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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. Here's How It Happened

    A bunch of aliens came to Earth for spring break drunk on Dargilian Tea. One of the aliens said to Jeff (an alien named Jeff. It loses a little in the translation), "I double....no...triple dog dare you to do that monkey!" Jeff replied, "Your on!" And the rest is evolution.

    August 28, 2012 at 11:08 am |
    • Bryan

      Funny, I thought the aliens spooged in the water and that spooge evolved into creationists.

      August 28, 2012 at 11:16 am |
  2. MrStupid

    How does evolution explain the complete joy I feel when I get off my knees in the morning thanking my God for his blessings and turning my day over to him? Why do I experience complete joy at just the sight of my children? Where does that, and many other instances like that I experience every day, fit into evolution?

    August 28, 2012 at 11:07 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Oh, brother.

      August 28, 2012 at 11:09 am |
    • Godoflunaticscreation

      After reading your comment I see why you chose that name.

      August 28, 2012 at 11:09 am |
    • MrStupid

      These are your explanations?

      August 28, 2012 at 11:10 am |
    • Beth

      Serotonin and Dopamine, MrStupid. Those are the only two things in this entire world you technically enjoy... Can I get a pwnd?

      August 28, 2012 at 11:23 am |
    • putty

      Pick up a neuroscience book if you want to know the chemical details about emotion. I'd suggest learning cell and mol biology before picking up neuroscience.

      It's pretty obvious that feeling joy when looking at your kids would be a positive trait that would be selected for, since it would induce you to better care for their needs. Anything with a genetic basis that increases the survival of children bearing your genes will be selected for.

      Feeling joy when thinking abstract thoughts about God – that might not be positvely or negatively selected for since it doesn't affect your kids, but there is emerging evidence that it is a side effect of the way our brain is wired to process information, which itself is a product of evolution and will require picking up that neuroscience text to understand. Check out neurotheology too. Interestingly there are measurable effects on the brain during prayer, and differences in brain structure and morphology between the relgious and nonreligious.

      August 28, 2012 at 11:23 am |
    • BobPitt

      Belive what ever you want... I am sticking to Science..

      August 28, 2012 at 11:26 am |
  3. RAWoD

    No wonder the U.S. is lagging behind other countries. Forty-six percent of us believe in fairy tales. So sad.

    August 28, 2012 at 11:07 am |
    • ViperGuy

      64% have nothing to believe in. If we are here to live and then die with no purpose, then survival of the fittest requires that I take it all without any remorse. In survival of the fittest, it leaves no room for morals. No need for a conscience. No need for joy or love. To survive, I would need to hunt, kill, and selfishly take from others. Where along the lines did we evolve Love, Joy, Peace, Kindness, and Faith? What purpose does it have to survive? Why do we all have an inherent desire to even live? Why do we cry when someone dies? If death were a natural part of life, we would accept death and move on without weeping. We would have adapted to it by now. These traits serve no purpose in natural selection. They would have never developed in mutation to begin with.

      Someone put in us the desire to live, love, and enjoy. These are traits that are not acquired, didn't develop by chance, and are not required to survive. Our bodies were originally designed to live forever. The fact that we grow old and die is because of imperfection caused by sin. But it won't be like this forever. The Bible says that someday Mankind will be restored to perfection and placed under one Kingdom ruled by Christ. There will also be a resurrection of all dead ones. Then they will have a chance to know the true God in perfect conditions.

      August 28, 2012 at 12:21 pm |
    • Mike

      Hey, ViperGuy – that's 54%. Maybe take your nose out of your Bible and take a basic math course or two. You might actually learn something.

      August 28, 2012 at 2:10 pm |
  4. AtheistRepublican

    Religion was right about the earth being flat until some quack actually sailed around the world. Religion was right about the earth being the center of the universe until scientist actually looked up and figured out what was happening up there. "God" created the universe and everything on it until.....Atheist are bad people, they just see the writing on the wall and are trying to get the others to catch up before we look to stupid. That's evolution.

    August 28, 2012 at 11:05 am |
    • AtheistRepublican

      Quick correction...My bad

      Religion was right about the earth being flat until some quack actually sailed around the world. Religion was right about the earth being the center of the universe until scientist actually looked up and figured out what was happening up there. "God" created the universe and everything on it until.....Atheist aren't bad people, they just see the writing on the wall and are trying to get the others to catch up before we look too stupid. That's evolution.

      August 28, 2012 at 11:06 am |
    • Ken

      Wow, Let's just generalize to the hundredth degree and lump all into one. Kinda funny in a way

      August 28, 2012 at 11:09 am |
    • Sunstroke

      >>"46% of Americans believed in creationism"

      I was feeling really optimistic when I woke up this morning, but after reading that statistic...I'm thinking that we are summarily boned.

      August 28, 2012 at 11:13 am |
    • ViperGuy

      The Bible never said the earth was flat or the center of the universe. In fact the Bible itself mentions "the Circle or the Earth" and refers to the vast stars of the heavens as bringing glory to God. Misguided people that didn't know how to read or didn't read the Bible were the ones that were in fact ignorant in the past.

      August 28, 2012 at 11:14 am |
    • justme

      i think you had it right the first time.

      August 28, 2012 at 11:16 am |
    • AtheistRepublican

      Silly me...I didn't realize spheres had corners...My bad

      Isaiah 11:12
      12 And he shall set up an ensign for the nations, and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the FOUR CORNERS OF THE EARTH.

      August 28, 2012 at 11:22 am |
    • ViperGuy

      'Four Corners of the Earth" when translated from Hebrew Aramaic simply means "North, South, East, West", not literal corners. It literally meant from every part of the earth were there were nations.

      August 28, 2012 at 11:50 am |
  5. Joel Tucker

    Which came first, women, or animals? There are two creation accounts in Genesis. In one (Genesis 1:1-2:4a), God made all the land animals on day 6, then said "and now we will make human beings" (1:26), and God made male and female at the same time. But in the other account (2:4b-25+), God made Adam (2:7) from the dirt, put him in the garden, determined he should not be alone (2:18) THEN took some soil and made all the land animals (2:19). There was a parade of animals in front of Adam, where he gave them all names but determined that none was a suitable help mate (2:20). THEN, God put Adam to sleep, took a rib, and made Eve, the first woman.

    Both of these accounts cannot be literally true. Worst of all, if we demand that they are literally true, we miss out on the important symbolic and theological messages that are being relayed in these stories. In the authorative Word of God, why would God start with two different stories that contradict each other? Given that God does not make mistakes, it has to be that God WANTED us to see at the very onset how God's Word was constructed: To relay spiritual truths through true stories, history, mythology, prophesy and parables.

    Christians are not idiots, nor are they automatically intelligent. They believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God, and accept His authority over their lives. Unfortunately, we are still allowed to make mistakes because, fortunately, we are allowed and encouraged to make discoveries. It is a LIVING word, never intended to be accepted as a stagnant definition of anything.

    I am a Christian. I believe in the authority of scripture. Science is also alive, not stagnant, and none of us should accept on faith this or that theory that may prove false. For example, evolutionary theory once said the various races evolved from various subhuman species. Genetic science proves that wrong and that while the first humans may have evolved from one subhuman species, all subsequent humans, from every race, were descendant from those first humans - thus confirming the very biblical concept of all humans having a common ancestor.

    Scripture and science are not mutually exclusive. The problem is when we accept Scripture as science. Another problem is accepting Science as scripture. Well rounded people fear neither and dare to study both.

    August 28, 2012 at 11:05 am |
    • Moo

      //I am a Christian. I believe in the authority of scripture. Science is also alive, not stagnant, and none of us should accept on faith this or that theory that may prove false. For example, evolutionary theory once said the various races evolved from various subhuman species. Genetic science proves that wrong and that while the first humans may have evolved from one subhuman species, all subsequent humans, from every race, were descendant from those first humans – thus confirming the very biblical concept of all humans having a common ancestor.//

      Where in the Bible does it teach you genetics?

      August 28, 2012 at 11:11 am |
    • ViperGuy

      First off, take a look at the scripture again. In chapter 1 it gives an overview or cliff's note of what happened. Then in Chapter 2 it goes into detail of Adam's role and how God created Eve. Using Adams rib to obtain a blueprint (dna) God created Eve. The use of the rib also symbolized the bond or union of the first ever established marriage. Hence why Adam said "....bone of my bone, flesh of my flesh." But God did literally use a rib from Adam, he didn't have to, but it would forever remind Adam that Eve was created from him, hence Wo-man, or from man. The part where Adam was given the task of naming all the animals took place over an undetermined time period, he named them as he discovered them, not the way you described. Much of the Bible is symbolic, but this scripture was literal. It just takes a real study of the Bible to understand it... but it can be understood.

      August 28, 2012 at 11:41 am |
  6. Ken

    Evolutions are cruel vindictive people. Just read some of the responses I got. They will make fun of you, call you stupid, whatever. Really guys? You are testament all onto yourself. Your heart speaks volumes about your real motives. You can't even represent your own belief in a dignified manner. How can you call yourself a scientist behaving that way?

    August 28, 2012 at 11:05 am |
    • ME II

      Not that I condone the name calling but whether they are mature, civil people really doesn't detract from whether they are right.

      August 28, 2012 at 11:08 am |
    • le epic troll

      Deal with it, nerd.

      I truly hope you contract cancer and die a slow death. 🙂

      August 28, 2012 at 11:13 am |
    • Beth

      Hi Ken. I believe in evolution and I'm a very nice person. Unfortunately when you misspell the very first word of your comment (evolutions instead of -nists, people tend to believe you're unintelligent. Have a good one.

      August 28, 2012 at 11:14 am |
    • Ken

      It is called blogging, auto correct took over, big deal. An intelligent person might be able to figure that out. I couldn't really care what people think of my intelligence.

      August 28, 2012 at 11:20 am |
    • Scott

      “How can you call yourself a scientist behaving that way?”

      Obviously someone has no idea what being a scientist means. The term does not include personal communication styles. Unlike Christianity which sets some high standards for personal behavior which Christians are constantly breaking (example: many of the Christian posts)

      August 28, 2012 at 11:25 am |
    • ME II

      @Ken,
      "An intelligent person might be able to figure that out."
      You wouldn't be calling anyone dumb, would you?

      August 28, 2012 at 11:30 am |
  7. DA

    Rufus T Firefly,

    I'm not sure if you noticed but I changed my viewpoint from last night and it was your post that helped me make the change. I now believe in evolution. Also, Duck Soup rules.

    Thanks!

    August 28, 2012 at 11:04 am |
  8. AncientAliens

    what difference does it make if we believe in creationism or evolution? after about 70-90 years of living on this planet, we both end up dead anyway

    August 28, 2012 at 11:03 am |
    • Huebert

      Ultimately i don't think that it makes a bit of difference. I enjoy examining and questioning.

      August 28, 2012 at 11:12 am |
  9. MrHanson

    Science Guy should have said, “Anyone who doesn’t believe that inanimate matter spontaneously generated highly complex information and the associated functionally-integrated machinery, and that random errors turned a primordial cell into you, is stupid, doesn’t know how science works, and will never have a substantial enough understanding of science to become a productive engineer.”

    August 28, 2012 at 11:03 am |
  10. DocBlogger

    Creationism was handy 2000 years ago, so that people can stop questioning how we all came about and concentrate on religion's other teachings. Now with what we know, it is really thumbing at GOD, to say it is not so. Just like when Christians believed earth was center of the universe and sun rotated around it.

    August 28, 2012 at 11:03 am |
    • HeHe

      Aliens created humans on this planet just as we are told from all ancient Civilizations around the world even the bible tells us from the book of Enoch , Ezekiel tells us they took him up into space in a ship does God need a ship ?

      August 28, 2012 at 11:14 am |
  11. Jeni Holland

    As a child I loved Bill Nye. I'm not here to debate creationism vs. evolution, there are plenty of you already doing a fine job of that. Everyone has their own opinions, and I respect that. I lost so much respect for this man, not because of his beliefs, but because of how he handled it. To make remarks stating that people who believe in creationism are holding society back and insinuating those people are ignorant, is not the respectable thing to do. Insulting people is not the way to get people to change their beliefs. It's just going to start arguments and spread division (ie....see all previous comments). I think he could have stated his views on the subject without insulting the views of others.

    August 28, 2012 at 11:03 am |
    • DocBlogger

      They are worse than holding society back, these deniers are same who deny climate change, and change public policy to detriment of all.

      August 28, 2012 at 11:07 am |
    • steve

      But of course it is not detrimental to a child to tell them they have no value, no purpose outside of just an expansion of cells and a series of impulses. What reason would anyone with any level of forethought have to continue to live in such a hopeless place with nothing to place hope in other than a bunch of talking heads? You may be able to regurgitate some of the ideas other people have had in your atheist club, but you have no capacity to define the need for hope in culture or any place to find that hope. Those ideas are actually quite healthy for a child’s mind; let them grow for a few years and at least have the chance to develop a healthy mind before they’re as hopeless as your stance.

      August 28, 2012 at 11:29 am |
  12. Tigerdawg

    PumpNDump – Evolution is a theory. Well supported in scientific study, yes. Absolutely proven as a fact, no. Be accurate and don't let your anti-religious bigotry consume you.

    August 28, 2012 at 11:02 am |
    • Godoflunaticscreation

      There is a scientific theory of gravity but I don't see you jumping off a building.

      August 28, 2012 at 11:07 am |
  13. Deadlift

    Reading the comments here makes me want to bang my head against the wall.

    The "grown ups" in here who are still defending creationism sound like morons with no clue about science. The arguments against evolution are weak at best. I'm embarassed for so many of you.

    August 28, 2012 at 11:02 am |
    • davidhmittelberg

      I'm embarrassed that your best rebuttals are insults.

      August 28, 2012 at 11:05 am |
    • MrHanson

      Maybe you athesists make this too easy.

      August 28, 2012 at 11:09 am |
  14. steve

    This isn’t news, what a world where CNN reports news, maybe then their ratings wouldn’t be in the toilet. As for Bill, I enjoy his show, but there is no shortage of people that will tell you that things humans have been doing since the beginning of time, are now bad for you. I’ll personally continue drinking my milk.

    August 28, 2012 at 11:02 am |
  15. lar9166

    If God saves and is in charge of everything, why do people get so angry at the doctors who cannot save their loved ones? I work in the operating room, and have seen patients screaming at the doctors when they let their loved ones die.

    August 28, 2012 at 11:01 am |
    • LouAZ

      The Doctor(s) didn't let them die. The Christian God(s) killed them. It is their Gods plan. God creates them and God destroys them. Isn't it wunerful ? Halejulia !

      August 28, 2012 at 11:12 am |
  16. Mike

    The most brilliant scientists in the world can't engineer DNA or create life in a laboratory. BUT, because we all can imagine small changes making something complicated we are supposed to swallow macro evolution on imagination alone. Is this the scientific method at work. Are we to believe the theory because we can imagine it to be true? Playing cards and dice don't stand on thier edges naturally, you have to make them do that. Proteins don't fold in the right way to exhibit life creating stuctures unless engineers specifically make them fold in unatural ways. This points directly to engineered creation. It's not by chance and nature, which breaks down and de-evolves cannot accidentally produce the structures necessary for macro evolution. End of story....we're just waiting for the imagination to catch up to reality on this one. Even Dawkins admitted it might be aliens..........

    August 28, 2012 at 11:01 am |
    • asdf

      DId a Christian really just say scientists imagine their beliefs to be true? Are you a parody of yourself?

      August 28, 2012 at 11:05 am |
    • Doc Vestibule

      It is only with recent advances in microfluidics and labs-on-a-chip that synthesizing and sequencing DNA has become an everyday task, . While it took years for the original Human Genome Project to analyze a single human genome (some 3 billion DNA base pairs), modern lab equipment with microfluidic chips can do it in hours.

      A bioengineer and geneticist at Harvard’s Wyss Inst.itute have successfully stored 5.5 petabits of data — around 700 terabytes — in a single gram of DNA.
      I'd say there's been ASTOUNDING progress in understanding the fundamentals of life in the last 50 years.

      August 28, 2012 at 11:07 am |
    • LouAZ

      Hey, you trust that Ronmey's taxes, that you'll never see, are just what you want as POTUS. Have you got what you want in a "god".

      August 28, 2012 at 11:16 am |
  17. Jane

    Why can't we believe both? I've had many friends that are Christian AND scientists and are able to move through their world just fine.
    Who's to say that God didn't create the world in 6 days (and they very well could be 6 days in a longer stretch of time that what we call a day) and that He didn't create all these animals and then let them evolve to fit the life they are leading? Evolution and Creationism can go hand in hand without a problem if you let it.

    Not everything has to be black and white. If it was, the world would be a boring place.

    August 28, 2012 at 11:00 am |
    • Simran

      Yes, you can believe in both or one or none. But that is not the question here. The question is whether you teach creationism as a scientific theory. And that is a big issue!

      August 28, 2012 at 11:03 am |
    • Deadlift

      I bet your friends also pick and choose which passages to live by, and which ones to ignore. Because, you know, we wouldn't want to be black and white now.

      August 28, 2012 at 11:05 am |
    • Mike

      And Jesus really didn't die and come back to life just because someone wrote it in a book....by your reasoning. So lets throw it all out.

      August 28, 2012 at 11:07 am |
    • Bryan

      We can't believe both because Creationism is a load of crap. We have scientific proof that earth is much, much older than 6-10,000 years. Teaching creationism to children is akin to teaching them that Harry Potter is real.

      August 28, 2012 at 11:09 am |
  18. God

    Stating facts on this site is prohibited.
    Don't even try.

    August 28, 2012 at 11:00 am |
    • Mike

      Is that a fact...?

      August 28, 2012 at 11:08 am |
  19. Simran

    Religion divides, Science unites

    Religions constantly fight within themselves and among each other. Each one declares their's is the only way. They cannot live in harmony or come to a common conclusion that they are all the same.
    Science has been using the same scientific principles and methods across the globe, and scientists join hands to seek the answers yet unknown to them.

    August 28, 2012 at 11:00 am |
    • Oakspar

      And yet this is an article about a "scientist" saying that SCIENCE is the only way, and that those who teach another a society damaging heretics for questioning science.

      Certainly that has caused no division here, as all of these comments prove.

      Absolute claims of truth divide, be they from SCIENCE or religion. That division, however, is a good thing, since division encourages debate towards truth, where tollerance and acceptance lead only to ignorance and falsehood.

      Sure, it is less pleasent that everyone just getting along, but truth cannot be two different things, and strife helps to determine if one or either side has truth to offer.

      Global science, by the way, is not unified and spends most of its time bickering back on forth over every issue, not to advance debate, but to justify academic publishing requirements.

      August 28, 2012 at 11:25 am |
  20. Abdul

    In madrases all over the world, they teach their kids that Americans are infidels and should be blown up so you go to heaven and get a bunch of virgins..

    August 28, 2012 at 11:00 am |
    • Dave

      Honestly, I think I could go through 70 virgins in a month or so. Then what?!?!?

      August 28, 2012 at 11:07 am |
    • Mike

      A good example of why Bill Nye doesn't want us tainting the poor children with notions of "nature couldn't do it."

      August 28, 2012 at 11:46 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.