I gotta hand it to Bill Nye: the man has a gift for pissing off an inordinate amount of people by politely stating the obvious. In 2006 people walked out of a lecture of his because he pointed out that the moon does not produce light as Genesis 1:16 suggests.
Now he’s doing it again. He was the sole voice in a video recently uploaded to Big Think in which he once again tells the unadulterated truth, counting on people to adopt the minimum standard for basic competence: valuing evidence.
It’s beautifully eloquent and spot on.
“People still move to the United States. And that’s largely because of the intellectual capital we have, the general understanding of science,” Nye said in the clip. “When you have a portion of the population that doesn’t believe in that, it holds everybody back, really.
“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. You’re just not going to get the right answer. Your whole world is just going to be a mystery instead of an exciting place,” he added.
Nye made a three-stop tour through New Hampshire earlier this summer to tout President Obama’s education policies while making a push for science and engineering programs. He has endorsed Obama’s reelection bid.
In the clip, Nye said that one’s “world just becomes fantastically complicated when you don’t believe in evolution.”
“Here are these ancient dinosaur bones or fossils, here is radioactivity, here are distant stars that are just like our star but they’re at a different point in their lifecycle. The idea of deep time, of this billions of years, explains so much of the world around us. If you try to ignore that, your world view just becomes crazy, just untenable, itself inconsistent,” he said.
Nye then goes on to urge adults not to deny the teaching of evolution to young people.
“And I say to the grownups, if you want to deny evolution and live in your world, in your world that’s completely inconsistent with everything we observe in the universe, that’s fine, but don’t make your kids do it because we need them. We need scientifically literate voters and taxpayers for the future. We need people that can – we need engineers that can build stuff, solve problems.
“It’s just really a hard thing, it’s really a hard thing. You know, in another couple of centuries that world view, I’m sure, will be, it just won’t exist. There’s no evidence for it.”
And oh, do the creationists not like it. Glenn Beck’s The Blaze weighed in. From the very first line we’re not getting anything to do with defending creationism, but instead we’re getting little snipes at Nye.
Bill Nye was once beloved for being America’s brightest and most energetic “science guy.”
Once beloved? The guy’s still beloved. Bill Nye is frakking awesome. And “science guy” in quotes? Really? The dude’s a scientist.
But, politics isn’t his only area of interest these days. Last week, the famed scientist lashed out against champions of creationism.
The word “champions” in this sense, is likely used to evoke an image like this.
When in reality the “champions” of creationism (the ones without a single paper in peer review, who are consistently caught lying, and who repeatedly get annihilated in court, like at Dover, assuming they even bother to show up to defend their position), in terms of how they stack up to actual scientists, can at best be captured by this image.
The truth of the matter here, the most worrisome thing to me, is that Christianity necessarily closes people off to knowledge and evidence that contradicts their religious beliefs. It must in order to survive. Otherwise people would read about someone rising from the dead, and the piles of other ludicrously untrue things in the bible, and immediately write them off in favor of, y’know, evidence. This necessarily makes people more ignorant than they otherwise would be, and that’s a liability for our species (not to mention an embarrassment to the individual).
Religion, particularly Christianity, is the enemy of science, and therefore the enemy of humankind.