Bill Nye “The Science Guy” recently made a short video mocking people who disagree with him on the murder of innocent babies. Bill Nye did a surprisingly poor job in this video.
Although the pro-murder position is indefensible, naturally, some do it better than others. Many Facebook avatars without a scientific reputation have defended the indefensible with much more honesty, consistency, and skill than Bill Nye’s abortion blunder.
“The Mechanical Engineering Guy”
There is a subtle fallacy that lies gently over this video before one word is even spoken, the Argument from Authority. Bill Nye carries extra authority to many because he is, well, the science guy. When he begins to call anti-murder proponents “scientifically ignorant”and condescendingly explains the process of fertilization, it carries more weight because, as a scientist, he is the expert after all. Apparently all one needs to do is add the word “science” to their nickname and start a children’s television show that requires a lab-coat to be an objective authority on all issues under the sun.
Bill Nye received his degree from Cornell in mechanical engineering. He went on to work for Boeing and later worked for an aeronautics company. He is not an authority on biology. Bill’s voice carries no extra weight, but it is that assumption that made this go viral. (This is not to suggest that Nye is not right because he is an engineer, nor is it to say that he can not be right unless he is a biologist. He is outside of his field of expertise on this issue.)
Bill Nye is the Miley Cyrus of mechanical engineering science. He has been associated so long with children’s entertainment, that a man with the prestigious degree that he has is now playing catch-up, so to speak. He is on a public campaign to capture respect. And apparently that comes through debating evolution against a Christian, profanity and sarcasm, mocking creationism, and through defending abortion. In other words, offending Christians is one of the best ways to make a positive public name for yourself in 2015 America.
The video quickly moves on from one fallacy to another before one single word is spoken. Not only is the veil of Arguing from Authority lightly draped over the post, but the title itself refutes the very thesis.
“When can we stop telling women what to do with their bodies?” is the title of the video. The question is obviously rhetorical. It could be read as “We need to stop telling women what they can do with their bodies.” Notice that this video is public. This means women have watched it. Bill Nye has just told women what they can and can’t do. Thus, those crazy pro-life women have no voice because a cisgendered white man named Bill Nye says so. Bill Nye gives permission to his female subjects to take marching orders from no one….else. Nye says,
“I would really encourage you to not tell women what to do…”
This is telling women what to do. Bill Nye has just told many women what to do by telling them they shouldn’t tell many women what to do.
It happens a third time when Nye says
“Nobody likes abortion, but you can’t tell somebody what to do.”
You can’t tell someone what to do, unless your Bill Nye. Then you can tell the whole world what they can and can’t do.
By way of a side note: why does no one like abortion? If it’s not the murder of a person, why wouldn’t it be liked? If abortion is a simple medical operation where no one dies, why does no one like it?
Nye can make amends by removing the video and apologizing for his misogyny. If a woman wanted to use her fingers to write an anti-abortion blog, or use her voice to protest abortion, does she have the rights over her body to do that? Or is that woman not allowed to do with her body what she wants because the women she is protesting have a right to have no one tell them what to do with their bodies?