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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. BiologistKiki

    think these people are just too afraid to believe that we are truly alone in the ever-vast and unknown universe. It's comforting for them to lie to themselves and say that someone out there is protecting them (What from, though, I ask. Sure as hell not cancer because you haven't prayed it away yet). It becomes a problem, however, because their security blanket gets pushed onto everyone else and they encroach upon my rights because of it. I don't care that they believe it. I think it's silly, but whatever. I care when they start to try to force it on me in the government. I will never be that stupid or small-minded.

    August 28, 2012 at 8:42 am |
  2. youidiots

    To BiLL NyE:
    YoUr oNly ThInKiNg iN mAn'S tErMs....Some dummy on his death bed probly said something about God's hours being like that to humans...it does not matter, the fact is time does not affect God...it only seems to matter to older people and scientists. And secondly some idiot on his death bed made up evolution as well. Religious beleifs to children should be allowed the same way that you (stupidly) still celebrate and lie to your children about Santa and Christmas...Jesus was born in harvest time not winter F.Y.I. So now what is the lesser of two evils? Telling your children about something they cannot see in order to instill morals and values, or lying to them about the existence of the Easter Bunny....I don't know of any ancient book about the Easter Bunny.

    August 28, 2012 at 8:42 am |
    • BiologistKiki

      There is no God.

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

      ...said the idiot

      August 28, 2012 at 8:51 am |
    • Irving

      "God is dead." - Freidrich Nietsche

      August 28, 2012 at 8:54 am |
    • Hexdragon

      Evolution is not just some made up story to appease our fears. We see it every day.
      1000 years ago all cows/cattle had horns. Through selected breading most dairy and beef cows no longer have horns.
      Do you have a dog? Most breeds were manipulated to bring out size, shape, color,and to do specific jobs.
      Look at the difference between a plow horse and a Thoroughbred...

      August 28, 2012 at 9:01 am |
    • Wrenn_NYC

      "De ovis paschalibus." published in 1682. Noting the Alsace tradition of an easter bunny bringing eggs. (first instance of thes story/ tale found in writing).

      But perhaps 330 years isn't old enough fo you.

      August 28, 2012 at 9:16 am |
    • kf9876

      BiologistKiki, and you don't exist. My statement is just as true as yours. I think science is great but it has a huge flaw. It never....... ever....... moves beyond theory it just becomes working theory. Even the things we think we understand we don't because new information and a better understanding continues to move us forward. The more we understand the complexity of all we are just makes it harder to point towards everything being an accident. The only thing evolving is our understanding that we really don't have a clue how anything came to exist at all.

      August 28, 2012 at 9:19 am |
    • kf9876

      1st I don't lie to my children about the Easter bunny. It doesn't exist. As for Saint Nicolas He did and did provide gifts however not made by elves. Christ also a real person who is found in history other than the Bible. I really don’t understand why those pushing science have such a venomous desire to disprove the notion that all things could have come from an intelligent designer. That is a weak foundation to build upon. Now if we are going to look at Genesis and the Bible in a literal sense. Let’s be clear of what it does not say. It does not anywhere give any time frame to the age of the earth. Also if you read carefully and understand there are actually two periods of creation recorded in the book. It also does not say that Adam and Eve were the only two people created. There is so much information in this book if you are willing to open your mind and read it. The bible is not a historical record of the earth. It is a record of interaction of a Creator and His creation. It is an account of events dealing with specific event throughout time from a starting point leading up to the days we are now living. The bible in no way is against science. The one thing we can all agree on is that something started it all. If science is objective then by its nature it cannot and shouldn’t rule out the possibility of intelligent design. Nor does intelligent design rule out something evolving over time.

      August 28, 2012 at 9:57 am |
    • shorty227

      The difference is, once the kids grow up, we don't force Santa and the Easter Bunny down their throat.

      Childish beliefs are fine for childish times. We also use Aesop's fables to instill morals and values, that doesn't mean that we expect our kids to believe that they are historically accurate.

      August 28, 2012 at 11:31 am |
  3. Colin

    I also have a good friend who works for Exxon-Mobile. He is a geologist engaged in searching for oil and other fossil fuels in Africa. They know where to look for oil based on the ages of the rocks and their location during the Carboniferous Period, which is when the vast mats of plankton and other small sea creatures were laid down, that gradually turned to oil over the tens of millions of years.

    Fortunately, I have a creationist friend, who has told me that fossil fuels are not made of fossils at all, as the world is only six thousand years old and started with the Garden of Eden and a magic talking snake! So, I will write to my friend and tell him to stop looking where they usually find oil, as that has just been a lucky coincidence. God must have buried some there to fool them.

    What a playful, loving god we have, and aren’t creationists smart!

    August 28, 2012 at 8:41 am |
    • john

      yes they are smart. Looks like you are real smart thinking you know everything and do not care about yourself. If you say you do care about yourself you are a liar cause you being atheist what is the difference if you die now? Nothing cause you just lay in the box in the ground haha. Silly atheists and do not know how they can go on living thinking that is it when you die. I hope you don't have kids. If you do they might be smart enough to believe in God. It is all in the Bible buddy if you like it or not.

      August 28, 2012 at 11:03 am |
  4. Harlin

    I am a center-left Christian. I believe evolution was the method used by our creator to propagate the world (or other worlds when they are shown to exist in the future). I teach my children the same. I am ok with more conservative Christians teaching their children their beliefs on creationism and their opinions on evolution. Mr Nye has a right to express his opinions but I do wish he would not tell parents what to teach their children when it comes to an issue that can be emotional like faith.

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

    All of you arguing in favor of a literal Biblical version of creation need to give us more information. There are 2 stories of creation in Genesis (The 7 days account, and the story of Adam and Eve) but they contradict each other in several ways. Could you let us know which version you endorse and which you reject, which parts of the Bible you accept literally and which you accept only figuratively.

    And if you opt for Genesis 1, could you let us know if you accept all of it or just part of it. For instance, if you literally accept that God made the Universe in 7 days and did it all about 6,000 years ago, do you also accept that the Earth is covered by a great dome in which the stars and planets hand like ornaments, and the dome holds back the waters which are wllowed to come through from time to time as rain? That version also puts the Earth at the center of the universe, at the center of the dome. Do you believe in that model of the universe, too, or do you reject that aspect of Genesis1?

    August 28, 2012 at 8:41 am |
    • kf9876

      You need to go back read it again carefully. They are not two accounts of the same story. They are two different events. I wish I had it in front of me and the time to point out the differences because they are there.

      August 28, 2012 at 10:10 am |
  6. Mopper

    What also is bad for kids is not teacking evolutionary theory with all its pimples and internal controversies. Evolution is not like other scientific principals such as Bernoulis principal which is proven every time an airplane lifts off. Let kids know that there are gradualist camps and those who subscribe to punctuated equilibrium. Be honest about the question that the pre-Cambrian explosion raise and other blemishes caused by the 'Fossil Gap'. Evolution is the best naturalistic explanation we have however, its dogmatic proponents are less than honest about its shortcomings. Is it because they themselves sometimes have a lack of confidence in evolution as comprehensive explanation as to why we are here?

    August 28, 2012 at 8:40 am |
    • Harlin

      Hear here. Very well said.

      August 28, 2012 at 8:42 am |
    • DC from NJ

      Scientific theories typically have some inconsistencies, or at least they appear to until we learn more; that is the nature of science. This is in marked contrast to creationism, which has no empirical support whatsoever. You can believe in the Biblical theory of creation if you like, but the evidence is nonexistent. Also, you need to consult your dictionary – a scientific "principal" is, in fact, a "principle"....

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

      I can understand some people being tired of hearing "Oh you don't all agree with each other about every detail so IT MUST BE TOTALLY FALSE AND WRONG YAY GOD!!!" But that doesn't excuse hiding disagreements about the details.

      August 28, 2012 at 8:51 am |
  7. Colin

    A friend of mine (who was actually valedictorian of our high school) went into the field of paleontology. He works at the University of Melbourne in Australia, where they are doing research on the earliest Aboriginal settlements in Australia and the development of the many hundreds of languages spoken by the Aboriginals in Australia.

    Their latest theories suggest that man made it to Australia at least 60,000 years ago, during the penultimate Ice Age and that their languages diversified as they spread throughout the continent.

    Fortunately, I have a creationist friend, who has informed me that this can’t be right, as the World is only one tenth as old (about 6,000) years and that all Australian Aboriginal languages were made by god in the Tower of Babel. Further, the Ice Ages did not even happen.

    It makes me wonder where Australian Aboriginals come from if they were not on Noah’s ark and evolution is a lie, but I’m sure I’ll find the answers in the Bible.

    August 28, 2012 at 8:40 am |
    • BiologistKiki

      That is not where you will find the answers. if the answers were in the bible, the people who made the bible up would have to have had very advanced technology. they killed people even centuries later who tried to share the knowledge that the world was round. do you think the world is flat? because that is the kind of scientific answer the bible has for you.

      August 28, 2012 at 8:46 am |
  8. ERASMUS

    It's amazing how smart man has become in the last fifty years! Science has discovered how life evolved from complex processes, but cannot tell me what will happen tomorrow! Of course, if all of this is just science, then who cares what happens tomorrow or any other time! Maybe, science can now take a shot at explaining evil? Oh well, the deconstruction of life is the ultimate deconstruction!

    August 28, 2012 at 8:40 am |
  9. God is not real

    I have one simple question for creationists:

    Who created God?

    August 28, 2012 at 8:39 am |
    • LT

      God has no beginning. He is eternal.

      August 28, 2012 at 8:41 am |
    • God is not real

      Proof please.

      August 28, 2012 at 8:42 am |
    • the_dude

      @LT

      How convenient.

      August 28, 2012 at 8:42 am |
    • CapnKirk

      Thanks LT, you prove Nye's point.

      August 28, 2012 at 8:44 am |
  10. RLG

    Just one question:

    Show me proof of how life got started here on Earth.

    August 28, 2012 at 8:39 am |
    • God is not real

      Science: We are working on it.

      Religion: God did it, stop trying to understand how it happened and accept what we tell you as the truth.

      August 28, 2012 at 8:40 am |
    • CapnKirk

      Well, RLG there are literally hundreds of books that do just that. But in your vein of poor reasoning...show me proof that God created life on earth.

      August 28, 2012 at 8:42 am |
    • Joel

      Quite a number of really smart people are on that very question. Until we figure it out, "God did it" is not a terribly useful answer, because it does nothing but shut down further discussion and understanding.

      August 28, 2012 at 8:42 am |
    • Will

      Great reply! Science isn't claiming to have all the answers – just that it has proof for the ones it claims to. And even that proof is open to be overturned when more evidence comes to light. Religion tries to limit this search and assign credit/blame for the unknown (or not yet known) to some supernatural being. There might be a god – science doesn't rule this out – religion would just stop looking. Anything that makes a virtue out of suspending your wits (faith) is suspect.

      August 28, 2012 at 8:44 am |
  11. Colin

    I have a friend who works for the Center for Disease Control in Atlanta, Georgia. He was telling me how a new strain of Bird Flu has evolved with a resistance to the strongest vaccines we can throw at it. The best immunologists in the World believe it evolved in parts of India or China where the regular contact between chickens and humans allows easy vectoring to humans.

    Luckily, I have a creationist friend who has corrected me. Evolution is a lie. All life was created in its current form about 6,000 years ago by a Bronze Age sky god they called “Yahweh,” who we now call “God”.

    So, the Center for disease Control will immediately stop researching the evolution of disease and close down, so their researchers can go home and read their Bibles to find a cure for bird flu there.

    Thanks creationists, you have saved the taxpayer even more money!!

    August 28, 2012 at 8:39 am |
    • Anti Colin

      You are VERY annoying. Do you have a job? Is this your full time occupation?

      August 28, 2012 at 8:43 am |
  12. Ben

    Believing in Creation as set forth by the Bible does not mean that evolution cannot also be true. The Theory of Evolution is still just that, a theory, and a wonderful theory at that. This theory has helped to create many wonder works of fiction, and I do not refer to works printed in scientific journals or book (for example the computer game Spore).

    Also I believe that saying one cannot progress in knowledge because of a belief in the Bible is just as ignorant as saying that Evolution is completely false. A belief in God is splendid thing that has helped transform many people for the better. Many of the greatest works of art are dedicated to this belief as well.

    No one on either side of this issue ought to be hurling insults or trying to degrade the thoughts and beliefs of the other.

    August 28, 2012 at 8:39 am |
  13. Colin

    I have another friend who works for NASA. He was telling me how the latest photographs from the Hubble space telescope are revealing galaxies in the early stages of formation, from about 13 billion years ago. The discoveries are advancing science at an incredible rate and helping us develop very sophisticated theories of galactic formation.

    Fortunately, I have a creationist friend from who informed me that the entire Universe and its billions of galaxies, each with billions of stars and planets was all created only 6,000 years ago by [the Christian] god with an emphasis on Earth and one man, one woman and a magic talking snake.

    Thanks creationists, if it wasn’t for you, I would believe people like Isaac Newton, Albert Einstein and Stephen Hawkins. Now, I just read my Bible.

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

      But has your friend explained how something was created from nothing? Or how nothing created something?

      August 28, 2012 at 8:40 am |
    • Colin

      LT- no, that is one reason why I reject god. I do not believe he could have come from nothing or "was always there" its functional equivalent.

      August 28, 2012 at 8:43 am |
    • Anti Colin

      Are you evolutionist bot? Do you have time to do anything but spew this Colin belief system onto others? Do you accept that other can have a view that is different from yours? You sound like a typical liberal.

      August 28, 2012 at 8:45 am |
    • LT

      Colin, you simply reject the truth. But you know that science has NOT proven what you claim to receive or accept.

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

      Everyone's view on here is simply an interpretation.

      August 28, 2012 at 9:11 am |
  14. stonymark

    The Christians, Atheists, and the scientists are all narrow-minded in this topic. You all really need to grow up and work together. The Creation story in Genesis is true, but not to what the believers interpret it as. It is a poetic-style story that quickly explains things, so the Bible can move on to what is deemed more important. In reality, our current era is in the last half of the sixth day; or sixth era in more of an understanding term to an outsider. The seventh day hasn't happened yet, as the creation is still ongoing. Water is still carving places on this earth, especially places like Niagara Falls and the Grand Canyon. Fire is also being used in the forming. Stars are still settling in up in space, some dying for a greater good later on. God can't call it good yet, as there is still too much evil and stuff incomplete. He is still working. While my views are theory as well, I see more truth in them than everyone else's "my way or the highway" view.

    August 28, 2012 at 8:37 am |
    • Will

      Stony – you miss the point of the article. This is about people who believe the Bible literally. Your interpretation is just that – an interpretation. Therefore, it could be metaphorical, which creationists say it is not.

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

      please tell me you're trolling

      August 28, 2012 at 8:48 am |
    • Thinker...

      Is this yet another new church?
      I'm not sure how your church would work though; after all if it is still the 6th day, then you do not accept genesis, in which case the fruit of knowledge (which is evil for some reason) has yet to be eaten so we are all secretly living in the garden of eden and all the rest of the bible has not yet occured?
      Or did you make a new book?
      I am now certifiably confused. You have taken an already inconsistent story and completly destroyed its already shaky timeline. Congratulations on your creativity sir!

      August 28, 2012 at 10:31 am |
  15. Colin

    I actually have a friend who is currently on an archeological dig in the Republic of Croatia. He emailed me about how they had found the remains of the earliest ho.mo sapiens outside of Africa, dating to a couple of hundred thousand years ago. There is an entire research team there from Oxford University’s paleontology department, the most respected in the World.

    Fortunately, I have a creationist friend who informed me that the entire World began only 6,000 years ago with man already totally evolved (and with a talking snake). So, I am going to write to the team and tell them to all fold up their tents and go home and read their Bibles. The answers to the natural history of the human species are all in there.

    Thanks creationists, you have made me really smart!

    August 28, 2012 at 8:37 am |
    • Anti Colin

      You are a joke. Except that you are NOT funny.

      August 28, 2012 at 8:45 am |
    • God

      I think you are hilarious!!

      August 28, 2012 at 10:36 am |
  16. Mbane18

    I went to a private Catholic School over in Europe as a kid. My parents were there for a while working. In grade 5 we learned evolution, from a nun. Yes, our teacher was a Catholic nun and we were thought evolution. This creatinism stuff only happenes here in the USA where for some reason we take pride in being ignorant. For those who are Christians, if you can't understand that the stories in the Bible are just stories, than you have some serious issues. The puritans and evangelicals are ruining this country. Now I understand why they got kicked out of Europe.

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

      Catholics don't hav a problem with evolutionary theory. Even JP II said the evidence for it was convincing–that's why it's no surprise that you were taught evolution by a nun. You have to look to some branches of the Protestant evangelical movement for young earth creationists.

      August 28, 2012 at 8:42 am |
  17. Colin

    I will not only kill people who do not believe what I say in various ways, such as drowning, stabbing, and horrid diseases, but I also torture them for all eternity. Who am I?

    (a) Adolph Hitler
    (b) Joseph Stalin
    (c) Satan; or
    (d) The loving Christian god

    August 28, 2012 at 8:35 am |
    • Anti Colin

      Do you have a job? Is this your full time occupation? You are VERY annoying.

      August 28, 2012 at 8:41 am |
  18. pennlynn

    Bill Nye is just awesome!

    I can not subscribe to the "belief" that there is a GOD of any kind. Makes no logical sense, don't tell me "faith" has anything to do with it. A GOD was thought up because early on people needed away of explaining things and it's easier to blame something else for their problems. Most religious people only account GOD for the good in their lives and blame him when it goes wrong. Or if they survive a disaster "GOD was watching out for me this day" which again makes NO sense if children die in the same disaster why in the world would a GOD let young children die. Oh yes FREE WILL the little "get me out of jail free" card used to fit within anything else that doesn't actually "fit".

    If you believe in GOD you have to believe in all other stories like Superman, or Santa Clause, or Easter Bunny.....

    August 28, 2012 at 8:35 am |
  19. Colin

    Who, according to the Bible, has been responsible for burning, killing, drowning and generally exterminating more innocent people than all of the dictators and tyrants in human history combined?

    (a) Herod
    (b) Judas
    (c) Satan; or
    (d) Our loving god

    August 28, 2012 at 8:35 am |
  20. Jeff

    The funny, yet sad, thing here is that all of the "atheists" that are posting here are the first ones that pray to God when they lose their job or their kid gets sick – belief in a time of personal crisis. Atheism? No. Selfishness and covenience? Absolutely.

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

      Another lie from a religious person.

      August 28, 2012 at 8:35 am |
    • AdamH

      Proof for this please?

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

      A totally unproven statement, Jeffy. But, it DOES allow you to bloviate. Congrats on getting them synapses to fire. Now, get back on your knees

      August 28, 2012 at 8:39 am |
    • Will

      emmm... no.

      August 28, 2012 at 8:41 am |
    • janemutiny

      Nope. Sorry. I don't pray for anything, ever.

      August 28, 2012 at 8:47 am |
    • Jeff

      Em, yes. Very convenient, and quite frankly easy, to not have to believe. Until you need something. Most have come to that point at some time in their life, even though I fully understand you will deny you have gone there.

      Your backs must really hurt from all of the slapping you do to each other as you work to convince and reassure yourselves how smart you are for not believing.

      August 28, 2012 at 8:54 am |
    • the_dude

      @Jeff
      The funny, yet sad, thing here is that you believe what you just wrote.

      August 28, 2012 at 8:54 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      You've burbled this nonsense before, Jeffy, and you have absolutely no facts to back it up.

      Stop lying. It just makes you look stupid.

      August 28, 2012 at 10:30 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.