Be still my heart a man who can discuss energy-saving techniques at length while simultaneously making me laugh. Who is that man? Bill Nye, of course. Nye’s recent work, “Undeniable: Evolution and the Science of Creation” is a testament to that continued love affair as he, in one eloquent motion after the next, refutes, among many other topics, the theory of creationism in the modern world.
Photo courtesy of St. Martin’s Press, 2014.
Nye, who studied under the late and great, Carl Sagan, was most notable for his television personality, Bill Nye the Science Guy. However, since that time, Nye’s continued presence has surpassed even that status as demonstrated by his research, development, debates, and lectures. Nye has become more than the eccentric personality of the 1990s landscape, but rather a monument to science and profundity. Brilliant, conscious, and above all, passionate, Nye and his work seek to inform society by asking for our time, our ears, and most of all — our open mind — assuming we are up to the task.
First introducing readers to his younger self, Nye notes where his aptitude for knowledge and curiosity began — around 7-years-old, pondering the subject of bees. What started as small then spiraled into genius. Fast forward decades later, Nye’s nature, as displayed in the book, remains humbling. Readers take note of Nye’s brevity and conversational dialogue, which does not detract from his understanding or his posed questioning to us.
Nye is delicate in his wording, but does not pander to those sensitive about the topics therein, particularly creationism — a theory he believes has no place in education. Facts, after all, are facts, as Nye explains herein: “Inherent in this rejection of evolution is the idea that your curiosity about the world is misplaced and your common sense is wrong. […] Children who accept this ludicrous perspective will find themselves opposed to progress. They will become society’s burdens rather than its producers, a prospect I find very troubling. Not only that, these kids will never feel the joy of discovery that science brings.”
The work is above reproach, with prime chapters including: “Me and You and Evolution, Too,” “My Prom and Sexual Selection,” “Convergence, Analogy, and Homology,” and “Life’s Cosmic Imperative”. Throughout the collection, Nye never comes across as disparaging, but rather enlightening — it is with great sincerity that he educates by instilling facts only after refuting opinions and generalizations. Through it all, he manages to keep to his word: “The more you find out about the world, the more opportunities there are to laugh at it.” So keep learning, and keep laughing.
[Published: 12 November 2014, The Weekender]