In this YouTube video (recorded after the original release date of this article), Ken Ham responds to Bill Nye “The Humanist Guy” (4:45 minutes).
“Bill Nye the Science Guy”® of PBS-TV fame1 is crusading to capture your children’s minds for evolution. His recent YouTube video “Creationism Is Not Appropriate For Children”—viewed over 2.3 million times during its first week online—has revealed his strong evolutionary bias and his own blind spot. Nye pleads with adults to keep their creationism to themselves. “Bill Nye the Science Guy® wants to make sure your kids believe evolution as fact,” explains Answers in Genesis president Ken Ham. “Be warned—he is out to get your kids for evolution. Watching this short video, you will see that he shows no understanding of the difference between historical science and observational science. He really should be called ‘Bill Nye—the evolution guy.’” And if you (like Nye) are a little fuzzy on the difference between these two approaches to scientific inquiry, please keep reading!
In this second YouTube video, Ken Ham responds to intolerant Bill Nye defenders who did not like that our YouTube videos had the comments disabled (3:26 minutes).
Nye’s programs seen on PBS-TV and elsewhere have for years done a marvelous job of explaining experimental (operational, or observational) science to children. Parents and teachers have been delighted to see youngsters who watch them get excited about science. Experimental science is the kind of science that invents new technology, figures out how things work, and finds cures for disease. However, some of Nye’s programs have ventured into historical (or origins) science—the kind of science that draws conclusions about the untestable, unrepeatable, unobservable past. And his conclusions about our origins are based on his worldview, a secular (humanistic) worldview2 with a prior commitment to reject the eyewitness account God provided in the Bible. For instance, I recall watching his program about dinosaurs with my children. In it he and his assistant repeatedly declared that dinosaurs did not live at the same time as people.3 Yet God reported in Genesis that He created all kinds of land animals on the same day He created Adam and Eve, and dinosaurs are land animals. Who are we to believe, Bill Nye (who wasn’t there, knows next to nothing when compared with all there is to know, and makes mistakes) or God (who was there and knows all things, and never makes mistakes)?
Nye indicates that today’s children must believe in evolution if our country is to remain tomorrow’s leader in technology. Curiously, after saying that “denial of evolution is unique to the United States” (an erroneous statement, by the way, as we show in our video response to Nye) he went on to say the United States has the world’s most advanced technology due to “the general understanding of science,” equating understanding science with believing in evolution. Then he added, “When you have a portion of the population that doesn’t believe in that, it holds everybody back, really.” But Nye fails to address how our country, held back by a contingent of evolution-denying people, could ever have risen to such a glorious technological height in the first place.
Next, Nye—who holds a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering, which is in the realm of operational, not historical, science—made another erroneous statement. He said, “Evolution is the fundamental idea in all of life science, in all of biology.” This is of course reminiscent of the popular but mythical Darwinian aphorism, “Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution.”4 The most fundamental law that is observable in biology, the law of biogenesis, indicates that life only arises from living things. Yet evolutionists like Nye claim life randomly created itself from non-living elements. Despite this blatant contradiction between Nye’s statement and this incontrovertible law of observational biological science and the fact that scientists have never observed life coming from non-life, Nye considers evolution the most fundamental of biological laws.
In a follow-up interview with CBS, Nye said, “Religion is one thing, but science, provable science is something else.”5 Indeed, science and religion—or biblical Christianity in this instance—are not the same, yet if both reveal truth, they will not conflict. Nye went on to further demonstrate his lack of discernment concerning the difference between experimental science and historical science as he elaborated on what he considers “provable science.” He said, “My concern is you don’t want people growing up not believing in radioactivity, not believing in geology and deep time. You don’t want people in the United Sates growing up without the expectation that we can land spacecraft on Mars. You want people to believe in science, this process, this great idea that humans had to discover more about the universe and our place in it, our place in space.”6 As a tour of the Creation Museum or a serious reading of articles and books featured on the Answers in Genesis website and bookstore will reveal, however, creation scientists do “believe in” geology and radioactivity and space exploration. What we as biblical creationists do not accept are interpretations of geological, biological, anthropological, genetic, astronomical, and radiometric data that are based on unverifiable assumptions about the past and deny God’s eyewitness account of events (e.g., Creation Week, the Fall of man, Noah’s Flood, the Tower of Babel).
“Provable science” is performed in the present. Historical science involves interpreting scientific data through the filter of what you already believe about the unobservable past. Nye reminds us in his video that Carl Sagan was one of his college professors. Nye’s worldview accords with Sagan’s, who believes, “The cosmos is all that is or ever was or ever will be.”7 Sagan and Nye were not present during “deep time,” nor was any other scientist. “Deep time” cannot therefore be subject to “provable science.” Their declarations about “deep time” (their interpretations of scientific data) are based on their prior commitment to believe that there could be no Creator and that the Bible is untrue, a commitment nicely summarized by another famous evolutionist, Richard Lewontin. Lewontin wrote the following:
Our willingness to accept scientific claims that are against common sense is the key to an understanding of the real struggle between science and the supernatural. We take the side of science in spite of the patent absurdity of some of its constructs in spite of its failure to fulfill many of its extravagant promises of health and life, in spite of the tolerance of the scientific community for unsubstantiated just-so stories, because we have a prior commitment, a commitment to materialism. It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door.8
And what in the Bible’s account does Nye find so difficult to accept? He provided an example in another interview, saying, “The bible, as translated into English, claims that the Sun lights the day, and the Moon lights the night. … To my ear, it doesn’t seem as though the author realized that the Moon’s light is reflected sunlight.”9 Yet biblical creationists do not think the moon produces its own light, the biblical text does not state or even imply that, and Bible-believing Christians do not teach their children that. Nye is imposing a nonsensical meaning to the words of Scripture and to the beliefs of creation scientists (whether concerning the nature of the moon or the possibilities of space exploration) and then mocking them. So much for careful, accurate, intellectual debate.
Nye said in his video, “Your world just becomes fantastically complicated when you don’t believe in evolution. … The idea of deep time, of this billions of years, explains so much of the world around us.” Evolutionary belief, however, is a worldview that attempts without any corroborating eyewitness account to explain the origin of life and all things without a Creator. This “deep time” is extrapolated from, as Nye said in the video, “ancient dinosaur bones or fossils … radioactivity … [and] distant stars,” but it is an interpretation of observed data based entirely on anti-biblical and unverifiable assumptions about the past.
Time, for evolutionists, is “the hero of the plot.”11 Time—“billions of years” Nye claims—“explains so much.” Actually, time doesn’t explain anything. Evolutionary beliefs represent an attempt to explain the origin of life by assuming that given enough time anything can randomly create itself. Yet evolutionary beliefs cannot explain the origin of life from non-living elements through undirected natural processes. This is because evolutionary beliefs—those beliefs Nye asserts our children must accept—offer no natural observable process that can explain the origin of genetic information (stored in the DNA molecule of every plant, animal, and human) through random natural processes. Furthermore, evolutionary scientists have not been able to produce any undisputed transitional fossil forms to substantiate their contention that organisms evolved from simpler kinds, much less explain how the first living cell could arise in the first place.12
Time doesn’t solve these problems; in fact, time is an enemy of evolution, because the more time you have, the more mutations there are, which destroy functional genetic information. But evolutionists continue to assure us that their conclusions about the unobservable past are factual. Since we exist, they believe we must have gotten here through evolution. How? Because, they think, over “billions of years” anything—even things we never observe in the present—could happen.
And where do Nye and fellow evolutionists find those billions of years? “Here is radioactivity. Here are distant stars,” Nye says. Yet a close look at “distant stars” reveals a variety of stars but not how they got there. Big bang cosmology suffers from significant scientific problems of its own.13 Likewise, radiometric dating methods are based on a series of demonstrably faulty assumptions and often produce unreliable and inconsistent results. (See Radiometric Dating: Back to Basics, Radiometric Dating: Problems with the Assumptions, and Radiometric Dating: Making Sense of the Patterns to learn more.) And Nye’s “ancient dinosaur bones or fossils” are dated based on the radiometric dates of nearby rock layers. And evolutionists seem unwilling to use the dating methods that could expose the myth of millions of years for the age of those dinosaurs bones.14 Even molecular dating in genetics is based on presumed mutation rates, the untenable belief that mutations can create new genetic information, and the evolutionary dates already assigned to fossils. Evolution appears to “explain so much” because evolutionary reasoning is circular.
On the other hand, God’s Word provides an eyewitness account of our origins and of events—such as the global Flood—that make sense of the world around us. Animals and plants reproduce after their kinds, just as Genesis describes. They produce incredible variety within each kind, but one kind doesn’t change into a different kind. And the geologic column makes sense as a record of the catastrophic burial of countless organisms during the cataclysmic destruction of habitats all over the world by Noah’s Flood. (Read more in Doesn’t the Order of Fossils in the Rock Record Favor Long Ages?)
Nye’s belief that “billions … explains so much” is based on circular reasoning and unverifiable assumptions. God’s Word, however, explains our origins, what we see in the world, and even why we are the intelligent yet sinful creatures we are—all on the authority of the God who has always been here and always tells the truth. Nye claims, “There is no evidence for it”—God’s explanation for what we see. But he is wrong. The evidence affirming God’s explanation is all around us and even beneath our feet in the fossil record (Romans 1:18–20). And it’s also in our conscience (Romans 2:14–16).
Nye predicts gloom and doom for our country if we don’t train up our children to accept evolution. He claims acceptance of evolutionary beliefs is essential if they are to be “scientifically literate voters and taxpayers … engineers that can build stuff, solve problems.” Yet engineers build technological solutions for today’s problems and physicians discover the causes and cures for diseases and deformities by “doing science” in the present world—making observations, developing and testing hypotheses, trying out their ideas repeatedly in controlled circumstances. It is irrational and unscientific to think that the technology was made by intelligent engineers, but the bodies of the engineers and all other living creatures were made by a blind, purposeless, directionless process called evolution.
Furthermore, scientific progress does not rely on acceptance of evolution. (In fact, as retired internist and creationist Dr. Tommy Mitchell discusses in “Evolution and Medicine,” evolutionary beliefs can actually hinder medical progress. The remarkable accomplishments of eminent Johns Hopkins physician and creationist Dr. Benjamin Carson is a recent testimony to the fact that acceptance of molecules-to-man evolution is unnecessary for medical progress, even in an area where evolutionists claim to have great insight—development defects. (Read about the controversy surrounding Dr. Carson’s statements about both science and the logical basis for morality in News to Note, May 26, 2012.)
Nye’s mission is to “foster a scientifically literate society, to help people everywhere understand and appreciate the science that makes our world work.”15 Science literacy includes the ability to discern the difference between experimental science that draws conclusions based on observable, testable, controllable, repeatable investigations—“the science that makes our world work”—and historical, or origins, science which tries to reconstruct the unobserved past. Our world is already here. We cannot go back and test or observe its origins. And accepting the worldview of those who reject the eyewitness account of the Creator of the universe does not improve anyone’s ability to build things that work, only their ability to spin more just-so mythological stories about the past.
Be sure to catch Ken Ham’s comments in yesterday’s blog post, “Time is Nye for rebuttal.” There Ken reminds readers why we care what children are taught about God their Creator. Ken wrote the folowing:
We teach children and adults the truth concerning who they are in the Creator’s eyes—and where they came from. And we tell people that they do have purpose and meaning in life, and that they were created for a purpose. Our Creator loves us, even while we are sinners (for we have all sinned in Adam). Christ paid the penalty for our sin and offers a free gift of salvation. No, we are not just evolved animals as Nye believes; we are all made in the image of God.”
We’ve heard in Nye’s video why he says he cares what children believe. Nye’s worldview rejects the Creator’s Word revealed in the Bible as the ultimate basis for determining right and wrong, good and bad. In Nye’s worldview, therefore, each individual determines what is good and desirable, what is a disservice to children and to the country, and even what sort of things he should care about. By claiming to represent what is “best” for kids and to tell parents what is the “right” thing to do, Nye is really borrowing from a “biblical” worldview. (See Morality and the Irrationality of an Evolutionary Worldview for more about this distinction.)
But let’s listen to what Jesus Christ, the Son of God, by whom all things were created (Colossians 1:16–17), says about how the way we view God’s testimony in Genesis (recorded by Moses) affects the way we view Him, our Savior. Jesus said the following:
For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me; for he wrote about Me. But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My word? (John 5:46–47)
And let’s listen to what He said about children.
At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who then is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” Then Jesus called a little child to Him, set him in the midst of them, and said, “Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Whoever receives one little child like this in My name receives Me. But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to sin, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were drowned in the depth of the sea.” (Matthew 18:1–6)
Woe to Christian or non-Christian evolutionists who destroy children’s faith in Christ and His Word.
What we teach children does make a difference. That’s why God’s Word in Proverbs 22:6 commands us to “
train up a child in the way he should go.” In fact, biblically sound instruction is not to be reserved for Sunday morning alone. God told the Israelites in Deuteronomy 6:6–9 that His Word should be a part of every aspect of their children’s lives, diligently taught. And Paul commended Timothy’s mother and grandmother when he remarked, “
From childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 3:15). Therefore, on the ground of biblical authority, Christian parents today who heed Nye’s advice, encourage their children to accept evolution, and keep their biblical beliefs to themselves are abdicating their God-given responsibility, robbing their children of God’s best, and endangering their eternal well-being.
Don’t miss watching and sharing the Answers in Genesis video “Bill Nye, Creationism is Highly Appropriate for our Children” rebutting Nye on YouTube. It features Dr. David Menton and Dr. Georgia Purdom. Dr. Purdom has a PhD in molecular genetics from The Ohio State University and was a biology professor at Mount Vernon Nazarene University. Dr. Menton has a PhD in cell biology from Brown University. He is an Associate Professor Emeritus of Anatomy at Washington University School of Medicine where he trained medical students for 34 years before retiring to come work for Answers in Genesis. They are clearly qualified to share their insights on creation science and science education, being experienced professionals at the highest levels of their fields. Watch their video and please share it with others who might be deceived by the charismatic Science Guy’s “smoke and mirrors” reasoning.
For more information about some modern scientists who have accepted the biblical account of creation see Creation scientists and other biographies of interest. Scientists like those on staff at Answers in Genesis, those on this list, Johns Hopkins’ Dr. Benjamin Carson (mentioned above), and many others stand on the shoulders of some of the “greats” in the history of science—like Sir Isaac Newton, Michael Faraday, and James Clerk Maxwell. These men believed in a Creator God and expected to find His orderly handiwork in the world of science. Despite Bill Nye’s assertions, a worldview that honors God as Creator of the universe and the physical laws in it did not hold these scientists back at all but rather was the very foundation on which they built their scientific understanding.
For more information
- The Gospel of Jesus Christ
- Radiometric Dating: Back to Basics
- Radiometric Dating: Problems with the Assumptions
- Radiometric Dating: Making Sense of the Patterns
- Evolution and Medicine
- Did Humans Really Evolve from Apelike Creatures?
- A Look at Lucy’s Legacy
- Did Dinosaurs Turn Into Birds?
- Doesn’t the Order of Fossils in the Rock Record Favor Long Ages?
- Does the Big Bang Fit with the Bible?
- Does Distant Starlight Prove the Universe Is Old?
For children, check out our children’s resources such as the dynamic Creation Adventure Team science videos—Six Short Days, One Big Adventure and A Jurassic Ark Mystery—and our online Kids’ Answers section which regularly features science videos and articles just for kids. Of course, dinosaurs are interesting to older children and adults too, so don’t miss Dr. Tommy Mitchell’s DVD, Jurassic Prank: A Dinosaur Tale!