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Bill Nye slams creationism
August 27th, 2012
11:31 AM ET

Bill Nye slams creationism

By Eric Marrapodi, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

(CNN)–Famed TV scientist Bill Nye is slamming creationism in a new online video for Big Think titled "Creationism Is Not Appropriate For Children."

"Denial of evolution is unique to the United States," Nye begins in a YouTube video posted on Thursday.  The video quickly picked up steam over the weekend and as of Monday morning had been viewed more than 1,100,000 times.

Nye - a mechanical engineer and television personality best known for his program, "Bill Nye the Science Guy" - said the United States has great capital in scientific knowledge and "when you have a portion of the population that doesn't believe in it, it holds everyone back."

"Your world becomes fantastically complicated if you don't believe in evolution," Nye said in the Web video.

Creationists are a vast and varied group in the United States.  Most creationists believe in the account of the origins of the world as told in the Book of Genesis, the first book of the Bible.

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In the creation account, God creates Adam and Eve, the world, and everything in it in six days.

For Christians who read the Genesis account literally, or authoritatively as they would say, the six days in the account are literal 24-hour periods and leave no room for evolution.  Young Earth creationists use this construct and biblical genealogies to determine the age of the Earth, and typically come up with 6,000 to 10,000 years.

Your Take: 5 reactions to Bill Nye's creationism critique

The Gallup Poll has been tracking Americans' views on creation and evolution for the past 30 years.  In June it released its latest findings, which showed 46% of Americans believed in creationism, 32% believed in evolution guided by God, and 15% believed in atheistic evolution.

During the 30 years Gallup has conducted the survey, creationism has remained far and away the most popular answer, with 40% to 47% of Americans surveyed saying they believed that God created humans in their present form at one point within the past 10,000 years.

Survey: Nearly half of Americans subscribe to creationist view of human origins

"The idea of deep time of billions of years explains so much of the world around us. If you try to ignore that, your worldview becomes crazy, untenable, itself inconsistent," Nye said in the video.

"I say to the grownups, if you want to deny evolution and live in your world, that's completely inconsistent with the world we observe, that's fine.  But don't make your kids do it.  Because we need them.  We need scientifically literate voters and taxpayers for the future.  We need engineers that can build stuff and solve problems," he said.

Creationists' beliefs about the origins of the Earth are often a narrow focus, based in large part on religious beliefs, and while they reject evolution as "just one theory," they often embrace other fields of science and technology.

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In "The Genesis Flood," the 1961 book that in many ways help launch the Young Earth creationism movement in the United States, the authors write: “Our conclusions must unavoidably be colored by our Biblical presuppositions, and this we plainly acknowledge."  Their goal for the book was to harmonize the scientific evidence with the accounts in Genesis of creation and the flood.

The idea of creationism has been scorned by the mainstream scientific community since shortly after Darwin introduced "The Origin of Species" in 1859.  By 1880, The American Naturalists, a science journal, reported nearly every major university in America was teaching evolution.

"In another couple centuries I'm sure that worldview won't even exist.  There's no evidence for it. So..." Nye ends his video.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Creationism • Science

soundoff (14,640 Responses)
  1. Oscar Pitchfork

    1. The Bible never meant to intend that a "day" was a 24-hour period, and 2.I think Bill Nye just shot himself in the foot as far as acceptance and popularity is concerned.

    August 28, 2012 at 8:34 am |
    • David

      Actually it does. If you look at the Hebrew construction and normal usage, or even if you just look at the variety of modern translations, there is no doubt that the words are intended to convey literal days.

      August 28, 2012 at 8:45 am |
  2. humtake

    Another example of people going completely against what America is about just because they don't believe someone else does. That is the ruination of this country.

    August 28, 2012 at 8:34 am |
    • lar9166

      What exactly is this country about?

      August 28, 2012 at 8:45 am |
  3. Colin

    Who is most likely to think they will live happily ever after they die in a magic place where only good things happen:

    (a) A seven year-old girl who has just read Cinderella;

    (b) a ten year-old boy who has just read Harry Potter;

    (c) an adult Christian who has just read the “Bible”; or

    (d) all of the above?

    August 28, 2012 at 8:33 am |
  4. RustyHinges8

    The entire universe evolved from dust, rock, and colliding debris. Energy exploding, and gases and intense heat. Billions of years of fire and cold, moving, spinning....forming clusters and galaxies. There was no God doing anything....

    August 28, 2012 at 8:32 am |
    • Rob

      Evidence, please?

      August 28, 2012 at 8:41 am |
  5. Joel

    For wisdom about the human condition, ancient scripture can be interesting and revealing – as can any good literature, visual art, poetry, music, and such. But don't expect to find _facts_ there.

    For answers to questions about science, consult a scientist – not the fever dreams of ancient desert nomads.

    August 28, 2012 at 8:32 am |
  6. naysayer

    Creation is not good for Bill Nye. His success is based on the false notion of evolution. The very science that he loves so much has proven evolution can not be true. Now scientists have come up with a new delusion – the big bang. Our children need to know the truth. GOD created us and we are accountable to him. Look around and see what GODlessness has done to our children.

    August 28, 2012 at 8:31 am |
    • joe

      It's YOUR job to mold your children. Not Gods. If they are screwed up, it's your fault. Stop shifting blame.

      August 28, 2012 at 8:36 am |
    • AdamH

      @naysayer
      Proof for this please?
      2 books written thousands of years ago and translated so many times that the original text is totally different versus thousands of books based on scientific, empirical work. Hmmm, I wonder.... Not!

      August 28, 2012 at 8:40 am |
    • sam stone

      how has science proven evolution to be untrue?

      August 28, 2012 at 8:40 am |
    • sam stone

      what has "godlessness" done to the children?

      "oh, won't someone please think of the children?" – helen lovejoy

      August 28, 2012 at 8:43 am |
    • lar9166

      Wait, please explain how evolution was proved incorrect? The big-bang explains the beginning of the universe. Evolution explains how life evolved to become what it is today. Still, the process will never end. The big-bang does not take the place of evolution.
      What science proved that evolution isn't fact?

      August 28, 2012 at 8:49 am |
    • janemutiny

      My "godless" children are successful, compassionate, highly-functioning members of society while my brother's children, cut off from normal society and homeschooled to make sure they are filled with "god's grace" can barely carry on a normal conversation and are virtually unemployable. I was told more than once that "if you don't fill your children with God's love, then Satan will fill the void" and yet it seems that filling my children with reason and critical thinking skills actually worked out pretty well for them.

      August 28, 2012 at 9:26 am |
    • Hiram

      Sorry... when I look around, I see Evolution everywhere. Nary a hint of your silly, vindictive, Bronze Age "God" (who is represented as nothing more than a sort of Hebrew Zeus). That's not to say that I'm an Atheist... I'm not. I simply put God where he belongs... as the Creator of the Big Bang.

      August 28, 2012 at 10:27 am |
    • Thinker...

      He may be referring to the thermodynamic concept of entropy when saying that science has proven evolution to be wrong. I had to sit through an hour and a half lecture once on how this PhD thermodynamisist (who was giving the lecture to the christian activist group on campus) had 'proven' that evolution was impossible. And that his work was being discounted by the rest of the scientific community. He specifically stated that due to entropy a more complex system cannot arise from a more simple system. He then cited a few anecdotal examples, but no experimental results. And then spent the last hour explaining how persecuted he was. Then asked for donations. After charging admittance*.

      When taking questions most of the audience generally asked questions that were already framed from a position of accepting his position and were thus easy for him to answer to the satisfaction of the questioner. One man there though asked him something about how entropy (a thermodynamic quant,ity representing the unavailability of a system's thermal energy for conversion into mechanical work, often interpreted as the degree of disorder or randomness in the system) prevented the formation of complex molecules from simpler molecules and the speaker brushed him off saying that over time the entropy would remove all the energy from the system preventing the formation of the new molecule. Which sounds intelligent but has no bearing on the question at all. All his answer says is that given a finite supply of energy everything will eventually stop.

      I should note that entropy can also be defined as a gradual decay into disorder, but this definition is NOT the thermodynamic definition used in the Laws of Thermodynamics he was claiming was the base of his theory.

      Sorry this is such a long post, but I felt that providing an example of a 'scientific disproving' of evolution as well as the circ.umstances in which it was given would be instructive as to the validity of the hypothesis.

      *He billed the Christian group he was speaking to, not the students that attended (directly). Gotta love having a part time job at a theatre; you learn all sorts of interesting things.

      August 28, 2012 at 11:09 am |
  7. Colin

    Which of the following groups lacks the mental capacity to realize that the World is not only 6,000 years old and did not begin with one man, one woman and a talking snake?

    (a) New Guinea highlanders who have never had access to even a basic education

    (b) unfortunate children who were deprived of oxygen at birth

    (c) po.odles and corgis; or

    (d) the majority of Christians?

    August 28, 2012 at 8:31 am |
  8. ScottH

    Bill, As Charlie Sheen says... "Winning". Parents win you lose. God wins and unless you know him you are a lost little scientist. Sorry Charlie.

    August 28, 2012 at 8:31 am |
    • joe

      How can you know something that is not tangible? Lost little scientist? Please! We're not in the bronze age anymore. You know, the bronze age when the bible was written. When the earth was flat and was the center of the universe. Let's all get the bible out and start practicing the verses of Leviticus.

      August 28, 2012 at 8:39 am |
  9. citizenmn

    Bill Nye, thank you for standing up for science.

    August 28, 2012 at 8:30 am |
  10. lar9166

    People are asking how "something" came out of "nothing".
    This is not how it works. One just needs to take the time to be educated about what they are talking about.
    Organic chemistry, or "the study of carbon based compounds", explains how life is simply a seires of chemical reactions. The human body (and any animal body, plant body, bacterial body, etc.) is nothing more than a precise combination of chemical reactions. Life started because of chemistry. Life, or Biology, is governed by the rules of chemistry. Chemistry is governed by the law of physics.
    Religion was created to explain things that could not otherwise be explained. We have come so far in the past 100 years in discovering facts we didn't know before. Religion has less and less of a role to play.

    August 28, 2012 at 8:30 am |
    • Roger

      it did indeed need to "start somewhere" Evolution is fine if you don't think about it too much, if you posit that it somehow was here, then it can make sense,if you just accept it as faith. I don't have the faith to believe something so extraordinarily complex. it reminds me of the epicycles and other complications used to explain the movement of the planets. I do believe in evolution in some cases, and I know the earth is far older than even 10000 years, but evolution can not explain how it all started and it can't even explain all the diversity of life.

      August 28, 2012 at 8:54 am |
    • Thinker...

      Roger, you are correct that evolution does not explain the origin of life. That is not what the theory is about. Evolution is however about explaining the wide varieties of species on our planet, and how they might have come about. That is the root of evolutionary theory. You could go to your local library (or even the internet!) and pick up a book on evolution. If you read it through and withold judgement till the end (neccessary for learning; if you judge it as you read you will have a much harder time understanding it as your mind will be closed to the information and will be busy rationalizing the information away), you might learn why your statement was incorrect. Whether you choose to accept the theory as valid is entirely up to you though. If you think it is wrong, propose a new hypothesis and set out to test it yourself.

      August 28, 2012 at 9:54 am |
  11. buckshot

    Mr. Nye, thank you for standing up to and for reality.

    August 28, 2012 at 8:29 am |
  12. greg

    Conservatives have become anti-science. They don't believe the world around them. They hold to ridiculous beliefs about evolution, about the environment, women's reproduction, preferring ignorance under the banner of false faith.

    August 28, 2012 at 8:29 am |
  13. Anti-Troll

    If you think science is useless and you need to put all your faith in a "god", then RIGHT NOW.. open your wallets, throw away your card and cancel your insurance coverage. Since you don't want to trust science, let "god" heal you the next time something happpens to you.

    August 28, 2012 at 8:28 am |
  14. Charles O'Meara

    did it ever occur to creationists that God created the human mind? and therefore science? i respect christian scientists because they have the guts to die rather than take a scientific cure, but i bet every last one of these creationists doesn't mind science so much when they get a fast internet connection, a cardiac bypass or watch a NASCAR race

    August 28, 2012 at 8:28 am |
    • Which God?

      @ Charles. Pity that they would rather die than to use scientific means for a cure or treatment. Still, dying off helps clear up the 'gene pool' by getting rid of the less evolved. Get a clue.

      August 28, 2012 at 8:33 am |
    • Joseph Christ

      Actually NASCAR was created by God.

      August 28, 2012 at 8:36 am |
    • sam stone

      NASCAR stands for Non Athletic Sport Centered Around Rednecks

      August 28, 2012 at 8:48 am |
    • Roger

      You're right, Charles, God did indeed create science and all of the scientific laws. These extremists that don't believe in science or medicine are a almost insignificant percentage of the millions and millions that believe in God. It actually takes more faith to believe in evolution than it does to believe in a verifiable God.

      August 28, 2012 at 8:59 am |
    • Roger

      You're right, Charles, God did indeed create science and all of the scientific laws. These extremists that don't believe in science or medicine are a almost insignificant percentage of the millions and millions that believe in God.

      August 28, 2012 at 9:00 am |
  15. Reality

    http://www.actionbioscience.org/evolution/benton.html------>>>>

    "Our understanding of the shape and pattern of the history of life depends on the accuracy of fossils and dating methods. Some critics, particularly religious fundamentalists, argue that neither fossils nor dating can be trusted, and that their interpretations are better. Other critics, perhaps more familiar with the data, question certain aspects of the quality of the fossil record and of its dating. These skeptics do not provide scientific evidence for their views. Current understanding of the history of life is probably close to the truth because it is based on repeated and careful testing and consideration of data.

    The rejection of the validity of fossils and of dating by religious fundamentalists creates a problem for them:"

    "Scientists can use different chemicals for absolute dating:

    •The best-known absolute dating technique is carbon-14 dating, which archaeologists prefer to use. However, the half-life of carbon-14 is only 5730 years, so the method cannot be used for materials older than about 70,000 years.

    •Radiometric dating involves the use of isotope series, such as rubidium/strontium, thorium/lead, potassium/argon, argon/argon, or uranium/lead, all of which have very long half-lives, ranging from 0.7 to 48.6 billion years. Subtle differences in the relative proportions of the two isotopes can give good dates for rocks of any age.

    The first radiometric dates, generated about 1920, showed that the Earth was hundreds of millions, or billions, of years old. Since then, geologists have made many tens of thousands of radiometric age determinations, and they have refined the earlier estimates. A key point is that it is no longer necessary simply to accept one chemical determination of a rock’s age. Age estimates can be cross-tested by using different isotope pairs. Results from different techniques, often measured in rival labs, continually confirm each other.

    Every few years, new geologic time scales are published, providing the latest dates for major time lines. Older dates may change by a few million years up and down, but younger dates are stable. For example, it has been known since the 1960s that the famous Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary, the line marking the end of the dinosaurs, was 65 million years old. Repeated recalibrations and retests, using ever more sophisticated techniques and equipment, cannot shift that date. It is accurate to within a few thousand years. With modern, extremely precise, methods, error bars are often only 1% or so."

    August 28, 2012 at 8:28 am |
    • LT

      Forget the equipment, what about the "ancient" drawings and etchings found on cave walls dated only 3,500 YEARS AGO!.
      The drawings were of dinosaurs WALKING AMONG LIVING MEN!!!!!

      August 28, 2012 at 8:31 am |
    • Joseph Christ

      Very good point LT, there are many many other accounts that are very similar. The worls is far from as old as many believe.

      August 28, 2012 at 8:38 am |
    • Reality

      The wall painting in said caves were of bison, horses, aurochs, and deer common to the area. The dinosaurs were wiped out 65 million years ago. Google it !!!

      August 28, 2012 at 11:31 am |
  16. drew223344

    no one can explain life. its beyond any humans campicity to comprehend no matter what the anserew is so just shut up and don't critize people who want to belive.

    August 28, 2012 at 8:28 am |
    • Colin

      Then why do believers claim they can?

      August 28, 2012 at 8:28 am |
    • lynn

      you sure don't spell like a human .

      August 28, 2012 at 8:29 am |
    • Reality

      Comprehending:

      What we do know: (from the fields of astrophysics, nuclear physics, geology and the history of religion)

      1. The Sun will burn out in 3-5 billion years so we have a time frame.

      2. Asteroids continue to circle us in the nearby asteroid belt.

      3. One wayward rock and it is all over in a blast of permanent winter.

      4. There are enough nuclear weapons to do the same job.

      5. Most contemporary NT exegetes do not believe in the Second Coming so apparently there is no concern about JC coming back on an asteroid or cloud of raptors/rapture.

      6. All stars will eventually extinguish as there is a limit to the amount of hydrogen in the universe. When this happens (100 trillion years?), the universe will go dark. If it does not collapse and recycle, the universe will end.

      7. Super, dormant volcanoes off the coast of Africa and under Yellowstone Park could explode catalytically at any time ending life on Earth.

      Bottom line: our apocalypse will start between now and 3-5 billion CE. The universe apocalypse, 100 trillion years?

      August 28, 2012 at 8:30 am |
    • alphabatt1

      You mean just shut up because you can actually think critically.

      August 28, 2012 at 8:30 am |
    • lar9166

      Life is a complex seires of chemical reactions. We understand exactly what life is, and how it works. We know the chemistry needed to create life. When molecules of DNA come together, they create the building blocks needed to survive and reproduce.
      Take a science class.

      August 28, 2012 at 8:33 am |
    • Which God?

      Wow, drew223344. Some heavy duty argument there. Really stated your case. An impressive display for your lack of congnitive reasoning. As for shutiing up, folks, you can only 'pray' that we will do so. However, as long as fools like you continue to display such ignorant behavior in manners, and your beliefs in myth, we will not 'shut up.'

      August 28, 2012 at 8:41 am |
    • sam stone

      i got no problem with people believing what they want to believe. i got a problem when they try to legislate it

      August 28, 2012 at 8:49 am |
  17. dsjsfr

    After all It was the Catholic priest who gave us the best explanation as of today how the universe started = big bang theory.

    August 28, 2012 at 8:27 am |
    • Which God?

      I think that the only big bang the catholic priests get is for the altar boys, or each other. Perverted religion, as are the others out there.

      August 28, 2012 at 8:43 am |
    • Sabina

      LMFAO

      August 28, 2012 at 8:45 am |
  18. mfox

    the bible says all of these things will come to pass and indeed it is all happening. It is just like man to glorify himself and try in his feable wisdom to try and explain things. When in reality man knows nothing. Cures .... what cures ? lets mix some antifreeze and other poisons together and see what that does to our body. there is your science. it wasn't intended that all men will go to heaven. there will come a time very soon that there will be way more non-believers than their are believers. in my days as a child i couldn't understand how that would ever happen, but i'm seeing it happen now with my own eyes and i see it getting alot worse just as the bible foretold. We can argue with fools all day but it won't change anything. We are still the nut jobs in the eyes of the world. God bless man kind.

    August 28, 2012 at 8:27 am |
    • kerfluffle

      There have always been more 'non-believers' than 'believers'. just because you just realized that China and India were out there, doesn't mean that they weren't already out there.

      You are an intellectual lightweight. Someone should turn off your interweb before you get hurt.

      August 28, 2012 at 8:48 am |
  19. buckshot

    The bible thumpers ideas of "creationalism," is hocus pocus" and nothing more then a bunch of vivid amagination fairy tales.

    August 28, 2012 at 8:27 am |
  20. correctlycenter

    Atheists cannot properly explain the creation story in Genesis, so they buy into the false concept of darwinism. Who created the rock, gases, soil, water, stars, planets, moons? Carl Sagan? No, God did! You can believe that your great-great-great grandfather was an ape if you wish, but these lies should not to told to our children...

    August 28, 2012 at 8:26 am |
    • Observer

      So tell your children that unicorns and talking animals are real, instead.

      August 28, 2012 at 8:27 am |
    • Colin

      Properly expain Genesis?? What's to expain. It pretty mauch takes it to the simplest level possible....six days and a talking snake does not exactly require explanation, it requires stupidity.

      August 28, 2012 at 8:28 am |
    • this guy

      day 1, god created heavens and the earth, man woman, animals for man...the next day he turned the light on...yada yada yada

      there...done

      August 28, 2012 at 8:31 am |
    • Joe from Indy

      Atheists can't "properly explain" it because it isn't true. You can't properly explain fantasies born of imagination. Christians can't explain it with anything resembling evidence, either. However, there is plenty of evidence that the biblical account is false.

      August 28, 2012 at 8:32 am |
    • John

      Explain Genisis? Even a small child knows it's fables and myths just like Santa Claus until adults continue the indoctrination telling them what to think until they no longer have the capacity to question and grow up to be....welll,...you!

      August 28, 2012 at 8:34 am |
    • alphabatt1

      So, please explain to me which of the Creation Stories,(not theories), is a forgery. Genesis 1:1- 2:3 or Genesis 2:4-2:25.
      Go ahead, as no Creationist has been able to.

      August 28, 2012 at 8:40 am |
    • I AM

      Who needs to explain it? It just happened , didn't it. If you don't try to explain it through science, and you just accept that God created all life, why try to explain it. There it is. But, if you don't accept that God created everything, then your mind is open to all the possibilities of the universe.

      August 28, 2012 at 8:42 am |
    • Which God?

      So correctlycenter, explain to me how genesis 2 is actually 'older' than genesis I, yet they are reversed in the babbling- book- of- Bullshyte. Furthermore, they don't match up. HOW COME? Myths, stolen from older myths, from other cultures. You are pretty ignorant of your own hole-ly babblebook.

      August 28, 2012 at 8:49 am |
    • sam stone

      so, you tell them that they are sinners deserving eternal torment unless they pony up to (the right) god?

      August 28, 2012 at 9:12 am |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.