Home » Biology, Darwinism, Education, Evolutionary biology, Intelligent Design, Science, science education » Bill Nye (“The Science Guy”) Weighs in on Science Education

Bill Nye (“The Science Guy”) Weighs in on Science Education

Dr. Cornelius Hunter recently posted on some findingsfrom the NCSE (the National Center for the Selling of Evolutioner, I mean, Science Education, on how many biology teachers are reluctant to teach evolution. Now, TV personality Bill Nye “The Science Guy” has given us his two cents worth on this controversy. In the interview he’s asked what he thinks about the reluctance of teachers regarding evolution. He says:

It’s horrible. Science is the key to our future, and if you don’t believe in science, then you’re holding everybody back. And it’s fine if you as an adult want to run around pretending or claiming that you don’t believe in evolution, but if we educate a generation of people who don’t believe in science, that’s a recipe for disaster. We talk about the Internet. That comes from science. Weather forecasting. That comes from science. The main idea in all of biology is evolution. To not teach it to our young people is wrong.

Notice how he uses the term “believe”. Maybe Darwinism is a faith system after all. Also notice how he interchanges ‘belief’ in evolution with ‘belief’ in science, as if the two were inseparable. This is a clever rhetorical trick we’ve seen used many times by ID critics. If one questions the legitimacy of evolution or some aspect of it, then one is, by extension, questioning all of science. A little reality check seems to be in order. Teachers who have some reluctance about teaching certain aspects of evolution as if they are absolute established facts when they know they aren’t (or at least have serious scientific questions about those supposed “facts”) does not equate to those same teachers questioning or having reluctance about “all of science”. One does not follow from the other.

Nye goes on to say that “…to deny evolution is in no one’s best interest.” Again, we need a little reality check here. Having some reluctance about teaching certain aspects of evolution does not equate to outright denial of evolution either. The underlying message from Nye seems to be what we’ve heard so many times before. Evolution is a “fact, fact, fact”…and don’t dare question any of it!

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13 Responses to Bill Nye (“The Science Guy”) Weighs in on Science Education

  1. Know what else might be holding students back? Professors telling their students in class that alien life was found in lab samples from a lake in California. Of course that last part wasn’t mentioned.

    Friend of mine had a professor tell her class that.

  2. DonaldM:

    Good catch.

    NCSE on the same “eveo is a fact, fact, fact . . . ” subject, with backup from earlier edns of the NAS pamphlet on evolution. Also, cf NSTA on the same error of propagandistic indoctrination under false colours, in the name of science, by actually question-beggingly ideologising the very definition of science to be taught to students in school.

    GEM of TKI

  3. What *everyone* is missing is that what is being taught in high schools isn’t even real biology. Most biology textbooks still have the same old “mutations are caused by X-rays and copying errors” ideas from the 1950s. If they would at least bring the textbooks up to, say, 1990s standards, there would be less to talk about.

    What if the text on evolution was replaced by something a little more up-to-date, like, say, evo-devo. Evo-devo might get a mention, but random mutation / natural selection is still getting undue praise in high school biology.

    I mean, I don’t see how anyone comes off blaming ID’ers for bad biology education, when anything is better than the B.S. that exists in high-school textbooks. If you want to blame someone for bad education, try bad textbooks pushing 1950s science as if it were still valid.

  4. Some time ago I read a critique of the question, “Do you believe in evolution?” The author made the same point you do. The use of the word “believe” implies you are being asked to make a faith commitment.

    Even though I agree with this, I personally attribute the use of the word “believe” in everyday conversation to just that: it is the result of our lax language habits in everyday conversation.

    The author did suggest that the question should be, “Do you accept evolution as a correct scientific theory?”

    This phrasing is a bit more cumbersome, and that may be the reason why we fall into the habit of the much simpler, “Do you beleive in evolution?”

    But then, shouldn’t a spokesman for science use the correct phrasing?

  5. I never had a problem with Mr. Nye, but this kind of paranoia makes me lose some respect for him.

    Part of me thinks his conviction comes from the fact that he’s probably discussed evolution at length in some of his episodes.

  6. In the quoted statement above, he (Mr. so-called Science Guy) also, very subtly equated lack of belief in evolution to be equivalent to lack of belief in science itself…..which is completely fallacious.

    People like the Mr. so-called Science Guy and others who think this way need to have this kind of poor reasoning publicly exposed and corrected.

  7. I just finished reading his entire response. He is so far off the mark it isn’t even funny.

    He says here

    “They really do understand that when you find fossil bones of ancient dinosaurs, you are looking at deep time, not just 5000 years.”

    Again, he’s presenting the issue in a way that falsely portrays anyone who disagrees with evolution as believing dino bones are 5,000 years old. That kind of reasoning is simply false. There are valid, scientifically supportable hypotheses to the usual 150 year old evolutionary drivel that do not require belief in young earth creationism. I wish people like Bill Nye would be personally and intellectually honest about the issues, instead of using their public platform to promote his/their own philosophical agenda.

    He also says…

    “And in science we’re always looking for the truth, it’s what we do. Does this work? Does this solve the problem? Can you do the same experiment and get the same results? ”

    Really Mr. Nye? Let’s put evolution under that exact standard and see what happens.

    Does matter create truth? Does macroevolution invite more problems than it solves? Can methodological naturalism be tested with anything outside itself?

    I finished the entire article, noticing his fallacious jabs at ID, referencing to the Dover trial that didn’t prove anything by a judge who knew nothing except what was copied from a previously prepared ACLU document..

    And lastly, he says..

    “Farmers raise crops with science; they hybridize them and make them better with every generation. That’s all evolution. ”

    What he just described is artificial selection, and selection that requires an intelligent agent. Evidently he would like to portray “evolution” in the Darwinian sense being as true as artificial selection. This is both wrong and intentionally deceptive on the part of Mr. Nye.

    Shame on you Mr. Nye!

  8. “…The main idea in all of biology is evolution. To not teach it to our young people is wrong.”

    To not teach them the full story is WRONG! Having just finished school via Cambridge, it is only too fresh in my mind how staggeringly poor the support for evolution in the biology textbook was. The best evidence it had to offer was the ol’ “sickle-cell anaemia protects against malaria, thus = beneficial mutation for those in malaria-afflicted areas” argument” that we’ve been hearing for far too long.

    Do you call this education??

  9. Nye is a CSI Fellow, so this is just what one would expect.

  10. Bill Nye is totally clueless. He thinks that people who argue against the theory of evolution argie for the fixity of species- ie no change takes place.

  11. Nye is a CSI Fellow, so this is just what one would expect.

    In company with Richard Dawkins among others. Well, you’re right…what would you expect.

  12. And I used to love watching his show. I also loved watching him on Almost Live! on Comedy Central back in the day.

  13. Science is not a noun. A thing.
    its claimed to be a higher standard of investigation and so a higher confidence in conclusions.
    If this and that is from this methodology then they could make the claim its from science.
    In fact most things come from insight, reasoning on known facts, and seldom from a process. In fact i find the idea or hunch came before the process was invoked. Creationism simply says the standard of investigation in origins is flawed or unworthy of the confidence in the proclaimed conclusions.
    YEC says origin subjects are not open to a high standard of investigation because of being past and gone events and processes.
    It all comes down to the quality of evidence relative to the confidence in important conclusions of great processes and results in nature.
    Evolution and company ain’t even nominated.

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