Bill Nye, the Bible Deny(er)

…and it comes with a remote control!

(Image from Marty Andrade)

I’m just going to reprint this one in its entirety. It’s from

Bill Nye, the harmless children’s edu-tainer known as “The Science Guy,” managed to offend a select group of adults in Waco, Texas at a presentation, when he suggested that the moon does not emit light, but instead reflects the light of the sun.

As even most elementary-school graduates know, the moon reflects the light of the sun but produces no light of its own.

But don’t tell that to the good people of Waco, who were “visibly angered by what some perceived as irreverence,” according to the Waco Tribune.

Nye was in town to participate in McLennan Community College’s Distinguished Lecture Series. He gave two lectures on such unfunny and adult topics as global warming, Mars exploration, and energy consumption.

But nothing got people as riled as when he brought up Genesis 1:16, which reads: “God made two great lights — the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars.”

The lesser light, he pointed out, is not a light at all, but only a reflector.

At this point, several people in the audience stormed out in fury. One woman yelled “We believe in God!” and left with three children, thus ensuring that people across America would read about the incident and conclude that Waco is as nutty as they’d always suspected.

This story originally appeared in the Waco Tribune, but the newspaper has mysteriously pulled its story from the online version, presumably to avoid further embarrassment.

This story is so crazy that I’d like a second reference. Nobody’s that crazy, are they?

28 Responses to “Bill Nye, the Bible Deny(er)”

  1. Jr. Says:

    … honestly, I wouldn’t be that surprised. For some reason, I think it was 9/11, that caused a reemergence of “faith” (freaky religious weirdos). In the 90’s, no one questioned dinosaurs, at least no one I remember. Seriously.

  2. Lepht Says:

    oh man, please tell me that’s a joke. they can’t be fucking serious, can they? they can’t seriously believe that anyone who says the Moon is a rock and rocks can be observed in the lab *not* glowing with holy light is an apostate?

    then again, it is Waco. what the hell was Bill Nye doing there, trying to get himself crucified?


  3. RayCeeYa Says:

    Believing in young earth creationism is like believing in unicorns and Santa Claus. This is absurd beyond words. People have walked on the moon for gods sake.

    To top it off Nye wasn’t even discussing evolution, or the creation of the universe he was discussing scientific facts.

    Wake up people the Earth revolves around the Sun, the moon is a cold barren hunk of rock, and the sun is nothing more than a huge nuclear furnace.

  4. ericsan Says:

    They’re not questioning dinosaurs. They just claim they lived at the same time as our ancestors, 6,000 years ago. Doesn’t the creation museum feature pelt-clad prehistoric men riding happy dinos?

    The saddest part is that these people are allowed to procreate.

  5. Jr. Says:

    I’m just using dinosaurs as an example of scientific facts people are eschewing.

    Prehistoric men riding dinosaurs? ….well, I guess that’s sort of better than saying the dinosaurs were a complete hoax, and scientists planted bones to trick us. Less paranoid, same stupid.

    I can’t believe people found a way to find someone as harmless, friendly and well-meaning as Bill Nye offensive. How often do they go outside? What’s in the water in Waco?

  6. Random Flamer Says:

    quote: What’s in the water in Waco? :end quote.

    Ya don’t want me answering that. I live not far from Whacko Waco. Believe me, I am not surprised by this. I just find it sad, that just because the bible says light, then it must create its own light, not reflect light.

    I need to bleach my brain now and weep for humanity.

  7. RayCeeYa Says:

    But if the moon is just a reflector wouldn’t the bible have said one great light (lamp from the translations I’ve read) and one mirror?

    Oh wait maybe they didn’t have mirrors back when god wrote the bible.

    Or maybe the bible is complete fantasy and doesn’t actually reflect the true nature of reality.

    So from now on I think I’ll start worshiping Cthulhu. I’ll take Lovecraftian mythology over biblical mythology any day of the week. Especially Sunday.

  8. Ron Britton Says:

    Just to keep things in perspective, the article says “several people stormed out in fury”. Maybe it’s a hopeful sign that Bill Nye could go to the Bible Belt, make a comment contradicting the Bible, and not piss off more people.

  9. Dark Jaguar Says:

    I think I’ll offer a slightly different possibility here. Maybe it’s not that they actually thought the moon emitted light rather than reflected it (I mean the phases alone, and eclipses, surely they knew of these things). I think more likely it’s that he was saying the Bible was wrong rather than pointing out that example. I think that’s what offended them. Maybe they themselves hadn’t even read that part of the bible. It is likely they may have thought he was either making up that quote, or as I often hear myself, simply think he “took it out of context”. At any rate, he committed the sin of bringing up their faith in a negative light. He can disagree with their views on climate change, but if he makes a point of disagreeing with religion, he’s gone too far.

    Anyway, that’s my two cents. I think they were just upset about him more or less saying he doesn’t believe the Bible than that they think the moon actually does emit light. Dawkins is right, religion has a certain perch of untouchability that no other subject seems to bring out in people, and it’s undeserved and worth knocking down.

  10. MichaelS Says:

    Back when I was being indoctrinated into YEC-ism, Bill Nye was considered a from-the-devil preacher of evil evolution “theories” and anti-bible propaganda. I wonder if perhaps these people weren’t just waiting for any excuse to call him out on it.

    It makes me sad sometimes, knowing that I missed out on such a great guy because of stupid religious crap. I had plenty of chances to watch, but my parents or grandparents would always change it to something else, muttering, “we don’t watch that garbage here”.

  11. EricSan Says:

    No matter how hard I try, I just don’t get it. Anybody with half a brain can just look around at other, younger, blatantly bullshitty “religions” like mormonism and scientology (just watch the corresponding South Park episodes) to figure out how “prophets” make up this shit and get suckers to follow them. Can’t they understand that it’s all the same mechanism, and they’ve been suckered into the same trap? Arrrrgh.

  12. Ron Britton Says:

    Theirs is different! Theirs is special! Theirs is the one true religion!

  13. MichaelS Says:

    It’s looking at all the other religions, cherry picking the data to show that all other religions are the same, then showing what your religion has that no other religion has.

    I started asking those questions when I was 10 or 12 or thereabouts, and every answer I got became more convoluted than the last. I think I was 19 when I finally stood up and said to nobody “I renounce god”, but I stopped truly believing in gods long before that. However, there was an almost sub-conscious refusal to deny my own beliefs because I didn’t want it to be true (don’t ask me why), and because religion had been pounded into me for so long.

    I think it may be a social thing; your parents tell you it’s true (because their parents told them it’s true, and so on back to some ancient shaman (rhymes with “ramen”. . . mmm) who wanted to control everyone by deluding them into thinking he knew stuff they didn’t), then by the time you start questioning it, it’s socially reprehensible to not believe, so you deny your own reasoning, then eventually start believing again. Alternately, you get duped into it (perhaps because of some traumatic event that leaves your mind vulnerable to crazy talk), then it becomes socially reprehensible, and so on.

  14. MrsS Says:

    Ok, time to tick people off here – I’m a Christian. I do believe in a young earth. It’s kinda hard not to when people who believe in uniformitarianism get upset when you show them that at uniform rates of the current processes we see today, you put a cap of about 10,000 years on natural processes. But enough of that.

    First, have you ever noticed now non-believers always personally attack believers? We’re “freaky religious weirdos” and “The saddest part is that these people are allowed to procreate. ” Did anyone in here actually try to look at the scientific facts rather than resorting to personal attack first? Believe me, I’ve been in enough debates with evolutionists to know the pattern. We’ll have a good debate, discussing various scientific data, for about, oh, 20, 30 comments back and forth. Then they get stuck, and they start attacking anyone “dumb enough to believe that crap.” (A quote from a past discussion, not you guys.)

    Look, I know that not every Bible believer is the smartest crayon in the box – of course, neither is every non-believer. I am a science teacher, and I know that the moon does not emit its own light, but simply reflects the light of the sun. There is no question about that – but there’s also nothing in that verse that says God created the moon to emit its own light. It simply says that there was a great light in the heavens during the day, and another one at night. Heck, it doesn’t say anything about emitting its own light for either of them!

    “Prehistoric men riding dinosaurs? ….well, I guess that’s sort of better than saying the dinosaurs were a complete hoax, and scientists planted bones to trick us. Less paranoid, same stupid.” Guess I don’t know which Christians are doing that. I know as far as my faith is concerned, first of all, I’ve never questioned the existence of dinosaurs. Kinda hard to when you consider the evidence. I don’t even know any other Christian who claims dinosaurs ever existed. The Bible even talks about dinosaurs. It talks about dragons, first of all – and the word “dinosaur” is very recent. Cultures before that word came about have all sorts of stories about dragons. Why can’t those dragons be like dinosaurs? The Bible also mentions to creatures (leviathan and behemoth) that by process of elimination based on the physical characteristics described, it’s hard to NOT think those are dinosaurs!

    Look, my whole point is that you shouldn’t lump the entire Christian body into one lump with some people who didn’t make a very educated decision. I think that every time I see Fred Phelps and his gang from Westboro Baptist Church. They claim to be Christian, but keep in mind that they are the ONLY church in America that believes those things and does those things – the Christian body as a whole does not agree with them. And you’d be hard-pressed to find a large number of Christians who think that verse means the moon makes its own light (especially if they have any science education). I think Dark Jaguar has a point – they got mad because he disagreed with their religion. No, that wasn’t the right thing to do. And the fact that I think that just goes to show that not every Christian will agree with them.

    And please, do you honestly think the best place to get your information on various religions is SOUTH PARK?!!

  15. MrsS Says:

    Oh, I meant to make one more point with the prehistoric men bit – I don’t believe in cavemen. Every “caveman” specimen ever found has turned out to be a hoax or simply a human with some kind of disease or arthritis. Course, you won’t find that in the textbooks that use them as missing links… anyway, my point is that I believe God created fully-functional man, not a half-upright, grunting man. I don’t believe in prehistoric man, period – and neither do most of the other Christians I know.

  16. Bunkie Says:

    I’m curious. You say you teach science. At what level do you teach it (grade school, middle school, high school, college)? And what is your training (degree etc and in what)?

  17. Ron Britton Says:


    I’m afraid you are allowing your beliefs to blind you to the facts. The Earth has to be older than 10,000 years. The geological processes that formed the Earth require more time than that. So do the evolutionary forces that created the diversity of life we see today. All, and I do mean all, of the evidence backs this up.

    Likewise, your claim about cavemen is false and ignorant. There are many pre-homo species. The fossil record is very clear on this. You are using the standard creationist denialism to claim that they are old or deformed humans.

    Your claim that “non-believers always personally attack believers” is not true. Yes, personal attacks do enter into it at times, and different people react differently. However, to claim that non-believers always personally attack is not true. At this blog the general trend is to personally engage the creationist and try to correct his misconceptions. After a number of exchanges back and forth, if the creationist continues to make ignorant and stupid statements that have already been debunked by us in that thread, then we give up. That person is clearly retarded and is no longer worth our time. It is pointless to try to have a rational discussion with somebody who is shown the facts and then refuses to believe them. Inability to comprehend simple facts is the definition of stupid. Whether you fall into this category remains to be seen, but maybe that’s what’s happening to you elsewhere.

    We are not lumping all of Christianity into the same boat. This site very specifically makes clear that it targets the extreme end of Christianity. That there’s somewhere upwards of 50 million of them in this country may give you the impression that we’re going after everyone, but we’re not. Just the ones who deny established scientific facts and who try to impose their misconceptions on the rest of us.

    Your final crack about South Park shows your ignorance. Once again, you are making a statement based, apparently, on not knowing the facts. The Scientology and Mormon episodes of that series were the most accurate and damning portrayals of those cults ever depicted in the mainstream media.

  18. MrsS Says:

    I’m not even sure why I’m bothering to answer, but whatever…

    I teach Earth and physical science, and yes, I do have an education degree and a teacher certification.

    As for the uniformitarianism mentioned by Ron, here’s some facts: the sun is burning up. That means it used to be bigger. (I’m sure you can follow that logic.) If you expand the sun at the current rate that it is burning up, within a few hundred thousand years, everything on earth would have been scorched. Kind of puts a limit on evolutionists’ thought of billions of years. Another one: the earth is slowing down. If you were to back up time and speed it up according to the rate at which it is currently slowing down, then you have another limit of a few thousand years before the earth would have been spinning so fast that nothing could withstand the winds. Another: the moon is moving away from us. If you move it closer to back up time at the current rate that it is leaving, you again have a limit of a few thousand years before the earth would have been flooded by tides twice a day. I could keep going.

    As for your claim that the fossil record shows clear evidence of pre-homo sapien man…Neanderthal Man turned out to be a regular human with a vitamen deficiency that caused him to stoop over. Piltdown Man was a hoax – a guy took a human skull and an ape jawbone, filed them down to fit, and stained them. Nebraska Man was developed from ONLY A TOOTH – which later turned out to belong to a pecarry (pig-like animal). Java Man was pieced together from fossils found miles apart (nevermind the fact that the fossils consisted of a skull cap, three teeth, and part of a thigh bone… not much to go on for a missing link!). Lucy’s thigh was found 1 1/2 miles away from the rest of the skeleton, as well as 200 feet deeper in the rock! So where is this fossil evidence of which you claim?

    As for my statement that it is my experience that non-believers resort to personal attacks, I’d like Ron to read through what he wrote again: “However, to claim that non-believers always personally attack is not true. At this blog the general trend is to personally engage the creationist and try to correct his misconceptions. After a number of exchanges back and forth, if the creationist continues to make ignorant and stupid statements that have already been debunked by us in that thread, then we give up. That person is clearly retarded and is no longer worth our time.” You just said you don’t resort to personal attacks, and yet you say that someone who does not agree with you, he is clearly retarded. How is that not a personal attack.

    And I still say I will not rely on South Park for my scientific (or theological) information. I don’t care if you think it was one of the most accurate portrayals of those cults (and yes, I do agree with you that both scientology and Mormonism are cults) in the mainstream media. South Park is not meant to be accurate. It was designed to be funny and to mock aspects of our culture. Anything played for laughs is going to stretch the truth.

  19. Ron Britton Says:

    MrsS, you are clearly retarded. This is not a personal attack. It is a statement of fact. As I said before, if somebody is shown verifiable accurate facts and she refuses to believe them, she must be retarded. You’re quacking like a duck.

    I never said we didn’t personally attack.  I said we don’t attack at the beginning.  Once you’ve proven that you’re retarded, then we call a spade a spade.

    Please tell us which parts of the Mormon and Scientology episodes of South Park were not factual.  Until you do so, you are merely advertising your bigotry and ignorance.  Also, you say you won’t rely on South Park for your scientific or theological information.  And yet, you do rely on patently wrong creationist textbooks that have absolutely no facts in them whatsoever.  Getting your information from South Park would be a huge step up for you.  You should consider it.

    All of your so-called proofs of the age of the Earth are creationist lies that have been debunked. All of your claims about pre-homid fossils are creationist lies that have been debunked. Yes, Piltdown Man was a fraud. So what? It was only seriously considered a real fossil for a few years. After that, it was ignored as irrelevant. Science is self-correcting. The mistakes get removed. Creationism is not self-correcting. The mistakes are perpetuated by retarded liars like yourself.

    If you don’t like what I’m saying, then you’d better come up with some real evidence, not the long-debunked wailings of a crybaby religion that was obsoleted centuries ago.

  20. Parrotlover77 Says:

    I can’t believe a school lets someone so completely ignorant about earth and physical sciences teach earth and physical sciences. I hope MrsS’ students realize that her creationist propoganda is not true. The ignorant teaching ignorance brings a tear to my eye. Sigh.

    According to MrsS, I guess in the year 4000, there won’t be tides anymore since the moon is just flying away from the earth and we’ll have like 30 hour days too. Cool. I wonder where this massive friction comes from? Real scientific evidence points to about 0.005 seconds per year per year deceleration. To get to a “too fast” earth that can fling life off of it in less than 10,000 years is quite a few orders of magnitude different from real evidence.


    Oops, I forgot, by the year 4000 Christians will have been flung already into heaven by the rapture, so earth rotation is not really needed.

  21. sabrina Says:

    Wow, wasn’t Piltdown man discredited in the 1920’s? And wasn’t that whole sun shrinking thing based on gravitational collapse as the only way the sun could create energy, before nuclear fusion was discovered in the 1930’s? Plus, there has never been a peer-reviewed published paper about the sun shrinking, so its not even a fact. Why do YEC’s use research from seventy years ago? And where in the world did she get that tidbit about Neanderthal man? Virchow hypothesized this but it was discredited by 1886, when more Neanderthal skeletons were found. I can’t believe she gets to teach, she obviously thinks anything science stopped circa 1930. This is why attacks get personal, creationists use pseudo-intellectual arguments but refuse to actually look at the evidence!! They attempt to indoctrinate children with this, knowing that they are lying, but thinking its okay since they’re lying for Jesus. It’s because of teachers like this that our students consistently score lower in science than their counterparts in Europe.

  22. Brian Says:

    First, I just want to say that I’m so glad to have a deluded fundie to rant at again and not feel compelled to discuss politics.

    MrsS, had I been drinking a beverage whilst reading your last effort to “educate” us, it surely would have shot out of my nose from the serious laughing fit I’m only now coming down from. If I believed in a god, I would certainly thank it for allowing me the opportunity I once again have to reach out and touch those among us who have clearly not benefitted from a quality education and have instead grown up confined in the mental prison I call religion.

    I do not wish to repeat the sound rebuttals to your nutty ideas already expressed by Ron and others here. While they may have an effect on someone not completely tone-deaf to logic and reason, such efforts are clearly wasted on you. You bemoan the fact that we resort to scorn and ridicule when interacting with a person like yourself, but the sad truth is you will pay attention to no other form of communication. And really, when you go through life convinced an invisible, undetectable, inscrutable yet strangely vengeful and petulant ghost made the entire universe less than 10,000 years ago for our benefit alone, how else can we be expected to respond?

    You are a grown adult and are therefore responsible for the contents of your mind. It is your right to believe that T-Rex was a herbivore and only turned to eating other creatures after Eve plucked that goddamned apple out of the tree. It is your right to ignore the entire body of scientific knowledge in favor of the insipid myths gifted to us by ignorant desert-dwellers who had to borrow their creation stories from older cultures that curiously existed before the planet was supposedly formed. As a teacher, however, it is not your right to dull the minds of the children trapped in your class with your mythological insults to human intelligence. I can only hope that religion is so ludicrous, so inane, so absolutely bat-shit crazy that it can’t possibly last forever. People like you will no doubt help it maintain the malevolent grip it has on our psyches for centuries to come, and for that, our descendents, if we survive our foolish faiths long enough to produce them, will shake their heads and wonder how in the hell we let the farce go on for as long as we did. I know you think you’re just doing the lord’s work, and people like us will be burning for all eternity (which probably gives you the worst sort of guilty pleasure), but if you want your pathetic fables treated with respect, I recommend you undertake a serious effort to understand the methods and the findings of science before you make an ass of yourself yet again.

  23. sabrina Says:

    *applause* for Brian. A more stunningly elegant set-down I have yet to hear. Cheers:)

  24. Ben Says:

    I’m not going to try and debate the whole creationist thing. But I will point out that the Bible does not say that the moon immits its own light. I would agree with it that during the night it provides a lesser form of light. I don’t think it says more than that. I can’t read in that verse of scripture that the moon produces its own light. It just doesnt say that. Whatever interpretations a religion has of it is something else.
    Also I am a commited, believing, and practising Mormon. And I do not believe that the South Park episode was accurate. It may have gotten some facts right, but the spin placed on it distorted what is actually believed by mormons. I also resent us being called a cult. Your free not to believe what we believe or agree with us, but calling us a cult signifies a lack of understanding of who we are. Perhaps many of you would feel comfortable labeling any religion as a cult, but as for those who are religious that I have spoken to the word cult seems to mean, anyone who believes things that are “strange” to me and insist that they are right. What we believe might be strange to you but that doesn’t mean we aren’t good people.

  25. Ron Britton Says:

    And I do not believe that the South Park episode was accurate. It may have gotten some facts right, but the spin placed on it distorted what is actually believed by mormons.

    The “spin”, in this case, is how the rest of the world views your cult. Most Mormons I’ve met are good people, but it’s still a cult.

  26. J.R. "Bob" Dobbs Says:

    Yes Ron, great people, but I always have this feeling of something’s amidst.

    Did the creationist that just came here claim that the sun was burning?That made my morning.

  27. Parrotlover77 Says:

    Afterall, at the end of that episode didn’t the Mormon family basically say something like why the hell do you guys keep bothering us? The family was very sweet and decent and portrayed as wonderful people, just following a very odd cult. And Ben, you are probably correct about viewing most/all religions as a cult. I have a VERY hard time distinguishing ANY religion which has proselytism as a tenet of their faith as any different from any kool-aid drinking cult. Religions that allow members to freely believe or not without punishment (think: fear of hell) is the only thing I can really accept as “not a cult.” I’m having a hard time coming up with one like that. Maybe Buddhism? Not sure…

  28. Sarah Says:

    Buddhism would be the only group I would not consider cult like…and they aren’t really a religion because you do not have to conform to any God or higher power. It’s really just a way of living life spiritually…although I remember only so many years back, it was the fundies calling them cult followers. (I think some old man yelled at me once for practicing yoga…apparently I was “brainwashed and needed to stop worshipping elephants and women with Nazi signs on their heads” Poor Ganesh and Kali…I mean hell…the stupid bastard doesn’t even know the difference between Hindu and Buddhism!)

    Pot and kettle, meet tea cup.