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Friday, March 23, 2012

Think Applied

Yesterday I asked you to think about Bill Nye’s comments on science.  The question was how do we arm our kids to stand against the continual onslaught of these types of “reasonable” statements that are prevalent in our culture.  Before we launch into that a couple of things, first, I really like Bill Nye.  I like that he is peaking the interest of children in science, he reminds me of – dating myself – Mr. Wizard.  Second, I made a comment about this quote on my “friend’s” facebook page and was asked to clarify what I meant.  I responded that I would do that this morning.  Since then another person has responded to what I will say – only problem he assumed incorrectly.  You are not allowed to question or make comments about this topic by those who are tolerant.
Just because someone well known states something, it does not mean that it is correct.
Back to Nye. My first reaction to his comment is that he is denying the science he purports.  How?  The basis of science is curiosity.  Through scientific inquiry I seek to understand how things work or if the explanation of how things work is actually how they work.  It is an attempt to expand understanding and then to apply that understanding to see if it is, in fact, understanding.  Nye’s statement removes the discussion from the realm of scientific inquiry by the means of several logical fallacies:

  • He uses a false analogy by equating science with evolution.  Not all science is dependent on evolution.  To say that I cannot examine and or question the base tenets of evolution is to say that I cannot engage in science.
  • He begs the question - to question the veracity of evolution is absurd therefore it should not be questioned - which is also circular reasoning.
  • He attacks any individual on the basis of their curiosity about evolution – ad hominem.
  • There are many others he commits here - read through the list and see if you can pick them out.

Perhaps the most striking thing about this statement is how closely it echoes the arguments that were thrown at Darwin back in the day.  He could not question God.  Now we cannot question Darwin.  Really?


  1. This piece on Darwin piqued interest....your last line particularly intriguing. While I find some elements reasonable and acceptable, atheistic, "modern" man has taken hook, line and sinker Darwin's theory of creation and outflowing philosophy on nature of man -- we're basic animals without eternal souls, much less the capacity for God's Spirit. Wrong!