Bill Nye on video lying about evidence! I wrote that headline to grab people's attention. It's a little sensational, I'll admit, but I still mean it to be literal. I'm referring to the 2 hour video released by Answers in Genesis where Nye debates Ken during a tour of the recently opened Ark Encounter. Is it just me or is Nye really that rude of a person? He referred to several AiG staff scientists as “incompetent,” despite their doctorate degrees from reputable colleges like Harvard or Ohio State; he told Ken Ham he needed to study geology more; he told Ark visitors they needed to go to university; and concluded his tour saying that he couldn't be friends with someone like Ken Ham, though he might try to rescue him if he were drowning or something like that. That last comment was real big of you Nye! //RKBentley rolls his eyes// Look, there are people with whom I disagree but who aren't jerks. Bill Nye is a jerk. Maybe it's not very Christian of me to say that. I must say that Ken Ham was very gracious with Nye, even praying for him after Nye's comment that he might rescue him from drowning (which I guess also means he might not). But you can see in the video that Nye seemed to annoy even Ham at different times.
Anyway, back to my point of Nye lying. I haven't counted, but I would guess Nye used the term, “evidence” at least fifty times during his tour of the Ark. How he used the term, though, was often, grossly misleading.
Before I get into Nye's use of the word, let me talk a little bit about what evidence is and what it's not. Evidence is raw data. It's facts or observations. Contrary to the popular expression, facts don't really speak for themselves. Evidence just is. What we do, then, is look at the evidence and invent theories to try to explain why the evidence is the way it is. What is this thing? How did it get here? What might I conclude from it? Theories are our attempts to make sense of the evidence. A good theory should seem to explain the evidence reasonably well. In any case, the evidence itself is mute and doesn't care about our theories. In other words, the evidence is never really “for” a theory.
Some people, like Nye, conflate their theories with the evidence. During the video, Nye routinely makes comments like (paraphrasing), “All the evidence says that the earth is 4.5 billion years old.” Do you see what I mean? The evidence doesn't say anything. Bill Nye subscribes to a theory – his interpretation of the evidence – that says the earth is billions of years old. But he never says, “My theory is that the earth is billions of years old”; he merely repeats over and over, “The evidence says it.”
Evolutionists believe they have a monopoly on the evidence. It's sort of a game of dibs where, once evolutionists explain the evidence, that evidence is not available to explained by any other theory. The earth can't be young because they've already said it's old. There is no evidence for creation because it's already been used for evolution! Evolutionists do this so that when we disagree with their theory, it looks like we're disagreeing with the evidence. Tsk, tsk.
Nye certainly did this in the video. On a couple of occasions, Ken Ham tried to pin Nye down on the differences between the evidence and the conclusions we draw on the evidence. About 52 minutes into the video, for example, Ham and Nye are talking about tree rings. It's Nye's contention that there are living trees that can be dated to before the time of the Flood based on their rings. Ham counters that the rings aren't evidence in the sense that Nye is using them. Rings are something that simply exist in the present. We could count the rings of a tree and extrapolate backwards (4,000 rings means 4,000 years old) but we know that trees sometimes grow more than one ring per year. So 4,000 rings is the evidence and 4,000 years is a conclusion about the evidence. Even after Nye acknowledged that multiple rings can grow in trees each year, when Ham asked him if he could then be wrong about his conclusion, Nye stubbornly refused to concede even that simple point. “No. Absolutely not,” Nye says, “.... My interpretation with respect to the age on the earth in this regard is absolutely correct.” Time after time during the entire video, Nye offers his theory while calling it the evidence.
But look, if all Nye did was conflate his theory with the evidence, I wouldn't necessarily say he was “lying” - though it is still grossly misleading. However, Nye made other statements that were even more misleading. At about 1:17 in the video, Ken Ham mentions the account in Joshua where the sun stopped in the sky. Bill Nye replies, “Why would it do that? There's no evidence for that.”
That's very curious. What type of evidence would Bill Nye expect there to be for such an event? Historical events cannot be studied scientifically. I could ask, for example, “Where is the evidence that George Washington crossed the Delaware?” You can't study the river and discover it. The only way we can know it happened is because people who lived at the time wrote that it happened. The written accounts are the only evidence we have. And the evidence we have for Washington's crossing of the Delaware is the same evidence we have for Joshua's long day. Nye doesn't have to believe the written account but to say there is no evidence is a lie.
From there, Nye segues into a point he made several times in the video. He defines science to mean “the search for a natural explanation.” According to Nye, any time you invoke a miracle, it's not science. Of course, however a person defines science does not change what is true. If God stopped the motion of the planets for 12 hours, then that is what happened regardless if Nye thinks it's scientific. Nye desperately wants people to believe that, if something isn't scientific, it's not true. Nye told Ham he was “absolutely” wrong about Joshua's long day. Such a rebuke implies that Nye has absolute knowledge of the event. We know he doesn't. Therefore, Nye's continuous appeals to the “evidence” or to an arbitrary definition of science is pure bluff.
This leads me to Nye's most blatant lie about evidence. While Nye was waxing on about the account from Joshua and how science does not allow miracles, Ham interrupts him and asks, “Why should I accept your definition [of science]?” Nye pauses for a moment, then, with a straight face, replies, “Because we have so much evidence for it.”
You can watch him make the offensive remark at 1:18 on the video. Nye actually claims there is evidence for natural-only definition of science. Incredible! Please, Nye, show me this evidence! Where in the universe can I observe it? Can I put it under a microscope or weigh it on a scale or hold it against a ruler? Can I put it in a test tube?
Perhaps Nye is ignorant about how much of science is based on philosophy rather then evidence. In one Big Think video, Nye admits he's skeptical of some of the claims of philosophy. What he doesn't seem to realize is that his “natural only” view of the universe has a philosophical premise. It's a tenet of science – a belief akin to religious faith.
In his dogged determination to prove Ken Ham wrong, Nye repeated the word “evidence” over and over and over. He said there was no evidence for miracles but there was evidence for his definition of science. Watch the video for yourself. Time and time again, Nye lied about evidence.