Bill Nye will tell you that he’s a man on a mission. He’s out there trying to “help foster a scientifically literate society, to help people everywhere understand and appreciate the science that makes our world work.” From 1993 to 1998, Nye hosted Bill Nye the Science Guy, a Disney/PBS children’s science show that won 18 Emmys along the way. A graduate of Cornell and a student of Carl Sagan, Nye has also presented shows on the Science Channel, the Discovery Channel and other media outlets.
If you’re familiar with Bill Nye, you’ll know that he’s not exactly an in-your-face kind of scientist. He’s no Richard Dawkins. Nye is mild-mannered, affable and wears a bow tie. But, like Dawkins, he’ll tell you that if you deny evolution, you’re not living in the world of basic facts. And if you teach creationism to kids, you’re not preparing them to compete in a world where scientific literacy means everything. That bodes ill for your kids in particular, and for America’s future more generally.
Now you might be inclined to say that America has always had creationists, and that didn’t stop the country from becoming an economic and military superpower. Perhaps that’s true. But you need to recall this. America reached its zenith when every other power had blown themselves to smithereens. We were the only game in town. And it almost didn’t matter what we thought, or how much we thought. We just needed to show up to work. Nowadays, we don’t have that luxury. We face stiff competition from ambitious nations that take science and education seriously. A country that scoffs at scientific reasoning, that dismisses it all as “elitist,” has only one way to go, and that’s down. God help us.
You can find more clips from Nye’s talk here.