“Bill Nye the Science Guy” wrapped up its twentieth anniversary year recently. Nye has done great work encouraging kids to pursue careers in the natural sciences, but has also in recent years become somewhat of a fundamentalist of secularism, particularly in his promotion of Darwinian evolution.
In an explosive video released last year by Big Think, Nye slammed all dissenters from Darwinian orthodoxy. Echoing the sentiments of atheist rock stars like Richard Dawkins and the late Christopher Hitchens, Nye had this to say to parents who find Darwinism unconvincing:
“If you want to deny evolution and live in your world that’s completely inconsistent with everything we observe in the universe,” he scolds, “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.”
Never mind the shaky connections Nye assumes between modern technology, social progress, and a theory about lobe-finned fish learning to walk 360 million years ago. The real problem is how he and many others oversimplify evolutionary theory.
As anyone who’s followed the groundbreaking work of Dr. Stephen Meyer and his colleagues in the Intelligent Design community knows, evolution as we know it is a theory in crisis.
Meyer is no opponent of the basic observations Charles Darwin made. Plants and animals do change over time, and small variations do add up to bigger ones within kinds, as in the famous Swiss Army beaks of the Galapagos finches. But Darwin was missing a lot of the picture when he wrote over a century and a half ago—and he actually admitted as much in his books and letters.
Neo-Darwinism, which is what we call the latest iteration of Darwin’s theory, seeks to address some of those gaps in the nineteenth-century biologist’s understanding. But Dr. Meyer, who is a fellow at the Discovery Institute, argues that Neo-Darwinism actually widens, rather than closes, those gaps. In his first book, “Signature in the Cell,” Meyer addresses perhaps the most glaring problem with Neo-Darwinism: It’s a theory about the origins of life that doesn’t actually explain the origins of life.
“Theories which try to account for life from non-life,” he explained in our interview on “BreakPoint This Week,” “have utterly failed to account for even the simplest features of the crudest living cells, and that fact is almost universally-acknowledged within evolutionary biology.”
In his latest book, “Darwin’s Doubt,” Meyer takes his argument a step further, and shows that even if the first hurdle could be overcome, natural selection acting on random mutations still couldn't produce the sudden appearance of animal varieties we find in the fossil record. In particular the event paleontologists call the “Cambrian Explosion”--what Wikipedia calls the relatively rapid appearance of most major animal phyla as demonstrated in the fossil record--poses what Meyer sees as an insurmountable hurdle to macro evolution.
“The Darwinian mechanism,” he says, “lacks the creative power to account for that kind of morphological innovation.”
For that, he believes, science and human experience uniformly point to one explanation: intelligence.
I can’t say enough good things about Meyer’s work or his book, and I’ll link you to them at BreakPoint.org. And I'm thrilled to announce that I'll be joining Dr. Meyer, as well as popular talk-show hosts Dennis Prager and Hugh Hewitt on stage in Southern California on August 28, for a conversation that we're calling "Faith, Science and Culture: Does God Still Matter?" It's an event sponsored by the Discovery Institute and The Colson Center.
Come to BreakPoint.org, click on this commentary, and I’ll have all the details for you. I hope you'll join us.
BreakPoint is a Christian worldview ministry that seeks to build and resource a movement of Christians committed to living and defending Christian worldview in all areas of life. Begun by Chuck Colson in 1991 as a daily radio broadcast, BreakPoint provides a Christian perspective on today’s news and trends via radio, interactive media, and print. Today BreakPoint commentaries, co-hosted by Eric Metaxas and John Stonestreet, air daily on more than 1,200 outlets with an estimated weekly listening audience of eight million people. Feel free to contact us at BreakPoint.org where you can read and search answers to common questions.
John Stonestreet, the host of The Point, a daily national radio program, provides thought-provoking commentaries on current events and life issues from a biblical worldview. John holds degrees from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (IL) and Bryan College (TN), and is the co-author of Making Sense of Your World: A Biblical Worldview.
Publication date: August 18, 2014