A Preacher Disputes Bill Nye

The whole world knows about the video in which Bill Nye Blasts Creationism. Now the creationists are fighting back.

In the Norwich Bulletin of Norwich, Connecticut we read Bill Nye should rethink creationism stance. It’s written by the Rev. Cal Lord, pastor at Central Baptist Church of Westerly. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us:

I love Bill Nye. He’s funny, entertaining and he has uncanny ability to make science interesting and fun for everyone.

The rev goes on for a couple of paragraphs about what a great guy Bill Nye is. But then the tone changes:

I think that is why I was shocked to hear of the video he put out this week. It is simply titled, “Creationism is not appropriate for children.” At first I thought it was a joke but as I watched it I realized he was quite serious.

That’s right, rev — it’s no joke. Let’s read on:

Nye, who was educated as a mechanical engineer, believes that the theory of evolution is the only credible truth as to how the universe was created and the only pathway to understanding how it works. He is not the first one, and he will not be the last, to hold these views.

The rev actually watched Nye’s video and he thinks evolution explains the creation of the universe? Anyway, we continue:

The Noble Peace Prize winning biologist, George Wald, was quoted in Scientific American magazine in 1957 as saying:

[The rev’s purported George Wald quote:] “There are only two possibilities as to how life arose. One is spontaneous generation arising to evolution; the other is a supernatural creative act of God. There is no third possibility. Spontaneous generation, that life arose from non-living matter was scientifically disproved 120 years ago by Louis Pasteur and others. That leaves us with the only possible conclusion that life arose as a supernatural creative act of God. I will not accept that philosophically because I do not want to believe in God. Therefore, I choose to believe in that which I know is scientifically impossible; spontaneous generation arising to evolution.”

It’s difficult to believe that a biologist said such a thing — even a Peace Prize winner. Oh, we checked. According to Wikipedia, George Wald “won a share of the 1967 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine.” Well, physiology … peace — what’s the difference?

Regardless of the prize (which is certainly impressive), did Wald really say what the Rev claims he said? To find out, we went to the TalkOrigins website, where they have a trove of information about creationist quote-mining. There we found: Quote #57. It discusses the very words quoted by the rev. Here’s what TalkOrigins says: “The quote is a complete fabrication.” Then they go on to quote what Wald actually wrote. It’s nothing like what the rev claims. Among other things, Wald wrote:

Our present concept of the origin of life leads to the position that, in a universe composed as ours is, life inevitably arises wherever conditions permit. We look upon life as part of the order of nature. It does not emerge immediately with the establishment of that order; long ages must pass before it appears. Yet given enough time, it is an inevitable consequence of that order.

Okay, so much for the rev’s Nobel Prize-winning authority. Moving along in the rev’s article:

So riddle me this: Who is doing a greater disservice to the children? Those who honestly share their belief in a creative spirit who designed this wonderful complex, interesting world or those who continue to promote a theory that has been proven impossible by the greatest minds of the ages?

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! As the article draws to a close, the rev quotes scripture:

I wonder if Bill Nye has ever read the Psalms. In Psalm 8 King David looks up and asks, “Lord, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory in the heavens. …

That’s nice. But what does it have to do with creationism? Here ya go:

These words have launched a thousand investigations and aroused the curiosity of young minds for centuries. I still like you, but maybe its time to think again Bill Nye?

So there you are, dear reader. The rev is probably a decent fellow, but he should stick to his trade and avoid giving opinions about science.

Copyright © 2012. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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18 responses to “A Preacher Disputes Bill Nye

  1. “Spontaneous generation, that life arose from non-living matter was scientifically disproved 120 years ago by Louis Pasteur and others.”

    I must have missed that one. Perhaps Pasteur was talking about the spontaneous generation of rats from piles of rags, a widely held belief by creationists and clergy of the time?

  2. Charles Deetz ;)

    Didn’t this guy cringe himself when he used a quote from 1957 (whether he knew it was true or not)? About as worthwhile as quoting Bill Gates to support creationism.

  3. Charles Deetz says: “Didn’t this guy cringe himself when he used a quote from 1957”

    There are loads of creationist websites with that quote. He could have relied on any of them.

  4. Jim Thomerson

    I’m of the opinion that so long as spontaneous generation as it was understood by, for example, Jan Batista van Helmont (1580 to 1635, or 1644), the father of biochemistry, a coherent theory of evolution would be difficult to formulate. He published a recipe for spontaneous generation of mice by putting grain and dirty rags in a bowl and putting it in a dark corner, He produced mice exactly like those running around his house. (No, that is not the experiment which gained him recognition as the father of biochemistry.)

    By Pasteur’s time spontaneous generation had wound down to maybe bacteria. Pasteur did a proper job of sterilization and keeping things sterile. He showed that bacteria did not arise de novo under the best modern conditions one could think of. I have read that his flasks are still extant in Paris, and still bacteria free.

    Abiogenisis proposes that life originated in a world devoid of life, under conditions much different from any in recent history. It is not the same as classical spontaneous generation, and the two should not be confused.

  5. Bill may be on to something. He obviously hit a nerve. Hopefully the good Rev. reads some of the replies.

  6. Curmudgeon: “But what does [whether Bill Nye has ever read the Psalms] have to do with creationism?”

    That’s a perfect question for the Discoveroids. On one hand they’re cringing that another rube has not “read the memo.” On the other they are ecstatc that the same rube has learned the tactic of quote mining dead scientists.

  7. Evolution *has* been proven impossible by the greatest minds of the ages: Kent Hovind, Henry Morris, and Ray Comfort.

  8. My grandson just visited me, and while we were chatting, he asked me if I’d seen the Bill Nye video. I had not yet taken the time to watch, so we watched it together. I must say, it’s a rather mild video to get all these people so upset. I really expected something else…something insulting, something earthshaking, but no; it was just Bill Nye stating his opinion politely and quietly.

    Creationists, on the other hand, continue to be insulting and to lie.

  9. Ellie says: “Creationists, on the other hand, continue to be insulting and to lie.”

    They don’t set a very good example, do they?

  10. I am disappointed in the replies. No one pointed out the quote mine, for example. I would post a reply, myself, but they require too much information (am I signing up for spam?) to register.

  11. @TomS:

    I guess you mean replies to the original letter. I too rarely reply to them because of the need to register. It’s usually painful to even read the replies because, intentionally or not, those letters are “atheist baiting.” So even when there’s an excellent reply, it’s often drowned out with the “you’re lying for Jesus” foot-shooting.

    If even half the commenters would calmly ask the letter writers basic “what happened when” questions about their alternate “theories,” imagine all the fun we’d have comparing the mutually-contradictory answers and pathetic evasion.

  12. When the creature-ationists quote ‘Scripture’, give them the decency of a relevant answer, such as, “Two all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, chesse, onions, pickles on a sesame seed bun,” or maybe, “Please drive through, Thank you, Come again!!”

    “It slices, it dices, it juliennes…but wait, there’s more!” can also be an appropriate response when they use the “The Bible teaches” for a lead-in since the same logic is exploited every 8 minutes x 999 channels to infer that $19.95 and an actor willing to say anything imbues supernatural ability onto mail order products to do things without a shred of evidence, study, or simple cause-effect relationship to back it up.

  13. @FLeepowers: “When the creature-ationists quote ‘Scripture’, give them the decency of a relevant answer, such as, “Two all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, chesse, onions, pickles on a sesame seed bun,”

    This deserves some kind of truly witty remark, but I can’t think of any other than, “Now I’m hungry”.

  14. “Perhaps Pasteur was talking about the spontaneous generation of rats from piles of rags, a widely held belief by creationists and clergy of the time?”

    Not quite. Jim Thomerson has it right. John Wilkins did a comprehensive article about it at the Talk Origins Archive:


    “About as worthwhile as quoting Bill Gates to support creationism.”

    They’ve done that too:


  15. I give up! I signed up to the stinking Norwich Bull-whatever and tried posting a comment. Twice! Never appeared. Now I won’t be famous on the InterTube! Boo.

  16. SC says “The rev is probably a decent fellow…” Nope. I respectfully disagree with you, SC, because in my view Mr. Preacher has proven himself a liar with the intent to undermine Enlightenment principles. Worse, he’s the proverbial wolf in sheep’s clothing; a self-promoter (I believe this of all preachers) who has jockeyed himself into a position of authority as a leader and instructor, and uses calculated deception to perpetuate that position – or more accurately, the perqs that come with it. After all, consider the motive for making the effort to write and have published an article which supports ones view (that in turn supports ones livelihood), but which can only be advanced by lying about or mischaracterizing the opposing view. He didn’t just jabber on about things he doesn’t understand because he’s too stupid to know better (the type of stupidity that obviates quote mining) but I daresay cunningly weighed the gains against losses to himself, and wrote a willfully deceitful letter with the expectation that he won’t be held accountable for the misinformation. To me, he’s worse than the “executive” scammers of the DI, who excrete a product that is distributed (“smeared” might be more descriptive) by middlemen scammers. It is these middlemen and local scammers who take advantage of their positions of trust and, due also in part to their great numbers, potentially do the greatest harm to society; they are dandelions in grass roots organizations; they physically infiltrate school boards and peddle power in a myriad of other ways. Moreover, the Biblical smokescreen is always up, and they are seen as heroes or martyrs (or both) because no one calls out as self-serving hypocrites these “men and women of God”. However, I think I will write and tell him that his lie was uncovered.

  17. @ SC
    Hi Curms. I’ve been away for a few weeks and just as soon as I began contributing to the SC conversations, I made a whoppin’ mistake. I don’t know why I do this – I’ve done it before and it’s kinda embarrassing, but in the post above I abbreviated Sensuous Curmedgeon with SM. Please don’t read anything into that except that I was tired, or maybe think of you as Sensuous ‘Mudgeon? It’s really only embarrassing to me because I often write about other people’s stupidity (feeling sheepish)… but I’d appreciate if you’d correct it. Keep or delete this message at your discretion. Thanks, Donna
    p.s. I’ve noticed lots of levity in the posts -limmericks, musicals. Loads of fun to read!