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» Bill Nye’s Promoting Critical Thinking in Science — Hmm!

Nye’s idea of saving the world isn’t the same as Ken Ham’s. 

Science entertainer and engineer Bill Nye has begun a new Netflix series called “Bill Nye Saves the World,” and he says his main objective for the program is to promote critical thinking.  “We want you to learn how to evaluate evidence,” he said.

During a preview of his new show, Nye, along with musician Steve Aoki, did an experiment to show what he means by critical thinking. They evaluated a claim by Whole Foods that a product which the company sells can treat heartburn as well as milk of magnesia, an antacid which is known to neutralize excess acid in the stomach.

“This hippy stomach treatment, it has extract of elm, peppermint and vinegar,” Nye said on the show. “Yeah, that's right — vinegar: acetic acid. You ever had sweet and sour anything? The sour is the vinegar. So, they want you to put vinegar in your stomach when it's upset? People, no!” Nye’s experiment apparently showed that milk of magnesia works, but Whole Food’s product doesn’t.

Nye does a number of experiments in his “Saves the World” series to encourage his audience to think critically. “When somebody makes a claim, think it through, see if it seems reasonable to you. How would you have an experiment to test that claim, or how would you evaluate the results of somebody's experiment to test that claim?  Observe, design a test, test, see what happens, compare that to what you thought would happen and then what? Start over.”

Comedian Joanna Hausmann, a special correspondent for the show, said she hopes it makes people better thinkers. Another special correspondent, Derek Muller, got political. “When politicians are making decisions that go against what we know about science, it's a problem,” Muller told reporters. “Scientists have a responsibility to stand and say, ‘You know what, our work is based on evidence. You can't reject it just because you don't like it.’”

Comment: Many creationists, such as Answers in Genesis’s Ken Ham, with whom Nye has been feuding, might find this emphasis on critical thinking by a militant evolutionist to be somewhat amusing or even hypocritical. If critical thinking is so important, and it is, why isn’t there more emphasis on critical thinking when it comes to evolutionist thinking? Why isn’t more critical thinking encouraged in public school science classes when the topic of origins is discussed.

Critical thinking often seems to be missing when scientists talk about evolution. For instance, if natural selection turned single-celled organisms into humans over eons of time, where are all the intermediate species? If there is no intelligent designer, how did mere biological cells become so complex, not to mention much more complex organisms such as mammals? How can natural selection operating through mutations lead to more highly-evolved creatures when mutations by and large are harmful to organisms? Will Bill Nye tackle questions such as these in his “critical thinking” series?

Nye says, “Observe, design a test, test, see what happens, compare that to what you thought would happen and then what? Start over.” That sounds like a version of the scientific method. But how much of the scientific method can be used in studying origins? Can what happened “millions of years” ago actually be observed? Can it be tested?

Nye wants to save the world. Ken Ham, with whom he has debated a couple of times, also wants to save the world. Of course, these two men mean quite different things by that expression. Nye thinks science can help save the world. Science, medical science in particular, has been very helpful in aiding people to overcome some diseases and to live longer lives. Technology also has been helpful. But whatever science can do for us, it can’t prevent us from dying.

But the version of “saving the world” to which Ken Ham and all other evangelical Christians refer does have an answer as to how to live forever. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16). Science has failed to save the world. For true believers, Jesus Christ has succeeded. That is why Easter is such a glorious day for all who call on the name of Jesus.

Reference: Laura Geggel, “Bill Nye's Back to Save the World,” Live Science [April 21, 2017]. (Photo is of the first and formal Ham-Nye debate.)

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QUESTION OF THE DAY

Should one be concerned about floaters in his/her field of vision?

Most of the time these shadowy dots and squiggles are harmless bits of debris in the gel-like fluid inside eyes. However, if floaters suddenly increase in number and are accompanied by flashes of light in one eye, an ophthalmologist should be immediately consulted. It could indicated a detached retina.

Source: “Are On Your Mind,“ Consumer Reports On Health [September, 2016], page 12

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About Me--Warren Krug The Editor
Decades ago I attended a so-called Lutheran university where I could have lost my faith. The science professors promoted the theory of evolution and made fun of anybody who believed in the account of creation as presented in the book of Genesis. Thanks be to God, some creationist literature and the Bible soon helped get me back on the right track. Ever since then I have taken an active interest in the creation/evolution controversy.

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