Bill Nye: Debate Over Evolution In Texas Schools Is Jeopardizing Our Future


A battle has been raging in Texas, and it's all about evolution.

On one side are creationist-minded members of the state Board of Education. They don't believe evolution should be taught in public schools in Texas. On the other side are board members who don't want religious or political ideologies to suppress a widely accepted theory.

Huffington Post Science reached out to Bill Nye to get his take on the ongoing debate, which had recently flared during a board discussion about whether to approve new science textbooks. And the "Science Guy" had some choice things to say.

"This textbook business is, to my way of thinking, a very serious matter, because of the economic impact," Nye said in an email to HuffPost. "Everyone should take a moment and think what it will mean to raise a generation of students who might believe that it is reasonable to think for a moment that the Earth might be 10,000 years old."

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  1. Bill Nye is of course right that

    “It’s not a religious issue, as such. It’s the future of the United States’ economy that’s at stake,”

    This is where the crunch will hit, and the Chinese and others must be laughing at the reactionary ideas that still hold some grip on some American minds, (and elsewhere). As someone else pointed out, these Christian reotards actually need the very science they decry !

    • In reply to #4 by Matt G:

      Evolution is a “widely accepted theory”? So what? What matters is that it is supported by evidence. Whether it is widely accepted or not is irrelevant.

      Unfortunately, just the word “theory” lands right into the demagogue-evolutionist’s hands. The scientific meaning of “theory” conveniently has no relevance and is not worth understanding in the religious bigot’s mind. They have absolutely no concept of the difference between what constitutes a “hypothesis” and a “theory”, yet have no qualms selling one and the other as the same.

  2. He is of course absolutely right.

    But this is not only damaging to education, it’s also depriving youngsters of the chance to discover the beauty of the planet they inhabit by means of scientific techniques and processes which work and will not decieve them but enrich their lives.

    For instance, they must be encouraged to learn how dendrochronology with its tree rings, and the Periodic Table with its elements and half lives, provide incontrovertible evidence of the age of the Earth. How Geological strata: the Cambrian, Ordovian, Silurian, Devonian, Carboniferous, Permian, Triassic, Jurassic, Cretatious and so on, do likewise.

    They must not be deprived of this knowledge simply to preserve the wishful superstitions of their elders; who are clearly not their betters!

    What are such individuals doing on the School Boards in the first place?

    • In reply to #6 by Stafford Gordon:

      “… What are such individuals doing on the School Boards in the first place?”

      I assume they are elected onto the school boards. If so, the situation gives substance to Plato’s reason for disapproving of democracy. Democracy requires a certain level of education throughout the electorate. In Plato’s day there was no state-funded universal education, so it was then reasonable to restrict participation in the electoral and political processes to the educated classes. In this Texan case we see people participating in the electoral and political processes, who have not been educated in the matters to be decided.

      Stepping back from the particular issue at stake here, we see that there is a conflict in this case between two values that underpin our political system: representation and competence. Plato was all for competence in dealing with matters of state, but he saw no reason why everyone in society should be represented in the political process (the concept of human rights was still very remote). In his view the ignorant had nothing to offer and could do immense harm to society. Modern democracy, while retaining the idea of competence, puts great stress on everyone being represented, at least by having the right to vote. But this has been a reasonable (albeit ambitious) aim, because universal education has also been part of the programme for political and social emancipation that has characterized modern democracy.

      In these tedious ructions going on in Texas over what is to be taught in science classes, we see people who, as a result of religious superstitions, have been deprived of the education they need to be able to deal with the matters to be decided being voted onto school boards or launching challenges to science teaching in other ways, and doing, or trying to do, great harm to education in Texas. As Prof. Nye has pointed out, the harm effected by such people goes far beyond the classrooms in which science is taught, for it affects the vocational and financial prospects of young people after they leave school, and the wider economic fortunes of the state and the nation.

  3. One of the ads at the bottom of the source article was for “robots that give handjobs” as a fact of the future.

    Speaking of robots and handjobs, how much longer is the rest of the country going to tolerate Texas electing robots whose only interest is giving their god an eternal handjob while fucking all the rest of us?

  4. When you reject evolution and insist on using bronze age science, you tossing out most of science. Everything is interconnected. Creationists have no idea just how nutty they are being. Science in the bronze age was nearly all wrong. All the important discoveries have come since.

  5. Texas is full of decent, rationally minded people. However, they are drastically outnumbered and are “punished” if they open their mouths. “Punished” can mean many things including social sanctions (you’ll find your “friends” no longer talking to you, not being invited to social events, etc.), economic sanctions (you’ll be fired or laid off and or blacklisted), you’ll find that your business contacts dry up and blow away, etc. You’ll never know exactly what happened, but you’ll suddenly become nonexistent. There will be a deafening wall of silence.

    • In reply to #12 by ridelo:

      A long, long time ago I bought my first electronic calculator from ‘Texas Instruments’. For me Texas represented then the apex of science.

      Even longer ago, I bought my first electronic calculator from ‘Hewlett Packard’. For me California represented the apex of science. With Silicon Valley, it still does.

  6. One of the arguments you often hear against evolution is that it would be impossible for eyes to evolve.

    A young Dawkins explains how it could have happened using models.

    Youtube video

    It turns out that evolving eyes is relatively quick and easy and has happened many times over independently using radically different “designs”. (We need a word for design that does not imply a conscious designer).

    • In reply to #16 by Roedy:

      It turns out that evolving eyes is relatively quick and easy and has happened many times over independently using radically different “designs”. (We need a word for design that does not imply a conscious designer).

      Structure or arrangement would seem to be appropriate.

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