by Jeff Miller, Ph.D.
Many of us who are scientists grew up watching “Bill Nye the Science Guy,” and learned to love science in the process. Sadly, Bill Nye came out recently with a video that indicates he is vehemently opposed to parents who teach children that evolutionary theory is false. In a YouTube video posted by BigThink.com, Nye said:
Denial of evolution is unique to the United States…. People still move to the United States, and that’s largely because of the intellectual capital we have—the general understanding of science. When you have a portion of the population that doesn’t believe in that, it holds everybody back. Really. Evolution is the fundamental idea in all of life science. In all of biology. It’s like, it’s very much analogous to trying to do geology without believing in tectonic plates. You’re just not going to get the right answer. Your whole world is just going to be a mystery instead of an exciting place…. Once in awhile I get people that really, or, that claim, they don’t believe in evolution. And my response, generally, is, “Why not? Really. Why not?” Your world just becomes fantastically complicated when you don’t believe in evolution. Here are these ancient dinosaur bones or fossils. Here is radioactivity. Here are distant stars that are just like our star but that are at a different point in their life cyle. 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. It’s self-inconsistent. And I say to the grown-ups: If you want to deny evolution and live in your, in your, uh, 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 tax payers for the future…. We need engineers that can build stuff—solve problems…. In another couple centuries, that world view, I’m sure, will be, just won’t exist. There’s no evidence for it (Fowler and Rodd, 2012)….
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