Bill Nye – Back At It Again with the Philosophobia

Come, Let Us Reason

Hi everyone!
I’d like to begin this post with a YouTube video of Bill Nye where he answers the question “Does Science Have All the Answers or Should We Do Philosophy Too?

From what I can tell, Bill Nye has decided to stop promoting scientific literacy among school-age children and has instead begun promoting an incoherent, pseudo-intellectual scientism.

I want to be clear here… this is not a shot against Bill Nye as a person. I grew up with the classic Bill Nye the Science Guy. His take on a variety of scientific topics inspired me to become interested in science (at first I was obsessed with astronomy, later moved onto biology). Who knows? Maybe without Bill Nye, I wouldn’t have gone to school for Biology or, perhaps, I wouldn’t be working in a scientific field.

If I were to be asked the question, “Elijiah, does science have all the answers or should we do philosophy, too?” the answer would be extremely easy.

No, science does not have all the answers. If you’re asking an ethical, mathematical, philosophical, or historical question, Science offers very little. But if you’re asking a scientific question, yes! Science is doing a really great job at answering those questions. So while science is great and has inspired a huge amount of progress, we should still do philosophy. In the same way, I certainly hope we’d still do history, mathematics, ethics, etc… even though science is awesome.

The reason I bring this up is not specifically to pick on Bill Nye (although that would be rather easy). If you’re interested, here’s an awesome “public letter” to Nye. Written by an atheist, but atheists can be right about some things, I suppose!

I want to talk about the kind of anti-philosophy attitude that Nye represents; and this philosophobia is part of a much larger unfortunate trend among self-professed skeptics. This awkward obsession with science has infiltrated nearly every apologetics-related conversation, and a proper understanding of science is essential to have productive and meaningful conversations.

So let’s talk briefly about science and philosophy.

Philosophy is a field of study that pretty much undergirds all of human knowledge, and when it comes to it’s relationship with science, we have to look specifically at the field of epistemology. Because epistemology is the study of knowledge, it is vital to have a proper understanding of ‘how we know what we know,’ before we can fully understand a deliberately limited epistemology, such as the scientific method. It is important to understand that without philosophy, there would be no science.

One argument that you’ll likely encounter is when someone declares that science has replaced God and that God is just a temporary filler for stuff science hasn’t discovered yet! Well, this is a terrible argument, and I’ve addressed that here.

I have no doubt that the scientific topics will come up in future posts, but hopefully this puts science into perspective. It is awesome, but not perfect.

Thanks for reading!

Elijah Thompson
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