I find it very ironic that many have rushed to claim victory for Nye in his debate against Answers In Genesis Ministries CEO, Ken Ham. However, Bill Nye’s underlying worldview is fatally flawed, and that was demonstrated by Nye’s unscientific and painfully inconsistent and dishonest remarks. I’m sure the Internet will be filled by much better written articles that can address issues such as the evidence presented, among others, than this one, so I thought I’d try to keep it brief and to the point. I would like to list several statements by Nye and show how they expose the fatal flaw of naturalism. If you are a Christian reading this, you don’t need to be intimidated by the content of Nye’s presentation. Go to the root of his worldview, locate the rotting point, and start hacking away.
“I’m not a theologian, but…”
Then don’t ask a theological question or make a theological comment/statement. This was particularly revealing of Nye’s utter ignorance of the Bible when he presented the Telephone Game objection, the debunked belief that the Bible was transmitted unilaterally, that is, it went from one scribe to the next, and to the next, and so forth, the end result being a highly adulterated and modified Bible.
If you’re an unbeliever and you’re going to debate a Bible-believing person, at least have the honesty to study how the Bible was transmitted, put yourself in the Christian’s shoes (same goes for you Christian, put yourself in the Mormon’s, Jehovah’s Witness, atheist, scientologist, etc’s shoes). Christians, teach unbelievers to stop using the Telephone Game objection. It’s long been debunked. Here is a presentation by Dr. James White on the reliability of the New Testament text and how the Bible was actually translated and passed down through history:
“There’s many religious people who don’t agree with your position, what becomes of them? We in the scientific community…”
What becomes of Bill Nye, I wonder, given that the same could be said of him? First of all, Nye painted with a very broad brush, equating all religions in his map to Ham’s and then assuming he must be in their same group for his belief to count.
Secondly, there are many in the “scientific community” who have disagreed and disagree with Nye. What becomes, then, of Nye? Is Nye’s position, therefore, on shaky ground because he does not conform with everyone in the “scientific community”?
The underlying assumption is that the scientific community is a group who is in agreement with and share Nye’s naturalistic/materialistic/empiricist worldview. This is an arrogant claim indeed, since it is quite obvious this is not the case. This also demonstrates the false dichotomy of pitting science against religion or viceversa. As Ken Ham rightly pointed out in the debate,
“The word science has been hijacked by secularists in teaching evolution to force the religion of naturalism on generations of kids.” – Ken Ham
It also makes the false assumption that “religious” people are outside of the category of “scientist.” I will let my friend Tom address this point (and actually several of my other points on this blog) further. I highly recommend you watch his video and the one below:
“When I look at the night sky I wanna know what it is!”
Remember, Nye is a materialist, a naturalist, a person who claims he will only accept empirical evidence to accept any given thing. So we must ask the question: Why? Based on what standard? Why should you? Who says you want to know? Furthermore, can you prove that statement? Can you prove that desire? Can you bring me a jar full of “desire” to know what the night sky is?
“We can predict, but you can’t….There’s a reason why i don’t accept Ken Ham’s creation model, it has no predictive ability”
Once again, why should we want to predict anything? Why should we want to know where we came from? Why should we want to predict anything if we have no transcendent purpose? Who cares? Also just because something happens repeatedly (sunrise, sunset, etc.) doesn’t mean you can therefore predict the sun will rise or set tomorrow (think forecast news and how accurate those are).
“This is what gets us up to go to work every day, to know where all came from.”
Why? I thought it was random atoms hitting each other or chemical processes in the brain that wake us up to go to work every day. After all, why should we know where all came from if there is nothing more after death? Who cares? As Nye himself said about death,
“It’s very hard to accept for many of us that when you die, it’s over.”
Here’s the dilemma: Based on Nye’s underlying naturalistic, empiricist, materialistic worldview, which does not allow the supernatural or the metaphysical, Nye cannot be allowed to jump from empiricism to philosophical or metaphysical arguments and he should be called out on it.
The moment Nye says that the desire to know the workings of the universe, or the desire to answer the “where did all come from” question is what gets us up every day to go to work, he is jumping from empiricism to philosophy, and as Christians we must call this out (and we can say “must” because it is commanded to us in 2 Cor. 10:5, among other Scriptures; that is, because “there is a book out there” [I need to get a shirt with that quote by Ham] that is unique and objective and is the foundation for everything in life).
“Unthinkable…untenable…troubling…is it reasonable?”
–Unthinkable: Why? On what basis? Everyone’s interpretation of what we can observe? (Nye repeatedly appealed to the audience’s observations of the universe, not realizing that,
“All scientists have the same experimental or observational science. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a creationist or an evolutionist, you can be a great scientist.” – Ken Ham
- Untenable: Why? On what basis?
- Troubling: Why? On what basis? Can you bring me a jar of worry?
- Is it reasonable? First of, based on your naturalistic/materialistic/empiricist worldview, why should things be reasonable? Why shouldn’t they be unreasonable? Who determined that? You? The “scientific community”? Whose reason? Whose interpretation of what is reasonable? It rather seems to me that what Nye really means is “does it fit within my presuppositions and biases?” Is his “joy of discovery” “reasonable”?
“The scientific community believes in evolution”
An extremely demeaning and arrogant statement. It basically excludes creationists or non-macro evolutionists (notice I said macro evolutionists) from being considered a part of the “scientific community.” It is the tyrannical push of the religion of macro evolution of non-macro evolutionists from science.
In the debate Nye said many religious people didn’t share Nye’s view; the same applies to Nye: not all scientists share the theory (yes, theory) of macro evolution. Therefore, unless Nye will admit to the dogmas of the religion of macro evolution in excluding those who disagree, it is clear that this statement is easily refuted.
Thinking science belongs in evolution and can’t fit in a Biblical worldview is an amazingly ignorant statement to make from this otherwise very learned man. Now, it is true that Nye did say he does not see religion conflicting with science, but in reality the dichotomy still stands in Nye’s worldview, and it is illogical, if not downright stupid. Ham presented videos of many professing creationists being highly respected and qualified scientists who have contributed much to “the scientific community.” Contrary to Nye’s demeaning remarks against the people of Kentucky, Ham rightly pointed out,
“Molecules-to-man evolution belief has nothing to do with developing technology.” – Ken Ham
Wonderful, charming, compelling, The joy of discovery, that’s what drives us…
Why? In the name of “science,” Nye, why? Where do you get your standard for what is wonderful, what is charming, what is compelling? Where do you get joy from? Christians, we already addressed this same line of reasoning. Do you notice once again the convenient inconsistency of jumping from empiricism to philosophy and non-materialistic issues here?
The best Nye could and can do is appeal to human observation to prove something. Can Nye reach a consensus with the audience on what is wonderful, charming and compelling? Even if he could, could he now bring those results to a lab and test them out? Could anyone else from “the scientific community” do so? Again, and Ham pointed this out too, Nye must borrow (I would say steal) from the Christian worldview in order to even be able to say these things, much less live by them daily. Remember that, empiricists do not live according to their professed worldview.
“It’s way inside of us [the joy of discovery]”
Once again, how do you know? Can you prove that? Can you observe that? I know Ham had to be selective on what arguments to address and which not to, so what I’ll say is that this would have been a good thing to challenge to prove. If Nye does not know where consciousness came from (at what point of our evolution it was generated), how can he know that this abstract, philosophical idea of the joy of discovery is “way inside of us” and is “what drives us to wake up every day and go to work”? Oh, if Nye could understand the only reason he has any joy of discovery is because God has created man to know and glorify Him through learning about him through what He has made! The foolishness and inconsistency of unbelief!
“I don’t know where consciousness comes from, but we wanna find out”
Why do you want to find out? Can desire be scientifically proven?
“If anyone brings a new thing, we’ll adopt it!”
This is an outright lie. Does the documentary Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed by Ben Stein ring a bell anyone? Those who do not embrace the religion of Darwin are disowned, not adopted. Furthermore, if it’s true that you in “the scientific community” are so open minded, will you even look at the Bible then? Or is that “unthinkable, untenable, unreasonable, troubling” even before you look at it objectively?
“Ham, you want us to take your word for it, your interpretation of a book than what all of us here can observe”
INCONSISTENCY ALERT! So you want us to take the countless different interpretations here in the room, including your own, but somehow Ham’s “and his followers” don’t count?
- Bible interpretation: Ham took the time to explain to Nye the difference between right hermeneutics and wrong hermeneutics. Nye completely misrepresented what Ham said and dismissed Ham’s explanation as buffet hermeneutics: We choose what to interpret literally and what to allegorize as poems (assuming that allegories carry no certain or objective meaning). Nye further showed his utter ignorance of the Bible, and therefore his hypocrisy and dishonesty, by using the old Telephone Game objection (see above).
- Nye mentioned “mediocre” versus “good” designs of nature in his macro evolutionist model. On what standard do you determine “mediocrity” and “goodness” Mr. Nye? Certainly not yours.
- Where do laws of logic come from based on a naturalistic worldview? Why should we trust them? Who’s to say they’ll be the same tomorrow as they were today?
“When you’re in love, you wanna tell the world”
So you are “in love” with what you call science? Can you please bring me a jar of love?
- Speaking of the universe, Nye said, “It’s astonishing to me” Why not horrifying? Ultimately, in a naturalistic/materialistic worldview, is there such a thing as “astonishing” or “horrifying”?
“We are driven to pursue that, where we came from”
Based on a naturalistic worldview, why? Can you prove that empirically? Can you bring me a box of that? It is true that man desires to know that, but only the Christian worldview can provide an objective basis for that. Furthermore, if there is nothing after death, why should we want to know where we came from?
“Here’s my concern: what keeps the United States ahead, what makes the US a world leader is our technology, our new ideas, our innovations. If we continue to eschew science, eschew the process and try to divide science into observational science and historic science, we are not gonna move forward, we will not embrace natural laws, we will not make discoveries, we will not invent and stay ahead”
Why should you want to be patriotic, Nye? Why should we want to move forward? Why should we embrace “natural laws”? Why should we make discoveries? Why should we invent and stay ahead? All of these are non-material issues that cannot survive the empirical testing Nye so strongly calls Ham to do. It is once again the convenient jumping from empiricism to philosophy.
Also, to eschew something assumes an objective standard, so where do you get that from? Furthermore, Nye dismissed what Ham rightly pointed out, that macro evolutionist scientists do engage in observational and historic science. They are every bit as religious as anyone else. When it comes to what came before the Big Bang, where consciousness came from, the age of the Earth, etc., Nye is a religious guy.
I will close with a quote by the late Gordon Clark, a renowned Christian philosopher, and a quote by Ken Ham that summarizes very well the religion of naturalism/materialism/empiricism/macro evolution/secularism,
“Not only do Empiricists fail in justifying the classification of things into common nouns, they fail equally and earlier in justifying the perception of a single thing. In Empiricism there is no reason for choosing six or eight sensations out of the fifty or a hundred we have at any one time and combining these six into the perception of a thing….Experience, therefore, can neither explain nor justify the perception of things.” – Gordon H. Clark 1
“Public school textbooks are using the same word science for observational and historical science. They arbitrarily define science as naturalism and outlaw the supernatural. They present molecules-to-man evolution as fact. They are imposing the religion of naturalism/atheism on generations of students.” – Ken Ham
1. Clark, Gordon H. “Secular Philosophy.” The Works of Gordon Haddon Clark. Vol. 4. Unicoi: Trinity Foundation, 2004. 280. Print. Christian Philosophy.