On an Undeniable Review

UndeniableBillNyeIn February 2014, Bill Nye debated Ken Ham (President, Answers in Genesis, AIG) about evolution-creation at AIG’s Creation Museum on Cincinnati’s Kentucky-side of the river. This book, Undeniable: Evolution and the Science of Creation, is a result of Nye’s preparation for and participation in the debate.

Although Nye initially trained and worked as a mechanical engineer, the general public got to know him as The Science Guy through his television shows in the early 1990s.

Bill Nye is noted for a fast-paced, engaging style to explain scientific topics in laymen’s terms to the masses – and that style is what readers get in this book. His wit, sense of humor, knowledge, and ability to stay at the layman level is his brand. Those familiar with him may even hear his voice while reading.

The chapters a short – actually rather bite-sized with most chapters being less than 10 pages. Nye intertwines stories and analogies amid the chapter’s main premise while using historical and present-day applications.

Typically, each chapter focuses on a specific topic; and Nye covers a wide range of topics, such as evolution, natural selection, punctuated equilibrium, biodiversity, fossils, thermodynamics, convergence, competition, extinction, gene flow, genetic bottlenecks, homologous structures, selection, mutations, and population isolation. Given these topics and his simplistic approach, Nye explains the natural process of evolution.

Although Nye frequently mentions claims made by Ham about evolution, he does not address faith … but to his defense, faith is not the intent of this book. Those desiring more about the interchange between science and religion will be disappointed.

Given that’s the science-religion interchange is not his intent, I don’t like the “Science of Creation” portion of the book’s title … but that’s me because of my level of understanding about the interchange. On the other hand, the “Undeniable” portion of the title is very appropriate – even for the pun lovers who see UndeNEYable.

Undeniable: Evolution and the Science of Creation is Bill Nye’s latest effort in bringing science to the masses. Given the debate about appropriate subjects in public school science classes doesn’t seem to be going away anytime soon, I applaud Nye’s efforts because the majority of the public is poorly informed.

One for the bookshelves? Maybe, depending on the reader’s background … but definitely not for those with a firm understanding of evolution and its subtopics. Yes, it covers the basics, thus Undeniable is a primer … a good place to start … but it lacks the depth and breathe that others may desire because Undeniable is not a book for extensive study of evolution.

Bottom line – the reader must decide if this is a good book for them … but for the vast majority of people, Undeniable: Evolution and the Science of Creation by Bill Nye is a good read.

On a Chasm

Bill Nye (The Science Guy) is not only a media personality – he is also an advocate of good science education. Interestingly, Bill Nye will be coming to the Cincinnati area for an event at the Creation Museum. The president of the organization that runs the museum (Answers in Genesis) invited Bill to debate him about evolution. No – I don’t plan to attend the event.

Because the interchange between science and religion continues to stimulate my neurological pathways, I’ve been thinking about the opposite ends of the spectrum – the places where one end has nothing to do with the other. Consider these quotes.

From Ken Ham, President of Answers in Genesis

Certainly, we should celebrate when a person understands the gospel and is saved. But we should also pray for those fellow believers who have not only left biblical authority behind when it comes to origins, but who also have influence and are using it to spread evolution and millions of years in the church. I believe such people are leading many away from the Christian faith, including this current generation of young people—something they will have to answer to God for one day. Yes, God will judge—and He will have the last word!

From Sam Harris, cofounder and CEO of Project Reason

I am hopeful that the necessary transformation in our thinking will come about as our scientific understanding of ourselves matures. When we find reliable ways to make human beings more loving, less fearful, and genuinely enraptured by the fact of our appearance in the cosmos, we will have no need for divisive religious myths. Only then will the practice of raising our children to believe that they are Christian, Jewish, Muslim, or Hindu be broadly recognized as the ludicrous obscenity that it is. And only then will we stand a chance of healing the deepest and most dangerous fractures in our world.

Although neither Ken Ham nor Sam Harris speaks for the majority of humanity, these two individuals are important spokespersons for many. Interestingly, both are so set in their opposition to others who believe differently.

Let’s move on to Dr. Francis Collins, a highly respected scientist who happens to be the Director of National Institute of Health, and the former director of the Human Genome Project. Dr. Collins stated the following:

I would not want to look forward to a culture where science lost and religious faith became the dominating force for truth. I would not want to live in a culture where faith lost and science, with all of its reductionism and its materialism became the sole source of truth. I think we need both kinds of truth. I think we need both kinds of worldviews to the extent that scientists can help with that realization of a dual ways of finding answers to the appropriate kinds of questions that each worldview can ask, then I think that would be a good thing.

Lord Acton (1834-1902) stated, Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Does this apply to any to Ken Ham, Sam Harris, or Francis Collins?

Opinions in the Shorts: Vol. 186

On Politics
The recent gathering of the Faith and Freedom Coalition Conference demonstrates what this group does not understand. After all, their speakers included Donald Trump, Herman Cain, and Sarah Palin.

It is interesting to watch Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) dance between trying to be an immigration reform leader and a potential presidential candidate.

Although it will not happen, I would support amending the Constitution to change the terms of our elected officials: Representatives 3-year terms limited to 3 terms; Senators: 5-year terms limited to 2 terms; President 6-year terms limited to 1 term.

On This Week’s Headlines from The Onion

  • Dad can’t believe lawn didn’t get him anything for Father’s Day
  • Friends don’t understand how man gets depressed
  • Advanced (alien) civilization discovers inhabitable planet
  • Nation currently more sympathetic to demise of Planet Krypton than plight in Syria
  • Michele Obama seen walking family rhinoceros (the evidence)

Interesting Reads
Hospital CEO Bonuses and Obamacare
Sequester and spending on research
So Long, Herschel (the telescope)
A book review about statesman John Hay
The ethics of egg freezing
History of perpetual motion
The Death of Bill Nye

On Potpourri
Is anyone dismayed by the latest news that Capt Crunch is not a captain, but a commander? For those who did not know, US Navy captains have four stripes, but Commander Crunch only has three.

While on the topic of crunch, cheers to Nestle for their limited edition Crunch bars with Girl Scout cookies. Gotta love those Thin Mints.

Given the any flap involving celebrity chef Paula Dean, I never liked her show.

Here is some handbell music for those wondering if handbells can do pop music.

A reminder that Friday is National Flip-Flop Day, Saturday is Stupid Guy Thing Day (or is it Stupid Guy-Thing Day), and Sunday is Pink Flamingo Lawn Ornament Day.

There will be a Saturday Morning Cartoon post this weekend.

Are you go to a wedding this weekend? After all, June is a popular month for weddings. I will send you into the weekend with this one from The Piano Guys. Have a good weekend. In the words of Garrison Keillor, Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.