Monday, June 14, 2010

Disappointed in Bill Nye

Bill Nye the Science Guy, as he's known, gave a speech to the American Humanist Association. He's a smart guy and had a really good show back in the day. Unfortunately though, he has bought into the false dichotomy between science and religion.

In his speech, he basically says that the humanists have an obligation to teach religious people who do not know about science about it. He wants to spread humanism which is a philosophy that says that the buck stops at humanity, that there is no afterlife, and that ultimately the meaning of life is fulfilling our own desires.

But to propose that science and religion are opposed is complete absurdity, but a good fairy tale to tell people. It's very convenient for groups like this to pit science and religion against each other. But it's really just setting up a straw man, in order to make a point. In other words, they attribute false things to religious people and then argue against these false assumptions.

Religious people do believe in science. Many of the world's greatest scientists believe in God, and I wrote a blog posting about many of these individuals. Bill Nye attacks the book of Genesis, basically asserting that it is not a scientific book. Then he goes on to show how some of the things mentioned in the first book of the Bible do not fit with scientific data. Well, this is a very easy target which he has set up. But Christians do not believe the Bible is a scientific manual. They believe it contains truths which are much deeper than this.

Scientists, including Bill Nye must stop being so childish. It is childish to misrepresent a religion and then offer proofs against this false presentation. Not only that, but to then encourage everyone to fight against these belief systems.

He also mentions evolution. Scientists love the word "evolution", but they push it much farther than the theory allows. It does not explain the origin of life, or the universe. It simply gives a possible system for how certain species evolved the way they have. The Catholic Church at least has made statements that say a person can be Catholic and believe in evolution. Much of the reason is that the Church speaks on faith and morals, not on biology or any science.

I know many very religious people, but none of them are against science. They see the value of science. But they also recognize that science without morality can be very evil. I know many people with advanced degrees, doctors, and other professionals who believe in God. And they see no contradiction in their beliefs.

Another issue that Bill brought up was overpopulation. Of course, he decried it as a major problem in our world. This is the party line for atheism. But overpopulation is not the problem many people think it is. There are dozens of countries which have officially stated that their population growth is far too small and that they want people to have more children. I know of no country which says they have too many people. There is enough food on Earth to feed 14 billion people, currently, yet our population has not reached 7. In fact, many believe we will peak in population around 8 or 9 billion. Something that his not often mentioned is that there are not necessarily being more babies born, just more people are surviving due to good medicine and health. People are living longer with higher qualities of life than before. People generally group together in dense populations. Obviously this whole thing is a canard.

Bill ends his speech by saying that in the entire universe we are rather insignificant, that we amount to nothing. He turns this around at the end by saying we ARE something because of our brains and our ability to reason and so on. While this may sound affirming, I believe it is a very dangerous philosophy. Using this philosophy, we accept people with strong intellects as being valuable, but people with mental disabilities would be less highly regarded. They would simply be weighing down the system. They would then become insignificant like Bill Nye originally said because they would not have the redeeming quality of a good brain. People are then judged and valued based on their utility and not their inherent worth.

Many religions believe people are valuable because of their inherent value given to them by God, not because they are able to think at a certain level or are of value to the world. Using Bill's philosophy, unborn and young children are worthless, as are elderly people with mental issues or mentally disabled individuals at any age. It is a very dangerous philosophy.

I just want to end by saying the Humanist vision of the world offers nothing. It does not seek to give anything, but rather to remove something. It wants to remove God, hope, love, mercy, etc. and replace it with science. Science has its place, but it must be guided.

I believe the following quote sums it up perfectly:

Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind.
- Albert Einstein


  1. Name one scientist who has ever claimed evolution "explains the origin of life, or the universe". It's only creationists who claim that and it's always the scientists who have to correct them.

  2. I have to wonder about this speech. He claims we need children now, but in the late 1990s, he starred in a video for Disney promoting the idea that we don't need children because the Earth is too overpopulated already. A clear contradiction, which is it?

    1. In "Populations" Bill Nye certainly doesn't say we don't need children. He discusses the very real and growing concern of human overpopulation of the earth. When you say there is no such problem, you are clearly drawing your information from conservative theist sources. Big mistake. These are biased and do not look at data in a reliable and truthful way. Of course Catholics want to bend the truth to justify having 9 kids. Try something new: Take a break from the conservative misinformation and read a book with verifiable statistics, like Michael Pollan's "The Omnivore's Dilemma", then let's see what you think of human overpopulation on the earth. As far as Bill Nye goes… he's brilliant!

    2. To Anonymous March 15, 2013:

      Please read this with an open heart:

      I am sorry that you feel the way you do about Catholics, but I take offense to you saying, "Of course Catholics want to bend the truth to justify having 9 kids."

      God blesses us with children. When we become married, and if its God's will, we have children. When we have children, we are sharing in a miracle with God. We bring life into this world through our love for God.

      God wants us to trust in Him and have faith.

      Our lives are not about us. They are about God.

      God Bless.

    3. Your statement about God blessing us with children, etc., may be true, but it also might not be true. It is not okay to assume that everyone believes what you believe about the nature of life and what is beyond us and our world. We need to respect every person's right to have his or her own beliefs, and therefore need to look to verifiable scientific data as our baseline for understanding how the world works. Science is a great equalizer. For example, we can say, "Science shows that evolution of species is a real phenomenon (yes, it is and if you think it hasn't been proven stop reading only catholic and conservative sources), so we know all life on this earth has evolved over a period of millions of years." From this point, we can say, "If you want to believe that there was a God involved in making this happen, that's fine. If you believe there is a God that decides how many children you have, that's also fine". But you can't impose this belief on the rest of us.
      Please look at this website. It has actual data, not just opinions that come from a catholic blog:

  3. Einstein also said: ""The word god is for me nothing more than the expression and product of human weaknesses, the Bible a collection of honourable, but still primitive legends which are nevertheless pretty childish. No interpretation no matter how subtle can (for me) change this.""