

During the past 200 years uniformitarianism (the belief that the earth is shaped by slow, gradual processes, as opposed to catastrophic events) was the reigning paradigm in geology. 

However, a new paradigm was introduced in 1980's that suggested catastrophic events can generate significant alter the earth, on occasion (ie: catastrophism)

Scientific paradigms are dynamic and not static because they change, adapt, and grow over time as we learn more about our universe.

The eminent archaeologist Vere Gordon Childe spent the majority of his career working under a specific paradigm used to develop a time history of prehistoric Europe and then killed himself during the advent of radiocarbon dating because of the threat it posed to his life's work.

We love the romantic idea of men in white lab coats searching for the truth wherever it may be, but sadly this idea is a fantasy and when we reflect upon the example of Mr. Childe we can better understand why some people will fight tooth and nail to see that any and every challenge to their scientific paradigm is demonized and dismissed as nonsense despite any evidence to the contrary.

At the end of the video Nye comforts listeners by saying that "in another couple centuries" the worldview that denies Darwinism "will not exist".

Maybe Nye is right and a hundreds of years from now no one will deny Darwinism, but I think he understands that current trends in microbiology and philosophy are spinning a different weave.

When scientific paradigms can no longer be challenged and are held up as the "be all end all" of a particular scientific discipline, you can be sure that we've stopped doing science and stared doing theology.

I believe that Nye is speaking out because he knows that a certain life science paradigm will disappear in the decades to come.

The only question is whose paradigm will it be?


  1. Eric, your wrong. Sorry. You attempt to be interesting but you just like to write (type)...

  2. You use the Creation Museum for your argument????? They are a joke to every valid scientist in the world. They don't even understand how evolution works, yet they want to debunk it. They are biologically WRONG in every part of their museum and they cater to poor Christians who spend their hard earned money on false claims that have absolutely no proof to back up those claims. NONE! Science and relgion have never mixed! Religion has never been backed up science-NOT ONCE!!! Then you use Dr. Nagel as your other???? He is a teacher and an author! Have you actually read his books? They are not scholarly journals! . As long as you know he is an atheist and does not believe that there is a God, he does not use 'Intelligent Design' like Christians do. Also, his theory is not a real theory, it is a hypothosis, as he no data to back up his claims. His hypothosis has never been proven into a theory. (Please tell me you know what a scientific theory is and how they get there)

    Your lack of knowledge in the universe and biology is very obvious here, and I am no scholar. If you cannot see how they are related, then you do not get it. That's the epitomy of homeschool. (face-palm)

    Gonna be a preacher, I see. Then you should focus on that and hope you don't have any biologists or astrophysist's in your congregation.
    Evolution is a theory like gravity is a theory. Get a grip, kid.

    1. Let's take a second to calm down. *breathe in* *breathe out*

      Now let's see if I can answer some of those issues you raised.

      Firstly, I put the video from the Creation Museum in my post NOT because I agree with everything they say and do, but because I very much like, appreciate, and agree with their thoughts on the Bill Nye controversy. You can reference a person without endorsing all of their beliefs.

      Secondly, as per your statement about religion not being backed up by science, I would again point you to the article I referenced which shows that the biblical creation model which Dr. Hugh Ross puts forward does coincide with and is supported by recent scientific propositions concerning the origin of life.

      Thirdly, I am aware that Dr. Nagel in an atheist. I actually think this fact makes his thoughts on the issue much more compelling. Did you know that eminent evolutionary biologist Dr. Francisco Ayala is a Roman Catholic? Just a fun fact.

      In addition, Dr. Nagel has written many peer-reviewed articles that have appeared in scholarly journals.

      Furthermore, I'd encourage you to get Dr. Nagel's book to better understand his arguments.

      Lastly, I thank you for your question and I pray that you will continue to search for answers about life and the universe, in the hope that you might come to know the Truth (John 8:32).

    2. "Let's take a second to calm down. *breathe in* *breathe out*"

      Wow, way to attempt to be condescending while being on the empty-headed side of the argument. Fail.

  3. But the post by the Creation Museum is WRONG! Evolution is testable and has passed with flying colors. It IS testable. Creationism is NOT testable. Their lack of understanding the basics of Evolution and biology is ridiculous! Know why I am upset? Because you and other's like you believe this stuff! You are crazy!
    Belief is where you can have a belief in something and then move on, if there is no evidence.
    Faith is where you want to beleive it, whether you have evidence or not.
    NO evidence of creationism and that article you posted by 'ROSS' has not been tested, cannot be tested, and is therefore unvalid.
    I know Ayala is Catholic. The Catholic Church also officially denounced creationism and has admitted that it is simply a story.
    His articles are peer reviewed. Have you read the reviews?????
    Let's be honest.. you WANT to believe in Creationism because it validates your false faith.
    What makes your faith more reliable than the others? What proofs do you have that all the other faiths don't? NONE!!! Because God talks to you? Or you raised this way? Let's ask the real questions here, not try to slam Bill's obviously true and valid statements. Praying for me? Really? You decide to waste your time doing this, rather than study and learn about the undeniable truth of evolution shows me you have no answers. Or that your answer is -I will talk to the invisible man in the sky again and see what he says. Plenty of studies done on your reasoning, by the way. You should check them out. Watch some Science channel or something.

    1. You raise a few good questions, Anonymous, none of which are relevant to the post above. However, if you want to know why I believe what I believe and the true foundation of my faith feel free to shoot me an e-mail.

      Thanks for your comments!

  4. Your little blog is called "unpretentious" and yet you are pretending to understand so many things you clearly you don't. Ironic.

  5. Eric,

    Bill Nye is an entertainer, nothing more. To argue with what he says on scientific grounds is stupid. He proves he has no idea what he's talking about when he says that to ignore an explanation makes your worldview crazy.

  6. For those paying attention, what you are saying has some import. One need only to go beyond the liberal arts education and do some digging.