An Open Letter To Bill Nye
guest post by Michael Minot*
Did Bill Nye Really Say That?
You know Bill Nye, “The Science Guy?” He’s the fellow who hosted the Disney shows in the 1990s trying to motivate kids to be interested in science. He’s also a former standup comedian and the current executive director of the Planetary Society. You may recall that he debated Ken Ham back in February 2014 regarding the issue of creation.
Well, I read a recent article quoting Nye as say that “Creationists will just about be out of business in 20 years.” Not knowing Bill Nye to be one to make such ridiculous statements, I decided to locate a recording of the interview and listen for myself. I wanted to verify what Nye said and the context of what he was saying(See http://tinyurl.com/pdleeel). After listening to the recording, it couldn’t be more clear. Nye was predicting that discoveries in science would come to a point of precluding any plausible argument that our existence is a result of anything other than natural, random causes.
As a result, I decided to offer the following open letter to Mr. Nye:
An Open Letter To Bill Nye
Like you, I love science. Though not my primary area of study in college, I find it fascinating. From the cosmos to biology, from the big to the very small, I’m intrigued by it all.
But I was troubled by something you said lately. I read an article that quoted you as making the following prediction: “Creationists will just about be out of business in 20 years.” Really? Did you say that Bill? After reading the article, I found a recording of the show you were on so I could listen to the interview myself. Considering how high these words register on the Pinocchio scale, I wondered whether you said them at all; were you simply pandering to your base like a politician; or is it possible that you really believed what you said?!? After viewing the interview, it appears you were serious.
Well, considering how you advocate that all conclusions should be based on the scientific record, I’m asking you to explain from the record why you believe creationists will soon be going the way of the dinosaurs. I’m asking that you start your explanation by addressing the following facts:
1. The Fossil Record
Speaking of records, the fossil record seems like a good place to start. You’ve indicated that evolution is the fundamental idea in all of life science. Your opinion is that life forms have slowly improved over a very long time by a process of natural selection. The bad falls away and the good keeps going and improves.
But Bill, the more we know about the past from the fossil record the more it defies an evolutionary explanation. As you know, the fossil record indicates that for a long time simple life forms, such as bacteria, were the only life to inhabit the earth. Then, at one point the sponges and jellyfish came on the scene. But shortly after that, in the blink of an evolutionary eye, well more than half of the complex life forms we see today appeared. And there were no transitional species in between. As you know, scientists call this the Cambrian Period.
Many of the most complex life forms appeared at the beginning of the Cambrian period. Nearly all contained features that preclude a possible transition from simple forms to the more complex forms. For example, certain lung structures in many Cambrian animals require that exact structure to function. Any transitional form wouldn’t work preventing any simple animal from surviving a possible transition to a more complex form. The simple could function with its structure and the complex could function with its structure, but nothing in between would work.
Finally, when I was young I heard that scientists were looking for “the missing link.” It’s as if one last species was needed to complete the continuous string of beings that evolved from each other. I’ve learned, however, that there are billions and billions of “missing” species.
All this being said, the fossil record doesn’t support your theory, Bill. And none of these facts are going away in twenty years either.
2. The Cell
Another problem for naturalists is in the amazing amount of information, order, and function contained in each cell. Recent discoveries reveal that more than 3 billion sequenced bits of information cause each cell to be able to take in and convert nutrients into energy; to perform cell division; and to maintain back-up systems for all major functions. Each cell operates within an organ or other part of the being which itself performs specialized functions. Some cells referred to as eggs have the ability to grow into an entirely new being.
Each human, for example, has more than fifty trillion cells all working in coordination with each other causing us to be able to digest food, take in the necessary oxygen from the air around us, heal from sicknesses, and to reproduce. The order, complexity, and precision of it all is baffling.
You say all this is an accident caused by purely random events? Somehow, all the function and order we find in the cell is a product of a long series of accidental occurrences?
3. Our Solar System
Looking to the cosmos, Sir Isaac Newton – perhaps one of the brightest minds ever – was the first to observe all eight planets in sufficient detail so that he could calculate their precise orbits around the sun. He observed how each of the planets maintained the exact speed, distance, and size necessary to perpetually hold their courses. Expressing his astonishment at the complexity and precision of how this gravitational system operated, he exclaimed, “This most beautiful system of the sun and planets could only proceed from the counsel and dominion of an Intelligent Being.”
As you know Bill, today we know that the sun and planets are simply the structural backbone of a system that is far more complex than Newton imagined. Astronomers have discovered that our solar system contains more than 160 moons, two separate asteroid belts each holding millions of asteroids, and dozens of comets that move about the system in predictable patterns. The precise gravitational balance necessary for all these independent bodies to maintain their perpetual paths is os amazing that it’s impossible to comprehend.
The strong inference here is that even though Newton only had a thimble full of the facts relative to what we know today, his conclusions were
4. Our Consciousness
Also, I find it ironic, Bill, that the activities we engage in every day are matters that we have no way of adequately defining or explaining from a naturalistic perspective. Somehow we’re able to think logically, work through problems, and create new things as result of our human ingenuity. We have a conscience to help us distinguish right from wrong. We also hold an amazing range of emotions so complex that social scientists have yet to be able to categorize them all.
Our consciousness allows us to experience beauty, meaning, purpose and other joys as well as anger, frustration, and fear. It helps us build relationships prompting us to seek out the company of others.
How can we do these things? Where do all these abilities that play such an important part in our lives come from? There’s no intellectually satisfying answer from a naturalistic perspective. There’s simply no answer as to how the immaterial can come from the material?
So, I need your help, Bill. You could simply write back and enlighten me as to what evidence you believe supports your statement. Or, we could discuss these matters in a public forum, one of your choosing. Considering that the premises of each of our new books are diametrically opposed, a public discussion of these issues should prove interesting. Or, you could concede that you over spoke and that there really are no good facts that support what you said. My hope is that you chose to discuss these matters with me in public.
I look forward to hearing from you.
*Michael Minot is an Attorney, Speaker, and Author of The Beckoning: Examining the Truths That Transformed An Atheist Attorney Into A Believer In God. Please visit his website and blog here.