As a child of the 1990s who grew up watching Bill Nye the Science Guy, this story pretty much made my day:
In a clip posted to online knowledge forum Big Think via YouTube, former children’s show host Bill Nye spoke out against the denial of evolution, saying such views harm young people especially and hamper scientific progress.
In the video, which you can watch below, Nye doesn’t mince words about evolution deniers and so-called “Creationists,” saying that they “live in [a] world that’s completely inconsistent with everything we observe in the universe.” He also calls evolution denialism a phenomenon unique to the United States and says that, although America is a nation possessing intellectual capital and a “general understanding of science,” the refusal of a segment of the population to acknowledge evolution holds us back as a nation.
“Your world just becomes fantastically complicated when you don’t believe in evolution. I mean, here are these ancient dinosaur bones or fossils, here is radioactivity, here are distant stars that are just like our star but they’re at a different point in their lifecycle. 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.”
He closes with a plea to adults not to allow their children to be held back by their parents’ ignorance:
“. . .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.”
It’s wonderful to see beloved childhood figures like Bill Nye standing up and speaking out for science, logic, and reason, in defiance of religiously-motivated extremism. Here’s hoping that in the future, Nye expands the scope of his remarks even further to include not just evolution deniers, but climate-change deniers and proponents of quack “pray away the gay” therapy. After all, none of these — denying the existence of human-made global warming, refusing to acknowledge the reality of evolution, and believing that people choose their sexual orientation and can “pray away the gay” — have any basis in scientific fact whatsoever, and people holding any or all of these views can cause great harm to themselves, their loved ones, and our world.