We sure like us some Bill Nye. Following up on his February “debate” at the Creation museum, in which he handily took apart the bad science behind that institution, Nye has a book out, Undeniable: Evolution and the Science of Creation. Which is why he braved the dungeon of derp that is Newsmax TV to explain why creationism is simply not good for kids. What it mostly comes down to, of course, is that creationism is bad science — or not science at all, which is the worst science — and that pushing it on kids for the sake of keeping fundamentalist parents happy will have long-term consequences for kids’ ability to function in a world where reality is valued.
The Earth is not 6000 years old, no matter how hard you clench your teeth and wish it to be so … that’s just a worldview that’s inconsistent with everything you can see in nature, and I don’t want to raise science students who grow up thinking that’s possible.
Rejecting every effort by Newsmax host Smiley McFalse-Equivalence (known to some as Ed Berliner) to suggest that maybe there’s a happy middle ground between science and an insistence that every word of the Book of Genesis is literally true, Nye pointed out that when adults lie about science to children, it harms their prospects for actually living in today’s modern world of today:
They’re holding the kids back. These kids will not be able to participate in the future in the same way that kids from other school systems — New York, Maryland, exotic places like that — [can]. Because they will not have this fundamental idea that you can question things, that you can think critically, that you can use skeptical thought to learn about nature. [These children] will have to suppress everything they can see in nature to try and get a worldview that’s compatible with the adults, in whom they trust …
At some point, you smirk about it, because it’s so silly … but yet these people work to get their points of view in textbooks and in school curricula.
(Bonus points for textbooks and school curricula? Yes, We’ve seen some of those!)
McFalse-Equivalence tried to bait Nye into saying something inflammatory, asking, “Simple to say they’re just raising, in your opinion, dumb kids?” His reply indicates that even in late middle age, Bill Nye would be a valuable asset to any dodgeball team:
Not dumb. Just kids who are unable, or who are uncomfortable, with using the scientific method. We’re on television, on the Internet, using lights that are light-emitting diodes that didn’t exist 30 years ago. Who’s going to come up with the next innovation that’s going to keep the United States competitive worldwide if you raise a generation of kids that can’t do physics or chemistry? Do you want doctors who can’t understand biology?
And that’s Nye’s motive for going “into the lion’s den” at the Creation Museum — not because there is any real debate about the reality of evolution, but “to raise awareness that we are raising a generation of kids who are discouraged from thinking.”
That’ll do, science guy. That’ll do.