When I listen to Bill Nye and search for logic or scientific conclusions within his statements, I come up empty. Although he claims to be drawing from scientific knowledge, his arguments are based on feelings, opinions, and politically motivated leanings.
In this video, Nye implied a fertilized human egg becomes a human only after attaching to the uterine wall.
Contrary to Nye’s distorted allegation, a human being with unique DNA comes into being at the point of fertilization – a new, unique person, completely distinct from mother and father. This is a scientific fact. Most of us learned this simple, biological truth in grade school.
We can’t change the facts. Through the field of embryological study, the indisputable starting point has been clearly identified. It would be rare for a medical student to make it through training without studying from a textbook authored by Keith L. Moore, a world-renowned expert in the scientific field of embryology. In The Developing Human: Clinically Oriented Embryology (7th edition, Philadelphia, PA: Saunders, 2003), Moore states clearly:
“A zygote [fertilized egg] is the beginning of a new human being. Human development begins at fertilization, the process during which a male gamete…unites with a female gamete or oocyte…to form a single cell called a zygote. This highly specialized, totipotent cell marks the beginning of each of us as a unique individual.”
Nye can provide no scientific evidence otherwise. Actually, he doesn’t attempt to do so – he just ignores the fact. Although he attempts to belittle those who actually believe the scientific evidence, his argument is based on what he seems to perceive as resulting complications of holding such a belief system.
“If you’re going to say, ‘When an egg is fertilized, it, therefore, has the same rights as an individual,” then whom are you going to sue? Whom are you going to imprison? Every woman who’s had a fertilized egg pass through her? Every guy who’s sperm has fertilized an egg, and then it didn’t become a human? Have all these people failed you?’”
I’m not sure what that collection of verbalized gibberish actually means, but the question looms: What do Nye’s questions have to do with scientific facts?
Biological facts do not change because of hypothetical questions (whether ridiculous or not) or actual realities resulting from such facts. Nye and the Americans he represents decided they don’t like the scientific facts, so they attempt to change them and to make others feel stupid for adhering to the tangible evidences.
Based on what a person feels or desires, gestational ages are often arbitrarily selected to identify the beginning of personhood. For instance, one person may claim a child in the womb attains personhood at the gestational age of three months, another six months, another at birth, and so on.
If one person wants to access abortion at three months gestation, then she says personhood begins after that point, etc. Bill Nye’s argument that personhood begins at the point of implantation, on the other hand, would serve as an argument to support the use of abortifacients (pills, like Plan B morning-after pill, or devices like the IUD – designed to stop a fertilized egg from attaching to the womb). If the fertilized egg not yet attached to the womb is not actually a separately identifiable person, then intentionally bringing about its destruction is a non-issue.
But scientific realities are not determined by feelings, desires, or preferences. Facts just are. Facts don’t care what you think. Facts don’t care what I think. Facts don’t even care what Bill Nye the so-called science guy thinks.
The science of embryology tells us when the life of a separately identifiable human being begins – at conception. When the egg unites with the sperm, a new person is formed.
Nye defeated his own argument by saying,
“You wouldn’t know how big a human egg was if it weren’t for microscopes, if it weren’t for scientists, medical researchers looking diligently. You wouldn’t know the process. You wouldn’t have that shot, the famous shot or shots where the sperm are bumping up against the egg, you wouldn’t have that without science. So, then to claim you know the next step when you obviously don’t – is trouble.”
But, Mr. Nye, we do know. The scientists, medical researchers who have diligently studied and identified the next step, have put their findings in writing – time and time again. It’s actually common knowledge – elementary, shall we say.
Even Dr. Seuss, the beloved children’s book author, made it easily perceivable when he penned these words: “A person’s a person, no matter how small.”
The fact is, Mr. Nye presented no discernable facts in his fictitious video. However, I will be glad to take one piece of advice he shared:
“I really encourage you to look at the facts. And I know people are now critical of the expression ‘fact-based.’ But what’s wrong with that?”
Nothing is wrong with that.