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Speaking on Things we Don’t Understand: a Bill Nye Edition

Human Egg and Sperm: Illustration 136103259 © Andrii Panchyk |

[Originally published in 2015 as Bill Nye Once Again Demonstrates His Ignorance of Basic Science]

Bill Nye has a habit of speaking and writing about things he doesn’t understand. For example, he speaks a lot about global warming but is ignorant of the data related to it.

You would think he would learn from his mistakes and at least educate himself about a subject before he makes public statements. However, his latest video shows that he has not.

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He opens up the video with a scientific error, stating:

Many, many, many, many more hundreds of eggs are fertilized than become humans. Eggs get fertilized, and by that I mean sperm get accepted by ova — a lot.

Of course, that is false. According to The Johns Hopkins Manual of Gynecology and Obstetrics,1 30-40 percent of all conceptions end in spontaneous abortion. The National Institutes of Health say that it might be up to 50%. The highest rate of spontaneous abortion occurs with in vitro fertilization, and that rate is nearly 93%.

So, in the normal course of things, maybe as many as half of conceptions end in spontaneous abortion. That means only twice as many eggs are fertilized than children who are born. Even with in vitro fertilization, about 13 times as many eggs are fertilized as children who are born. Bill Nye’s “Many, many, many, many more hundreds” statement has no scientific support whatsoever. Why does he make this false statement? Because he wants to use it to make a claim that is completely bizarre.

After spouting something that has no basis in science, he says:

But if you’re going to hold that as a standard, that is to say, 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 has had a fertilized egg pass through her? Every guy whose sperm has fertilized an egg and then it didn’t become a human, have all these people failed you?

Think about what he is suggesting. He is trying to say that when a woman loses a baby through no fault of her own, it is equivalent to when a woman goes to a “doctor” and tells the “doctor” to kill her baby. That, of course, is nonsense. It’s like saying that the mother whose son dies of cancer should be sued or imprisoned! We don’t sue or imprison people for events over which they have no control! The mother who suffers a spontaneous abortion isn’t at fault for her child’s death. The mother who tells her “doctor” to kill her baby is directly at fault for her baby’s death, as is the “doctor.”

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Nye then goes on to suggest that men are responsible for wanting to outlaw abortion:

I’m not the first guy to observe this, you have a lot of men of European descent passing these extraordinary laws based on ignorance.

What he would have found had he done even a bit of investigation is that the majority of women in the U.S. are pro-life. Indeed, the latest poll I have seen says that 57% of women are in favor of making abortion illegal in most circumstances, while only 40% are in favor of making it legal in most circumstances. It’s ironic that Bill Nye is demonstrating his own ignorance while calling others ignorant!

Toward the end of his video, Nye says the following:

But I really encourage you to look at the facts…

I absolutely agree. Where would you go to learn the facts? What about a textbook on embryology? In The Developing Human: Clinically Oriented Embryology, we read:2

Human development begins at fertilization, when a sperm fuses with an oocyte to form a single cell, the zygote. This highly specialized, totipotent cell (capable of giving rise to any cell type) marks the beginning of each of us as a unique individual. [emphasis in original]

Science, therefore, tells us that human life begins at conception. Of course, if Nye doesn’t like to get his information from textbooks, he could read what a world-renowned geneticist has to say on the subject. Dr. Jermoe L. LeJeune was the brilliant geneticist who first demonstrated a link between certain diseases and chromosomal abnormalities. While testifying before a U.S. Senate Subcommittee, he said:3

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To accept the fact that after fertilization has taken place a new human has come into being is no longer a matter of taste or opinion. The human nature of the human being from conception to old age is not a metaphysical contention, it is plain experimental evidence.

I truly hope Bill Nye takes his own advice and learns the facts related to human life. If he does, he will find that a pro-choice position is simply inconsistent with the scientific evidence. See here and here for more scientific data related to this very important topic.


  1. The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics, K. Joseph Hurt, Matthew W. Guile, Jessica L. Bienstock, Harold E. Fox, Edward E. Wallach, The Johns Hopkins Manual of Gynecology and Obstetrics, Lippincot, Williams and Wilkins 2011, p. 438
  2. Keith L. Moore, T. V. N. Persaud, and Mark G. Torchia, The Developing Human: Clinically Oriented Embryology 10th edition, Elsevier 2016, p. 11
  3. as quoted in Norman L. Geisler, Christian Ethics: Options and Issues, Baker, 1989, p. 149.

Dr. Jay Wile

Written by Jay Wile

As a scientist, it is hard for me to fathom anyone who has scientific training and does not believe in God. Indeed, it was science that brought me not only to a belief in God, but also to faith in Christianity. I have an earned Ph.D. from the University of Rochester in nuclear chemistry and a B.S. in chemistry from the same institution.

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