Bill Nye the Science Guy takes on creationists

Bill Nye the Science Guy recently produced a video that has gone viral (see above). It features “The Science Guy” castigating parents who teach creationism to their children. In short, he thinks parents should not be allowed to teach their children such a thing. If parents want to believe in fairy tales like creationism, that is fine. But it is not fine—according to “The Science Guy”—for parents to foist those fairy tales on their children.

Ken Ham—President of “Answers in Genesis” and the Creation Museum—created his own video to refute “The Science Guy” and to argue for creationism (see below). The conflict has led to the two men agreeing to a public debate about the issues. The debate will be held on February 4 at the Creation Museum. Here are the details:

Is creation a viable model of origins?” Creation Museum Founder and AiG President/CEO Ken Ham will debate Bill Nye at the Creation Museum on Tuesday, February 4, at 7 PM. Bill Nye is the former host of the popular Bill Nye the Science Guy TV program for children, current Executive Director of the Planetary Society, and frequent pro-evolution guest on TV interview programs.

31 Responses to Bill Nye the Science Guy takes on creationists

  1. Marcus Mosely January 7, 2014 at 10:15 am #

    I’ve been a follower of Christ and a voracious reader and student of the “debate” between creationism and evolution. So much misinformation out there, including how we use those very words. I agree to a large extent with Bill Nye. To teach the Biblical account of creation in Genesis 1 is NOT and will never be science. That is not the purpose of the text! When creationists like Ken Ham and others try to fit science into the Genesis account, they do a tremendous disservice to the Body of Christ. Evolution is and will always be one of the best supported theories in all of science, covering almost every single branch. The fact that we share a common ancestor with our primate cousins may scare a lot of Christians, but I believe that is not central to our faith in Christ in anyway. This will certainly not be a debate by any stretch of the imagination.

    • Bill Janzen January 7, 2014 at 11:10 am #

      You’re right but missing the point. Yes Genesis wasn’t meant to be a scientific account, however God doesn’t lie. If God wanted to make it clear that he made the Earth in 6 literal days I’d like to know how exactly he could have made it more clear. Not only is it repeatedly clear in the account itself it’s also interpreted that way by Moses (we have the Sabbath because God made the Earth in 6 literal days and rested on the 7th) and by Jesus who said Adam and Eve were created in the beginning (wildly inaccurate if they only were created billions of years later).
      For these and multiple other reasons just like them I don’t see any room in the Bible for the billions of years and pre-curse deaths and diseases that evolution requires.
      That and there are enough well respected scientists that are creationists that give me hope regarding the scientific issues as well.

    • Scott Christensen January 7, 2014 at 2:37 pm #

      It is true that Genesis 1 does not present us with a “a scientific account” of creation. But you then insinuate that the account has nothing to do with science which is very misguided. If the account describes the creation of the material universe (which it does) then it has everything to do with science. God created a world that could be understood via science and if the universe was in fact created in 6 literal days thousands instead of millions or billions of years ago, then we should be able to ascertain some evidence of that, though limited for the following reason.

      The account in not scientific in another way, but I am certain you don’t intend this. It is clear that the account describes a unique supernatural occurrence in which the occurrence itself cannot be studied via any scientific principles, anymore than science could make sense of Jesus turning water into wine our rising from the dead after 3 days. There are many things we cannot possibly explain about the creation from a scientific standpoint precisely because it was a unique supernatural occurrence.

      The problem is, too many Christians have been duped by the materialist-naturalist worldview in which an absolute dichotomy exists between the natural and the supernatural. The secularist dismisses the supernatural altogether whereas the Christian naturalist makes only small accommodations to some miracles but can’t possibly conceive of the creation as a supernatural event occurring in 6 literal days. They seem to think the origins of the universe can ONLY have a natural explanation. In doing so they unwittingly undermine the whole supernatural nature of the Biblical worldview. They have a skewed perspective on the history and existence of the material universe.

      They say such a supernatural origin as described in Genesis 1 contradicts what science tells us. Oh really? As if science really knows anything about the history of the universe and how it came into existence. Science knows nothing of the sort because no one was there to observe what happened. However, if God has infallibly supplied us with an account of what happened (and He did) then we can draw certain conclusions and observations (albeit limited) from the aftermath of that. And that is precisely what creation science seeks to do. Of course such inquiry into the unobserved past has its limitations and every honest creation scientist recognizes this, precisely for the reasons I mentioned above. I am thinking of men like Kurt Wise, Todd Wood, Jay Wile, Paul Garner and others.

      Thus, we cannot provide a full scientific account of origins for two reasons. First of all, because it was a uniquely unrepeatable supernatural event that cannot be dissected by any scientific means. Secondly, because we don’t know all the scientifically verifiable ramifications of the event[s], being that we were not present in subsequent years to examine all the effects of the creation. We can make some good educated guesses and that is about it. Nonetheless, these limitations still allow for some very fruitful and profitable inquiry. And anyone who reads the cutting edge science many good creation scientists are doing can see that for themselves. But most Christians are ignorant of what these cutting edge guys are doing.

  2. Don Johnson January 7, 2014 at 10:38 am #

    Ken’s last name has one “m”, Ham. He has been asked to leave at least one Christian conference because of his verbal abuse of others. Many Christians, let alone secularists, will not debate him because of his track record in this.

    Bill Nye is a famous TV personality from his ’90s show, “Bill Nye, the Science Guy”. He is a science populizer, essentially a science teacher that goes in front of an audience, and not really a scientist.

    I hear the event sold out in 2 minutes, this might be because there are so few debates like this, for many reasons. My guess is that both speakers will speak past each other.

    • Daryl Little January 9, 2014 at 12:58 pm #

      Don, what conference was he asked to leave?

      • Don Johnson January 9, 2014 at 1:11 pm #

        I recall seeing some news article about it but do not remember the conf. It was fairly recent.

  3. Ian Shaw January 7, 2014 at 10:44 am #

    It is my hope that Ken does not walk into the traps easily associated with debating evolutionists. As well as as I hope he comes across in a loving manner. The first message to others should be about how badly they (and we all) need Jesus, not who has more proof or less proof regarding the creation of the universe.

    Granted, it is my hope that Ham did his research and preparation for this. There are two 3 ways this goes down:
    Nye doesn’t prepare well, goes to personal attacks, like his video above.
    Ham is ill-prepared and makes creationists look ignorant (when he could have made convincing presentation)
    Or 3, both present cogent arguments and they both leave peacefully.

    Nye may have bit off more than he can chew though. His educational background is engineering. Even Hawking himself has admitted that the origin of the universe sceams for a creator, as the mathematical odds of evertything being in the correct place/time/balance for creation is illogical.

  4. Ian Shaw January 7, 2014 at 11:00 am #

    Marcus, whill I agree that Genesis is not meant to be a “scientific account” on the origin of the universe, the theory of evolution has too many holes that supporters choose not to answer questions on.

    I do agree that Ham has a track record of personal attacks which have no place in debates as it hurts your argument.

  5. Esther O'Reilly January 7, 2014 at 12:01 pm #

    This debate is not going to end well, for either side. Neither Ham nor Nye is anywhere close to the best representative for their respective opinions. I suspect some people just have a perverse desire to watch both of them put their feet in their mouths.

    That being said, Nye embarrasses himself a lot more in these short clips. Besides the posturing and gratuitous insults, where is he getting this idea that your beliefs about creationism would affect your ability to be an engineer?? This notion that creationism, or even the more questionable young earth creationism, is like some sort of mental handicap… it’s just absurd.

    • Lauren Bertrand January 7, 2014 at 9:49 pm #

      If I found out my doctor/GP was a creationist, I would defend his right to profess creationism, up to the courtroom if necessary. I would also ardently defend his right to discuss creationism with his patients. And I would defend his right to teach creationism to his children. And then I’d go and find a different doctor.

      • Michael Sweet January 8, 2014 at 1:56 am #

        So if he believes that there is an all-powerful God that can create all things out of nothing in 6 days, you think that he must be incompetent to practice medicine. Is that what you are saying?

        What if he believes in an old earth, but he also believes in the virgin birth? Does that render him incompetent, too?

      • Esther O'Reilly January 8, 2014 at 9:21 am #

        See, you’re doing the same thing. It’s ridiculous. I echo Mike’s question. How does this affect his ability to be a doctor, again?

        • Scott Christensen January 8, 2014 at 11:18 am #

          I would choose the doctor who believed that his abilities rested in the hands of an all-powerful God in lieu of a doctor who believed his abilities found their source in his own power. The first doctor would not take for granted the gifts he has and would be less likely to make a mistake. The second doctor would probably tend toward arrogance and thus more likely to make mistakes.

          • Esther O'Reilly January 8, 2014 at 7:44 pm #

            I don’t know if I’d got that far with the atheist doctor. There are plenty of very trustworthy doctors out there who don’t happen to believe in God. You can be both an atheist and a professional. But I certainly agree that if anything, a doctor who is a Christian should be even more trustworthy.

  6. Ian Shaw January 7, 2014 at 12:09 pm #

    A better debate would be Dawkins and Lennox….wait, isn’t that already on youtube?

    • Esther O'Reilly January 7, 2014 at 6:19 pm #

      Yes, that’s excellent, though Dawkins is hardly the star player for his side either. Ugh. Give me J. L. Mackie any day…

  7. Don Johnson January 7, 2014 at 12:51 pm #

    http://www.internetmonk.com/archive/bad-idea#comments

  8. Ryan Booth January 7, 2014 at 4:32 pm #

    The first seven chapters of Genesis obviously refer to supernatural events. They are miracles that clearly occurred outside of what we expect from nature or science. Why, then, are so many Christians so invested in trying to force science to testify to events outside of the scientific or natural realm? Do we accept the Resurrection or the Virgin Birth on the basis of science, or on the basis of faith? If on faith, why don’t we accept the accept the Creation and Flood accounts on the same basis?

    Trying to force science to justify our faith corrupts both science and the Gospel. How did the polar bears survive in the tropical heat in the Garden of Eden? How did the koala bears get to Australia after the Flood? The truth is that God did it, and anyone trying to construct a “scientific” answer to those questions only diminishes the glory of the miracle, besides twisting science in a way that hurts our witness to the world.

  9. Ian Shaw January 7, 2014 at 6:03 pm #

    Here’s a different perspective on this, though I cannot take credit for it:
    “Or people like me who legitimately take the Bible’s creation account as true on faith and do not worry about the hows. Do I worry how God raised people from the dead or how He is eternal even though everything I observe tells me that everything must have a beginning and an end. Man is infinitely arrogant in believing we can somehow discern and verify the hows of life and yet ask a man why we exist or what the meaning of life is and he has no answer. Ask him to prove how the universe came to be or better yet why it came to be and he has no answer. Ask him why some are born rich and blessed and some suffer in poverty and oppression and he has no answer. God is sovereign and the sooner we accept this truth the sooner we can worry about the important questions like if God created me (regardless of how) then what does that mean for my life?”

  10. Steve Miller January 8, 2014 at 6:55 am #

    Bill Nye is equating accepting the theory of (macro)Evolution to being the definition of having an intellectual or scientific mind; this is circular reasoning at best. He is confusing scientific materialism as being the definition of reality. Science is how we study our world, not how we define our world. Science is a limited tool for evaluating specific observed natural occurrences. All of Bill’s arguments fall apart because it is easy to demonstrate by the evidence of some of the greatest scientific minds of history that belief in a creator does not result in ignorance but rather it is the fuel which drives many scientists to try to “think God’s thoughts.”

  11. Don Johnson January 8, 2014 at 10:07 am #

    Nye selected a job category (engineering) that does not often utilize the insights that evolution provides, he should have used a job more related to biology. Science is unified, but not all aspects of science are used by every profession.

    My concern is that this area is often presented using a false dichotomy between only 2 choices. See, for example http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0830839879/ref=oh_details_o04_s00_i00?ie=UTF8&psc=1 a recent book by a Christian that gives 6 models of which most include God.

  12. Ian Shaw January 8, 2014 at 11:59 am #

    Lauren,

    So if you had someone who believed the Genesis account of a 6 day creation period, you would not want them as your physician? How does that effect his/her ability to do their job? Please help educate me.

    Say you had to be operated on and the surgeon for this surgery was say…..Dr. Ben Carson, one of the best in his field. However, because he has publicly said he does not believe in evolution (once debated Dawkins and others in 2006) and probably does believe in the Genesis account of creation (not sure for him), you are saying you would not trust him to operate on you?

    Your statement (not you) is foolish at best and willfully ignorant at worst.

  13. Robby Cekander January 9, 2014 at 5:13 pm #

    God made the heavens and earth period. Now let’s go tell everyone about the good news of Jesus to anyone who will listen amen!

  14. Michael Conlay January 10, 2014 at 6:35 am #

    It’s not really evolution and creation that should be debating, it’s ancient history amd creation. We have a pretty good idea of when Judaism came about, when Christianity came about (obviously, our calendar is based off it) and then we know all this other stuff that happened before either of those two religions existed.

    So arguing over whether evolution has flaws or unexplained aspects is pointless, really. A side bar to distract you from the elephant in the room.

  15. Paula Wardlaw January 10, 2014 at 10:00 am #

    I worked in a research lab at a major university for years and was the only person in this lab and other labs in the department to hold to a creationist worldview. I sat through seminars in which the subject of origins was part of the discussion, and each time the presenter said that humans came from an undefined inorganic goop and that we don’t know how it happened just that it happened. In other words, just take my words for it. If a scientist were to use this type of reasoning to publish a paper in a scientific journal, the review board would tell him/her to go back to the lab and get some evidence to support those claims. As an example, a researcher cannot say that he’s developed a new anticancer drug that attacks tumor cells without harming healthy cells and tell people it works, I just don’t know the mechanism by which it works. That drug would never make it from the bench to clinical trials. However, when it comes to origins, we are supposed to accept that though we don’t know how it happened, it just did, and there’s no way there was a creator involved?

    There is also a tremendous amount of hostility from those espousing evolutionary worldviews toward those of a creationist mindset. I have watched people turn red in the face, slam doors, yell and stomp off down the hall castigating and demeaning those who espouse creationism. I have heard the argument used against creationists, “How do you know? You weren’t there.” Isn’t the same true for evolution? You weren’t there at the time this all happened. We are all looking at the same evidence and making conclusions from that evidence. One person looks at dinosaur bones scattered throughout various layers of the earth and sees evidence for evolution. Another looks at those same dinosaur bones and sees evidence for the flood and a subsequent ice age.

    If I experienced these situations as an entry-level lab researcher, I can only imagine what Ken Ham and his colleagues have encountered in their careers, and if Ken Ham is harsh with others, I can understand why. I wouldn’t try to excuse the behavior, I’m only saying I understand and try to offer him some mercy and forgiveness as fellow believers in Messiah. Criticizing and walking away isn’t helpful for anyone.

    In my time as a bench researcher, I also noticed that people thought Christians were ignorant when it came to science, as if we don’t understand the difference between macro- and microevolution and that we’re against all of it. I see this indicated in these comments as well as attested by the person who would change doctors if she found out he was a creationist. While creationists do know the difference and can speak to it, many Christians do not and just take it by faith. The problem with this is that, unlike the Virgin Birth, observable evidence for creation and the flood still remains in the earth today. We can use our faith as a starting point to investigate the evidence and lay forth claims to a true and relevant Gospel to reach a people who are hostile and resistant to Truth because of the misinformation that has been given in evolution.

    Paul says in Romans 1, “For ever since the creation of the universe his invisible qualities – both his eternal power and his divine nature – have been clearly seen, because they can be understood from what he has made.” God put the evidence in front of us, He gave us an account of beginnings in Genesis and gave us minds to discover the details and attest to His glory and greatness.

    • Don Johnson January 10, 2014 at 11:38 am #

      It is true that scientists do not yet know the details on how life started, evolution deals with the way life evolves AFTER it has started.

      There is no difference between what some want to call macro-evolution and micro-evolution except the time scale. In other words, it is a supposed difference that does not make a difference when examined, it is all evolution, what is called macro-evolution by some is simply cascaded micro-evolution.

      There is NO evidence for what YECs believe, Al Mohler realizes this and admits it, that the evidence makes it appear that evolution happened, he just declines to accept the evidence as he believes he has a trump card based on his interpretation of Scripture.

      However, there are many former YECs that became believers in evolution once they looked at the evidence. If you want to read about some of them, try the books by Denis Lamoureaux ((A) Evolutionary Creationism or (B) I Love Jesus and I Believe in Evolution) or Christopher R. Smith (Paradigms on Pilgrimage)

      • Esther O'Reilly January 10, 2014 at 12:33 pm #

        If you allow for divine intervention at all, even for abiogenesis alone, then any atheist will tell you that you don’t accept evolution as most people define evolution.

        Don’t conflate belief in an Old Earth with belief in evolution. The evidence supports progressive creationism: God took his time between creative spurts.

      • Paula Wardlaw January 16, 2014 at 4:36 pm #

        I respectfully disagree that there is no evidence for what YECs believe. A young earth can appear old as a result of a catastrophic event such as the flood. What a person sees in the evidence comes from his/her worldview, and I cannot ascribe to what Al Mohler says in this regard. Am I to disregard what God says in His word? I understand that he holds to the primacy of the Scriptures, but to say that and concede that evidence supports the authority of Scripture. God is not a man that He should lie.

        The text in Genesis supports 6 literal days by the use of the word yom and by numbering each day – “and there was evening and morning, the first day,” and so on from there. Ancient Rabbis such as Ibn Ezra and Maimonides support 6 literal days of creation.

        Further, God’s commandment to remember the Sabbath and keep it holy makes no sense in light of evolution, progressive creationism or anything other than what the text in Genesis 1 describes – 6 literal days of creation and 1 day of rest on the 7th day. Therefore, I work 6 days, and I rest on the 7th day.

        It seems more likely given the trustworthiness of our God and His word that the evidence is being misinterpreted for whatever reason be it a rejection of God or simply a lack of trust in the word of God.

  16. Ian Shaw January 10, 2014 at 2:52 pm #

    Again, man is infinitely arrogant in believing we can somehow discern and verify the hows of life and yet ask a man why we exist or what the meaning of life is and he has no answer.

    That being said, there are simply holes in the evolution theory that many choose not to adress.
    -Julian Huxley, a staunch evolutionist who made assumptions very favorable to the theory, computed the odds against the evolution of a horse to be 1 in 10^300,000. Pitman, 68 (Seriously, who would take those odds?)

    -Renowned French zoologist Pierre-Paul Grass’ has made no secret of his skepticism: “What gambler would be crazy enough to play roulette with random evolution? The probability of dust carried by the wind reproducing Dürer’s “Melancholia” is less infinitesimal than the probability of copy errors in the DNA molecule leading to the formation of the eye; besides, these errors had no relationship whatsoever with the function that the eye would have to perform or was starting to perform. There is no law against daydreaming, but science must not indulge in it.

    -In 1967 a group of internationally known biologists and mathematicians met to consider whether random mutations and natural selection could qualify as the mechanism of evolutionary change. The answer of the mathematicians was “No.” Participants at the symposium, all evolutionists, recognized the need for some type of mechanism to reduce the odds against evolution. In the words of Dr. Murray Eden of M.I.T.:

    “What I am claiming is that without some constraint on the notion of random variation, in either the properties of the organism or the sequence of the DNA, there is no particular reason to expect that we could have gotten any kind of viable form other than nonsense.”

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