The school boards around the U.S. who who’ve decided to teach children creationism, intelligent design, or whatever you choose to call it, are poking a stick in the eye of anyone who hopes to expand our understanding of the world around us. According to Bill Nye, evolution is such a fundamental scientific truth that…well, watch.
If you dismiss evolution, Nye says, how can you get any of the followup questions right? The massive number of generations required for evolutionary changes make obvious the kind of time involved, lengthening the age of the earth from religion’s few thousand years to science’s billions of them. And that expanded view, argues Nye, makes so many other things make sense: If we’ve only been around a little while, for example, what’s the deal with those ancient dinosaur bones and fossils? A belief in deep time is so critical to our understanding of life, the earth, its processes, and the stars above us, that to deny it is to force oneself into settling for ever-more-implausible explanations of what we see around us.
What’s got Nye even more chagrined is that it’s one thing to turn your own back on science, but when you pass that outlook on to your children, what’s at risk is nothing less than the creation of a generation whose basic premise—creationism—leads to and answers that just get wronger and wronger. Brilliant young minds consigned to scientific failure from the start. We’d hope for better from educators and parents. Just imagine the things these fresh, inquisitive minds could discover someday.