Bill Nye might be a good teacher on many scientific topics. That’s kind of what “The Science Guy” is known for. But he is certainly not winning many points for his most recent video in which he says that people who oppose abortion “clearly don’t know what they are talking about.” For Nye, science makes the whole abortion debate passé.
But as Wesley Smith helpfully points out in his article for the National Review, “SCIENCE! cannot tell us whether abortion is right, wrong, or morally indifferent. All science can do is tell us the biological nature of that which is destroyed in an abortion.” Albert Mohler gives a great summary of Nye’s attempt to use science as a blanket authority source in his daily podcast The Briefing. Dr. Mohler points out that the word science is often used today as a “decoy argument” seeking to borrow the authority of science to advance ideologies that are themselves not scientifically justified.
Dr. John Lennox, professor at Oxford University, offers a helpful illustration for navigating debates like this. Science, he tells us, can show that if you put poison in your friend’s tea it will kill them. Science can even provide you with details about how how their physiology will respond. What science cannot tell us, what it never has been able to tell us, what it never will be able to tell us, is why it is wrong to put poison in someone’s tea.
For questions related to morality we cannot look to science. And that is what I think rubs Nye the wrong way. For all of his love for teaching science, he has to look elsewhere for morality. That’s how it’s always been. That’s how it always will be. Sorry, Bill. Nice try though.