More Evidence That Bill Nye Has No Idea What He Is Talking About

Bill Nye, the Anti-Science Guy (click for credit)

Bill Nye calls himself “The Science Guy,” but most of his actions are decidedly anti-science. In 2012, he made a video saying that we should censor a scientific idea because it goes against the scientific consensus. He also narrated a faked experiment, demonstrating his ignorance of the physics related to global warming. He published a book about evolution that was riddled with scientific errors. He tried to discuss human reproduction and once again, ended up showing his ignorance. He also contends that the discipline which gave us science is essentially useless. The fact that he is one of today’s spokepersons for science is a frightening indication of this generation’s scientific illiteracy.

As I was preparing to blog about a completely different subject today, I realized that over the past few days, I have come across two more examples that indicate Bill Nye really has no idea what he is talking about, so I decided to put off the topic I was going to discuss and write about those examples instead. One of them relates to the first anti-science action I mentioned above. Nye made a video telling parents to stop thinking for themselves and encouraging their children to think for themselves. Instead, he told them to simply parrot what the High Priests of Science say when it comes to the origin of life and its diversity. Obviously, that is about as anti-science as one can get. Along the way, he made an incredibly ignorant statement about the debate regarding origins:

Denial of evolution is unique to the United States.

As I pointed out previously, that is utter nonsense. There are creationist movements in many, many countries, including Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Mexico, and the Netherlands. Just a few days ago, however, I blogged about a specific example that comes from Germany. In 2015 Dr. Günter Bechly, a German paleontologist who was the curator of the Stuttgart Museum of Natural History, publicly announced that he thinks Intelligent Design is the best explanation for the origin and diversity of life. The Inquisition was mobilized, and he is no longer the curator of the Stuttgart Museum of Natural History. He is now a Senior Fellow at an Intelligent Design Think Tank, and he spoke at an Intelligent Design conference that was held at Cambridge University.

If denial of evolution were unique to the United States (as the anti-science guy says) Dr. Bechly would not have been “converted” from materialist NeoDarwinism to Intelligent Design, and there would not have been an Intelligent Design conference at one of England’s most famous universities.

The other example is a bit self-serving, but since this is my blog, I will discuss it anyway. As many of my readers know, I write science textbooks that teach science from a young-earth creationist perspective. As all science textbooks should, my books discuss many sides when it comes to the issue of origins, but they end up favoring the young-earth creationist side. Well, in Nye’s error-riddled book about evolution, he says this about students who are taught creationism:

Not only that, these kids will never feel the joy of discovery that science brings.

I have already given several examples of how wrong that statement is, but recently, I was given one more.

A student who used my textbooks when she was in high school recently sent me a Facebook message indicating that she had discovered a new bacteriophage, which is a virus that infects bacteria. She is part of a large project called the Science Education Alliance, and at the college where she is currently studying, that program is being used to allow students to collect and analyze soil samples, hunting for new bacteriophages. She ended up discovering a new one that infects bacteria from the genus Microbacterium.

Now remember what the anti-science guy says. Students who are taught creationism will never feel the joy of discovery that science brings. Well, this student was taught creationism, and she has already made a completely new scientific discovery. I suspect that’s one more discovery than the anti-science guy has made! Far from creationism squelching such an opportunity (and here’s the self-serving part), it actually made the opportunity possible. In her report on her discovery, she explains why she named the virus “WileyJ”:

My favorite scientist growing up was Dr. Wile. He wrote all my science books and gave me a love for science so I wanted to honor him with that.

Now obviously part of my motivation for sharing this story is to “toot my own horn,” an instrument one pastor says I play very well. However, the other is to drive home how wrong the anti-science guy is. According to the student who made this discovery, the creationist textbooks with which she was educated gave her a love for science. That love is the reason she is doing the research which led to her discovery.

When will Bill Nye learn what real science is all about? Probably never, but I do hope that the more his ignorance about science comes to light, the less people will listen to his error-filled pontifications.

21 Comments

  1. I love it when you toot your own horn. And as it always does, true science proves the Bible. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Scott says:

    Toot away! Your “own horn” has a nice tone, most times, and more scientists need to stop being tone deaf and listen to the other instruments in the orchestra. Congrats on your transcendent viral designation!

  3. Lawrence Dol says:

    Awesome. (As if we needed one more reason.)

  4. Lawrence Dol says:

    I did note that in the video for the first link none of the difficulties he raised had anything to do with evolution; they were all related to the age of the Universe.

    1. Jay Wile says:

      Yes, that’s one of his sources of confusion. Since he hasn’t bothered to educate himself on the controversy, he doesn’t understand that there are old-earth creationists.

  5. Birdie says:

    Thank you for this Dr. Wile. We enjoy using your curriculum in our home and it’s excellent! Hmmm, science denires in our home? Just the other day one of our dear ones did an experiement with gluton. It was so much fun and we were so excited to play with the goo! Hmmm, science denires in our home? One of our dear ones wants to become a veternary! The only challenge…being able to afford tution! Your program is challenging. Science denires in our home?….then why are we doing science as a homeschool family? Prayer is prowerful, keep Bill Nye in your’s, 😎 God is a miracle maker, 😎

  6. Alaska Nivanuatu says:

    Did you happen to see when he went on the Bill Mayer show and they made fun of homeschoolers?

    https://youtu.be/CDr5z_XvgaY

    Or when he toured the ark encounter with Ken Ham (I wondered why you never blogged about it) and Nye said that the potassium/argon dating method used on the lavadome on Mt St Helens was correct because it dated how old the rocks were since they were in the center of the earth? (1:07:40-1:08:10 on the video below):

    https://youtu.be/PPLRhVdNp5M

    The statement that he makes, that the dating method used on the lavadome is measuring the age of the lava since it was inside the earth, Is that even a reasonable assumption made by other evolutionist geologists?

    I used to watch his show as a (homeschooled) kid, and I’d hoped for much of my childhood that he would get exposed to YEC. Now I just pray that God would teach him some humility.

    And maybe that he and Günter Bechly would sit down for coffee together

    1. Jay Wile says:

      I didn’t see the Bill Maher appearance, but it’s not surprising that both of them made fun of homeschoolers.

      I never watched the entire video of him and Ken Ham, but I did watch the section in the time stamp you gave. This is another classic example of how he is ignorant about basic science. The potassium-argon method dates the rock based on when it hardens. The basic idea is that radioactive potassium decays into argon, which is a gas. At high temperatures, gases are not very soluble, so when it is lava, there should be no argon in the lava. As a result, any argon that is in the rock when you analyze it must have come from the radioactive decay of potassium after the lava hardened into rock. So what Ham said was right. Using the potassium/argon method, the rock should be zero years old when it first hardens. The fact that it is dated as millions of years old is a clear error.

      Nye uses the term “potassium/argon” method, but he doesn’t understand how it works, because there is no need to “wait for the chemical replacement of calcium and potassium and argon,” as he claims. In fact, there is supposed to be NOTHING chemical going on in potassium/argon dating. It is all nuclear, which is most certainly not chemical. Also, it is assumed that there is NO REPLACEMENT of potassium. Finally, calcium has nothing to do with it at all. And as Ham says, it dates the rock from the instant it hardens. Also, he said that the potassium/argon dating method is INFALLIBLE. Not even the most ardent radiometric dating scientist would say such a thing. If Nye really thinks the method is infallible, he needs to explain why it dated a diamond sample to be older than the earth itself.

      1. Tom Shipley says:

        The prospects for actually dating anything via radiometric “dating” are even worse than that: Check out what Dr. David Plaisted had to say on the subject; http://www.cs.unc.edu/~plaisted/ce/dating2.html

  7. John D says:

    Not to mention his ridiculous show Bill Nye Saves the World. The YouTube videos of “Sex Junk” and “Ice Cream Sexuality” encourage all sorts of warped ideologies.

  8. Tom Shipley says:

    Thanks, Dr. Wile, for being so plain spoken. I hate it when commentators pussyfoot around an issue just so they won’t be accused of being a hater or other such slander.

  9. Ken says:

    Bill Nye is an interesting fellow. I don’t understand why a man in his position feel the need to throw insults at children that have been home schooled. That’s kind of puerile. I’m not sure if this is true, but I’ve seen memes floating around the Internet claiming that Bill Nye has no education in any scientific field. Human biology, paleontology, etc.

    I wonder why do most ardent evolutionist ridicule people that disagree with them? It’s almost like they hold it near and dear to them like a religion.

    1. Jay Wile says:

      Nye’s degree is in mechanical engineering. He worked for Boeing from 1977-1986 and then decided to pursue a career in comedy. He was on Almost Live (a bad SNL knockoff) from 1986-1991. Then he developed “Bill Nye the Science Guy” (but I now call him the “anti-science guy”) for PBS, which ran from 1993-1998. As an engineer, he did have some scientific training, but as you can see, he hasn’t done science in more than 30 years and has no advanced degrees.

      In my experience, those who ridicule people with whom they disagree do so because they don’t care to actually engage in meaningful dialogue. By ridiculing others, they can continue to be intellectually lazy but at the same time consider themselves superior.

    2. Alaska Nivanuatu says:

      To be fair, it wasn’t actually Nye that threw insults at homeschooled children, it was Bill Maher, but Nye did laugh and agree.

  10. Bruce Rennie says:

    If you ever watch the appropriate Stargate Atlantis episode in season 5, both Bill Nye and Neil deGrasse Tyson come off a far off second best (or least best) against a wildly fictional scientist character.

    It does not bode well for their real life persona’s.

    These stories you recount really do show that a good education and an inquiring mind are not dependent on following the standard educational dogmas.

    So bravo to this young lady and her parents.

  11. Cynthia Youngblood says:

    Dr. Wile,
    I hope it’s okay to post this here. Have you heard about the studies mentioned in this article? https://nypost.com/2017/12/04/the-possibility-of-life-beyond-our-solar-system-just-got-a-lot-slimmer/

    1. Jay Wile says:

      I had not seen that study. It makes sense, though. While every star has a habitable zone based solely on surface temperature, most stars don’t have one in actuality. Even a star the same size and temperature of our sun might not have a habitable zone, because most stars like our sun are significantly more violent when it comes to solar flares.

      1. Cynthia Youngblood says:

        Thank you for the link, Dr. Wile.

  12. Chris Rohde says:

    Hello Dr Wile,

    Reading back to “UndeNYEably Uninformed”, Jan.29,2015 there is discussion about thermodynamic systems which talks about “closed” vs “open” systems. These often seem to confuse “closed” and “isolated” systems;.

    Open systems can exchange both matter and energy with an outside system. They are portions of larger systems and in intimate contact with the larger system. Your body is an open system.

    Closed systems exchange energy but not matter with an outside system. Though they are typically portions of larger systems, they are not in complete contact. The Earth is essentially a closed system; it obtains lots of energy from the Sun but the exchange of matter with the outside is almost zero.

    Isolated systems can exchange neither energy nor matter with an outside system. While they may be portions of larger systems, they do not communicate with the outside in any way. The physical universe is an isolated system; a closed thermos bottle is essentially an isolated system (though its insulation is not perfect).

    Definitions from here.

    Thus a cylinder in a car engine is an open system not just because it transfers energy to it’s surroundings but because it also exchanges fuel, air, and exhaust gasses with it’s surroundings.

    The laws of thermodynamics are often presented for an isolated system for simplicity but apply to all systems provided adjustments are made for energy and matter flow across the boundary.

    1. Jay Wile says:

      That’s a good point, Chris. I guess I left out the mass part. Thanks for the correction. You are also correct that it’s nonsensical to state that the laws of thermodynamics apply only to isolated systems. As you state, they are first presented for an isolated system, because that’s the easiest kind of system to analyze. However, they apply to all systems, as long as mass and energy are tracked throughout the process.

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