Bill Nye & Atheism’s Attack on Science

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Image Credit: James Grebey, Inverse, 2016

This is an article that I picked up at the pro-Intelligent Design website Evolution News penned by Casey Luskin titled “Real Science vs. Bill Nye the “Science” Guy.” I haven’t included the entire, somewhat lengthy, article, so please visit the original source for the whole story. Personally, I am pro evolution so I do not accept many of the claims the original author makes. To the contrary, I like Alvin Plantinga’s argument from evolution against naturalism (atheism). Also consider the argument for theism from evolution as presented by Barrow and Tippler. Nonetheless, what I liked most about Luskin’s piece was its explication on how atheists, especially those who are scientists or are portrayed at being the face of science, masquerade their naturalistic, materialistic, nihilistic philosophies as science itself. As the author shows, Bill Nye is a classic example of this. Though Nye claims to be an agnostic, the philosophical views he openly expresses are thoroughly atheistic. According to Luskin,

If you grew up among Generation Xers and Millennials as I did, then you probably loved watching Bill Nye the Science Guy on TV. Nye’s quirky, off-beat, after-school PBS show achieved no small feat: It made kids laugh and got them to appreciate science — and they didn’t even realize they were learning.

While most Bill Nye-fans — myself included — enjoyed his wacky experiments and corny jokes, few if any realized there was another side to Bill, one that he didn’t start unveiling until just the past few years: Nye advocates a hardline, intolerant, and divisive materialistic worldview view that stands diametrically opposed to the values shared by most Americans.

In 2010 he was named “Humanist of the Year” by the American Humanist Association. In his acceptance speech, he explained his deeply nihilistic views:

I’m insignificant. … I am just another speck of sand. And the earth really in the cosmic scheme of things is another speck. And the sun an unremarkable star. … And the galaxy is a speck. I’m a speck on a speck orbiting a speck among other specks among still other specks in the middle of specklessness. I suck.”

Nye again made headlines in 2012, after declaring that parents who “deny” evolution should not instill in their children their own beliefs about life’s origins:

When you have a portion of the population that doesn’t believe in [evolution], it holds everybody back. Evolution is the fundamental idea in all of life science. … And I say to the grown ups, if you want to deny evolution and live 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 engineers that can build stuff, solve problems.”

In 2014, Nye gained even more notoriety by participating in a debate watched by millions of people, pitting him against a famous young earth creationist, Ken Ham. While Nye deftly argued that the universe is billions of years old, he also highlighted his materialistic view that life is the result of strictly unguided natural causes. He then set out to capitalize on that publicity by releasing a book at the end of last year, Undeniable: Evolution and the Science of Creation.

Undeniable promotes the standard dumbed-down atheistic narrative about science, society, and evolution – except now his book is influencing younger thinkers who mistakenly think Nye is an objective source of information for everything about science.

On the first page, we learn that for Nye, evolution answered his biggest questions about life, the universe, and the meaning of everything. “As I learned about evolution and descent by natural selection, the answers fell into place,” he writes. “After all, evolution made us who we are.”

Later, Nye reveals that his view that humans “suck” comes directly from his study of evolution: “As I learned more about evolution, I realized that from nature’s point of view, you and I ain’t such a big deal.” According to evolution, Nye says, “humankind may not be that special.

And why aren’t we special? Under Nye’s nihilistic thinking, “evolution is not guided by a mind or a plan,” and nature even shows “lack of evidence of a plan.” For Nye, “Every other aspect of life that was once attributed to divine intent is now elegantly and completely explained in the context of evolutionary science.

Under Nye’s outlook, even humanity’s advanced abilities, like our moral codes and selfless altruism, are not special gifts that show we were made for a higher purpose. Rather, “Altruism is not a moral or religious ideal, no matter what some people might tell you,” for human morality is merely a “biological part of who or what we are as a species.”

I’ve tried my best to engage some of these challenges elsewhere. Regarding Nye’s conflation of evolutionary theory with his atheistic views see my article on Evolutionism. Regarding Nye’s views on morality, he commits the genetic fallacy. Also see my essay that argues for moral realism.

Moreover, Nye cannot live consistently with his philosophy. In similar way to other atheists, Nye defiantly lives his life as if it is imbued with meaning and purpose, even though he admits his own life “sucks.” The logical extension to this premise is that the atheist must live in a sort of self-delusion that falsely convinces him or her that what he or she does in life has some meaning. One, therefore, ought to credit Nye for his honesty that if atheistic materialism is true, then life is ultimately meaningless and devoid of any meaning. Many atheists will try to skirt around/sugarcoat that fact in debates and discussions.

Nonetheless, quite the irony, however, is that one could argue that Nye’s worldview actually attacks science. If life is purposeless, and if the universe exists for no reason whatsoever, why suppose the things within it yield anything valuable, including science? Thus, on Nye’s “atheistic” view, scientists themselves, along with all other human beings, are no more than meaningless “specks of sand” that “suck” engaging in just another pointless discipline we call science. Christian and scientists Neil Shenvi explains the obvious implications,

“If atheism is true, then the universe is one without ultimate… meaning, significance, and accountability. When you die, you rot. When everyone you love dies, they rot. Two hundred years hence, no one -not even your own descendants- will remember you. And a few billion years from now, when the universe undergoes heat death and all the stars burn out, none of your choices will have made even the slightest difference.”

So much then for science, and so much for Bill Nye the Science Guy.



5 responses to “Bill Nye & Atheism’s Attack on Science

  1. The reason we even have science is because the belief in a Creator convinced people we should expect predictable and repeatable phenomena, consistent with having been designed with specific capabilities. If they believed something from nothing were possible, there’d be no reason to assume such science was a necessary part of reality, because then any anything could just happen no matter what processes were typically involved. This isn’t some Christian revisionist propaganda, non Christian historians acknowledge that the premises of Christianity were the greatest influence for scientific discovery being possible.
    People had seen for all of history that things happen dependent of specific reactions to other things in nature, but it wasn’t until people carefully considered what was written in the bible that experimental and repeatable science as we know it now started. Clearly just seeing a correlation with things in nature wasn’t enough to conclude there were more complex things going on, without needing to deduce there is a creator. Greek natural philosophy knew there was a dependent relationship between things observed in nature, which of course contributed much to the discovery of science as well, but they never developed methods of experimentation to discover the fundamental processes for how things work. The bible taught that there is order in reality produced by an orderly being who wants us to rejoice in his creation as a testament to his wisdom and power. This influenced scientists to discover how things worked. Islam taught that Allah could do and change anything as he pleased so there was no need to see how things worked in nature. Hindu religions taught that this reality is an illusion. Polytheistic religions had no reason to assume there was a consistently working universe, because different deities had designed different phenomena and were constantly in conflict with one another. There’d be no one keeping things stable and consistently designed if there were so many creators making things work any number of ways, and starting conflicts, leaving the universe to fend for itself. That’s why most of known science was discovered by Christians. Everything in the universe works a specific way because of how they are designed, and is why the vast majority of scientists who have lived were convinced that it’s all more evidence for God.
    Bible believing scientist discoveries.
    Physics: Isaac Newton, Michael Faraday, James Maxwell, William Thompson.
    Chemistry: Robert Boyle, John Dalton, William Ramsay.
    Biology: John Ray, Carolus Linnaeus, Gregor Mendel, Louis Pasteur, Rudolf Virchow, Louis Agassiz, Edward Blyth.
    Geology: Nicolaus Steno, John Woodward, David Brewster, William Buckland, Georges Cuvier.
    Astronomy: Nicolas Copernicus, Galileo Galilei, Johannes Kepler, William Herschel, Edward Maunder.
    Mathematics: Blaise Pascal, Gottfried Leibniz

  2. “….however, is that one could argue that Nye’s worldview actually attacks science. If life is purposeless, and if the universe exists for no reason whatsoever”.

    Nye is pretty spot on, it is just your interpretation that is faulty. The very basics of life is to survive and procreate. Everything else we do is done to give life purpose or to pass the time. While we are here, we might as well do something! Do you not blog because you want to do something you deem meaningful?

    Science or knowledge is something we can pass on to future generations.

    • “The very basics of life is to survive and procreate.”
      Really? From where did this “desire” or “necessity” to survive and procreate, and indeed life itself, come from? Just unguided and Inert chemical processes, I suppose?

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