Hey Bill Nye! Do the Laws of Nature Allow for God?
Physics finds no trace of God so far—but does it matter?
Bill Nye, scientist, engineer, comedian, author, and inventor, is a man with a mission: to help foster a scientifically literate society, to help people everywhere understand and appreciate the science that makes our world work. Making science entertaining and accessible is something Bill has been doing most of his life.
In Seattle Nye began to combine his love of science with his flair for comedy, when he won the Steve Martin look-alike contest and developed dual careers as an engineer by day and a stand-up comic by night. Nye then quit his day engineering day job and made the transition to a night job as a comedy writer and performer on Seattle’s home-grown ensemble comedy show “Almost Live.” This is where “Bill Nye the Science Guy®” was born. The show appeared before Saturday Night Live and later on Comedy Central, originating at KING-TV, Seattle’s NBC affiliate.
While working on the Science Guy show, Nye won seven national Emmy Awards for writing, performing, and producing. The show won 18 Emmys in five years. In between creating the shows, he wrote five children’s books about science, including his latest title, “Bill Nye’s Great Big Book of Tiny Germs.”
Nye is the host of three currently-running television series. “The 100 Greatest Discoveries” airs on the Science Channel. “The Eyes of Nye” airs on PBS stations across the country.
Bill’s latest project is hosting a show on Planet Green called “Stuff Happens.” It’s about environmentally responsible choices that consumers can make as they go about their day and their shopping. Also, you’ll see Nye in his good-natured rivalry with his neighbor Ed Begley. They compete to see who can save the most energy and produce the smallest carbon footprint. Nye has 4,000 watts of solar power and a solar-boosted hot water system. There’s also the low water use garden and underground watering system. It’s fun for him; he’s an engineer with an energy conservation hobby.
Nye is currently the Executive Director of The Planetary Society, the world’s largest space interest organization.
EMEERA: Hi Bill Nye. My name is E, I’m 16 years old and this is my question: is the mainstream concept or definition of God self-defeating? And if it isn’t, is it possible for a god to exist within space and time without disregarding the laws of nature?
BILL NYE: Emeera. If I understood your question, is the idea of God self-defeating? I don’t think so. A lot of people around the world believe in God and they seem to conduct affairs pretty okay. Can a god exist in space time? Well according to all my friends who are deeply religious, yes. And that would be—the trouble with it is, if I understand your question, it’s hard to provide evidence for that.
It’s hard to provide evidence for a god that you can’t see or detect and then to draw conclusions about what that god, he or she, did based on phenomena that people on my side of it can explain without this supernatural influence. That’s where I think your question arises. You’re asking a deep philosophical question. I don’t know the answer. Is there a god or not that exists in space-time? But what I always ask myself and others is: what would you do differently? How would it change the way you live your life if you knew that there was no God or if you knew that there was—what would you do differently?
Would you start committing crimes? Would you stop committing crimes? Would you quit your regular job and help people everywhere as hard as you could, living a very modest life? Or would you try to accumulate as much wealth as possible without regard to others?
Like, what would you do differently if you knew the answer to your question?
For me, I wouldn’t do anything differently. I just try to lead a good life, be responsible for my own actions, and leave the world better than I found it. Those are my goals. You can decide whether or not I’ve been successful. Great question, Emeera. That’s cool.
Can God exist out there in space-time? Do the laws of nature support the idea of a divine creator, or do they rule it out? At the moment, the existence of a god is a deep question for theologists and philosophers: it won't become a scientific question until there is evidence of God. With so much uncertainty, the question Bill Nye likes to focus on instead is: how would that knowledge change your life? Is who you are, with and without religion, two different versions of your self? The reality is that you don't need evidence of any god to live a good life. For Nye personally, he goes by the moral framework of "be responsible for my own actions, and leave the world better than I found it." That's probably the surest way to protect the life of the people and the earth that we have, whether or not it was made by higher power.
Bill Nye's most recent book is Unstoppable: Harnessing Science to Change the World.
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