Is it crazy to "de-Nye" evolution?
Recently, Bill Nye (from the popular PBS children’s television show “Bill Nye the Science Guy”) posted a YouTube video in which he belittles those who say they deny evolution. This month’s question will be a partial response to a few of his comments. It would take a lot more space to do it justice, so I am only going to focus on a few key statements.
In order to appropriately address this issue, we must first define what we mean by “evolution”. We are not merely referring to “change” in life forms. We see this all the time and it is a part of reality. The “evolution” I am referring to is the concept that non-living molecules randomly combined (i.e. without any outside intelligent intervention) to form a living single-celled organism which subsequently, over a few billion years, spawned every other life form on the planet. We call this “molecules-to-man” evolution. ` One statement Nye made was,
"People still move to the United States. And that's largely because of the intellectual capital we have, the general understanding of science. When you have a portion of the population that doesn't believe in that, it holds everybody back, really.”
This exhibits the logical fallacy of “equivocation,” in which two different things are assumed to be the same. In this case, he is conveying that idea that “evolution” and “science” are one in the same. In reality, science is a body of knowledge regarding the physical world gained through observation and experimentation. Evolution, on the other hand, is a story about the past, involving guesses and assumptions about what supposedly occurred over the alleged millions and billions of years of Earth’s history. In his mind (and many others) to deny evolution is paramount to denying “science” which has given us wonderful advancements such as laptops and cell phones. Who in their right mind would want to deny science? “Oh, so you don’t believe in evolution? I suppose then that you also don’t believe in that cell phone I saw you using just a few minutes ago?” They want you to think you can’t reject one without rejecting the other. However, we are talking about two types of science at this point. Firstly, “Observational Science” which typically involves things we do in a laboratory and has led to some great advancements in technology. The concept of evolution, on the other hand, falls into the category of “Historical Science”, which deals with events that happened in the unobserved past; events that cannot be repeated or recreated and are not directly testable.
Another statement made was as follows,
"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."
Bill Nye (an engineer) says that evolution is fundamental to all biology. Really? That is very interesting considering the following quote from Dr. Marc Kirschner (founding chair of the Department of Systems Biology at Harvard Medical School – no dummy):
"In fact, over the last 100 years, almost all of biology has proceeded independent of evolution, except evolutionary biology itself. Molecular biology, biochemistry, physiology, have not taken evolution into account at all." (As quoted in the Boston Globe, 23 October 2005)
Not only that, but belief in evolution has actually been a great detriment to science in many instances. Rather than believing everything has a purpose (i.e. was designed), many things are viewed as left over junk from random evolutionary processes. At the time of the infamous Scopes “Monkey” trial (1925), there was a list of no less than 180 “useless” organs in the human body, thought to be left over from evolution. A good example was the appendix. For years, doctors were quick to remove this organ if there were any issues, believing it served no purpose to begin with. Fortunately, modern science has since discovered that it plays an important part in our immune system. In fact, the original list of 180 has now dwindled to virtually zero! Good science exposed the rotting fruit of a bad theory.
Then we have the whole mythical concept of “junk” DNA. Evolutionists believe that much of our DNA is really just “junk”… not useful to the functioning or propagation of life. This conclusion was solely based on the assumption that evolution is true. Today, we know better. Not only are these supposed “junk” areas of the DNA useful, they are more complex than ever imagined! Regarding the idea of “junk” DNA, Dr. John Mattick (Garvan Institute of Medical Research, PhD in biochemistry) stated:
“…the failure to recognize the implications of the non-coding [i.e “junk”] DNA will go down as the biggest mistake in the history of molecular biology.”
Let’s look at another of Nye’s statements. He claims that one's…
"world just becomes fantastically complicated when you don't believe in evolution."
In reality, just the opposite is true. I’ve often said that I don’t have strong enough faith to believe in evolution. When you learn of the intricacies of life, including DNA, you see how astronomically impossible the odds are that random forces of nature created such amazing specified complexity. It was Sir Fred Hoyle (world renowned astronomer and atheist for most of his life) that calculated the chances of life forming by random processes in all the time of Earth’s alleged ancient history. He said there would be one chance, not in a million or even in a billion, but one chance in a 1 followed by 40,000 zeros! You want to say that number? You would say the word “billion” 4,444 times in a row. And yet, he wants us to believe it’s all just an accident. My life becomes “fantastically complicated” if I try to believe that life is nothing but the product of random forces or nature!
Nye further states,
“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."
For many people, what makes the initially “unbelievable” a little more palatable, is the idea of “deep time” or millions and billions of years. Sure, many things seem impossible… but if you had enough time… anything can happen, right? That’s how the reasoning goes. We don’t have time or space to elucidate too much here, but in reality, time is not “the hero of the plot”, as one scientist stated. It actually makes things worse, as things tend to run down and wear out over time… not get better. I would agree, however, if you deny “deep time” (or reject it based on solid scientific and biblical principals) “your world view just becomes crazy, just untenable, itself inconsistent” (if you are an evolutionist.) Yes, evolution (as a worldview) requires a lot of crazy, untenable, inconsistent thinking!
We’ll end this article with one final quote from Nye:
"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.”
I wish Mr. Nye would show us one example of a skyscraper, a cell phone, an automobile, a nutritional supplement or even a cure to a disease that was berthed out of a belief in evolution. Science and engineering proceed stunningly without a required belief in evolution. It may be true that many scientists believe in evolution, but most of them carry out their day-to-day work without any reference to evolution whatsoever.
Much more could be said in regard to Bill Nye’s comments (and others like him). I really don’t even want to “pick on him”, because he is just one of many purporting the same humanistic worldview. It just so happens that he has a lot of notoriety which means that the general public pays great attention to what he says.
I am unashamed to say that I am a “de-Nye’r” of evolution. (just a little play on words, meant only for subtle, creative humor and not meant to be demeaning or disrespectful.) True science always comports with God’s Word. However, those who have denied Him (God) will always come to the wrong conclusions about the origin and meaning of life, because their worldview (starting point) is off to begin with. (Romans 1: 18-22)
Author: Jay Seegert (Co-Founder & Principal Lecturer, Creation Education Center)