The Joy of Discovery, Featuring Bill Nye

by Jason Major on February 11, 2014

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“We are, you and I, at least one of the ways that the Universe knows itself.” – Bill Nye

Did you manage to (or choose to) watch the much-anticipated debate between Science Guy Bill Nye and Ken Ham on the “merits” of Creationism on Feb. 4? While clearly nothing more than a publicity event cooked up by Ham to fund his Creation Museum in Kentucky (yes, I’m afraid that’s actually a thing here in America) Nye felt it to be in his — as well as the country’s — best interest to stand up and defend science and its methods in the face of unapologetic fundamentalist denial.

The video above, just released by John D. Boswell — aka melodysheep, creator of the excellent Symphony of Science series — takes some of Bill’s statements during the debate and puts them to music and images of our fascinating world.

Although not in Boswell’s usual whimsical auto-tuned style, the video is no less entertaining — if anything, it has a bit more gravity (no pun intended) — and plays like a trailer for scientific investigation of the Universe… if that were a movie.

Which it kind of is, actually, and we all get to be the actors, directors, and audience. But Creationists like Ham want to take that script and that screenplay away from us, away from our children, and hand it over to… something else. Something that doesn’t reflect the reality of the world we live in and the laws that govern the Universe and doesn’t call out for our active participation in its discovery, doesn’t expect critical thinking or understanding of basic scientific knowledge. Bill doesn’t want to see that happen, and that’s why he went on stage for two hours last week at an anti-science museum in Kentucky.

You can say what you will about how good of an idea it was or how well it turned out, I say: good for you, Bill.

Watch the full debate here.

Video by melodysheep.

About 

A graphic designer in Rhode Island, Jason writes about space exploration on his blog Lights In The Dark, Discovery News, and, of course, here on Universe Today. Ad astra!

dangerdad February 11, 2014 at 1:38 PM

I was kind of hoping that in the debate between to idiots, both would lose. Ham doesn’t understand science and Nye doesn’t understand religion (and both seem to define homeschooling according in their own special way).

Random Mind February 11, 2014 at 5:32 PM

I thought the debate was pretty boring. Neither one actually debated. It felt more like a presidental debate where a question is posed and you get that, “OOOO yeah that’s a good question” feeling, only for Bill or Ken to answer with something totally unrelated.

Either way, I feel like Bill Nye avoided the main question Ken Ham kept posing, which was related to historical science. If you remove the world view, and don’t assume evolution before you conduct studies – what evidence do you have to prove your theory? Many secular scientists have already asked the same questions through the years due to how unlikely it is complex life evolved in such a supposed short amount of time. It’s not repeatable, it’s not observable, and it’s not testable. Bill Nye was content to say, “Well I don’t believe in historical science. It’s all observable.” But anyone with half a brain could see that was a cop out to something he clearly didn’t have an answer for.

Maybe Bill Nye would be willing to debate with an actual scientist where questions are posed and actually answered (crazy idea for a debate huh?).

TheDirtBoy February 12, 2014 at 1:25 AM

How do you debate someone when you think they are totally delusional? How do you debate someone when you think all of the points they bring up are irrelevant? You don’t. You Can’t. I’m more scientific minded so I side with Bill Nye, but I try to stay open minded. Bill ignored a lot of Ken’s questions and vice versa. Personally, I think Bill had ample opportunity to crush Ken like a bug, but he didn’t, not sure why. Ken, to his credit, brought up some questions that science has yet to answer. Some really good questions primarily about scientist’s assumptions about a great many things. It seems to me that entire fields of study are based entirely on assumption. The conclusions they make seem overly convoluted like they are trying to hide something. The truth? There own ignorance? One thing I do know is that humans are narcissistic and egotistical by nature and there is no length we won’t go to prove our point, to prove ourselves correct over everyone else.

TheDirtBoy February 12, 2014 at 12:37 AM

Let me make one thing perfectly clear, I side with Nye. I also find a few things fascinating about the creationist side. Genesis states God created the heavens and earth. You always put the most important first, right? Heaven first, earth second. Then there was light. Ok, you have to step back a bit here, heaven, then light then earth. In the beginning earth had no land, the bible says so and modern science is beginning to see the same thing. Then came dry land and upon this dry land plants came first, true. Then animals and only then humans. The order in which every thing happened is, essentially, correct. Keep in mind the time this book was written, way before any semblance of modern astronomy or life science. Now I want you to think about what Ham said about God creating the universe. Put yourself in God’s shoes. If your creation discovered your “universe” was one hundred thousand miles in diameter, how all powerful would you be? Instead you put a speed limit on light, which is ludicrously fast and make the physical universe much larger than light will allow you to see, now your universe appears infinite and so you appear infinite. This is essentially the idea I’ve been kicking around for a while now. What if there really is a god in control of everything and they have been trying to keep there existence a secret. What would you do in that situation? I would take my original idea and expand. I would make Earth’s geology more complex, I would make the universe more complex. Stay a step ahead of my progeny. For every discovery they make I would add something even more confounding. A battle of wits. Isn’t that what we have been witnessing? Every time someone looks out into the universe something new and unusual is discovered? Maybe God is screwing with our heads because he thinks it’s funny, I certainly would in his place.

Jean R. February 14, 2014 at 12:25 PM

Good point you seem to make about the “scientific” order of “Creation” in Genesis 1. A logical creation-sequence emerged from scene of planetary desolation. But that was AFTER THE initial CREATION EVENT ( Universe-Earth ): verse 1 prelude. The remainder of the chapter does NOT describe PLANET-Creation, but Earth’s SURFACE RE-CREATION – from condition of utter ruination. Out of global state of darkness, where FIRST Life-World lay grimly buried – catastrophically destroyed, prehistorically – a new-World order appears.

What emerges in Chapter 1, is a reconfigured World-surface BIOSPHERE. An indeterminate period of time separates Gen. 1:1 and 2, “the ANCIENT world” from today’s ( “Mammal” ) Age of MAN.

The Universe may be 13+ billion years old. “Creationists” err over what said chapter actually describes: initial Universe-PLANET Creation, young Earth-Creationists claim. It does NOT, as evidence elsewhere in Book reveals. An unspecified chasm of time exists between verses 1 & 2. The dawn World of perfection, at some unspecified point in time ( even allowing for paleontology’s hypothesized decline ), was turned into massive ruin.

As you seem to acknowledge, the “unscientific” Biblical book, was written long before modern Science was freed from chains of superstition, released from prisons of ignorance. Point: The Bible is not a Science Book, but where it does address Scientific matters – it is inexplicably CORRECT ( from antiquity of Bronze and Iron Ages! ). Up through 20th Century discovery. Examples? Star populations beyond human calculation. An EXPANDING Universe of age! Prose, poetic terminology, of course.

You seem to attribute a sort of vanity to the Creator ( IF He exists ). A smoke and mirrors deity, seeking to overly impress mortal humanity. With respect, Sir, that’s an inverted concept. Was it He who vanished without a trace, or hid Himself from the human race? Or to the contrary, was it man who hid himself in foliage from his Creator’s Face ( who actually walked very near, in Homeland Garden place )?

Earth Geology? It IS complex ( but maybe not as much as made-out ) because it records facets science is blind to, or will not see ( there is such a thing as misinterpretation, applicable both to Creationist and Evolutionist ). Complex because an “ancient World” did exist ( very alien to ours ) – BEFORE man awakened to creative existence, and World-dominion. A past revealed before fossil giants emerged from rock strata, to astonish in sunlight: a lost world clearly testify.

“I would make Earth’s geology more complex, I would make the universe more complex. Stay a step ahead of my progeny.” This reverses what appears the case: In “The Privileged Planet” concept, Earth could not be more IDEALLY PLACED for Scientific exploration and discovery ( near as Moon, far as Hubble Deep Field ).

Its as if the Creator WANTED man to look-up, climb the mountains of Science, conquer the range of technology. And from heights of achievement, observe Space through Time! Venture forth above the clouds of familiar landscapes terrestrial, and GROW in Scientific understanding and knowledge – learn about the heavens above! And from Earth, ponder the wonder and glory of it all.

Man is in the image of God, not god in the image of man.

Jeffrey Boerst February 12, 2014 at 3:46 AM

If he doesn’t make a counter to this using Ham’s words accompanied by ridiculous images of nonsense, it would be a shame… I’m thinking Terry Gilliam-esque cut-out animations of God doing things and such….?

Bob Ames February 15, 2014 at 9:33 AM

Hilarious! I almost fell out of my chair laughing when I heard Ham say, “nobody can ever know how old the Earth is” and “Creationists are more scientific than secular scientists.”

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