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Stephen Meyer: Bill Nye Is “Perfect Talking Head for a March Against Science”

Bill Nye

Writing in advance of this coming Saturday’s March for Science in Washington, D.C., Stephen Meyer notes that Bill Nye is the perfect front man for the event. The March is about demanding that science, and the public, conform to expectations and embrace only orthodox ideas on evolution, climate change, and more.

Cajoling the public into giving their minds over to the “experts” is Mr. Nye’s specialty. Meyer writes over at The Stream:

Bill Nye may not be a scientist. But he used to play one on TV. Now he is an honorary co-chair and speaker for the “March for Science” in Washington D.C. and elsewhere on April 22.

The choice of Nye as one of the faces of the March is revealing. March organizers have paid lip service to critical thinking and “diverse perspectives” in science. However, Nye is a good example of someone who promotes science as a close-minded ideology, not an open search for truth.

He attacks those who disagree with him on climate change or evolution as science “deniers.” He wouldn’t even rule out criminal prosecution as a tool. Asked last year whether he supported efforts to jail climate skeptics as war criminals, he replied: “Well, we’ll see what happens. Was it appropriate to jail the guys from ENRON?”

Real science encourages debate. It doesn’t insist that scientists march in lockstep. Or that they speak with one voice. In fact, scientists disagree on far more issues than the March organizers admit.

On the evolution question:

Nye claims the evidence for evolution is “Undeniable. That’s how he put it in the title of his recent book. By “evolution” he means textbook neo-Darwinism. So the case for evolution is “undeniable”? In truth, many leading scientists, including evolutionary biologists, reject neo-Darwinism. Many biologists now doubt the creative power of random mutation with natural selection. But that is the core idea of the theory.

This past November I attended a conference of the prestigious Royal Society of London. The meeting was called to address this problem. Speaking first, biologist Gerd Müller listed the “explanatory deficits” of neo-Darwinism. He said those include its failure to explain the “origin of biological complexity” and the origin of major morphological “novelties.” It also doesn’t predict their abrupt appearance in the fossil record.

Other biologists echo his concerns. They argue that mutation and selection can account for “the survival, but not the arrival of the fittest.” That is, minor, but not major, changes in the history of life.

I say more on this in my book Darwin’s Doubt. For instance, neo-Darwinism fails to explain the origin of the new genetic information needed to build new forms of life.

Our own experience with computer code helps to explain why. Random changes to the digital characters in a section of functioning software code will degrade the information in a program and destroy its function. That will happen long before those changes can generate a new program or operating system. Yet, neo-Darwinists invoke just such random changes to the characters in the genetic text to explain where new genetic information comes from. Mathematicians who know biology say “not a chance.”

Read the rest at The Stream. What’s the best antidote to the March Against Science? Check out our review of Jonathan Wells’s new book, Zombie Science, in this space on Tuesday!

Photo credit: Bill Nye, by NASA Goddard Space Flight Center [CC BY 2.0 or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.

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Evolution News & Science Today (EN) provides original reporting and analysis about evolution, neuroscience, bioethics, intelligent design and other science-related issues, including breaking news about scientific research. It also covers the impact of science on culture and conflicts over free speech and academic freedom in science. Finally, it fact-checks and critiques media coverage of scientific issues.



Bill Nyeclimate changeDarwin's DoubtevolutionMarch for ScienceStephen MeyerThe Stream