Bill Nye Resists Holy War on Science

We’ve all heard the numbers — so often that it sometimes feels numbing: The United States ranked 25th in math and 17th in science in a ranking of 31 countries by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. The U.S. led the world in high school and college graduation rates 25 years ago; today, the U.S. ranks 20th and 16th, respectively. At this point, it’s no longer about leading the global rankings; it’s about not slipping further behind.

So along comes Bill Nye, known to legions of children as “Bill Nye, the Science Guy,” and he makes a calm, reasonable, common-sense case for teaching children about science and reason, pointing out the challenges our country faces — and the advantages of having a scientifically literate populace to respond to those challenges.



We need the next generation of scientists! We need the next group of people who are going to put a robot on Mars with a frakkin’ sky crane! Will the scientists of tomorrow be landing a robot on Europa or Titan to greet new neighbors crawling from a sub-ice ocean? We need people to launch new and improved satellites, make better cars and airplanes. Heck, we’ll need people to repair all the stuff that already exists. We do not need more presidential candidates who claim abortion caused Hurricane Katrina and that God told him that terrorists would destroy America in 2007. (I’m looking a you, Pat Robertson, you false prophet!)

And, finally, Bill makes a very functional plea: Parents, if you’re content being a creationist, that’s fine. But don’t make your kids follow the same path. Don’t force them to cling to a pre-Dark Ages explanation for the world. Let them learn about evolution and get a good job. Later, after they’re grown, they can weigh the mountains of evidence that supports evolution against the absolute lack of any evidence supporting creationism, and decide if they want to believe. (And, parents, let them investigate the creation stories of many different religions, because the Judeo-Christian tale really is among the most boring.)

I pray people will pay attention to Bill’s plea.

6 thoughts on “Bill Nye Resists Holy War on Science

  1. I have heard our young people described as bumbling, gratification seeking, self-indulgent, video game playing, texting & tweeting buffoons. Well, that may be a bit harsh, for they do have a fair share of brilliance as well. I am sure we can state examples for each group. The problem is, it’s just become much to easy for the young person to take the wrong path. Parents being much to self-absorbed and taking the easy way out with their children by handing them cash instead of encouraging them to study. Theodore Roosevelt’s famous quote: “Spare the rod and spoil the child” may sound harsh, but the basic meaning behind it pretty much says it all. DISCIPLINE. Children must be disciplined in an effective manner. It would be truly interesting to ask the parents of those students in the other 30 countries that were tested, “how do you discipline your children?”

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  2. Watch the video again. Notice his vague language like “a percentage of people” with no number attached. The idea that every person who believes in creation automatically scoffs science is ludicrous. Many of us are as enamored with science as we are with our Creator, and don’t feel we have to choose one or the other. He also says “once in a while” he gets people who claim not to believe the same thing he believes. The video is misleading, meant to portray Christians as idiots, and borders on inflammatory. It doesn’t matter how calm or even his voice.

    This man should be more interested in a good haircut and a wardrobe makeover than telling anyone how to raise their children. Imagine the Hell to be paid if he, or Big Bird, or any other beloved children’s hero were evangilizing to atheist parents? If his words were about the dangers of raising children to be self absorbed snots with no awe of a Creator who would design a solar system, a universe, or a mulitverse so perfectly down to the smallest ion on an atom, would you still think Bill was such a great guy? Just take one moment, think about it, and about how disgusted you would be if I shared it on my blog.

    Let him believe what he wants, and let him tell the world. He thinks believers are crazy, good on him. But when he tells people how to parent, he steps over the line. The world is full of crappy parents – and yet still, there will be engineers, and neurosurgeons, and brilliant people. Even more astonishing, many of them will believe in God or another power greater than themselves who created the Heavens and the Earth.

    The fact that we fall behind in educational stats is not because people believe in God. When society made it’s most amazing leaps and bounds in technology and development, the nations were more faithful, not less.

    Talk about spin! How can we tie low test scores to religious belief and keep a straight face? I would say that now, as we slip and slide, there are more atheist and agnostic children in the seats of our godless public schools than ever before. Perhaps a more likely cause would be that children are raised to think that they are wonderful when they are mediocre, and they are rarely encouraged to explore or create anything. Even their play is managed for them Public education is far more likely to stifle a child than a person’s belief or disbelief in a Creator. I would even go so far as to say that in my humble opinion, children who feel like we are a random accident might also be far less curious than the ones who believe that everything in their world is a gift to which they are a steward over.

    Before I go back to dragging my knuckles around on the ground and drooling on myself, I would like to point out how much I love that you end this post with the words “I pray that”. I don’t know if it was intentional, but I did laugh out loud.

    Okay, Now I will return my attention back to my really cool and intelligent science geek kids. You might be surprised, but despite being raised as idiot Christians they are studying the path of the hurricane, discussing the science of weather, and they don’t think for one minute that God steers these things to particular cities or that He cares if the RNC convention is affected.

    The thing is, this is one of the several times a day we read together. Because it is funny in how it relates to the subject at hand, I have to mention that we are reading the Percy Jackson series. We’re nearing the end of the last book. It’s good stuff. Percy has taken a huge risk and is about to see if it pays off as Kronos and Typon bear down on Mount Olympus and the demigods who are guarding it.

    I still can’t believe that we are portrayed as the uptight and intolerant ones. *smh*

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    • You do realize that in your comment you did the very same thing you railed against Bill doing — painting a diverse group as one monolithic mind-set. Specifically that folks who don’t believe think those who do are all idiots. It’s not the case. Also, you’re quick to don the mantle of the put-upon oppressed group, when Christians are the vast majority of the country and atheists are the most reviled group in the USA — ranking even below politicians! I don’t think Bill mentioned any knuckle-walking or drooling.

      While I think I do agree that there are probably more atheist-raised kids in schools than ever, it also feels like there are also more religious-minded parents and people in charge of those schools than ever before. Books continue to be challenged and banned on religious grounds (including the “Percy Jackson” series). Science like evolution is being muscled aside by creationism under the guise of “teach the controversy” — while I’d like to see the church that sets aside time for a scientist to come in and present an opposing view to the sermon each Sunday. I guess it’s a matter of perspective, but I think the kids who believe the world was given to them on a silver platter by a higher power will respect it a lot less than those who appreciate the long and amazing process that resulted in their existence. And I too hate the way schools stifle creativity and questioning in favor of test scores.

      And I love ending on a laugh line, so I’m glad you appreciated it.

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      • Did you read my response? I did NOT condemn his beliefs, or any of his video until he tells me how to parent. Kids adore him and he was a jackass for telling them that their parents are idiots.

        As a writer, I thought you might recognize my use of gross exaggeration and sarcasm as a way of pointing out absurdity as a way to make my point. Sorry it missed the mark.

        I don’t for one minute feel oppressed or put upon. If anything, I am empowered because I took my children away from the public schools and the group think. My kids are taught that theories are theories, and the joy is in testing theories to see if they hold up.

        Church service is a place for teaching. The sermon is a class based upon that week’s readings from the Bible. It isn’t a place for bringing in people who pick apart those readings. That would be silly. There are, however, theology classes, and social groups who do go around and around about all of it. If a person is so inclined there are plenty of debates on video as well.

        That is kind of what school used to be. A place where many ideas were welcomed and debated – that’s what changed and if Bill Nye can’t see that, he needs to study the evolution of education, not of man.

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        • Since I am not a parent myself, I should just say that I agree 100 percent that church is for religion and science class is for science. If you want to mix them there certainly are other places to do that. I am sincerely curious, though, about how you test the idea of creationism when you’re teaching it.

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          • We look at things and discuss them. We cannot prove, or disprove, obviously – that is where the faith part comes in, but there is plenty to discuss. Like that we had to come from something, and that something must have come from somewhere and, although, there are weird things, like platypus, roaches, and Snookie, this entire solar system seems to have a perfect and intelligent design. Every ecosystem appears to us as amazing display of a well thought out plan. The way humans and plants take in and exchange what we need to breathe and live seems way to important to be a coincidence. The way storms and lightning create new ozone, the fact that only humans have been able to do what we have done, in my opinion, points to a plan for dominion. We also discuss evolution, obviously – and rather than scoff or sniff, or call the people who believe this stupid and dangerous, we point out where it seems good, and where we think the theory fails. There is obviously adaptation, but is that the same as evolution? There are endless topics to discuss, and we do. Like, if we came from an ape thing, why did language go from Shakespeare’s English to the way we speak now rather than from a notch above stupidity to a full miriam webster dictionary in all of our daily speech? Does it mean we are now DEvolving? (I could almost believe that..)

            So, anyway – that’s what it is like for us. Pointing out again that we don’t get all ticked off and hate the people who don’t agree with us, or call them stupid. (except when they try to tell us what to do with our kids or basically call us morons – and even then, just defend ourselves)

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Oh, yeah? Sez you!

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