Bill Nye Makes a Prediction

Bill Nye is known as "The Science Guy," even though some of his behavior is rather anti-science. (click for credit)

Bill Nye is known as “The Science Guy,” even though some of his behavior is rather anti-science.
(click for credit)

Despite the fact that Bill Nye is known as “The Science Guy,” some of his behavior is rather anti-science. He doesn’t think certain scientific ideas should be debated, despite the fact that conflict between competing theories is one of the most important aspects of science. He also narrated a faked experiment, demonstrating his lack of understanding of basic climate science along the way. Nevertheless, he is an interesting (and funny) guy. In addition, he debated Ken Ham on the creation/evolution issue. Even though the debate was not all that interesting, it was nice to see him engage in it. That’s more than most evolutionists will do! As a result, I like to keep up on what Bill Nye is doing and saying.

He was recently in Canada to attend the 65th International Astronautical Congress. While there, he was interviewed on The Morning Show. You can see the entire interview here. Not surprisingly, I disagreed with much of what he had to say, but I want to highlight two of his statements here. The first is a prediction. When speaking of creationists, Nye said:

In another 20 years, I claim, those guys will be just about out of business. That’s my claim.

I am willing to make exactly the opposite claim. I predict that in 20 years, creationism will be stronger than ever. I expect more scientists will be creationists, creationism will be more openly discussed in academic settings, and there will be more groups dedicated to communicating creationism to the general public. This will be true not only for the U.S., but for most countries in the world. After all, contrary to a previous statement Bill Nye made, creationism isn’t something unique to the U.S.

Barring some unforseen tragedy, Mr. Nye and myself should both be alive in 20 years. It will be interesting to see whose prediction is the more accurate one.

I did want to point out one other statement he made, because I found it rather bizarre. While talking about the search for life on Mars and Europa, he said:

If we were to find life on either of those worlds, it would utterly change this world. Everybody would think differently about everything.

I can’t imagine that’s true. Whether or not life exists on other worlds doesn’t affect my thinking about much of anything. Since I believe in a Creator, I can imagine that He created life on many worlds. Thus, if we find a microorganism on Mars or some sort of aquatic creature swimming in the seas of Europa, that wouldn’t surprise me one bit. I would find it incredibly interesting, but it wouldn’t change my thinking at all.

Now, of course, if an alien life form that could think, feel, and reason were found, that might change my thinking on a lot of things. However, no one expects to find that kind of life on Mars or Europa. In addition, if life were found on either of those worlds, we would have to make sure it’s not contamination from our own world. After all, there are well over 100 Martian rocks that have made their way to earth. Thus, it is possible that earth rocks have made their way to Mars, carrying some microorganisms along with them.

I am curious to know what you think. Suppose astronomers find life on Mars or Europa and can confirm that it is not the result of contamination from earth. Would that change your thinking much? Why or why not?

28 Comments

  1. Trish says:

    It wouldn’t change my mind at all. Even if sentient life was found, I wouldn’t change my mind about God, who he is, and what his son Jesus did for me and everyone else who believes.

  2. Lawrence Dol says:

    I agree with you on all points.

    As a Christian, discovery of non-sentient life anywhere else in the universe would not surprise me in the least, nor would it affect my thinking in any area, except to confirm the creationist prediction that the Creator has created abundantly.

    And, too, it’s highly likely that any evidence of life on other planets in our solar system is a result of contamination from Earth. In fact, from an OE perspective, for bacterial and single-celled life it’s almost a given due to the LHB and similar events.

    Sentient life would present a considerable, but far from insurmountable challenge.

  3. Doug Hibbard says:

    For me, finding life that close in to Earth will be a strong scientific confirmation of a Creator. The current view of evolution as a remarkable longshot, statistically, seems to indicate that if life (measurable, identifiable) is that close to us, “created” is the better explanation.

    Especially if we find “life” that came anywhere near what we have.

  4. Kendall says:

    It wouldn’t really change anything for me unless intelligent life was found, as you said. I would wonder “how has God dealt with them?” if we found intelligent life. Since our understanding of history is that after Adam ate the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil the world fell. I always understood this to mean “all of creation” fell, and So I would wonder if these beings are under the curse, and how God has dealt with them.

    If non-intelligent life was found, I don’t believe it would change my thinking in any way theologically. I don’t really expect life to be found, but I’m totally open to the possibility:P

  5. Kendall says:

    I have a feeling that Nye’s prediction may turn out in a similar way to Voltaire’s prediction about Christianity!

    “Before the beginning of the nineteenth century, Christianity will have disappeared from the earth.”

    mm hmm, yep, that happened…

  6. D. Perrin says:

    I stand with you in that if intelligent (entities that can reason, use tools, etc.) were found, it might change somethings. But for the most part, the everyday person would have not have much affect on this life or vice versa. I imagine it would be closely protected with limited exposure.
    If unintelligent/simple life was found, I think it would be a boon to astronomy and biology but that, again, it would not have much of an everyday affect. Humans are simply too consumed with human business and affairs to care much it seems. Whenever this topic comes up I can’t help but think of Ender’s Game (the book). (Spolier Alert): Humanity is united in war against the Formics but less than 24 hours after they are defeated, countries are at war with each other again.

  7. Jenni H says:

    It wouldn’t change my mind at all about God’s creation and His sovereignty over the whole universe, but it would be both interesting and provocative to find out that He also created life on other planets. I would definitely be curious to ask Him why He did that! 🙂 Sadly, I do think the majority of the non-believing public would assume that this type of discovery bolsters the evolutionary viewpoint, although that is neither a necessary nor a logical assumption.

  8. Mike A says:

    finding life on Mars might actually strengthen my convictions. Life arising on two planets within a solar system would suggest (to me at least) that life is rooted in a physical law. To be honest I think the odds are pretty near nil that an eternal, omniscient, unlimited creative being just made us intelligent or just this universe. To me heaven or the new Jerusalem won’t be about stroking harps but the beginning of an eternal ever creative adventure so it would not surprise me to find intelligent life elsewhere. Besides…they’d probably be creationists.

  9. ken Prather says:

    It would change nothing–except perhaps broaden my awareness of God and His creation. The Bible says that God has no limits.

    I believe the relationship we have with God thru Jesus Christ is a “contract” that God made with earthlings. If God made different contracts with other planetary created beings? It does not effect my relationship with Him. The Bible says that we can trust ALL God’s promises.

    K

  10. Mike A says:

    “if we found intelligent life. Since our understanding of history is that after Adam ate the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil the world fell. I always understood this to mean “all of creation” fell, and So I would wonder if these beings are under the curse, and how God has dealt with them.”

    I’d be interested to hear more of that perspective Kendall because I have never really understood how finding intelligent life in the universe would make any difference. The Bible already has other intelligent creations in Angels and heaven was created and is not affected by sin. The “groaning” of creation due to sin I have always taken as a result of our interaction with it not to a planet far away we have never touched or lived on. I’d like to understand the perspective more though because from what I see some atheists swear it would be a knockout blow but its not a blip for me unless there was something about them that was contradictory to God being their creator.

  11. Zorcey says:

    Evolutionists tend to parade the possibility of extraterrestrial life as what would be an entirely absolute, case-closed proof of their theory. This, among other things, is something I cannot pretend to understand. If anything, the discovery of life on other planets would further solidify my own beliefs in a created world. “Intelligent” life would certainly raise some questions to be answered, but I doubt it would have a significant impact on my faith, or the way I view the invalidity of Evolution.

    Also, I found your prediction about the future of Creationism amusing. I would love to see things turn out that way, so let’s both hope there will be no “unforeseen tragedy” on either of our ends.

  12. It wouldn’t change my mind about anything theological. We have evidence that the Bible is true, but more than that we have the certainty the Holy Spirit affords us as to the veracity and applicability of the scriptures. His is the epistemological factor that many people miss. It’s the difference between knowing about God and knowing God. We’re simply not given any information about life elsewhere except there are broad statements in the scriptures that would include life elsewhere. I don’t think it’s likely that there is life elsewhere the manner in which many people speculate, especially that has visited earth as such. However, if we were to find some, it wouldn’t change my thinking. If we had the kinds of aliens abounding in the universe like what is typically encountered in Science Fiction, it’s clear they are affected by sin as we are. If we find some that are not affected by sin as we are, then I’m sure that they would know not to soil themselves by contacting us, save for angelic beings we have no knowledge of under orders from God.

  13. Kendall says:

    Mike A.

    I honestly haven’t thought about it all that extensively. I believe that Jesus died and was raised for the sins of the human race. Therefore…if there was other intelligent life, I would be curious to know what kind of interactions, or contracts, God has made with them!

  14. Annmarie says:

    As a Latter-day Saint (Mormon) we believe that God created many worlds, some of which have life. There has been redemption before and their will be again. It would not alter my beliefs in any way to find life on other planets.

  15. David H says:

    The way I understand neo-Darwinism, it claims that life arose spontaneously due to undirected random processes. The chance of that kind of anomalous event happening twice in the known universe, let alone in the same star system, is mind-bogglingly small. A discovery of life on Mars or Europa should put the stake in the heart of evolutionary theories of spontaneous generation of life. There’s just no way that kind of massive coincidence could happen twice. (Really, I couldn’t even happen once.)

    As for “intelligent” life, that’s a tricky thing to define. Are dogs intelligent? After you get to know them a while, you can see they have personalities and preferences. They even seem to feel bad when they get caught doing things we’ve tried to train them not to do. They seem to fear our disapproval and long for our approval and affection. They don’t have our kind of intelligence, nor our moral responsibility, but there is some kind of intelligence there. Why would life or intelligence somewhere else affect us more than the massive amounts of life and intelligence we have right here, in amazing forms and varieties? We really don’t understand life on earth very well yet.

  16. David H says:

    My prediction about “creationism”: in a future time on earth, billions of people will still believe God created the Heavens and the earth, but it won’t be called creationism any more. It will just be a part of normal thinking, not an “ism”. I am very confident that truth will prevail, but I don’t have a 20-year deadline in mind or anything like that.

  17. JK says:

    Microbiobial life wouldn’t change my view. But something “more intelligent” would be difficult to reconcile. It’s God’s creation, and of course we can’t know how and why He did things the way He did.

    I can’t help but think though, that Jesus didn’t “planet hop”. He died for our sins, and nothing in Genesis 1-nor the rest of the Bible suggests that He did it for anyone else but man – “earthlings”; made in the image of God.

  18. kennethos says:

    Mike Heiser has written about this, over at http://www.drmsh.com. Extraterrestrial life would fall under the “principle of plentitude” concept once championed by the church centuries ago. Last I checked, Scripture only addressed earth-bound life, so there’s little rationale toward judging any life (sentient or non) on other world. Might actually be fascinating to consider such…

  19. Kevin N says:

    I don’t see any signs that young-Earth creationism is fading away, nor do I see any signs that some sort of breakthrough is imminent that will lead increasing numbers of scientists to accept that Earth is young. I predict the status quo.

  20. S.M. says:

    One way to judge the strength of a movement is by the strength of the opposition that’s raised against it.

    Thirty years ago, when I first started questioning evolution after reading Michael Denton’s “Evolution: A Theory in Crisis,” I didn’t even know that there was such a thing as creationism. Shortly after that, Michael Behe and Phillip Johnson, both inspired by Denton as well, went on to initiate the Intelligent Design movement. Since then, ID has become a significant enough player in biological circles that people began losing their jobs because of their association with the movement. I predict that the neo-Darwinian model of natural selection + genetic variation is going to fall by the wayside fairly quickly–the evidence of irreducible complexity is just accumulating too rapidly to be dismissed, especially by younger scientists who don’t have a professional stake in the old model. What’s going to take its place for an individual scientist, however, is going to be determined by his or her philosophical assumptions. If a person believes that an order of being exists beyond that of the purely natural, then special creation is an option. If not, then something else will have to be thought of.

    In terms of the old age question, I predict that more and more discoveries of C-14 and preserved biological material in presumedly ancient rocks are going to shake up the geological world, because they to conflict with standard radiometric dating. They already are starting to have an impact, as is shown by the the suppression of Thomas Seiler’s dinosaur C-14 presentation at the 2012 AOGS-AGU conference (http://creation.com/c14-dinos) and the firing of Mark Armitage from his position at Cal State-Northridge shortly after publishing on soft tissue in a Triceratops bone (http://www.uncommondescent.com/expelled/mark-armitage-possibily-the-latest-victim-of-darwinist-inquisition/).

    However, the evidences for age are much more equivocal than evidences for or against biological complexity. As in the biological field, I think it’s the younger scientists who don’t have a stake in the old earth model who are going to be more open to a different interpretation of the evidence.

  21. Scott C says:

    Here are some interesting thoughts to ponder. What do we mean by “intelligent” life? Certainly angels (fallen and unfallen) are intelligent, but they differ from humans in two ways – (1) They are incorporeal beings, and (2) they do not procreate. Thus, they do not fit the biological conditions of the rest of living creatures.

    Also, when we consider what distinguishes human beings as intelligent life, the Bible says they are created in the image of God. This speaks not only of their essence (i.e. characteristics) but also their function – that is, they are God’s representatives on earth (nowhere else) which is clearly God’s primary theater of glory. Certainly that is the way the creation account indicates it as well as the whole tenure of Scripture. Human beings have a primary role is God’s plan for creation. Angels are at best secondary and in fact function in part to serve God’s ends in the lives on earth-bound humans. The creation narratives place earth at the center of God’s activity and His relationship to human beings, created to cultivate the earth and multiple on it, are the pinnacle of that activity.

    This geo-centric focus is especially magnified when we consider what the Bible describes as God’s greatest work – the redemption of human beings. Furthermore, this work is most magnified in the incarnation of Christ on earth (nowhere else) culminating in his death and resurrection. God’s greatest work is not centered anywhere else in the universe and of course it is not centered on any other intelligent creatures except those he created to inhabit the earth. Christ is forever the God-man – the second Adam (who was originally designed and created to rule and represent God only on earth). Thus, it makes sense that Luke traces the genealogy of Christ back to the beginning as the “son of Adam, the son of God” (Luke 3:38). He died once and rose again once on earth for earth bound humans. He lives forever as the glorified God-man and the center of his eschatological rule will be upon the renewed “new earth” with his redeemed earth-bound human creatures.

    Some like to say that if God created intelligent life elsewhere in the universe that he has a redemptive plan for them as well. But it obviously would not involve the incarnation, death and resurrection of Christ, God’s only Son, since those are unique consummative events clearly accomplished once for all. Thus, I do not see how it is possible for God to have a centralized focus upon intelligent creatures elsewhere. And therefore, I think there is good reason to suppose that intelligent beings reflecting the image of God exist only on earth.

  22. Mike H says:

    I wish guys like Bill Nye would value life here on Earth as much as they do about some microbe on a space rock.

  23. Mike A says:

    Maybe Nye should be concentrating on what form Evolution/Darwinism will still survive in 20 years

    http://www.nature.com/news/does-evolutionary-theory-need-a-rethink-1.16080

  24. S.M. says:

    Mike A, Casey Luskin at “Evolution News & Views” has a good discussion about the Nature article here:

    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2014/10/nature_admits_s090321.html

    Interestingly, the Nature article seems to imply that some evolutionary biologists avoid public criticism of the neo-Darwinian synthesis for fear of appearing to support Intelligent Design.

  25. Claire says:

    I love the reference to Voltaire’s failed “prophecy”. It is also possible that by the time 20 years have passed, Jesus will have come to meet the faithful in the air. (2 Thessalonians 2)

    When this topic comes up, I always think of Psalm 115:16.

    “The heavens are the LORD’s heavens, but the earth He has given to the children of man.”

    He does not say He has given any other planets or heavenly bodies to the children of man. Joseph Smith, founder of Mormonism, said he had been to the moon, but we know that men do not live on the moon.

    (Moderator, please delete my first two posts. I needed to edit them, but couldn’t, so I’ve posted this corrected one.)

  26. If life were found outside of earth, it would be neither here nor there for me. My Biblical world-view would not be affected.

    I do believe that in the future, extraterrestrial beings will make an introduction into human civilization because I do believe it has already been done in ancient history.

    I do believe that these ETs will be considered gods and mankind’s progeny, just as the Sumerians considered them in ancient history. But for the enlightened elect of YHWH God, they and the remnant of His church will know that they are not extraterrestrial beings but inter-dimensional beings, the fallen angels, just as the Hebrews believed.

    Things are going to come to a head like this sooner or later.

  27. carolyn says:

    I’m curious as to why he would make that statement.
    As a creationist I am always fascinated by any new discoveries and what they reveal about our perfectly designed universe, yet I am not sure why that would change everything for evolutionists.
    One of my friends who is an evolutionist now believes that humans have evolved and then been wiped out at least 6 times in the course of planet earth’s history, so I don’t see why Mr. Nye should be concerned. I’m sure they would have fun making up some explanation or other.

  28. Sarah says:

    I agree on the creationists become more and more prominent. Today many secular people are turning to yoga and the shakra because they have come to understand that there is a spirit world. A spirit world is contrary to the atheists world. This tells me that the secular world is soon to be ripe to conclude that God exists. 🙂