Bill Nye the Pseudoscience Guy

Bill Nye subscribes to his own sort of fanatical religion — one that is simply not compatible with authentic Christian faith, hope and charity.

Bill Nye speaks at an event in Pasadena, California in 2016.
Bill Nye speaks at an event in Pasadena, California in 2016. (photo: Credit: Gage Skidmore, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

Can Bill Nye pleeeeeeease just stop already?

The self-described “science guy” has been making quite a splash (more like a big-huge-cannonball-with-a-running-start) lately, first with his awkward Youtube video (the song being performed is titled...wait for it...“Sex Junk”), then with his pronouncement on his Netflix talk show that the government should punish people for having “extra kids.”

I know, right?

First of all, it’s worthy to note that the aforementioned YouTube episode (which I am purposely not linking to here, although you are more than welcome to go looking for it) is not faring so well with the general public. Turns out that in spite of our taboo-free and sexually-liberated culture, many a person is wanting to know why oh why this is a song and, furthermore, why Nye is featuring it on his show? He introduces Rachel Bloom’s vulgar performance as “a cool little segment”, and then proceeds to dance along in the background to lyrics such as “sex how you want, it’s your...right”, and “But must I choose between only John or Joyce?”

Those are the only lyrics I feel comfortable sharing here in my column, by the way.

So that’s that, and I guess we can all at least give thanks that we now know (if we didn’t before) right where Bill Nye stands when it comes to his particular brand of “science” — which seems to ignore some basic fundamentals about biology and the fact that science ought to be about honest inquiry, in a search for the truth. Nye is instead apparently more concerned with promoting a particular type of lifestyle and agenda, while simultaneously reducing transgender, gay, and lesbian people to over-sexualized, one-dimensional, and utterly perverse caricatures. Rather than, you know, men and women clothed with the dignity of being created in God’s image.

But anyway.

It was on a recent episode of his Netflix talk show where Bill Nye caught the particular attention of the Cathoilc interwebz. The show, by the way, is titled “Bill Nye Saves the World”, which is mildly amusing in and of itself because, really, who does he think he is? But anyhow, in discussing the problem of climate change, Nye muses to his fellow panelists that governments in the developed world could perhaps penalize families who have “extra kids”. The other gentleman at the table, Dr. Travis Rieder (an ethicist at Johns Hopkins University), seems to agree, while the two women on the panel (Dr. Rachel Snow of the UN Population Fund and Dr. Nerys Benfield, director of Family Planning Montefiore Medical Center) pushed back a bit. They instead argued that the government should NOT be enacting policies that infringe on the right to have children, and that the poor and minority women would be most hurt by such a policy. It was refreshing to see these women give voice to the idea that families are free to conceive and bear children.

And while I suppose I should not have expected anything else from Bill Nye after the embarrassing Youtube spectacle, it is still fairly shocking to see someone touting population control so openly, and without apology. The concept certainly isn’t anything new, but man-oh-man. It never ceases to surprise and frustrate me that someone thinks so little of humankind, of marriage, and of God, that he or she would essentially want all women to be contracepting — and punished if they don’t comply! Not only does this worldview clearly contradict the timeless and infallible teachings of Jesus Christ and His apostles, handed down through the centuries by the Catholic Church, it is also, in a word, sad. Clearly Bill Nye does not know the intense joy of welcoming yet another precious new baby into the world, the beauty (and fierce loyalty) present in sibling relationships, or the warmth of a large (and noisy) family, gathered ‘round the dinner table. He obviously doesn’t see children as the blessed and natural fruit of a generous and love-filled marriage, as bonds between spouses, or as gifts straight from the Lord.

He believes in the human right to “sex how you want”, but NOT the right to conceive, carry and birth the natural result of the sexual union between man and woman.

Because climate change.

Slightly inconsistent, dontcha think?

Catholics need to be aware that while we absolutely must be good and faithful stewards of God’s creation, scientists like Bill Nye (and there are many more like him) occasionally subscribe to some pretty sketch ideas, rooted in destructive philosophies, and attempt to pass them off as “science”. Other examples? IVF comes immediately to mind, as does euthanasia, and of course abortion. Also, embryonic stem cell research. All of these things, obviously related to the sacredness of human life, are proudly touted as scientific progress and signs of the advancement of humankind...when in reality, they are in total and complete opposition to God’s beautiful plan for the true flourishing of men and women. 

Of course, some will read these things and say that the fuddy-duddy Catholic Church needs to get with the times. They will say that we are irresponsible, selfish, and ignorant in our rejection of artificial contraception. They will say that the Church has always been at odds with the study and pursuit of science. (Quite the opposite is true, really, although that subject is beyond the scope of what I’m talking about here today.) But fellow Catholics, don’t be fooled — Bill Nye has been proving that he is not just your average, run-of-the-mill “science guy”. He may mean well, but he subscribes to his own sort of fanatical religion — one that is simply not compatible with authentic Christian faith, hope and charity.

And last I checked, it is Jesus Christ who will save the world.