Appeal to Consequence Fallacy

“If we continue to eschew science, eschew the process, and try to divide science into observational science and historic science, we aren’t going to move forward, we’ll not embrace natural laws, we’ll not make discoveries, we’ll not invent and innovate and stay ahead.” ~ Bill Nye at the Nye-Ham debate.

“Now, one last thing, you may not know that in the U.S. Constitution, from the Founding Fathers, is the sentence: to promote the progress of science and useful arts. Kentucky voters, voters who might be watching online, in places like Texas, Tennessee, Oklahoma, Kansas, please, you don’t want to raise a generation of science students who don’t understand how we know our place in the cosmos, our place in space, who don’t understand natural law. We need to innovate to keep the United States where it’s in the world.” ~ Bill Nye

Bill committed an appeal to consequences fallacy. He didn’t say the exact words of the meme, but that was the implication. Appeal to consequence is a fallacy because consequences can’t change reality. He also committed an appeal to fear fallacy. Fear can’t change reality either. Making this line of reasoning even more ridiculous, the consequences Bill proposed weren’t realistic, but even if they had been realistic, consequences have no power to change reality. In other words, it’s not sane to deny reality simply because of a consequence. This consequence could be real or imagined. Therefore, Bill’s imagined and unrealistic consequence isn’t proof against God, doesn’t prove the ungodly origins story, and doesn’t disprove God’s account of origins.

Bill points to a consequence, but his supposed consequence is an absurd extrapolation. We know that we won’t suffer this consequence since young-earth creationists started most branches of science. (Scientists of the past) These were scientists who didn’t believe in the ungodly origins story, which shows that scientists who don’t believe in the sacred-cow story have made tremendous scientific progress. Bill’s supposed consequence is a phantom consequence. It’s not going to happen, and Bill’s prophecy is silly.

Then there’s the following framing fallacy, which is also an appeal to consequence fallacy:

If we continue to eschew science, eschew the process, and try to divide science into observational science and historic science, we aren’t going to move forward. ~ Bill Nye

This statement implies that certain relationships exist, but those relationships don’t exist. Dividing science into observational science and historical storytelling is discerning the difference between observation and creative stories about the distant past. As we’ve already seen, the term “historical science” is really just historical storytelling even though the storytelling generally begins with observation or divine revelation. Bill claims that knowing the difference between observation and storytelling will stop progress. He claims that knowing the difference between what scientists have observed and what scientists have made up is the same thing as deliberately avoiding science and scientific method.

(Excerpt from “The Creation-Evolution Debate.” “The Creation-Evolution Debate is the second book in the boxed set titled “Reason.”

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