In February, celebrated scientist Bill Nye engaged in a much-publicized debate with Christian celebrity Ken Ham about whether creationism was “viable” as a scientific theory. Polls found that Nye roundly won the debate.
Triumph in this debate, however, did not necessarily mean a win for science education. In the United States, there is still an uphill battle not only for funding and better teachers, but also to stem the proliferation of charter schools that cast doubt on evolution or flatly deny it. Nye’s biggest worry, he says, is about children — and specifically about their ability to compete and innovate in the future.
The debate with Ham eventually led Nye to pen his newest book, “Undeniable: Evolution and the Science of Creation” (out tomorrow), which broadens, contextualizes and connects evolution to everyday life.
Science does not discover truth. It uses facts to construct models of the world around us. Better models come closer and closer to the reality of Nature but never quite get to Truth.
We need to stop using theory I think. We construct models of the world. The best models do the best at describing the world and predicting things we have not seen before.
Evolution by natural selection is a model. Intelligent design is a model. It is a lousy one, doing a very, very poor job describing the real world. To overturn one model, the new model MUST be BETTER at describing the natural world in all areas. Intelligent design is not better in any.
Same with climate change. Including human activities into the model does a better job of explaining the data and the world around us that excluding them.
And as we learn more and gain better models of the world, the human impact has gotten stronger, not weaker.
Science is about creating the best models to describe all the data. If you want to overthrow a well supported model, you had better make sure the new one is better, in every way.