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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. Tom

    All these parents who insist on teaching 'creationism' to their kids as 'science', while downplaying (or completely/hiding denying) the tangible bona fide evidence of evolution.....I sometimes have to wonder why they don't simply feed lead paint to their kids and get it over with. If you're going to deliberately hobble your child's intellectual development, you might as well cover the full spectrum of knowledge as well as eliminate the risk that some educator (read: tool of Satan) might come along later in their life and present them with the knowledge hidden from them earlier.

    And we wonder why the U.S. lags behind so many other industrialized nations in the STEM subjects.

    August 28, 2012 at 9:53 am |
  2. 2eachtheirown

    God is a personal choice used to describe the unknown. Call it the unknown, call it God, call it some other word in some other language. I choose to believe in the wording of "God" in that there is purpose behind what happens in science, in all types of interactions, in "being". After all the mulling, analysis, and contemplation, it boils down to a choice in believing what to call the unknown. Things we can't understand or fathom are part of this "unknown". I choose to call this God- behind which is a greater understanding than mankind can comprehend. To attack someone's decision to call (believe) in a higher being or sense of order/purpose is self-righteous and arrogant. It's clearly an extremely difficult choice for many intellectual people to accept that which they can't see as proof. Many people resort to 'fairy tale' remarks and hurtful comments and show the ignorance of their self-absorbed righteous egos. I reiterate that some people call it the unknown, some people call it God. God actually supposes order and reasoning, the unknown is just that, the unknown. God gives meaning (albeit unknown-but at least a faith of Goodness), the absence of which leaves mankind thinking they can concoct their own version of understanding- as miniscule as it is in relation to the universe. We don't know much more than we know. Belief in a higher being embraces our physical insignificance and embraces the faith in the unknown. The contrary just exists. Both are personal choices to be accepted to ensure mankind develops and matures- balancing what we know and what we don't know, and assigning often 'inadequate' terminology to help communicate where we are in our personal conclusions.

    August 28, 2012 at 9:52 am |
    • Gurn

      Clearly you miss the point entirely, since you are so Deo-centric. This discussion has little or nothing to do with a belief in a god, it has everything to do with making some intelligent attempt to understand and expand upon science. Thinking is a refreshing change of pace for a lot of people; I recommend it to you.

      You have every right to believe in a god. It has nothing whatsoever to do with whether science is right, wrong or indifferent. Think.

      August 28, 2012 at 10:01 am |
    • 2eachtheirown

      Science is understanding our world better. I fully support scientific discovery and knowledge. My statement is relative to the numerous comments that God is some fairy tale or puppeteer. There are many religious scientists who have come tho their own conclusions on a higher presence. The Bible (and other religious texts) is a guidebook, chosen by man to espouse concepts of a higher being, moral behavior, and meant to incite contemplation. It provides solace, direction, and understanding of the human condition as best as words were able to when it was constructed (and via translation). Creationism is based on the belief in God (the unknown being a higher 'power' for lack of a better term). Science (including the concept of evolution) can, and does, work hand-in-hand with a belief in 'God'. Creationism is much more than creating Adam & Eve; it's what mankind terms as science and everything beyond (the unknown). Evolution is the 'relatively' small concept that mankind is trying to understand more fully. They both have a place, and to exclude one or the other, seems to show limited 'thinking". It's not an either or; each has it's place in our continued understanding of the universe.

      August 28, 2012 at 10:25 am |
  3. The Heathen Hordeq

    godbless amerikaaa!!! 🙂

    holy mary mother of jesus, im quite amazed by the numbers here. can americans be more idiotic? creationism? hahaha 🙂

    science is the real deal fellas. if you're sick and crap would you rather be HEALED by a Pastor or be taken care of by a DOCTOR?

    science PWNS religion any day 🙂

    August 28, 2012 at 9:52 am |
  4. TheTruth

    Psalm 146;3,4
    3 Put not your trust in princes,
    in a son of man, in whom there is no salvation.
    4 When his breath departs, he returns to the earth;
    on that very day his plans perish.

    August 28, 2012 at 9:52 am |
    • hawkguy

      What a great story! Star Wars is another good one.

      August 28, 2012 at 9:59 am |
  5. Guncarter

    Non-existence proofs

    Q: Can God build a wall that he cannot jump over?
    A: If he can, then he is not all powerful because he cannot jump over it. If he cannot, then he is not all powerful because he cannot create it.

    Q: Does god test us?
    A: If there is a need for testing, then there is a need to know a result. If a result is not known to God then he is not all-knowing.

    Q: Is God morally perfect?
    A: If there is evil in the world and God allows for it to happen, then no.

    Anselm's Argument: If God exists in the understanding, then he exists.
    Counter: If God "Works in mysterious ways", then nobody truly understands him. Therefore God does not exist.

    August 28, 2012 at 9:51 am |
    • 2eachtheirown

      God is the unknown. Faith in purpose to that which we don't (or can't) understand. Everyone draws their own conclusion as to whether there is a greater purpose for all things 'being'. Those who believe in a 'purpose' 'greater good' or 'intelligent design' for a lack of better man made terms, use the verbiage and concept of God. Seems logical. Some people have chosen to bristle at the term thinking of a large man in a big white robe. If you believe in 'order', 'reasoning' and 'planning' (all scientific traits), then you probably embrace concepts of existence with a purpose, nature, emotions, and scientific understanding of the universe. You may not believe in the white flowing beard, but you, my friend, believe in God. There have always been some people who think Mankind can learn it 'all'. To realize that we are limited and there is 'more' is accepting a 'greater & unknown existence'. Call it what you want. Mere words, mere words.

      August 28, 2012 at 10:52 am |
  6. Michael

    Fossil.

    August 28, 2012 at 9:51 am |
  7. Cheryl

    Bill says:"We need scientifically literate voters and taxpayers for the future. We need engineers that can build stuff and solve problems.". Ahh excuse me Bill, but haven't our ancestors been able to build stuff and solve problems even if they believed in a God? If that is the crux of his argument he might as well pack it in.

    August 28, 2012 at 9:51 am |
    • Fred Evil

      You could sya they managed to build this stuff DESPITE their belief in gods.
      Indeed, the more fervent believers have been insisting for hundreds of years that this CANNOT be done, that CANNOT happen. And the religious are proven wrong time and time again. Cling to you religion at your OWN peril.
      DON'T INFECT YOUR CHILDREN!

      August 28, 2012 at 9:56 am |
    • Gurn

      Clearly you miss the point entirely, since you are so Deo-centric. This discussion has little or nothing to do with a belief in a god, it has everything to do with making some intelligent attempt to understand and expand upon science. Thinking is a refreshing change of pace for a lot of people; I recommend it to you.

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

      Nobody – including Bill Nye – said you cannot or should not believe in God. He is *not* saying you have to be an atheist. He is saying that a literal reading of the creation story in Genesis is a hurdle to rational, scientific discovery and thought.

      August 28, 2012 at 9:59 am |
    • putty

      We need children who can look at facts and come up with observations consistent with those facts. These children will go on to be our doctors, researchers, policy makers etc. Denying that these facts exist deprives this country of its future. Absolutely you can build things and solve problems without a complete knowledge of how the world works – that is exactly what mankind has been doing throughout its existence and what it will continue to do, since it's impossible to know everything. But once you *do* know something, it's ridiculous to deny it, because it sets back progress.

      August 28, 2012 at 10:01 am |
  8. SingAPsalms

    If people want to raise their children to believe in God and biblical principles, that's their business. I see some areas where the concepts of science and creationism coexist. However, I've never bought into the theory that the universe (and everything that exists in it) just evolve out of nowhere. I studied evolution in school and never felt that not buying into all of the "theories" made my world more complicated. choose to believe that the glory we behold was created by a superior being to whom we must answer. What right does he have to tell people how to raise their kids? Why must kids totally believe in evolution to become taxpayers, scientists, and engineers? What's his agenda? Does he have any kids of his own? Being a Christian, I truly believe that we are in the final stages of this earth's history, and Jesus will soon return. The Bible states "First of all you must understand this: In the last days mockers will come and, following their own desires, will ridicule us." (II Peter 3:3).

    August 28, 2012 at 9:50 am |
    • midwest rail

      Men have been predicting the end of days since roughly 40 A.D. They were all wrong. So are you.

      August 28, 2012 at 9:56 am |
    • putty

      Evolution was not correctly taught if you believe that it is a belief or a mere theory in the colloquial sense, that it unnecessarily complicates the world, and that understanding how organisms change over time is not crucial for environmental policy, agriculture and biomedical research. All understanding of how to world works "complicates the world," because you are no longer throwing your hands up and saying, that ecplise must be magic. I don't understand how there could be any other explanation for it. If you think evolution complicates the world, wait until you hit cell biology, or any other field that requires extremely detailed knowledge of how things work.

      August 28, 2012 at 10:08 am |
  9. bstump

    Yeah, I agree. We should stifle and hinder other ways of thinking, that way, some day, everyone will agree on everything and nobody will be unique or have any reason to be a critical thinker.

    August 28, 2012 at 9:50 am |
    • God is not real

      b/c creationism is the poster boy for critical thinking

      *eyeroll*

      August 28, 2012 at 9:51 am |
    • rightstuffxoxo

      You're right. Human not being able to breath underwater is just a theory. We should teach both sides of the story, we shouldn't be narrowed into one was of thinking. Who says we can't breath underwater? The Bible told me I could do it!

      August 28, 2012 at 9:56 am |
    • Rufus T. Firefly

      Creationists act like creationism has never been given a chance in science. Creationism was the prevailing explanation for everything throughout all of history. It is because it consistently failed to be supported by evidence or logic that it was eclipsed by other ideas. Creationism isn't in need of testing, it has been thoroughly investigated and dismissed over a hundred years ago.

      August 28, 2012 at 10:02 am |
  10. Faith In The God

    The Bible is truth, it always has been and always will be. The text means the same today as 2,000 years ago. What stands in time that long? Why are people so narrow minded and believe whatever big words accompany some scientific theory. The complexity of our bodies, nature, the world, and universe can't possibly be attributed to evolution, a big bang, etc. I know God exists. I have a daughter who is in heaven right now, and when she died I felt closer to God than ever before. My faith is stronger after her death. I didn't put myself in some "spiritual trance." I was, and still am, comforted by my creator, the one God. I have no doubt that God created me, and everything/everyone in this world. Believe it or not it's the truth. Science is disproven and changed constantly. The Bible is the same. Creationism will always exist because there will always be people who believe in the Bible and continue to pass the truth on to their children. I am proud that my kids, both younger than 10, know more than Bill Nye. Oh yeah, just because you are a believer in creationsim doesn't mean you can't be a great scientist. Science supports the Bible in many ways.

    August 28, 2012 at 9:50 am |
    • God is not real

      Sorry, you lost me at "Faith In The God"

      August 28, 2012 at 9:50 am |
    • midwstrngrl

      A god may exist, but who says the bible is really his word and not the word of a few men trying to understand or put context around somthing they cannot understand.

      August 28, 2012 at 9:52 am |
    • richunix

      The "Bible" you read today is only 350 years old, far different form the earlier know version of the 8th century and differ greatly from the current version....So what was that again?

      August 28, 2012 at 9:52 am |
    • lar9166

      I'm sorry you have such a closed view on the world.

      August 28, 2012 at 9:54 am |
    • rightstuffxoxo

      they see me trollin', they hatin'

      August 28, 2012 at 9:57 am |
  11. buckshot

    Bible thumpers are so mentally brain fractured that their brains are nothing more then scrambled matter, believing in those fairy stories of magic and, talking snakes and talking burning bushes. Teaching fresh minds hat absorb hings like a sponge at tender ages can be very damaging to their minds. Again, thank you Mr. Nye for your support of real truisms.

    August 28, 2012 at 9:49 am |
  12. Tony

    Indoctrinating and brainwashing our kids isn't teaching. It is child abuse. Keep religion out of their minds until they are old enough to decide for themselves. Well done, Bill.

    August 28, 2012 at 9:49 am |
    • bstump

      Clearly only your way of thinking can be right.

      August 28, 2012 at 9:53 am |
  13. Josh

    We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness

    August 28, 2012 at 9:49 am |
    • ReasonableXX

      That was written long before Darwin. Creationism was the only option at that time. You can't use writings that pre-date the facts and knowledge we have today to support your silly arguement.

      The founding fathers were mostly theists who looked down on organized religion and thought it should have nothing to do with government. If they were alive today to see the discoveries and technology that have come along there is no doubt that they would be 100% anti-creationism.

      August 28, 2012 at 9:58 am |
    • richunix

      From one of the founding fathers (and there is A LOT MORE than I can post)

      "The hocus-pocus phantasm of a God like another Cerberus, with one body and three heads, had its birth and growth in the blood of thousands and thousands of martyrs." -Thomas Jefferson

      "Lighthouses are more useful than churches."- Ben Franklin .
      "The way to see by faith is to shut the eye of reason."- Ben Franklin
      "I looked around for God's judgments, but saw no signs of them."- Ben Franklin
      "In the affairs of the world, men are saved not by faith, but by the lack of it."- Ben Franklin

      August 28, 2012 at 10:19 am |
  14. labman57

    I dunno. Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy ... it seems as though kids thrive on fairy tales and don't come out the worse for wear.

    The difference is that most kids outgrow the need to believe in Santa and their parents accept that change as a part of maturation. Yet adult Christian fundamentalists become indignant if their kids no longer accept the story of Genesis as anything other than a parable.

    August 28, 2012 at 9:49 am |
  15. The Samster

    I have no idea what you all are fighting about? Why not teach both theories and think of them in the context of what they are; theories, with potentially more theories to evolve in the future..who knows? I really don't appreciate the exchange of insults. The claim that either party is "stupid" is really silly. History is filled with examples of bright minds from both camps. I personally like Mr. Nye, but to say that for the sake of scientific progress, creationism should never be taught to children is a misjudgement on his part. In my simple mind, both theories thus far fail to provide a relieving answer, otherwise we won't be having this debate. But whey the debate to start with? who REALLY cares what happene thousands or millions of years ago? how does it affect the now and the tomorrow? it's history with different anecdotes, can't we just enjoy reading it and be open to what the future might bring?

    August 28, 2012 at 9:49 am |
    • Rufus T. Firefly

      There are not two "theories." Creationism is not a theory, it is one of thousands of origin myths from around the world. To be fair do we teach them all? When would there be time to teach science? Why not teach evidence-based explanation that is the fundamental basis for all of the biological sciences, especially if we are supposed to be teaching science.

      August 28, 2012 at 9:53 am |
    • bstump

      Rufus, maybe if you actually studied Creationism or the theory of "Creation Science" you'd understand what it really is before you attack it.

      August 28, 2012 at 9:55 am |
    • Rufus T. Firefly

      "who REALLY cares what happene thousands or millions of years ago? how does it affect the now and the tomorrow?"

      You do, even if you don't know it. Evolution is the basis for modern healthcare. It is the basis of genomics. How does it affect now and tomorrow?!? In almost every way imaginable. The fact that you don't realize that is the danger of the creationist influence on education.

      August 28, 2012 at 9:56 am |
    • G. Zeus Kreiszchte

      Fine but if you're going to teach creationism alongside evolution, then it must be presented as "just an idea.....just a concept that ancient civilizations with no scientific background developed in a one-answer-fits-all, fill-in-the-gaps manner. to explain away all that they couldn't understand...with no evidence and no desire to learn how and why one cause led to another effect, and so on...." Adherents to creationism MUST admit what it is!

      August 28, 2012 at 9:58 am |
    • rightstuffxoxo

      creationism is science like juggling is an olympic sport. You look at it and laugh wondering how could anybody dedicate their life to something so stupid?

      August 28, 2012 at 9:58 am |
    • richunix

      Bit

      All MODERN scholars (non-religious fundamentalist) agree “creationism” is NOT A tested theory, but a Myth based belief. Get it right before you communication.

      August 28, 2012 at 10:27 am |
  16. Faye

    Good for you Mr. Science guy!

    August 28, 2012 at 9:48 am |
  17. Creator

    Dear children of mine,

    Please remember that I am just a vivid imagination of yours. And the universe that I did not create is much greater than human's imagination.

    August 28, 2012 at 9:47 am |
  18. naysayer

    Nye believes his book
    On the Origin of Species written by a man Charles Darwin in 1859 AD
    I believe my book
    Genesis written by Moses servant to the living GOD around 1400 BC
    Moses defeated Pharaoh and the Egyptians in probably the highest civilization at that time.
    Which one is more credible? Moses or Darwin

    August 28, 2012 at 9:47 am |
    • rjaddow

      It depends on whether you use evidence or proof to form the basis of your belief or simply "faith."

      August 28, 2012 at 9:48 am |
    • lar9166

      Darwin.

      August 28, 2012 at 9:50 am |
    • richunix

      I’ll take Darwin, as he proved his through scientific observation, verse “Simon Say’s”

      August 28, 2012 at 9:50 am |
    • definitely

      Darwin. Definitely.

      August 28, 2012 at 9:51 am |
  19. G. Zeus Kreiszchte

    Why haven't mental health professionals jumped on the case about religious freaks thinking they've talked to, heard from, seen, or felt "god"? (I don't remember hearing any cases of people smelling "god" but I wouldn't put it past them.) I mean, the only other people who think they've done such things are HALLUCINATING...i.e., schizophrenics!!! Therefore, religious belief should be treated as a mental disorder!

    August 28, 2012 at 9:46 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      God speaks to people all the time.
      In 2008, He told Boyce Singleton Jr. to shoot and stab his pregnant girlfriend.
      Deanna Laney heard God direct her to bludgeon her three sons, aged 9, 6 and 15 months. Only the youngest survived.
      Blair Donnelly received instructions to stab to death his 16 year old daughter, Stephanie.
      Christopher Varian was slaughtered with a cheese knife after God spoke with one of his employees.
      God told Jennifer Cisowski to dash her infant's head on the rocks, so ""Just like Jesus raised Lazarus, I threw the baby on the stones by the pool."
      Khandi Busby got a direct message from God advising her that the only way to save her 6 and 8 year old boys was to toss them off a bridge in Dallas. Fortunately, they survived.
      Angel Rico says he received a divine command to strangle his 4 year old son, so he did just that and left him at the side of the highway.
      Lashaun Harris threw her 3 kids – aged 6, 2 and 16 months, into the San Francisco Bay after God let her know that He wanted a human sacrifice.

      Since nobody has a device to intercept Psychic Divine Messages, these people's conversations with God are no less credible than Joesph Smith's or Moses'.

      August 28, 2012 at 9:47 am |
    • G. Zeus Kreiszchte

      David Berkowitz, too.

      August 28, 2012 at 9:52 am |
  20. NorCalMojo

    Nye may know science, but he doesn't know people. All he does with this is turn people away from the 90% of his work that isn't related to evolution. I think his mainstream career is over and he's looking for a niche.

    August 28, 2012 at 9:45 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.