Does peer-reviewed science support Bill Nye’s attempt to prove materialism?

Do the Miller-Urey experiments simulate the early Earth?
Do the Miller-Urey experiments simulate the early Earth?

Casey Luskin looks at Nye’s new book “Undeniable”, which turns out to be very deniable, since it uses discredited science to support materialist philosophy.

Luskin writes:

If you think Nye’s ideology is bad, wait until you see the “science” he uses to justify these claims.

On the origin of life, Nye maintains that the famous Miller-Urey experiments “simulate[d] the conditions on earth in primordial times,” and “produced the natural amino acids.” Yet the Miller-Urey experiments did not accurately simulate the earth’s early atmosphere. An article in Science explains why the experiments are irrelevant: “the early atmosphere looked nothing like the Miller-Urey situation.”

Nye also invokes the unsophisticated argument that humans and apes must share a common ancestor because our gene-coding DNA is only about 1% different. “This is striking evidence for chimps and chumps to have a common ancestor,” he writes.

This argument is not just simplistic, it’s also false.

An article in the journal Science challenged “the myth of 1%,” suggesting the statistic is a “truism [that] should be retired,” since “studies are showing that [humans and chimps] are not as similar as many tend to believe.” Geneticist Richard Buggs maintains that “the total similarity of the genomes could be below 70%.”

Even if we do share DNA with chimps, why should that demonstrate common ancestry? Intelligent agents regularly re-use parts that work in different systems (e.g., wheels for cars and wheels for airplanes). Nye’s crude argument ignores the possibility of common design.

Undeniable also botches arguments that the fossil record shows “transitional forms.”

Nye cites Tiktaalik as a “‘fishapod’ (transition between fish and tetrapod, or land animal with four legs)” that is a fulfilled “prediction” of evolution because of when it was found in the fossil record. Nye is apparently unaware that this so-called evolutionary “prediction” went belly-up after scientists found tracks of true tetrapods with digits some 18 million years before Tiktaalik in the fossil record. As Nature put it, Tiktaalik cannot be a “direct transitional form.”

In another instance, Nye claims we’ve “found a whole range of human ancestors, including Sahelanthropus tchadensis,” apparently not realizing that an article in Nature reported there are “many … features that link the specimen with chimpanzees, gorillas or both,” since “Sahelanthropus was an ape.”

There are other scientific errors in Nye’s book, but one more will suffice. Throughout Undeniable, Nye demeans humanity by claiming our bodies are poorly designed, promoting the old canard that the human eye is wired backwards, and “not an optimal optical arrangement.” Nye apparently never saw a 2010 paper in Physical Review Letters which found that our eyes have special glial cells which sit over the retina, acting like fiber-optic cables to channel light through tissue directly onto our photoreceptor cells, showing the human retina is “an optimal structure designed for improving the sharpness of images.”

Undeniable  is one long attempt at wedding materialist philosophy with science. “The natural world is a package deal,” Nye insists at one point, “you don’t get to select which facts you like and which you don’t.” Yet he consistently ignores facts that contradict his arguments for Darwinian orthodoxy.

Interesting that he stands by the Miller-Urey experiments, when we now know that the experiment used gases that were not found on the early earth, not to mention that the experiments required experimenter intervention. And this is just to get the letters for proteins and DNA code – it doesn’t even count the sequencing problem, which is where you run into improbabilities that make materialist explanations for the origin of life as unlikely as flat-Earthism. You can believe if you really need to, but I wouldn’t call wanting to believe something really badly “scientific”.

3 thoughts on “Does peer-reviewed science support Bill Nye’s attempt to prove materialism?”

  1. The Miller-Urey experiment also produced equal amounts of left- and right-handed forms of the amino acids (a racemic mixture). Living things use only left-handed amino acids (with a few rare exceptions), yet there is no way to separate these chiral molecules into their different versions chemically. One has to have an enzyme (which is a protein made of the left-handed amino acids) that selects one form in order to separate them because, chemically, both forms behave in exactly the same way.

    So, not only does the Miller-Urey experiment not reproduce conditions on the early earth, and not only do you still have the problem of getting a long enough amino acid chain to form spontaneously without breaking down, and not only do you have to put the right sequence of amino acids together to form a protein with an actual function, but while you’re putting this amino acid chain together, you also have to somehow pick only the left-handed amino acids out of a racemic mixture. And even if you get all that (which is pretty much impossible all by itself), that still only gets you one protein. You need much more than that to make a living cell.

    So, no, the Miller-Urey experiments do NOT explain how life can come from non-life or support the extraordinary claims and metanarrative of materialism. And no one who understands the science would claim that they do.

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  2. “…not to mention that the experiments required experimenter intervention.”

    If you hadn’t mentioned that, I was going to. It’s so obvious, even if scientists could create these conditions, they would be doing just that, “creating.” It would involve an intelligent agent. The experiment didn’t do itself.

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    1. Yes, me too – I wanted a piece of that one! Even if the experiment had succeeded exactly as Darwinists desired with the proper inputs and outputs, it would merely prove ID, since, last I checked, Miller and Urey designed their experiment.

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