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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. Andrew

    Creationist believe that there is a invisible all knowing force created the universe. Scientists believe that an incredible force created the universe. Without science there would be no religion, Without religion there would be no science hmm... .

    August 28, 2012 at 11:25 am |
    • Simran

      Quite a twisted statement I would say. May I please request you to esplain what you just said?

      August 28, 2012 at 11:27 am |
    • Elindric

      The funny thing about science is that if all of our knowledge was gone, erased completely, the sciences would be reproduced some time in the future exactly as it is today. The laws that govern the universe will not change. If all of the knowledge in the world were to be wiped out, religion would re-emerge in different forms. If you doubt this, look at the world today. There are dozens of religions varied by location. Scientific theories are testable and repeatable, faith is just that.

      August 28, 2012 at 11:53 am |
  2. pillsville piper

    in the bible the book of luke gives the geneology of Jesus from the time He was born in bethlehem all the way back to seth who was the son of adam to adam who was the son of god. i defy you to read that geneology and find a monkey, ape, orangutan, or anything else other than human beings. evolution is still a theory and it is now being questioned by many in the scientific community. what is the probability that if you spilled several buckets of paint on a canvas you would come out with the Mona Lisa?

    August 28, 2012 at 11:24 am |
    • Tree

      Natural selection. Read about it. It will explain how stupid your Mona Lisa comment is. Also, the bible is largely fiction, and the greater scientific community has no doubt in evolution. Obviously, you know little about science.

      August 28, 2012 at 11:32 am |
    • A

      You're assuming that genealogy is correct. How many in the scientific community are questioning evolution? I haven't heard any. Some sources would be appreciated. Likewise, I don't see a difference between questioning whether evolution is correct or if the genealogy you're presenting as fact is correct.

      Also, in regard to your paint bucket analogy, statistically that should be possible, no matter how improbable. The whole monkeys (ha) with typewriters ending up writing Shakespeare at some point thing.

      August 28, 2012 at 11:36 am |
    • Anon

      Yes a theory, a scientific theory, not a guess, not a hypothesis, but a theory formed from the collection of facts and evidence. There is more data supporting macro evolution than there is supporting Solar Orbitation (The Earth orbiting the Sun) and yet no one refuses to teach their kids the Earth revolves around the Sun or calls it "just a theory".

      Further, paint spilled on a canvas is not a good example of making a painting into evolution. A good example would be a single brush stroke being painted, then a panel of judges either allows the new painting to be copied a couple dozen times or destroyed (the judges standing in for natural selection). Then each time a painting is copied another single brush stroke is added to it. Then after several billion brush strokes are added, across billions of billions of canvases, could one of them become the Mona Lisa.

      August 28, 2012 at 11:43 am |
    • Alex

      So, the Bible is true because the Bible says so? You also don't seem to understand the meaning of the word "theory." Evolution isn't "still" a theory because a theory never graduates into anything else; the term doesn't speak at all to the amount of evidence supporting it. Evolution is a theory like gravity and relativity are theories; there are virtually no doubts as to any of these things, including evolution, in the scientific community.

      (unless this was a troll, because it kind of reads like one. in that case, you got me)

      August 28, 2012 at 11:44 am |
  3. AverageJoe76

    Religion = Whoever's version of the truth you believe.

    Science = An HONEST attempt to explain the universe

    August 28, 2012 at 11:24 am |
  4. Johm

    Actually, I think the world to an uneducated crationist is pretty simple. Isn't that why a hurricane is about is about to hit LA again? God did it.

    August 28, 2012 at 11:24 am |
  5. Bill Nye

    If you believe in "Creationism" you are mentally ill and should not be allowed to vote. Believing in "Creationism" is no different than believing in fictional fairy tales. I can't believe this is even a discussion in this country...wow how sad.

    August 28, 2012 at 11:24 am |
    • ABMiller

      Right. And Big-Bang makes you a genius with a right to vote. Bigot. BIGOT. BIGOT!!!

      August 28, 2012 at 12:14 pm |
  6. Elisabeth

    I consider myself a very strong Christian AND happen the have an education based in scientific rigor. After early childhood I have never believed in the fairytale of creationism. Evolution is undeniable. GOD CREATED THE WORLD THROUGH EVOLUTION. I am stunned that in this day and age we still have people that simply turn a blind eye to indisputable facts of the natural world. Where did fossils come from? What about Darwin’s work? Is carbon dating wrong? Really people! I am embarrassed by some of the people that call themselves Christians and give the rest of Christianity a bad name… many Christians are well-informed, intelligent, and open-minded.

    August 28, 2012 at 11:23 am |
    • Darw1n

      Like

      August 28, 2012 at 11:25 am |
    • blinky

      Elisabeth, It's also surprising how many professed atheists lump all Christians together into creationists. Many denominations, including the Catholic church, see no conflict between evolution and faith.

      August 28, 2012 at 11:30 am |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @Elisabeth,

      yes.

      The willful ignorance of fundamentalists is astounding. It is not surprising that 32% of Americans, like you, are able to synthesize a belief in God with the evidence presented through science.

      Yet 46% of Americans still think the earth is less than 10,000 years old, because they think "bible tells them so" even though merely reinterpreting a chapter or two of the bible differently permits the two beliefs to co-exist.

      August 28, 2012 at 11:34 am |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @blinky,

      that's your incorrect interpretation. I'm an atheist and given that 32% of Americans can synthesize both beliefs it's clearly a large number of Christians, including Catholics.

      Catholics represent 24% of Americans. Only 32% of Americans can synthesize the two beliefs, so assuming ALL Catholics accept evolution, there's still 6% of people left over.

      Evangelical Protestants account for about 26.3%, and even if ALL of them are ardent creationists (which we can assume isn't true) we still have a lot of people to make up the 46%.

      August 28, 2012 at 11:40 am |
  7. Bill Dusterwald

    Evolution is a THEORY not a FACT. Science is based on make theories to fit the facts. As new facts are discovered then the theory can change or be discarded. Creationists may have a theory counter to yours, but that doesn't make it wrong. You don't BELIEVE theories in science, you accept them or reject them. Science should be about skepticism not about belief.

    August 28, 2012 at 11:23 am |
    • AverageJoe76

      Funny how those theories actually produce results. Like that fancy-schmancy computer-thingy your posting on.

      August 28, 2012 at 11:26 am |
    • therealpeace2all

      @Bill Dusterwald

      I could be wrong here, but I don't think that "creationism" is considered an actual "theory."

      Hypothesis... maybe ?

      Peace...

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

      Now let's hear the proof for this COUNTER-THEORY!

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

      Following your logic, gravity is just a theory, not a fact. I advise you to put your faith in god to the test by stepping off the roof of a 20 story building.

      August 28, 2012 at 11:31 am |
    • Oneironaut

      The word "theory" does not mean "wild, unsupported guess". Theories are rigorously tested over time, and their basis are rooted on what IS known and can be used and reproduced by anyone with the expertise to do so.

      Throughout history there have been many perfectly naturally occurring phenomenon that we didn't know the causes of (lightning, diseases, etc) but that doesn't mean there was a likelier supernatural reason for them.

      August 28, 2012 at 11:31 am |
    • Joel

      You are confusing a theory with a hypothesis. A theory has been tested. Creationism is not a theory as there is no scientific evidence to support it. It is a belief.

      August 28, 2012 at 11:32 am |
    • NYOMD

      OK evolution is a theory that has been more or less proven. All available evidence supports it. Show me one piece of evidence that supports Creationism. Just one.

      August 28, 2012 at 11:36 am |
    • UncleBenny

      Of COURSE evolution is a theory. Theories are the bedrock of modern science. Relativity, quantum mechanics, electromagnetism, all are THEORIES. Theories begin as hypotheses that make predictions which are then rigorously tested over and over. They are ALWAYS provisional, because better evidence may come along. A theory is never considered to be proven, but one can withstand all tests to the extent that it is accepted as very solid, although still subject to falsification (I.e., being DISproven) or revision. Don't you think REAL scientists have been trying to disprove evolution for over a century? Imagine the fame that would result. Instead, research continues to support it. The details may change – Darwin knew nothing of DNA and genes, and we are still learning a lot about the implications of those. Natural selection may in fact not be the principal driver, that doesn't change the fact that evolution has happened and continues to happen

      Creationism a theory? What tests has it withstood? What predictions does it make that are testable? What peer-reviewed articles have been written in mainstream scientific journals supporting it? The same applies to its alter ego Intelligent Design – no testable hypotheses, no predictions, just a lot a bogus attempts to poke holes in evolutionary theory, all of which have been soundly refuted.

      Most of the creationist/ID web sites have quietly begun to ask their followers to stop using a whole set of arguments against evolution, including the "just a theory" argument, because they reveal the person's woeful ignorance of real science. As in this case.

      August 28, 2012 at 12:00 pm |
    • The Fixx

      Scientific theories are the most reliable, rigorous, and comprehensive form of scientific knowledge. This is significantly different from the word "theory" in common usage, which implies that something is unproven or speculative, such as Creationism.

      A scientific theory is a well-substantiated explanation of some aspect of the natural world, based on a body of facts that have been repeatedly confirmed through observation and experiment. Scientists create scientific theories from hypotheses that have been corroborated through the scientific method, then gather evidence to test their accuracy. As with all forms of scientific knowledge, scientific theories are inductive in nature and do not make apodictic propositions; instead, they aim for predictive and explanatory force.

      The strength of a scientific theory is related to the diversity of phenomena it can explain, which is measured by its ability to make falsifiable predictions with respect to those phenomena. Theories are improved as more evidence is gathered, so that accuracy in prediction improves over time. Scientists use theories as a foundation to gain further scientific knowledge, as well as to accomplish goals such as inventing technology or curing disease.

      August 28, 2012 at 12:18 pm |
  8. Brandon Engelman

    Thank Bill Nye. I'm very proud of you.

    August 28, 2012 at 11:22 am |
    • Bill Nye

      Not a problem. Don't mention it.

      August 28, 2012 at 11:31 am |
  9. Bobo the Thinker

    Evolution? That's just a thing for kids to learn in school then forget.

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

      Unless, of course, they intend to pursue a career in any field of biology, pharmaceutical development, or medicine.

      August 28, 2012 at 11:26 am |
    • TheVocalAtheist

      Bobo the unthinker. Typical low-life ignorant type that would like to see children stopped from learning about our existence. You go Bobo, we need more like you!

      August 28, 2012 at 11:31 am |
  10. The REAL Truth

    Let's look at the facts, and not blindly accept theory. Evolution is a theory NOT fact, and can NOT prove / explain how plants and animals came into existence. All illustrations of evolution as fact involve no increase in complexity or appearance of new body parts (for example), and no permanent change of any kind. Evolution can NOT prove one spieces jumping/morphing into another. What it does prove is small scale, reversible population variations over short windows of time. Evolution has NOT been shown to create new genetic information or new complex body parts. Without this proven demonistration of evidence, we still must call it theory.

    Even if you accept the fact man evolved from ape, ape from a simpler creature, that from an even simoler creature, and that from some bacteria or group of cells, one has to eventually ask what created the starting point? Even the worlds most renowned scientist can't explain what started this evolution train going. You must first accept there came something out of nothing, because everything has to have a start, then you can possibly start down the misguided evolution path.

    Even look at the big bang theory accepted by most scientist today. What started that? Well theory tells us the universe was contracting to a point the mass was so great it exploded, and started to expand into what we know today as the universe. Ok what started that contraction....ummm a previous expansion, and what started that...ummm a previous contraction. You get yourself in a loop where no 'logical scientific' person can explain. Something had to start it all. You can't explain with proven science something was created out of nothing. You have to logically accept something started it all.

    So if you accept something was created from nothing, you are half way to being an acceptor of intelligent design, and you didnt even know it.

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

      Another ignorant who knows nothing of science, spouting his nonsense. There are so many things wrong with your comment that an 8th grade science text can correct for you.

      August 28, 2012 at 11:27 am |
    • TheVocalAtheist

      Then what created your God?

      August 28, 2012 at 11:27 am |
    • Huebert

      The theory of evolution does not concern its self with abiogenesis, the transition from non-life to life,. And you are correct in saying that scientist don't understand how that happened. But that does not mean that life "came from nothing" nor does it mean that god is the cause of all life. That is a god of the gaps argument.

      August 28, 2012 at 11:30 am |
    • independentlyowned

      You have absolutely no idea what you're talking about. Evolution is a scientific theory, just as gravity and atoms are. Species don't "jump" from one kind to the next, they don't just randomly develop more complex features, they EVOLVE. Very, very slowly over billions of years. Humans did not evolve from present day apes. Apes and humans all shared a common ancestor, who, waaaaaay back when, branched off into multiple different species. Sure that one spark of life in the first primitive bacteria or amino acid might have been God, or it could have been a mixture of favorable factors. Either way, it happened billions of years ago and not 10,000.

      August 28, 2012 at 11:31 am |
    • Snake-Eyes

      Godoflunaticscreation

      Another ignorant who knows nothing of science, spouting his nonsense. There are so many things wrong with your comment that an 8th grade science text can correct for you

      Godoflunaticscreation, PLEASE ELABORATE

      August 28, 2012 at 11:37 am |
    • mikinaz

      This one is too far gone...leave him to his ignorance

      August 28, 2012 at 11:42 am |
    • Primewonk

      WOW! There is a whole heaping load of batshit crazy bullshit in one post!

      In science we explain things, we don't prove things. Proofs are for maths and ethanol. In science,, theory is as high as it gets. Theories never get promoted to fact or law. Theories exist to explain sets of facts and laws. Evolution, just like gravity, is fact and theory.

      I also noticed that you posted prototypical creationist lie 127.2 – stating that science claims humans evolved from apes. Humans ARE apes you dolt.

      And what do you mean by a species jumping or morphing to another species? A dog will never evolve to a cat. That is not what evolution states.

      Finally, you posted prototypical creationist lie 56.3(a) – " theory tells us the universe was contracting to a point the mass was so great it exploded" No one in science states this.

      Seriously! Do any of you fundiot nutters ever crack open a science journal?

      August 28, 2012 at 11:51 am |
    • 633music

      You will never get any answers here my friend, just a lot of evolution supporters telling you to go talk to their preacher, he knows..

      August 28, 2012 at 12:10 pm |
  11. LouAZ

    A mosquito is proof that there is no god.

    August 28, 2012 at 11:22 am |
  12. Turtle

    Do evolutionists hate creationists?

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

      No need for hate of the person it is disgust for the message.

      August 28, 2012 at 11:32 am |
    • Huebert

      I don't. I do think that creationist are misguided but I don't hate them.

      August 28, 2012 at 11:33 am |
    • Colin

      Yeah, I do.

      August 28, 2012 at 11:35 am |
    • Mopery

      I don't hate creationists, I pity them for their delusions and ignorance of reality.

      August 28, 2012 at 11:37 am |
    • ABMiller

      Mopey, save your pity, we don't need or want it. You and your conceited sophisticated intellectual ilk can suck rocks.

      August 28, 2012 at 12:09 pm |
  13. Mopery

    So, if god created the universe, then what created god?

    August 28, 2012 at 11:21 am |
    • 633music

      Now that is a GREAT question, separate issue however, God or no, evolution is silly and takes a level of gullibility that is unsurpassed, add arrogance and lazy to that mix.

      August 28, 2012 at 12:12 pm |
  14. independentlyowned

    Creationism: When all rednecks who failed middle school science came together and made up their own ideas to justify their lack of ability to comprehend simple scientific principles.

    August 28, 2012 at 11:21 am |
  15. nitrous

    Bill must be smoking something if he thinks that he can actually reason with creationists. They won't even read this article – that's if they can read.

    August 28, 2012 at 11:21 am |
    • 633music

      Oh, now I believe the unbelievable that is evolution due to your insult. Great teaching method..God or no God, evolution is NOT a viable answer...

      August 28, 2012 at 12:14 pm |
  16. KT

    It does not matter to me if its Evolutions or creationism. What I know is My God created me and give me life to evolve.
    end of subject.

    August 28, 2012 at 11:21 am |
    • Drappelfed

      Interesting that you would choose the "god" created you...especially knowing that your mom and dad had 100% involvement in your creation...

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

      What does your God look like? Who created your God? What happens when you die?

      August 28, 2012 at 11:35 am |
    • 633music

      Good questions Vocal, in fact though, has nothing to do with evolution being a viable doctrine...it is NOT the answer...again, God or no God aside.

      August 28, 2012 at 12:16 pm |
    • KT

      TheVocalAtheist –

      What does your God look like? what he looks like does not interest me what he does for me that makes me know what he looks like.

      Who created your God? our mides is so small to grasp what he is created of.

      What happens when you die? I'll be in a much better place and not afraid of death as this is tempory.

      I bet you can not explain life and how it evolved.

      August 28, 2012 at 12:24 pm |
  17. David

    There is so much proof of evolution, and none of creationism.
    Basically if you believe in creationism, you believe in lies from a fictional story book.

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

      cambrian explosion disproves evolution, look it up

      August 28, 2012 at 11:33 am |
    • Primewonk

      Z – please post the citations to the peer-reviewed scientific research showing that the Cambrian explosion falsifies the theory of evolution.

      Otherwise, you're just another run of the mill lying fundiot nutter.

      August 28, 2012 at 11:55 am |
    • 633music

      Creation arguments aside, evolution is a silly little doctrine...

      August 28, 2012 at 12:17 pm |
  18. Kint

    God is quantum physics. Quantum physics says something can come from nothing by borrowing energy from the universe. (Nothing else could God have done when they created the world.) The concept of God is a simplification for people who have trouble grasping the details, a bit of a shortcut to the state of (resigned) acceptance of things being the way they are. Yet, even though some people have trouble grasping those details, your beloved smartphone, TV, Internet – in short, all modern electronics – could only be developed by understanding and employing principles of quantum physics. Believe what you want, but let the kids study science, let them learn scientific methods and draw their own conclusions.

    August 28, 2012 at 11:20 am |
  19. justme

    it is amazing how many people mr.nye put to work. maybe he should run for prez.

    August 28, 2012 at 11:19 am |
  20. Godoflunaticscreation

    [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ln64DYflGT4&w=640&h=360]

    August 28, 2012 at 11:18 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.