Friday, November 8, 2013

Bill Nye's Disparaging Remarks

         Several years ago, Bill Nye was giving a lecture in Waco, Texas. He comments early on that the Bible is not a reliable document because it refers to the Sun as the 'greater light' while it refers to the moon as the 'lesser light'. But the part that garnered the most attention was many of the members of the audience got up and left. Atheist groups called this evidence of the audience believing that the moon really does generate light rather than act as a reflector of it. Actually, they left because he made an insensitive remark on a religion that the audience largely identifies with. That should be clear from the reporting on the subject is that they took issue not with his point about the moon and light but that it appeared to them he was being rude about it.

         Whether the moon reflects light or it generates its own light is immaterial to the text, and is immaterial to his lecture. That the text does not overtly state the precise orbits of the celestial bodies can't be viewed as an affirmative proof that the peoples discussed in Moses' era had a misunderstanding on it because it makes no case as to what their orbits are. Neither could it be viewed as an inconsistency if it was already common knowledge at the time. If the ancients understood more about the heavens than what is commonly thought, then a caveat was not necessary because it would already be common knowledge the function of the moon. So the language would be understood by readers as a figurative statement. More importantly the verse isn't making a point of science at all but about God's role.

          For instance, we have reports at the lunar perigee about the apparent size or luminosity of the moon and it's not understood that the moon has grown, or that it may shrink and grow at different times, or that it is growing with any greater brightness. There is no caveat because the basic realities of the moon are already understood. If readers i9n early biblical times already understood basic facts of cosmology it would have been unnecessary for Genesis to be clear to that extreme degree. When we say 'the sun rises' or 'the sun sets', it is understood not as a statement from the perspective of geocentrism. So it is redundant to provide a disclaimer in every single case figurative remarks are made of Sun or moon in every news report, newspaper article and conversation because everyone is already aware.

          The broader point in the verse is to say that God is the Creator of both lights and of all things. Bill Nye I'm sure understands this already but because he is an anti-Christian bigot he wanted to be distasteful to a crowd of people who wanted to hear him speak about science, not his hatred of religion and religious values. Atheists don't have a lot of sympathy with most people because they bully their opponents through the court system, are consistently belligerent and hostile on college campuses and nasty, disrespectful bigots in every sort of way. They have to promote the idea that there is a conspiracy by religion, particularly Christianity, to violently seize the reins of government, ban teaching of evolution and institute a theocracy. This wins them support from society who is taken in by the belief that such a conspiracy exists when it doesn't. They believe nothing and are organized on nothing. They offer no beliefs of their own and they mock others for theirs. And most of all they are cowards and promote sedition.

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