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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.

CNN’s Belief Blog: The faith angles behind the biggest stories

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. J.W

    Wow stories about creationism and evolution tend to bring on a lot of comments.

    August 28, 2012 at 1:06 pm |
  2. wackyjabber

    Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools.

    August 28, 2012 at 1:05 pm |
    • Brother Maynard

      That's a wise statment

      August 28, 2012 at 1:10 pm |
  3. Norman

    So how do those who deny evolution explain the human remains found in archaeological digs, having been radio-carbon dated, in some cases over two million years? To me, this implies the Biblical story of creation is simply that: a story that should be taken as a historical metaphor.

    August 28, 2012 at 1:05 pm |
    • wackyjabber

      I admire your faith in radiocarbon dating.

      August 28, 2012 at 1:07 pm |
    • max3333444555

      even beyond carbon dating there are many methods of determining the age of relics and remains. do you discard them all?

      August 28, 2012 at 1:24 pm |
    • Athiest

      All the theists, who work for Walmart but like to post on the Inter-webs, will now call into question the validity of radio carbon testing. Because they're qualified.

      August 28, 2012 at 1:24 pm |
    • wackyjabber

      God could have easily injected the radiation levels to make it look like the fosils are really old when in fact they are only 9,000 years old. He also could have easily placed the fake bones on dinosaurs under the ground to test those lacking in faith... as well as removed any evidence of the global flood after the fact because leaving definitive proof of biblical events is unnecessary when all you should really need is faith...

      August 28, 2012 at 2:09 pm |
  4. Boomyaface

    This guy wears bowties, who cares

    August 28, 2012 at 1:05 pm |
  5. Illegal Memes

    So Gentle Readers, have we reached a consensus yet?

    August 28, 2012 at 1:05 pm |
    • Norman

      Is that 'gentle readers' or 'gentile readers'? :-)

      August 28, 2012 at 1:07 pm |
    • Science Slams Creationism, Bill Nye Points It Out..

      @Norman – or could it be genital readers?...

      August 28, 2012 at 1:10 pm |
    • Science Slams Creationism, Bill Nye Points It Out..

      Think of it as a really hands on Phrenologist...

      August 28, 2012 at 1:12 pm |
    • sam

      +1 internet points to this thread.

      August 28, 2012 at 1:12 pm |
  6. Refreshed

    It is so refreshing to hear from so many sensible people who understand the difference between scientific fact and a story. Thanks for letting me know I am not alone and we will prevail.

    August 28, 2012 at 1:05 pm |
  7. robCM

    40% to 47% of Americans believe in creationism, we are heading to become a 4 world nation living in the 13th century

    August 28, 2012 at 1:04 pm |
    • Joseph Smith, Jr.

      Ditto! And the education/test ranks are here to proof with so many states and parents pushing this religious bs to their children.

      Religion, racism, bigotry, feed by ignorance are ruining this country, american Talibans (aka tea baggers) are succeeding in both passing their medieval laws and paralizing federal govern with their control over our "do nothing" Congress.

      August 28, 2012 at 1:44 pm |
  8. blinky

    "Creationism Is Not Appropriate For Children." I agree. But neither are condescension, didacticism and, yes, lack of imagination.

    August 28, 2012 at 1:04 pm |
    • Science Slams Creationism, Bill Nye Points It Out..

      It's dangerous to have people casting their votes based on their imaginations in this day and age...

      August 28, 2012 at 1:07 pm |
    • But But...

      I vote for a light under every bed! I vote for locks on every closet! Because you can't be too careful when it comes to monsters!! How do we know they aren't lurking everywhere we just happen to not be looking at the moment? And then they move so fast we don't see them to the other place were not looking as soon as we look under the bed...

      August 28, 2012 at 1:17 pm |
    • Simran

      IMAGINATION?
      Use that constructively, not to blind you to imagine what someone else tells you. Paint your own story, write your own song....
      Had it not been for the ability of scientists to imagine, we would not have electricity, telephones, laptops, internet, ethernet, treatments...
      Imagination is an important asset if you use it wisely.

      August 28, 2012 at 1:20 pm |
  9. Atheism is the natural state of all living things

    It takes a closed mind to ignore the various reasons not to believe in something without evidence. For one, where do you stop? How do you know where to draw the line?

    August 28, 2012 at 1:04 pm |
  10. Noah_Adams

    CNN has apparently tried blocking multiple comments I've made because I've favored creationism. Shame on you CNN!

    August 28, 2012 at 1:04 pm |
    • SusyQ

      How controversial could your comments possibly be? Try pressing the little button that says "post" and see what happens.

      August 28, 2012 at 1:08 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @Noah,

      don't post here much I assume.

      There is a word filter that prohibits 'rude' words. If you post had words containing 't-it' (like inst-itute) or 'c-um' (like doc-ument) or a host of other 'rude' words, it won't get posted.

      August 28, 2012 at 1:10 pm |
    • Willy

      Certain words will get you blocked.

      August 28, 2012 at 1:11 pm |
    • Helpful Hints

      Noah_Adams..."CNN has apparently tried blocking multiple comments I've made because I've favored creationism. Shame on you CNN!" Wrong... again!

      Bad letter combinations / words to avoid if you want to get past the CNN automatic filter:
      Many, if not most, are buried within other words, so use your imagination.
      You can use dashes, spaces, or other characters or some html tricks to modify the "offending" letter combinations.
      ---
      ar-se.....as in ar-senic.
      co-ck.....as in co-ckatiel, co-ckatrice, co-ckleshell, co-ckles, etc.
      co-on.....as in racc-oon, coc-oon, etc.
      cu-m......as in doc-ument, accu-mulate, circu-mnavigate, circu-mstances, cu-mbersome, cuc-umber, etc.
      cu-nt.....as in Scu-nthorpe, a city in the UK famous for having problems with filters...!
      ef-fing...as in ef-fing filter
      ft-w......as in soft-ware, delft-ware, swift-water, drift-wood, etc.
      ho-mo.....as in ho-mo sapiens or ho-mose-xual, ho-mogenous, etc.
      ho-oters…as in sho-oters
      ho-rny....as in tho-rny, etc.
      hu-mp… as in th-ump, th-umper, th-umping
      jacka-ss...yet "ass" is allowed by itself.....
      ja-p......as in j-apanese, ja-pan, j-ape, etc.
      koo-ch....as in koo-chie koo..!
      nip-ple
      o-rgy….as in po-rgy, zo-rgy, etc.
      pi-s......as in pi-stol, lapi-s, pi-ssed, therapi-st, etc.
      p-oon… as in sp-oon, lamp-oon, harp-oon
      p-orn… as in p-ornography
      pr-ick....as in pri-ckling, pri-ckles, etc.
      que-er
      ra-pe.....as in scra-pe, tra-peze, gr-ape, thera-peutic, sara-pe, etc.
      se-x......as in Ess-ex, s-exual, etc.
      sl-ut
      sm-ut…..as in transm-utation
      sn-atch
      sp-ank
      sp-ic.....as in desp-icable, hosp-ice, consp-icuous, susp-icious, sp-icule, sp-ice, etc.
      sp-ook… as in sp-ooky, sp-ooked
      strip-per
      ti-t......as in const-itution, att-itude, ent-ities, alt-itude, beat-itude, etc.
      tw-at.....as in wristw-atch, nightw-atchman, salt-water, etc.
      va-g......as in extrava-gant, va-gina, va-grant, va-gue, sava-ge, etc.
      who-re....as in who're you kidding / don't forget to put in that apostrophe!
      wt-f....also!!!!!!!
      There's another phrase that someone found, "wo-nderful us" (have no idea what sets that one off).

      August 28, 2012 at 1:13 pm |
    • Jenvy44

      If Genesis if fact – then who are the mothers and fathers of the women who married Cain and Seth, Adam and Eve's sons? No making anything up – quote straight from the bible.

      August 28, 2012 at 1:13 pm |
    • Noah_Adams

      I didn't post any profanity and have looked through the terms of service and privacy policy and couldn't find any reason to why any of these comments couldn't make it through... (3) of my comments did not make it through. I don't use profanity.

      August 28, 2012 at 1:16 pm |
    • Helpful Hints

      Noah_Adams:

      Word FRAGMENTS within your words set off the automatic filter.

      Look at the list for some usual suspects.

      August 28, 2012 at 1:35 pm |
    • Eros

      Probably because you use profane language. You really should try to explain yourself without those nasty dirty words.
      It's bad enough that you believe in a myth written when humans were much dumber and ignore the science that you will depend on when your in a hospital but using profane language will boot you out every time.

      August 28, 2012 at 1:55 pm |
  11. carm

    Newsflash: Bill Nye is not good for kids!

    August 28, 2012 at 1:03 pm |
    • Birdynumnums

      Bill Nye is an amazing guy! He teaches science in a way that is exciting and humorous to kids. He deals in facts rather than fables.

      August 28, 2012 at 1:09 pm |
    • nojinx

      We need a thousand more Bill Nyes before we erase our autonomy completely.

      August 28, 2012 at 1:26 pm |
  12. ImJustSaying

    Science is barely scratching the surface. There is no way science can claim absolutes based on hypotheses. It's like trying to guess the winning numbers on the next lottery ticket. The last time I believed a scientist, they said that Pluto was a planet.

    August 28, 2012 at 1:02 pm |
    • EnjaySea

      Right, well you keep on enjoying this hypotheticall computer you've been typing on.

      August 28, 2012 at 1:04 pm |
    • SusyQ

      Imjustsyaing you know there is a cure for ignorance. It's called knowledge. You should try reading a book that's not the bible sometime. There are other good works for fiction out there if you just look for them.

      August 28, 2012 at 1:05 pm |
    • snowboarder

      "planet" is a label. pluto has not changed one bit.

      quit with the weak strawman arguments.

      August 28, 2012 at 1:07 pm |
    • nojinx

      By definition, science cannot claim absolutes. It can only provide theories suggesting why something occurs.
      The difference it the theories are formed from facts, empirical or inferred.
      Religions form theories based on what someone wants to be true.

      August 28, 2012 at 1:08 pm |
    • Mittens Wromney

      Bill Ney is spot on. Unfortunately, as the comments to this article show, we have a lot of very ignorant people here in the U.S. Quit abusing your kids, Americans. Quit abusing your kids.

      August 28, 2012 at 1:09 pm |
    • judeamorris

      Whether Pluto is classified as a planet or not does not deny its existence. You are basing your evaluation of science on a matter of mere classification. (Is a Collie dog a Working Dog or a Herding dog? That's classificiation.) If you throw out scientific hypotheses, you must then deny simple, everyday life experiences like knowing that when you flip a switch a light goes on or off or when you heat water, it will boil over. Your arguments, like many other I read against scientific hypothoses, is simplistic, lacking in basic logic, and displaying a vast lack of educational understanding.

      August 28, 2012 at 1:12 pm |
    • Mary

      The biggest fallacy about science is the idea that "science claims absolutes." Science is about questioning, about developing hypotheses that turn into theories when the evidence stacks up, and then are acknowledged as fact. And yes, when more information comes in or is figured out, the theories are refined.

      When I was in college, plate tectonics was described as a theory. Now, we know for certain that the crust of the planet is divided into plates that move, and we know the boundaries of those plates.

      Scientists don't have all the answers on cosmology and evolution, but they certainly have more accurate information than what is included in the bible. I find it sad that there are still so many people who resort to magic and the supernatural to explain physical forces that they do not comprehend. Certainly we are further along than that, in our social evolution. Well, at least some of us are.

      August 28, 2012 at 1:24 pm |
  13. Big Fred

    Predates Jesus. Can somone explain?
    "Zoroaster was born of a virgin and “immaculate conception by a ray of divine reason.” He was baptized in a river. In his youth he astounded wise men with his wisdom. He was tempted in the wilderness by the devil. He began his ministry at age 30. Zoroaster baptized with water, fire and “holy wind.” He cast out demons and restored the sight to a blind man. He taught about heaven and hell, and revealed mysteries, including resurrection, judgment, salvation and the apocalypse. He had a sacred cup or grail. He was slain. His religion had a eucharist. He was the “Word made flesh.” Zoroaster’s followers expected a “second coming” in the virgin-born Saoshynt or Savior, who is to come in 2341 AD and begin his ministry at age 30, ushering in a golden age."

    August 28, 2012 at 1:02 pm |
    • Which God?

      "Holy Wind?" What's that, a farting preacher, or one who just opens his mouth to spew his nonsense?

      August 28, 2012 at 1:07 pm |
    • Big Fred

      my point is..... sounds familiar, doesn't it? Why is he not the true god?

      August 28, 2012 at 3:33 pm |
  14. pat

    When I took a one semester biology course in evolution, you had to take botony,zoology and microbiology first so you couldn't even study evolution until you had a satisfactory grade in the prerequisites. Why would you expect more than half the population to understand this scientific theory any more than you would expect half the population to undersand the Theory of General Relativity?

    August 28, 2012 at 1:00 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @pat,

      they are not incapable of understanding the basics. They don't *want* to understand.

      IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH

      August 28, 2012 at 1:03 pm |
    • OOO

      Does half the population deny the theory of relativity?

      August 28, 2012 at 1:04 pm |
    • pat

      @ OOO – as Nye points out, the problem in a democracy is that these ideas may shape public policy.

      August 28, 2012 at 1:10 pm |
    • Chris

      In general, to understand evolutionary biology, one must understand the concepts of genetic inheritance, population genetics, and have a grasp on the concept of speciation. All of these topics are covered in a university introduction to biology class. The real problem isn't that there's many classes that are necessary to build up the foundational knowledge, it's that the foundation class that introduces these concepts is offered after a majority of these Americans leave the education system. We need higher standards in high school and need to design curriculum standards that cannot be bypassed by school boards in conservative areas that want to offer intelligent design as an alternative "theory," which further confuses the definition of what a scientific theory actually is on top of everything else.

      August 28, 2012 at 1:32 pm |
  15. vinnie gambini

    Creationism is proven by man.
    Where man overwhelmingly believes in Gd, the simple eyeball in our heads is impossible to have evolved.
    So too, a mere glance at the technological advancements mirror the opposite in mans spiritual advancement,so it stands to reason so called scientists are against creationism.
    Their ego's are so spiritually self absorbed, they think they created the world.......when they were tadpoles.

    August 28, 2012 at 1:00 pm |
    • ME II

      Evolution of the Eye:

      http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=evolution-of-the-eye

      http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/evolution/library/01/1/l_011_01.html

      August 28, 2012 at 1:03 pm |
    • Huebert

      Ah the irreducible complexity argument. It has been thoroughly debunked.

      August 28, 2012 at 1:04 pm |
    • snowboarder

      the evolutionary progression of the eye can be seen clearly in the abundant versions the eye in throughout the animal kingdom.

      August 28, 2012 at 1:04 pm |
    • Tim_Yarro

      Evolutionary track for eyeballs is already known. On the flip side, if an intelligent designer made the eyeball, why does 50% of the world need to fix its problems? 50% deficiency rate is a pretty bad design.

      August 28, 2012 at 1:04 pm |
    • Sven

      Nothing about creationism has been "proven by man", and the transitional stages of the eye have been identified. Heck, the human eye isn't even the pinnacle of evolution. Hawks have way better, more-developed eyes than us!

      The egotists here are the Biblical creationists. The ones who think the almighty creator of Heaven and Earth created humans in His own image and made them masters over the world.

      Oh, and you misspelled "God". Or are you one of the ones who thinks it's sacrilegious to spell "God", as if God would be fooled by the use of "Gd" instead.

      August 28, 2012 at 1:16 pm |
  16. JAB62

    Creationism's bad mmmkay? You shouldn't do creationism.

    August 28, 2012 at 1:00 pm |
  17. guy

    I am in catholicm school and we are tuaght the old earth theory so now reliogus schools know it is wrong

    August 28, 2012 at 12:59 pm |
    • TruthPrevails :-)

      Spell check is your friend. When you grow up please get as far away from that cult of pedophiles...the world is a wonderful place without those pigs stealing your hard earned money and harming your sanity.

      August 28, 2012 at 1:04 pm |
    • nope

      @liar prefails
      nope .

      August 28, 2012 at 1:05 pm |
  18. snowboarder

    i sat down last night an contemplated the abrahamic religions and could only conclude that their premise is absurd.

    August 28, 2012 at 12:59 pm |
    • Jason

      You only thought you did that. Turns out that you were stoned and passed out. It was just a dream.

      August 28, 2012 at 1:06 pm |
    • snowboarder

      jason – nah. i was reading a book and grilling some steaks.

      August 28, 2012 at 1:10 pm |
  19. Dan Green

    My belief is that many people fear death, and the Bible, taken literally, gives them, however false in reality, something to believe in. The belief is so strong, or perhaps it's the fear, that they will cling to the most ridiculous of notions in order to protect themselves. This is another reason why there are wars and terrorism to support religious ideologies. Trying to force children to abandon what are common-sense scientific facts and well-reasoned theories is just playing with their heads. I have no problem with people that believe in a higher power (although I question it), but to adhere to a book written by men long ago, when much wasn't known about our Earth and universe,and not by "God", is ridiculous to most intelligent and rational people. Oh, and since it's an election year, I am a Republican, so we're all not crazy.

    August 28, 2012 at 12:59 pm |
    • snowboarder

      that is not the only reason people cling to religion. a lifetime of being threatened with eternal damnation is difficult brainwashing to overcome.

      August 28, 2012 at 1:01 pm |
    • SusyQ

      You are a thinking man Dan Green. There are not enough of you in the United States of America today.

      August 28, 2012 at 1:02 pm |
    • Closet Atheist

      @ Dan

      Refreshing... i'm like you. Have to vote republican (against my moral grain)... only because I believe in what made america great. That's not religion, but the entrepreneurial spirit, which is getting squashed by our socialist president.

      Interesting point on fear being a driver of religion. True... but it works in reverse. You are FIRST indoctrinated. Then you FEAR to leave that belief system (threat of eternal damnation).

      August 28, 2012 at 1:05 pm |
    • TruthPrevails :-)

      Dan: Check out the Clergy Project...it's very enlightening to read and provides other reasons people hold to the belief.

      August 28, 2012 at 1:06 pm |
  20. Faith

    Nothing's changed from the account of the truth of Genesis. Horses are still a type of horse, Cats are still a type of cat, a cow is still a type of cow, and same with the plants and same with humans. Science is interesting and fascinating, but "evolution" of the human species from some sort of guppy or chimp has not nor will ever be proven because it is what it is – false.

    I didnt grow up learning about God, I grew up learning about evolution in the public schools. When people personally go forth and ask the tough questions themselves; moreso ask God Himself what the truth is; He answers.

    August 28, 2012 at 12:59 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      You obviously did not grow up learning about logic or critical thinking.

      August 28, 2012 at 1:03 pm |
    • Mary

      Just out of curiousity, exactly how did God answer you on evolution and the "history" of the Earth and the origin of species portrayed in the bible are true? Did it just come to you? I guess you're one of those types that expects the fossil record to be complete, and if it's not, therefore evolution is false.

      And, just so you know, the "horse" was NOT always a horse; the stages of equine development in the fossil record are more complete than a lot of others. I find it ludicrous that people actually believe that on a 4.5 billion year old planet, everything as it is now just sprang into being. You show a fundmental misunderstanding of how evolution works (that is, through natural selection, not a design) over a long period of time. That has been explained brilliantly in this discussion by a number of people. Maybe you should read what they say instead of waiting for God to answer.

      August 28, 2012 at 1:04 pm |
    • debbie338

      Ha. If you actually learned any evolution in public schools, you wouldn't be saying the things you're saying, because you show a complete lack of understanding of what evolution is and how it works. Try reading "The Greatest Show On Earth: The Evidence For Evolution, and then get back to me.

      August 28, 2012 at 1:05 pm |
    • sam

      I wish you'd paid better attention in school, though. You didn't get it.

      August 28, 2012 at 1:05 pm |
    • jimbo913

      You might have been taught evolution, but you didn't learn anything. Your simple limited "understanding" is in no way an argument against evolution. Just because you don't understand it doesn't mean it isn't true.

      August 28, 2012 at 1:08 pm |
    • tj

      You do understand that evolution doesn't take place over a period of 4000 years right? It's more on the order of hundreds of thousands of years that the changes, which are minute and wouldn't be blatently obvious to anyone unless you're examining them at a molecular level, take place. A cow is still a cow because it hasn't had time to evolve nor the necessity to adapt to a new environment. There is irrefutable proof of evolution, mountains and mountains of it. Using shttp://www.cnn.com/interactive_legal.htmlkewed reasoning based on faulty logic doesn't change that.

      August 28, 2012 at 1:13 pm |
    • TheRationale

      But if you bring facts and logic into it, you get the correct answer of evolution.

      August 28, 2012 at 1:20 pm |
    • James Wilson

      When the Bible, Torah, or Quran mentions dinosaurs, then I will discount evolution. Until then I will look at my apendix, coccyx, gill slits in embryos, tails, and skin color as proof that mankind evolves and if it continues to do so then it did originally. Oh almost forgot body hair!!! So tell me which is easier to believe? 90+ yr old woman has a child, or 100+ yo man builds a boat, or... the flu, which is evolution in viral form...

      August 28, 2012 at 1:20 pm |
    • Chris

      I'm sorry, but the Life of Brian reference in this subthread caught me off guard. Beautifully done. Two thumbs way up.

      August 28, 2012 at 1:41 pm |
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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.