This post first appeared here on August 28, 2012.
Ok, I use the word “experts” loosely. Richard Dawkins, for example, admits that he doesn’t actually know any people of deep religious faith, and he hasn’t actually read the Bible, but he’s absolutely convinced that it’s evil, and a threat to civilization, even if all civilization, pretty much everywhere, was built by religious people of some kind. But he’s really smart! Even though I saw him stare at the camera blankly for a full 60 seconds once when an interviewer asked him to name any mechanism he could imagine that would account for innovation in the DNA molecule. Nevermind. At least pay attention to Bill Nye, who had a children’s science show once, and probably graduated from High School, at least. That makes him an expert at something, I’m sure, just like the media says he is, even though he thinks that the scientific method involves shouting really, really loudly that something is true, until everyone gives in and agrees. Contrary to the Twitter news item trending right now, R.I.P. Bill Nye The Science Guy, he is not actually dead. As for Carl Sagan, who IS actually dead, bill-yuns of people have got their science from him, so he’s reliable, even though I’ve heard that his astrophysics lectures were confusing when he’d been smoking a lot of pot.
The following quotes are presented in no particular order, but the Dawkins quotes come from an interview in Playboy Magazine. I would link to Playboy, because I’ve heard they have some good science fiction articles, but I’ll instead link to the Blaze article on the interview, just because. The Bill Nye quotes come from the Big Think video from last week. Then, I threw in some old stuff from Carl Sagan, even though he’s been dead for a while, and my quotes are from his book, Demon Haunted World, which is a decent bit of Marijuana-fueled paranoia, but I don’t recommend smoking or drinking anything while you read it. It’s interesting, but it’s a little creepy and it plays fast and loose with history. My comments are in italics.
Richard Dawkins: “[Let’s discuss] the simple beauty of evolution, the improbability of God and why the pope should be arrested.” -Snork!
Bill Nye: “Denial of evolution is unique to the United States…” – Not according to your old professor, Carl Sagan… See next quote.
Carl Sagan: “So pseudoscience (religious superstition) in America is part of a global trend. It’s causes, dangers, diagnosis and treatment are likely to be similar everywhere.”
Richard Dawkins: “It’s not that I shun [religious people]; it’s that the circles I move in tend to be educated, intelligent circles, and there aren’t any religious people among them that I know of.” – Back at ya, Dick.
Bill Nye: “Creationism is not appropriate for children. When you have a portion of the population that doesn’t believe in that (evolution), it holds everybody back, really…” – I know! That’s why we had so much trouble getting the Curiosity lander on Mars! Because a few of the non-atheist engineers at NASA hadn’t been fired yet. It’s a miracle it worked! Oops…
Carl Sagan: “Those convinced that … cults represent a serious danger to our society tend to be impatient with skeptics.” – Carl intended this statement as a criticism of Christians, but it seems strangely appropriate for Dick and Bill, as well.
Richard Dawkins: “The evidence [Jesus] existed is surprisingly shaky. … It’s almost as though Saint Paul and others who wrote the Epistles weren’t that interested in whether Jesus was real.” – I have no response for this. I’m too stupid to reconcile this with the history of the world, or how we keep time, or anything, really.
Bill Nye: “Once in a while I get people who claim that they don’t believe in evolution, and my response generally is why not? Really, why not? Your world just becomes fantastically more complicated when you don’t believe in evolution. … I say to the grownups, if you want to deny evolution and live in your world that’s inconsistent with everything we observe in the universe, that’s fine. But don’t make your kids do it. We need them. We need scientifically literate voters and taxpayers for the future. We need … engineers, who can build stuff … solve problems.” – Funny you should say that, because even though belief in evolution correlates with the very elite scientific fields, it turns out that the “practical” fields, like engineering and technology, are actually THICK with religious nuts. And, somehow, we still make stuff that works. How is that, Bill? When we’re so ign’runt?
Bill Nye: “This is the most important election of my life and I believe we’re at a crossroads, a turning point… We can either move forward, especially in education, or backward. I think voters have a clear choice, so I’m supporting the president.” – This is what irrationality looks like, Bill. You have spent the last 3 years in anger at this President over his gutting of the space program, and you support him anyway because you hate religious people sooooo much more. That’s just sad.
Richard Dawkins: “[The notion that] Jesus died for our sins [is] barking mad. … a truly disgusting idea.”
Carl Sagan: “I don’t know to what extent ignorance of science and mathematics contributed to the decline of ancient Athens, but I know that the consequences of scientific illiteracy are far more dangerous in our time … It is perilous and foolhardy for the average citizen to remain ignorant about global warming, …” – I just get a chuckle from Sagan promoting global warming, which is now being widely recognized as a pseudoscientific sham, in his book about the dangers of pseudoscience.
Carl Sagan: “One of the saddest lessons of history is this: If we’ve been bamboozled long enough, we tend to reject any evidence of the bamboozle. We’re no longer interested in finding out the truth.” – He was talking about religion, but it works just as well on bad science, like global warming. Eh, Carl?
Bill Nye: “In another couple centuries that worldview [religion], I’m sure…just won’t exist; There’s no evidence for it.” – I distinctly remember dozens of other people making this same prediction decades, even centuries ago… Hmmm.
Richard Dawkins: “We are a unique ape. We have language. Other animals have systems of communication that fall far short of that. They don’t have the same ability to communicate complicated conditionals and what-ifs and talk about things that are not present. These are all unique manifestations of our evolved ape brain, which some evidence suggests came about through a rather limited number of mutations.” – Here, “limited” means less than infinite, but still unimaginably large.
Carl Sagan: “One of the great commandments of science is, mistrust arguments from authority. Scientists, being primates, … of course, do not always follow this commandment.” – Hah! Fooled you by sneaking in a quote that actually makes sense. Sorry to confuse!