Who is this Bill Nye guy anyway? I only became aware of him recently, but it seems he’s a popular “science educator.” He got his moniker, “Bill Nye the Science Guy” from a PBS children’s science show in the 90s, and we know that anything that has the word “science” attached to it has instant credibility in our secular age. Unfortunately, science has to be one of the most abused words of modern times. Instead of referring to an empirical method of inquiry, it’s become a weapon to shut down debate. Specifically, it’s used as a cudgel by the secular left to intimidate anyone who dares question the “scientific consensus” on things like global warming (which has transmorgified into the redundant term “climate change”) and evolution.
So it didn’t surprise me when I saw the provocative title of a piece at The Federalist, “Bill Nye’s View Of Humanity Is Repulsive.” You’ll see why below, but human dignity is only possible in a theistic universe. Without God all we are is lucky dirt. Material things don’t have any transcendent value in themselves. Keep in mind I am speaking logically; you cannot get to value from dirt. We step on dirt, we don’t fall in love with it, or cherish it, or treat it with respect. It’s dirt! If atheism is true, then all we are is lucky dirt and thus logically can be stepped on with impunity.
Fortunately for the human race, everyone, even atheists, know at the core of their beings that we are more valuable than dirt. But as we’ve seen throughout history, the logic of atheism often trumps the conviction of the human heart. Seeing humanity as lucky dirt first reared its ugly head in the bloody French Revolution, but its implications became most horrifically clear in the 20th century with communist and Nazi totalitarianism. If all we are is lucky dirt, then to Stalin, Hitler, Pol Pot, Castro, and Mao there was nothing “wrong” with cracking a few (oh, about a hundred million!) eggs to make their Utopian omelet.
Bill Nye is no Josef Stalin, but his idea of “extra kids” is of the same logical lucky-dirt pie baked so destructively by 20th century totalitarians. Nye is concerned with the world becoming overpopulated because like every good progressive he believes the world is a dystopian hell hole just waiting to be saved by progressive policy experts running an all powerful administrative state. In the Federalist piece we read:
In his Netflix series, “Bill Nye Saves the World,” the former children’s television host supplies viewers with various trendy notions to adorn his ideological positions with the sheen of science. In the final episode, Nye and his guests contemplate a thorny “scientific” question: How the state can stop people from having “extra children.”
The title of the series should give it away. Why does the world need saving? And from what does it need to be saved? Why, human beings, of course! This phrase “extra children” reminds me of a phrase I heard in the excellent Amazon series, Man in the High Castle. The son of a Nazi officer has some kind of genetic disease, and he’s been taught by the Reich that he’s become what they call a “useless eater.” They are not to waste food on the defective. But this idea of human beings as a drain or blight on the world is a fundamental assumption to the modern liberal worldview. Some of the most extreme environmentalists even see human beings as a cancer on the planet.
Christianity (and Judaism), on the other hand, sees human beings by their creation in God’s image as worthy of infinite dignity and a resource and blessing to the planet. It is human ingenuity and creativity that has helped the human race overcome many of the greatest challenges we face, including poverty, sickness and disease, and environmental issues. There are no such things as “extra children” in the Christian (and Jewish) view of reality, only children who are the blessings and gift of God, every one of them.