Television "science guy" Bill Nye found himself at the epicenter of some controversy in the Christian blogosphere recently, but he's sticking to his guns, telling The Associated Press on Monday: "If [evolution] conflicts with your beliefs, I strongly feel you should question your beliefs."
Nye, 56, gave the interview in response to a conservative group called Answers in Genesis, which took exception to a recent video that featured Nye asking religious parents to stop teaching creationism to their children. The group runs Kentucky's "Creation Museum," and published several videos featuring CEO Ken Ham and two of the museum's own "science guys" arguing that science disproves evolution. A followup third video features Ham rebuking "intolerant Bill Nye defenders" for commenting on his Facebook account after he disabled comments on the group's earlier videos.
"Really it's a clash of two world views," Ham said, describing his disagreement with Nye. "A clash of the absolutes, of Christianity based upon God's word, and moral relativism based on man's word." He went on to describe evolution as man's justification for moral relativism, and insisted that LGBT people should not have equal rights because of his belief that men and women were created solely to reproduce.
"Evolution is the fundamental idea in all of life science, in all of biology," Nye said in an August interview with BigThink. "It's like, it's very much analogous to trying to do geology and not believing in tectonic plates. You're just not going to get the right answer. Your whole world is going to be a mystery instead of an exciting place."
Nye added: "And I say to the grownups, if you want to deny evolution and live in your world, in your 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 taxpayers for the future. We need people that can—we need engineers that can build stuff, solve problems."
The back-and-forth over Nye's comments was enough to get the AP's attention. "If we raise a generation of students who don't believe in the process of science, who think everything that we've come to know about nature and the universe can be dismissed by a few sentences translated into English from some ancient text, you're not going to continue to innovate," Nye told AP reporter Dylan Lovan on Monday.
He added that he finds it "troubling" that people sincerely believe the Earth may only be a few thousand years old. "Once in a while I get the impression that they're not kidding," Nye reportedly said.
This video was published to YouTube on August 23, 2012.
This video was published to YouTube on August 29, 2012.
This video was published to YouTube on Sept. 6, 2012.