Undeniable: Evolution and the Science of Creation Info

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The New York Times best seller by the host of Bill Nye the
Science Guy, with a brand new chapter for the paperback
edition!


"Evolution is one of the most powerful and
important ideas ever developed in the history of science. Every
question it raises leads to new answers, new discoveries, and new
smarter questions. The science of evolution is as expansive as nature
itself. It is also the most meaningful creation story that humans have
ever found."-Bill Nye


Sparked by a
controversial debate in February 2014, Bill Nye has set off on an
energetic campaign to spread awareness of evolution and the powerful way
it shapes our lives. In Undeniable: Evolution and the Science of
Creation
, he explains why race does not really exist; evaluates the
true promise and peril of genetically modified food; reveals how new
species are born, in a dog kennel and in a London subway; takes a stroll
through 4.5 billion years of time; and explores the new search for
alien life, including aliens right here on Earth.

With infectious
enthusiasm, Bill Nye shows that evolution is much more than a rebuttal
to creationism; it is an essential way to understand how nature
works-and to change the world. It might also help you get a date on a
Saturday night.


Average Ratings and Reviews
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Reviews for Undeniable: Evolution and the Science of Creation:

5

Nov 14, 2014

There are two things I learned about Bill Nye after reading this book:

1. Nye has read Fifty Shades of Grey
2. Nye really didn't care for his boss

Thus, concludes my learning.

Oh, wait. There's more!

The genesis of Undeniable: Evoulution and the Science of Creation stems from a debate that Nye had against Ken Ham, leader of an organization called Answers in Genesis.Ham is in favor of Creationism. Creationism is the belief that a higher power created the Earth a little more than 6,000 years ago. Nye There are two things I learned about Bill Nye after reading this book:

1. Nye has read Fifty Shades of Grey
2. Nye really didn't care for his boss

Thus, concludes my learning.

Oh, wait. There's more!

The genesis of Undeniable: Evoulution and the Science of Creation stems from a debate that Nye had against Ken Ham, leader of an organization called Answers in Genesis.Ham is in favor of Creationism. Creationism is the belief that a higher power created the Earth a little more than 6,000 years ago. Nye felt that this kind of thinking is irresponsible and a hindrance to the younger generation. Science is about asking questions and discovering, or rediscovering, the world around us.

Superficially, that's what Undeniable is about. It's an argument; one big rebuttal against Ham. However, Nye gives an incredible in depth analysis on evloution as a whole. I only wish that I had this book while I was taking AP Biology. There is so much about Earth, the Solar System, the Milky Way we have yet to figure out. Evolution is one key to the puzzle.

The thing about Bill Nye is that he is so accessible. He breaks down the technical, scientific jargon for the layman. He's also hilarious to boot. Reading this book, hearing his voice, brought back childhood memories of watching his show on PBS.

I also enjoyed that Nye didn't just tear down the pro-Creationism arguement. He broke down their point, piecemeal, and explained his reasons against it. He did it with kindness and the utmost respect. As a woman raised as a Roman Catholic, I greatly appreciated it. ...more
5

Dec 28, 2014

I learned so much from this book - not least of which is that Bill Nye has read 50 Shades of Grey... My childhood has been ruined.

Seriously though, this book is fantastic. I grew up watching Bill Nye The Science Guy and so, of course, when I saw that this book existed, I bought it on Audible. There's something so charming and personable about Bill Nye, and he makes science so interesting and exciting that I can't help but love the guy (even if he does make terrible decisions now and then - see I learned so much from this book - not least of which is that Bill Nye has read 50 Shades of Grey... My childhood has been ruined.

Seriously though, this book is fantastic. I grew up watching Bill Nye The Science Guy and so, of course, when I saw that this book existed, I bought it on Audible. There's something so charming and personable about Bill Nye, and he makes science so interesting and exciting that I can't help but love the guy (even if he does make terrible decisions now and then - see above). He explains things in such an accessible way that even though I knew much of this stuff going in, I never felt bored. Bill's love of science, and his passion for learning and truth, comes through loud and clear in this book.

He is to science what Bob Ross was to painting. Happy trees to happy scientific discoveries.

So, that being said, it was something of a surprise to me to hear him getting almost Dawkinesque in his criticisms of the "science" creationism. Almost. Nowhere even close to as acrimonious as Dawkins can be, but still pretty scathing for Bill Nye - the friendly, charming, excitable Science Guy. And I loved it.

The definition of science is: "the intellectual and practical activity encompassing the systematic study of the structure and behavior of the physical and natural world through observation and experiment."

I mean, can we call something "science" if the "scientist" has predetermined the outcome, no matter WHAT it's based on, and then cherry picks evidence to support it? Bill Nye mentioned that at the debate which was the catalyst for this book he was asked whether anything would change his mind in favor of creationism, and he responded with (I'm paraphrasing) "Yup. Evidence". When his opponent was asked the same question, his response was "nothing." Now, I admit that I don't know much about creationism, because everything I have heard just sounds ridiculous, and I don't have any desire to "learn" misinformation (at least not on purpose), but I just don't understand how it can be called "science" if there is NOTHING that will actually change one's theory.



Anyway, I loved how much information he packed into this book. For a book that's nominally about evolution, I don't think there was any branch of natural science not touched on. Geology to meteorology to paleontology to modern stem cell research and GMOs. (And THANK YOU, Bill Nye, for including GMOs. It's definitely relevant to this topic!) And we even get glimpses of Bill's life and childhood and pre-Science Guy work.

I listened to the audio, which Bill read himself, and he did a fantastic job. I am often iffy about authors reading their own work, but he did it justice and his personality came shining through.

Loved it. Highly recommended.

...more
5

Nov 02, 2015

This is an excellent explanation & overview of the processes of evolution. Nye is entertaining & has spent decades teaching science. He read the book himself & did a great job.

The book evolved from the work he did in preparing for his debate with Ken Hamm, a Creationist who believes the world is only 6000 years old. I live an hour from Hamm's creation museum & their intentional ignorance is amusing, but only at first. Nye is very concerned for the children - rightly so - since This is an excellent explanation & overview of the processes of evolution. Nye is entertaining & has spent decades teaching science. He read the book himself & did a great job.

The book evolved from the work he did in preparing for his debate with Ken Hamm, a Creationist who believes the world is only 6000 years old. I live an hour from Hamm's creation museum & their intentional ignorance is amusing, but only at first. Nye is very concerned for the children - rightly so - since the other baggage they drag into every day life is plain scary, IMO. (Several, including a nearby preacher, have agreed with many of the worst parts of the Old Testament: gays despicable, blacks cursed, women subservient, Muslims all evil, etc.) Nye avoids all of that. He completely respects their religious faith in all ways save for the lack of inquiry. Their book gives them all the answers, so there is no reason for them (or us!) to embrace the wonder of scientific research. This is a dead end as proven by one question: "Gentleman, what would it take to change your mind?" Hamm said nothing could change his. Nye said, "evidence."

So Nye put his notes into book form & took me through a wonderful journey of evolution from its origins 150 years ago to our current understanding today. Even since my school days in the 60s & 70s, there have been huge leaps in our knowledge. While I've kept up with many on a sort of Sunday Supplement level, there was a lot of information new to me. Even better, there was the way Nye puts the information together & presents it. From abiogenesis
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abiogen...
to the search for a second genesis
http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Second_g...
both in artificial, inter & extraterrestrial life & everything in between.

Nye shows how the theory of evolution touches nearly all aspects of our lives & that means he tackles some tough questions head on. I was surprised that he isn't a proponent of GMO foods (I am.) but his argument for biodiversity, against monocultures, & questions on ecosystem impacts were very good & convincing.
Note: He has since changed his mind due to evidence. Read more here:
http://www.businessinsider.com/bill-n...

He's not only a proponent of space exploration, but one of the top guys in the Planetary Society
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Pla...
& created the Marsdial - a sundial used to calibrate cameras on Mars rovers.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MarsDial
He also talks about climate change.

He does a great job describing evolutionary forces. He constantly took concepts & turned them into understandable examples. For instance, his example of changing a roller bag into a bicycle & then relating it to the path of the larynx nerve was genius. His change of "Survival of the fittest" to "Survival of the good enough or slightly better" was perfect. When put together with the way he makes the huge expanses of time understandable or at least something I could relate to, the picture was amazingly clear.

I can't recommend this book highly enough, especially in this format. My kids loved his show & I was always impressed before, but this jumped my respect for him up a few notches.

Bill Nye's Wikipedia entry:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bill_Nye

His website:
http://billnye.com/
It has printable sheets for many of the experiments on his show. ...more
5

Nov 04, 2014

Disclaimer: ARC via Netgalley.

Disclaimer 2: I was a little too old for Bill Nye’s television show when it first came out. I watched it now and then, and laughed. But I wasn’t a serious viewer.

Disclaimer 3: WTF is wrong with some people? Seriously, if I hear one more person ask me, what is wrong with teaching creationism in science class, I’m going to . . . um . . . I guess I am going to send them to Bill Nye.

Disclaimer 4: That whole teach the debate thing that some people hype is just so wrong. Disclaimer: ARC via Netgalley.

Disclaimer 2: I was a little too old for Bill Nye’s television show when it first came out. I watched it now and then, and laughed. But I wasn’t a serious viewer.

Disclaimer 3: WTF is wrong with some people? Seriously, if I hear one more person ask me, what is wrong with teaching creationism in science class, I’m going to . . . um . . . I guess I am going to send them to Bill Nye.

Disclaimer 4: That whole teach the debate thing that some people hype is just so wrong. What friggin debate? Seriously.

For the foreseeable future, the thing that would make me happy would be news that Terry Pratchett and Bill Nye are going to write a book together.

Cause honestly, that should be able to win the Nobel Prize for Science and Literature.

Yeah, yeah, I know. Get over it.

Okay, let’s get the bad news out of the way. What is it with a comma before the word because? Really, c’mon, stop it please?

And that is the only thing wrong with this book.

Seriously, a comma before because.

Nye’s book grew out of his famous debate with a creationist. You can find this quite easily on YouTube. It is quite long.

Undeniable takes basically scientific fact, in particular evolution, and basically, well, presents it in such an engaging and fun way that even if you are already agree with Nye on the whole creationist thing and about how evolution isn’t a debate, you will still love the book anyway.

It’s like Pratchett’s science books. It teaches science in such a way that engages and is accessible.

Part of Undeniable is to dismantle the “claims” that creationists put forward. Nye does this quite well, without insulting those who have faith and who are scientific. He traces evolution and its discovery and concepts by using more than Darwin and bringing to light several people who are often overlooked. He also shows by example and illustration, macro and micro evolution as well as how even you, dear reader, are a product of it.

All with a light touch and voice that draws you in. The chapters are the right length, at times feeding into each other and at others containing some personal stories from Nye’s own life. These stories personal stories not only trace Nye’s own lifelong love of science, but also show how questioning and seeking evolve. IN other words, if Nye can do it, you can to. Furthermore, Nye tells most of them back to evolution.

Seriously, this should be the science textbook in schools.
...more
3

Dec 17, 2016

I picked up Bill Nye's book because I wanted to surround myself with SCIENCE and FACTS and REASON and LOGIC.*

And that's what I got, lots of great stories about evolution around the world and other scientific research into the origins of life. I listened to this on audio, which was mostly enjoyable. One minor quibble is that Bill Nye has a goofy sense of humor, and his frequent complaints about a former boss got a bit annoying. Other than that, I would recommend this book to anyone wanting a good I picked up Bill Nye's book because I wanted to surround myself with SCIENCE and FACTS and REASON and LOGIC.*

And that's what I got, lots of great stories about evolution around the world and other scientific research into the origins of life. I listened to this on audio, which was mostly enjoyable. One minor quibble is that Bill Nye has a goofy sense of humor, and his frequent complaints about a former boss got a bit annoying. Other than that, I would recommend this book to anyone wanting a good overview of the history of evolution, or those who enjoy scientific stories.

*In other words, choosing to read this book was my introverted way of protesting against a certain billionaire bullshit artist.

Favorite Quotes
"I often reflect on what an extraordinary time it is to be alive here in the beginning of the twenty-first century. It took life billions of years to get to this point. It took humans thousands of years to piece together a meaningful understanding of our cosmos, our planet, and ourselves. Think how fortunate we are to know this much. But think also of all that's yet to be discovered."

"None of us would be here if we weren't genetically good enough. That's a rather encouraging thought. We celebrate people's appearance or their wit, but we are all so much more alike than we are different. The proof is in the living: We all made it."

...more
5

Nov 04, 2014

Five stars! I loved this book - it should be mandatory reading in our High School curriculum.

Nye narrates his own audiobook, which I found particularly enjoyable as his vocal nuances and inflections help to communicate his intent behind the text as only the author can deliver with authenticity. Not only is the science presented in an easy to digest format, but it is laid out logically and with the tongue-in-cheek humour for which The Science Guy has become renown. I like that he respects Five stars! I loved this book - it should be mandatory reading in our High School curriculum.

Nye narrates his own audiobook, which I found particularly enjoyable as his vocal nuances and inflections help to communicate his intent behind the text as only the author can deliver with authenticity. Not only is the science presented in an easy to digest format, but it is laid out logically and with the tongue-in-cheek humour for which The Science Guy has become renown. I like that he respects peoples beliefs but does not remain silent when it comes to the influence of our children, for whom science MUST be correctly taught in our schools.

Nye covers every topic, describing the scientific process behind evolution (DNA heredity through natural selection), how much "deep time" it would take, and how we know through radioactive processes that the earth is more than old enough to allow for these processes to have occurred EXACTLY as we observe them.

This book is a powerhouse of irrefutable information that inexorably leads the reader to an unavoidable conclusion: Evolution is real, it happened, it "is" happening. I highly recommend this book to ANYONE who wants to learn something about the natural world we all live (and evolve) in. ...more
2

Nov 05, 2014

The subtitle of this book is misleading. Nye spends only a little time confronting the "ideas" of creationists. When he does take on creationism, he limits his criticism to arch-lunatic Ken Ham's brand of creationism. And most of these arguments were well covered in his (excellent) debate with Ham. I'd recommend watching the YouTube video of their debate instead of reading this book.

Most of the book is spent explaining basic evolutionary theory and offering interesting factoids about evolution, The subtitle of this book is misleading. Nye spends only a little time confronting the "ideas" of creationists. When he does take on creationism, he limits his criticism to arch-lunatic Ken Ham's brand of creationism. And most of these arguments were well covered in his (excellent) debate with Ham. I'd recommend watching the YouTube video of their debate instead of reading this book.

Most of the book is spent explaining basic evolutionary theory and offering interesting factoids about evolution, geology, and biology. Sadly, his explication is no deeper than that of a high school biology textbook.

Furthermore, implicit in his commentary is the belief that theism and evolution are incompatible. Still, I commend him for always remaining cordial to theists.

As a side note, when Nye examines the issue of conception and personhood, he constructs and argues against a straw man version of the pro-life position. A more honest argument would have been efficacious.

Nonetheless, Nye is always charming, enthusiastic, and exciting. His personality is winning and hopefully he will continue to put his talents to use confronting creationism's fallacies. ...more
1

Feb 22, 2015

Going into this book, I was really hoping for a fun, interesting read. I mean, it's Bill Nye! But, as per my rating, I was incredibly disappointed. On numerous occasions, I found Nye to be quite rude, especially to those readers who believe in biblical creationism. Just because they don't believe in what you believe, doesn't mean you can be blatantly rude to their personal belief system. Next, I was hoping to find detailed accounts of the process of evolution of animals, plants and humans. But Going into this book, I was really hoping for a fun, interesting read. I mean, it's Bill Nye! But, as per my rating, I was incredibly disappointed. On numerous occasions, I found Nye to be quite rude, especially to those readers who believe in biblical creationism. Just because they don't believe in what you believe, doesn't mean you can be blatantly rude to their personal belief system. Next, I was hoping to find detailed accounts of the process of evolution of animals, plants and humans. But unfortunately, the science was too simple for my liking; I wanted it to be more technical. And okay, your old boss sucked. Who's hasn't? We get it, Bill. Don't have to repeat it every other chapter. ...more
5

Jun 10, 2017

OK, so I haven't actually read the whole thing yet but I can't keep this on my currently reading shelf forever. I'm reading it one chapter at a time with breaks in between. As good as it is, as easy to understand as Nye makes everything, it's still a science book which makes for a bit of dry reading. If you can get this as an audiobook, I would highly suggest doing so.

I've been a fan of Nye since Bill Nye the Science Guy was on TV. He's on my short list of favorite scientists. He makes very OK, so I haven't actually read the whole thing yet but I can't keep this on my currently reading shelf forever. I'm reading it one chapter at a time with breaks in between. As good as it is, as easy to understand as Nye makes everything, it's still a science book which makes for a bit of dry reading. If you can get this as an audiobook, I would highly suggest doing so.

I've been a fan of Nye since Bill Nye the Science Guy was on TV. He's on my short list of favorite scientists. He makes very complicated things easy for everyone to understand because he wants everyone to love science as much as he does. Even still, there continues to be people out there who have beliefs that don't coincide with reality. This book was written because of the Creationists and a debate Nye took part in. He put on paper everything you need to at least start doubting that maybe the Earth is more than a few thousand years old and maybe the bible didn't really explain creation correctly. I wonder if any of the Creationist children will ever read this book. ...more
4

Dec 03, 2014

Interesting ideas, but is a book focused for the laymen. (hey its Bill Nye!) Interesting ideas, but is a book focused for the laymen. (hey it´s Bill Nye!) ...more
2

Dec 27, 2014

Bill Nye seems to a "favourite uncle figure" to many in the US through his work as a TV presenter. That may compel people to pick up and read this book more readily than other books covering largely the same material, such as Why Evolution Is True or Why Evolution Works.

As an educator with two biology degrees, I'm probably not the target audience for this book, though I'm in a good position to critique it. My conclusion is that at times Nye provides good explanations of biology that will be of Bill Nye seems to a "favourite uncle figure" to many in the US through his work as a TV presenter. That may compel people to pick up and read this book more readily than other books covering largely the same material, such as Why Evolution Is True or Why Evolution Works.

As an educator with two biology degrees, I'm probably not the target audience for this book, though I'm in a good position to critique it. My conclusion is that at times Nye provides good explanations of biology that will be of interest to non-biologists. He understands evolution at a basic level, which many non-biologists (and even some biologists) fail to do.

Unfortunately though he also has a tendency to ramble and go off on irrelevant tangents. This is both avuncularly endearing and completely frustrating at the same time.

Although biological explanations are generally sound, Nye attempts to explains conceptually complex evolutionary concepts such as the evolution of sex, and my feeling is that Nye probably could have done a better job with some issues. Replacing some of the padding with more detailed explanations would have been good editing.

No footnotes or references are provided which makes it difficult for readers to identify further reading (quietly, I also think it's a bit rude not to properly attribute the work of others).

I gave it two stars, I would have given it 3 but for the ramblings; it might have got 4 if it had explained the complexities better. It doesn't get 5* because it doesn't say anything profound; creationist-bashing is a sport that is generally easy to play. ...more
2

Feb 04, 2015

This is a fine book about how creationism and its evil twin "intelligent design" aren't science and shouldn't be taught in schools, etc. Basically, it's the book version of his debate with Ken Ham, but with less of an Australian accent. Why did I give it two stars? Well, to be honest, the meat of it isn't that well researched. It's the equivalent you'd get from skimming Wikipedia on the topic. The Nye charm makes it enjoyable enough.

For example, he gives an incomprehensible just-so story of the This is a fine book about how creationism and its evil twin "intelligent design" aren't science and shouldn't be taught in schools, etc. Basically, it's the book version of his debate with Ken Ham, but with less of an Australian accent. Why did I give it two stars? Well, to be honest, the meat of it isn't that well researched. It's the equivalent you'd get from skimming Wikipedia on the topic. The Nye charm makes it enjoyable enough.

For example, he gives an incomprehensible just-so story of the evolution of sex which totally misses the point. Nye seems not to have read The Red Queen. He also seems unaware that having only 2 sexes is just one of many possible evolutionary stables states.

He obviously has no working knowledge of genetics. He lacks basic understanding of chromosomes and the double helix.

But the kicker is chapter on GMOs. This is the most stunning example of intellectual compartmentalization I've ever seen. Ironically, Nye's denialism of biotechnology rivals Ham for its audacity and repugnance.

He uses every tool in his logical fallacy tool belt to defame GMOs for no apparent reason. Well, actually one good reason. He's a member of the Union of Concerned Scientists advisory board. He's let the woo-woo wash over him and forgotten all that he stood for. It's really just embarrassing for Nye.

I took a long time to write this review mainly because of how betrayed I felt reading the GMO chapter. And since then, Nye has paraded this selective denialism to the news media, in interviews, and at public lectures.

The book is mediocre, but the moral lesson here rings loudly. Don't insulate yourself. Don't set aside a compartment where the rules of logic and reason are forbidden. It's a recipe for intellectual disaster. ...more
4

Aug 08, 2017

Educational, and Bill throws in a little wit in his writing to help the reader digest what could be taken as a complex subject.

If you enjoy science, especially the subject of evolution, I would recommend this one.
5

Nov 08, 2015

So let’s say you’re unsure on this whole evolution thing. You’ve got questions. But, for one reason or another, science never stuck with you in school. Maybe your classes (or teachers, sigh) were a bit on the boring side—lots of memorization and dull textbooks, and no explosions, no episodes of Bill Nye the Science Guy on VHS on the bulky 27" CRT television wheeled out from the A/V cabinet (ahhh, those were the days). Or maybe you had the misfortune to attend an underfunded public school in the So let’s say you’re unsure on this whole evolution thing. You’ve got questions. But, for one reason or another, science never stuck with you in school. Maybe your classes (or teachers, sigh) were a bit on the boring side—lots of memorization and dull textbooks, and no explosions, no episodes of Bill Nye the Science Guy on VHS on the bulky 27" CRT television wheeled out from the A/V cabinet (ahhh, those were the days). Or maybe you had the misfortune to attend an underfunded public school in the United States—worse still, one in a state where politicians have decided that little things like “facts” don’t belong in curricula. Evolution is “just a theory,” and so you aren’t taught about it, at least not properly.

Let’s say you’re one of those people. Because they exist, and if some people have their way, these people will become more numerous. The scientifically semi-literate, they will have a working knowledge of technology and a basic grasp of science, but they will drift through life forever uncertain and apprehensive of the controversial strides we are making because of science. And this is not their fault. It’s not something inherently wrong with them, a closed-mindedness they were born with or inculcated early at birth. They weren’t raised by a backwater cult. They simply had the misfortune to be educated in a broad swath of the United States.

I’m not one of these people, of course. I was lucky enough to grow up in Ontario, Canada; while our education system is far from perfect, its science curriculum is fact-based at least. Although I don’t have the patience, determination, or fiddly manual dexterity to become a scientist myself (I went the more abstract route of mathematics!), I grew up with a great fascination of and respect for science and scientists. Bill Nye’s educational children’s show was a huge part of that. It is not exaggerating to say that he inspired my generation towards STEM careers.

Undeniable: Evolution and the Science of Creation is Nye’s attempt to reach out to those who weren’t so lucky to receive that education the first go round. At least, that’s what it seems to me. He wrote this book as a follow-up to his debate with Ken Ham. But here, as there, his goal is not to try to persuade hardcore creationists. And even more so than in the debate, this book is not about evolution versus creationism so much as it is about evolution full stop. I already knew a good deal about evolution, and much of what Nye talks about is not new to me—but I still learned, because his prose is straightforward and his explanations accessible. This is the book about evolution for those who are genuinely curious or confused but don’t know how to find out more information.

Nye brings a huge amount of compassion to the table, something scientists and sceptics (ahem, Dawkins) fail to do. Although he is unfailingly critical of creationism, Nye is not here to harangue or lecture the reader. And his aims are, as they were when he was the star of that beloved TV show, to educate:

Frankly, my concern is not so much for the deniers of evolution as it is for their kids. We cannot address the problems facing humankind today without science—both the body of scientific knowledge and, more important, the process. Science is the way in which we know nature and our place within it.

As a teacher, this is hugely important to me. One of the current—and, sadly, most effective—tactics used by creationist lobbies is the “teach the controversy” model, where science teachers must present creationism (or its gussied-up cousin, intelligent design) as a viable alternative theory alongside evolution, as if there were some debate amongst scientists it. This attempt to legitimize creationism as “creation science” and the use of pseudoscientific lines of reasoning in creationist arguments is pernicious and troubling, because creationism is not science. Nye makes this distinction clear from the beginning: science is open-ended and always changing; creationism is a fixed, closed worldview not amenable to new evidence or theories.

Creationism’s textbook, the Bible, hasn’t changed (aside from translations) in over a millennium. And for a religious text, that is absolutely fine—like Nye (and unlike Dawkins) I have no problem with the idea that religion and science can coexist, and that you can be a scientifically-minded religious person, or a religious scientist. But as a scientific text, that is bonkers. Though The Origin of Species might be the seminal work on evolution, that doesn’t mean it’s a holy text for scientists. Darwin is widely lauded as the “father of evolution,” but his was the spark. Generations of scientists since then have carried the idea farther. Along the way we learned about genes and DNA, and we understand so much more than we did in the 1860s. And that’s wonderful.

I agree wholeheartedly with Nye when he argues that creationism is an inherently useless perspective, because it will never lead to anything new. Creationism attempts to couch its beliefs in scientific language these days, but scratch the surface and you soon arrive at “God did it.” Again, as a religious argument this is fine. But as a scientific argument it is worthless, because we can’t extrapolate from “God did it.” Creationism insists that our world cannot be investigated in a systematic way—that, in fact, for some reason this all-loving creator has gone out of its way to fool us with all these fake fossils and sediments and whatnot. If that is the case, then how could we hope to learn more about how the world works, and in so doing, invent new things and improve our ways of life for everyone?

The mutability of science with evidence is huge, and Nye has demonstrated this. In this very book, chapter 30 is all about GMOs (genetically modified organisms) and how he thinks we should “slow down” because there’s something very “unnatural” about putting fish genes in a tomato. I really don’t like this chapter; even though he is apprehension about GMOs is legitimate, it feels like he is falling back on a lot of unscientific and emotional appeals here. He is right that we should be concerned about GMOs and we need to think carefully about how we are creating/using them. Nevertheless, Nye has fulfilled the statement he made at the Ken Ham debate and reiterates in this book: in the face of evidence, he changed his mind about GMOs. Because that’s how science works.

I also share Nye’s bemusement over the fact that evolution is, by and large, singled out among scientific theories as controversial. Few enough people argue about the principles that underline, say, aircraft or computers or phones. Physics is somehow less controversial—maybe because all that math makes it harder for laypeople to debate? (I mean, there are areas of the internet were people seriously talk about relativity as if it is a “liberal conspiracy,” but nowhere near to the extent as the popular debate over evolution). I suppose it’s easy enough to ignore the parts of the Bible that feel dated these days. But we can’t do that with science. As Nye explains in this book, evolution is inextricably linked to the chemical and physical properties of the universe—and is a consequence of those properties. It is illogical and irrational to take the parts and fruits of scientific discovery you feel comfortable with but discard the ones that disagree with your pet worldview.

Nye responds to this exasperation with the same exuberance for science that inspired so many watching his TV show. For Nye, and for myself and so many others, science is just awesome. It’s so amazing to think about the processes that led to me and you. Like A Short History of Nearly Everything , this book’s enthusiasm and love for science and learning rings loudly.

Undeniable is also one of the most accessible popular science books on evolution you’re likely to find. The chapters are short, averaging about 8 pages each, and there are no equations—but hey, Nye does include some sketches he drew himself! Drawing on his decades as a science communicator, Nye is able to use analogies and plain English to explain these complicated processes. And while there are areas I notice he elides, for the most part his accounts are both accurate and accessible, which is not easy to do.

So if you like science but want to know how to talk about evolution in mixed company, this is the book for you. Or if you’re open-minded but genuinely not sure about evolution, this is the book for you. There is no test at the end.

But really, I think the most controversial thing Bill Nye mentions in this book is that he read Fifty Shades of Grey. My entire world is shaken, Bill!

...more
5

Nov 05, 2014

Undeniable: Evolution and the Science of Creation by Bill Nye

“Undeniable" is in outstanding book in defense of science and the grand theory of evolution. It’s a love of science and his quest to spread awareness of the ways evolution impacts our lives and what is at stake for all of us. Mechanical engineer, science educator, and Emmy award-winning TV personality Bill Nye the Science Guy provides readers with a gem. This enjoyable 320-page book includes thirty-seven chapters that cover a Undeniable: Evolution and the Science of Creation by Bill Nye

“Undeniable" is in outstanding book in defense of science and the grand theory of evolution. It’s a love of science and his quest to spread awareness of the ways evolution impacts our lives and what is at stake for all of us. Mechanical engineer, science educator, and Emmy award-winning TV personality Bill Nye the Science Guy provides readers with a gem. This enjoyable 320-page book includes thirty-seven chapters that cover a wide-range of topics pertaining to evolution.

Positives:
1. Entertaining, well-written and well-researched book for the masses.
2. A great topic, the grand theory of evolution and how it shapes our lives.
3. A charming and engaging tone throughout.
4. This book oozes of love for science and the admiration for one of the greatest theories ever devised. “Evolution is one of the most powerful and important ideas ever developed in the history of science. It describes all of life on Earth.”
5. Bill Nye is an educator at heart and he is concerned for the well-being of our planet. This sentiment shines through clearly as the following statement illustrates when discussing the attack on reason. “This attack on reason is an attack on all of us. Children who accept this ludicrous perspective will find themselves opposed to progress. They will become society’s burdens rather than its producers, a prospect that I find very troubling.”
6. Debunks many lies portrayed by creationists, like the second law of thermodynamics. “The Second Law applies only to closed systems, like a cylinder in a car engine, and Earth is not even remotely a closed system. Transfers of matter and energy are constantly taking place. Life here is nothing like a perpetual motion machine, but neither is it like a ball rolling inexorably downhill.”
7. Does a wonderful job of describing how evolution works. “Nature is self-organizing. That’s another way of defining evolution: Nature builds ecosystems, in all of their complex glory, from the bottom up.”
8. Keeps even the most complex topics accessible for the public. As an example provides an enlightening chapter on how to determine deep time. “It’s just a little over a century since the French physicist Henri Becquerel discovered radioactivity, and with it the key to unlocking deep time.”
9. A very good explanation on why the inheritance of acquired traits was wrong and what Lamarck actually got right. “Evolution happens as each generation of living things interacts with its environment and reproduces. Lamarck got at least that part of it right. Those natural designs that survive to reproduce pass on their genes. Those that don’t successfully reproduce disappear; their genes disappear as well. It’s survival of the hang-in-there’s, or the made-the-cuts, or the just good-enoughs.”
10. An interesting and even humorous look at sexual selection.
11. A look at artificial selection. “Darwin coined the phrase ‘artificial selection’ to describe what human gardeners, farmers, and horse and dog breeders had been doing for centuries: creating better or more useful varieties of animals and plants.”
12. Provocative but never disrespectful. “How can you take the lack of evidence of a plan as evidence of a plan? That makes no sense.”
13. A fascinating look at biodiversity. “The areas of Earth with the most energy input are also the areas with the most biodiversity.”
14. Explains why most living things never get fossilized.
15. A look at mass extinctions. “Industrial emissions are one way humans are changing this planet, but not the only way. We are also directly killing countless species at a rate that dwarfs the rates estimated in the previous Big Five extinctions. We are killing them mostly by destroying their habitats.”
16. Geneticist Theodosius Dobzhansky’s influence. “Nothing in Biology Makes Sense Except in the Light of Evolution.”
17. Many examples of poor “design”. “Your windpipe (trachea) is right next to your food tube (esophagus), making it easy to choke. What’s up with that? Couldn’t that have been improved?”
18. Does a commendable job of explaining micro versus macro evolution. “The processes of microevolution and macroevolution are fundamentally the same, only the scale is different.”
19. Many examples of the importance of understanding evolution. “For instance, we’ve discovered that cancer evolves. Cancer cells can mutate in the body of a patient, so that malignant cells find new ways to get a supply of blood and become resistant to our anticancer drugs.”
20. An excellent chapter on genetically modified foods. It’s one of my favorites. “So for me, evolutionary theory informs our decisions about GMOs.”
21. A great chapter on skin colors. “In general, the closer people live to the equator, the more ultraviolet exposure they receive and the darker their average skin color.”
22. Much more…

Negatives:
1. There are more substantive books on evolution (see my further recommendations) but few as charming and enjoyable to read.
2. A few sketches but overall lacking in visual content (graphs, timelines, and diagrams).
3. No notes.
4. No formal bibliography.

In summary, this is a wonderful book on the grand theory of evolution. Inspired by a debate with creationist Ken Ham, Bill Nye the Science Guy takes the reader on a delightful journey through popular topics concerning evolution and along the way teaches us the importance in understanding it. A tad on the accessible side of the equation but a wonderful book nonetheless. I highly recommend it!

Further recommendations: “Evolution vs Creationism” by Eugenie C. Scott, “Why Evolution Works (and Creationism Fails)” by Matt Young, “The Greatest Shown On Earth” by Richard Dawkins, “Evolving Out of Eden” by Robert M. Price, “Your Inner Fish” by Neil Shubin, “Understanding Evolution and Ourselves” by Dennis Littrell, “Why Evolution Is True” by Jerry A. Coyne, “The Rocks Don’t Lie” by David R. Montgomery, “What Evolution Is” by Ernst Mayr, “Evolution: What the Fossils Say and Why it Matters” by Donald R. Prothero, and “The Making of the Fittest” by Sean B. Carroll. ...more
4

Jun 17, 2019

I remembered most of this from my high school biology, but he still makes some excellent points. Plus, it's Bill Nye.
5

Oct 22, 2014

Oh, how I love me some Bill Nye. The best days of science class (elementary through high school) were the ones where the teacher rolled out that giant TV cart and this popped up on the screen:



This book got its start after Nye participated in a creationism vs evolution debate in 2014.



This book takes the arguments against evolution and counters them with science. So much science.





I really like how Nye presented his arguments without bashing religion. He's fine with people believing what Oh, how I love me some Bill Nye. The best days of science class (elementary through high school) were the ones where the teacher rolled out that giant TV cart and this popped up on the screen:



This book got its start after Nye participated in a creationism vs evolution debate in 2014.



This book takes the arguments against evolution and counters them with science. So much science.





I really like how Nye presented his arguments without bashing religion. He's fine with people believing what they want to--creationism included--except when it comes to the children. Teaching creationism in schools makes him angry. And you wouldn't like Nye angry.



This really was a great read. Nye is engaging and explains the concepts well. He also introduced me to a field I would be willing to go back to college for: astrobiology. I loved his jokes and the sketches he did throughout the book. I also learned a lot about Nye himself. I will definitely be reading more of his books in the future.

...more
1

Aug 21, 2015

A fairly well written, but misguided book. Despite the passive-aggressive title, Nye's point of view on science is highly deniable. Particularly because in his mind, "science" is interchangeable with "evolution". Chapter after chapter Nye recounts his version of "facts" that are based on a series of poor assumptions and questionable interpretations of data. I am far from a scientist, but even I could see equally plausible explanations with a creationist worldview from examples he provided for A fairly well written, but misguided book. Despite the passive-aggressive title, Nye's point of view on science is highly deniable. Particularly because in his mind, "science" is interchangeable with "evolution". Chapter after chapter Nye recounts his version of "facts" that are based on a series of poor assumptions and questionable interpretations of data. I am far from a scientist, but even I could see equally plausible explanations with a creationist worldview from examples he provided for his belief in evolution.
Throughout his book, Nye expresses outright disdain for the Bible, God, and anyone who believes in God. He admits his own belief in evolution and in what he calls "deep time", which is necessary for even the slightest plausibility for life to have originated from evolutionary means. What he doesn't admit is the tremendous amount of faith he has to place in this worldview in order to give credence to the mathematical absurdity of EVERY SINGLE FORM OF LIFE (plants, animals, bacteria, viruses, etc) to have arisen from a single common ancestor, no matter how much deep time you throw at it.
Nye is an entertaining author, and I admire his passion. However, I could not say I enjoyed the book because he simply did not make the case he intended. ...more
4

Nov 18, 2016

Bill Nye sure knows how to captive and inform. Highly entertaining and funny, more than a science book has the right to be.
4

Nov 15, 2014

This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. (view spoiler)[ Bettie's Books (hide spoiler)]
4

Nov 26, 2014

I still believe that if Bill Nye was my science teacher, I would be a science teacher also. Instead I grew up dreading science and am a humanities teacher instead.
5

Dec 20, 2018

Science. Logic. Reason. Certainly not going to alter anyone's mind that doesn't want it altered, but Bill Nye took me back to middle school science where we learned the scientific method and its built in feedback loop for scientific progress. If we can't start with the fundamentals, then there is no rational discussion to follow.

•Make an observation
•Ask a question.
•Form a hypothesis, or testable explanation.
•Make a prediction based on the hypothesis.
•Test the prediction.
•Iterate: use the results Science. Logic. Reason. Certainly not going to alter anyone's mind that doesn't want it altered, but Bill Nye took me back to middle school science where we learned the scientific method and its built in feedback loop for scientific progress. If we can't start with the fundamentals, then there is no rational discussion to follow.

•Make an observation
•Ask a question.
•Form a hypothesis, or testable explanation.
•Make a prediction based on the hypothesis.
•Test the prediction.
•Iterate: use the results to make new hypotheses or prediction

Bill Nye builds upon the debate he had with famous creationist, Ken Ham and expands it with interesting anecdotes and analogies to make his concepts manageable and "listenable" (I did the audiobook).
...more
4

Nov 04, 2014

I've always been fascinated by science. While I struggled with the formulas in chemistry and physics, I was still interested in what made the world work. I was especially enthralled by biology and evolution. I was actually an anthropology minor in college because I just loved learning about it.

Bill Nye wrote this book after his debate with Ken Hamm on February 4, 2014, at the Creation Museum in Petersburg, KY. The topic of the debate was "Is Creation a Viable Model of Origins?" (You can watch I've always been fascinated by science. While I struggled with the formulas in chemistry and physics, I was still interested in what made the world work. I was especially enthralled by biology and evolution. I was actually an anthropology minor in college because I just loved learning about it.

Bill Nye wrote this book after his debate with Ken Hamm on February 4, 2014, at the Creation Museum in Petersburg, KY. The topic of the debate was "Is Creation a Viable Model of Origins?" (You can watch the debate here...it's fascinating. http://youtu.be/z6kgvhG3AkI) I watched it when it aired, and as always, I was impressed with the intelligence and grace that Nye exuded. One of the most interesting differences (at least to me) is that Nye states he is willing to accept a creationist model if someone were to show him evidence that supports it. Hamm says nothing will ever change his mind.

Undeniable presents the findings of Darwin, Lamarck, and others in an interesting, easy to understand way. You don't have to have any kind of scientific background to follow along with what Nye is saying. (He narrates the audiobook, which is awesome.) He also has a great sense of humor. The chapter on sex had me laughing like a teenage boy, and I'm totally not sorry for that.

I was intrigued all the way through, and thought it was a great listen. I will always and forever love Bill Nye the Science guy. :) ...more
3

Nov 30, 2014

I think this is a really good starter book for those who didn't study the subject matter at hand.
However, for those of us who did, it seems pretty basic. I learned all of this from middle school through college and I don't know... I guess I was expecting something along the lines of Steve Jones' books, which always have those little known fascinating facts that even scientists feel wonder reading them.

Also, I was really expecting Nye to crack down on creationism, but he only does it for a very I think this is a really good starter book for those who didn't study the subject matter at hand.
However, for those of us who did, it seems pretty basic. I learned all of this from middle school through college and I don't know... I guess I was expecting something along the lines of Steve Jones' books, which always have those little known fascinating facts that even scientists feel wonder reading them.

Also, I was really expecting Nye to crack down on creationism, but he only does it for a very short length...

Still, this is a wonderful book for those who did not study evolution. ...more
2

Dec 04, 2017

In all honesty, I have 2 more chapters but I just don't care anymore. I already believe in evolution and I already read my high school and college biology textbooks, so I am just bored of this. Please don't stone me! I think Bill Nye is funny and brilliant but if you have seen his creationist debate with Ken Ham then you do not need to read this.

Maybe I have just been dragging this out over several days and that killed the excitement for me...? Maybe it's the end of year reading slump? I just In all honesty, I have 2 more chapters but I just don't care anymore. I already believe in evolution and I already read my high school and college biology textbooks, so I am just bored of this. Please don't stone me! I think Bill Nye is funny and brilliant but if you have seen his creationist debate with Ken Ham then you do not need to read this.

Maybe I have just been dragging this out over several days and that killed the excitement for me...? Maybe it's the end of year reading slump? I just don't know. I think I just prefer to watch or listen to Bill Nye, as opposed to reading him off the page. ...more

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