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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. jackthegeek

    These morons truly believe in 100% accuracy of carbon dating. It is only accurate for thousands of years not even in millions of years. Please read below morons about carbon dating.
    The Limitations of Carbon 14 Dating

    Using this technique, almost any sample of organic material can be directly dated. There are a number of limitations, however.

    First, the size of the archaeological sample is important. Larger samples are better, because purification and distillation remove some matter. Although new techniques for working with very small samples have been developed, like accelerator dating, these are very expensive and still somewhat experimental.

    Second, great care must be taken in collecting and packing samples to avoid contamination by more recent carbon. For each sample, clean trowels should be used, to avoid cross contamination between samples. The samples should be packaged in chemically neutral materials to avoid picking up new C-14 from the packaging. The packaging should also be airtight to avoid contact with atmospheric C-14. Also, the stratigraphy should be carefully examined to determine that a carbon sample location was not contaminated by carbon from a later or an earlier period.

    Third, because the decay rate is logarithmic, radiocarbon dating has significant upper and lower limits. It is not very accurate for fairly recent deposits. In recent deposits so little decay has occurred that the error factor (the standard deviation) may be larger than the date obtained. The practical upper limit is about 50,000 years, because so little C-14 remains after almost 9 half-lives that it may be hard to detect and obtain an accurate reading, regardless of the size of the sample.

    Fourth, the ratio of C-14 to C-12 in the atmosphere is not constant. Although it was originally thought that there has always been about the same ratio, radiocarbon samples taken and cross dated using other techniques like dendrochronology have shown that the ratio of C-14 to C-12 has varied significantly during the history of the Earth. This variation is due to changes in the intensity of the cosmic radiation bombardment of the Earth, and changes in the effectiveness of the Van Allen belts and the upper atmosphere to deflect that bombardment. For example, because of the recent depletion of the ozone layer in the stratosphere, we can expect there to be more C-14 in the atmosphere today than there was 20-30 years ago. To compensate for this variation, dates obtained from radiocarbon laboratories are now corrected using standard calibration tables developed in the past 15-20 years. When reading archaeological reports, be sure to check if the carbon-14 dates reported have been calibrated or not.

    Finally, although radiocarbon dating is the most common and widely used chronometric technique in archaeology today, it is not infallible. In general, single dates should not be trusted. Whenever possible multiple samples should be collected and dated from associated strata. The trend of the samples will provide a ball park estimate of the actual date of deposition. The trade-off between radiocarbon dating and other techniques, like dendrochronology, is that we exchange precision for a wider geographical and temporal range. That is the true benefit of radiocarbon dating, that it can be employed anywhere in the world, and does have a 50,000 year range. Using radiocarbon dating, archaeologists during the past 30 years have been able to obtain a much needed global perspective on the timing of major prehistoric events such as the development of agriculture in various parts of the world.

    August 27, 2012 at 2:10 pm |
    • Bill T.

      "... 100% accuracy of carbon (14) dating ...", actually, if you were familiar with the techniques involved you would understand that C14 dating is a probabilistic determination and in scholarly journals the level of uncertainty is expected to be stated (usually omitted for lay people because it just confuses them).

      All the other issues you mention are well understood and controlled for.

      August 27, 2012 at 2:27 pm |
    • Jean Sartre

      Since radiocarbon dating cannot gve an exact nano-second time period, we must immediately abandon it and go back to the Genesis. fantasy.. OK...

      August 27, 2012 at 2:28 pm |
    • Momof3

      Well, then i guess it's a good thing there are other forms of dating artifacts that are also used:
      Dendrochronology
      Electron Spin Resonance
      Thermoluminescence (TL) Dating
      Obsidian Hydration Dating
      Archaeomagnetic Dating
      Cation-Ratio (Rock Varnish) Dating

      August 27, 2012 at 2:36 pm |
    • rob

      Is it the end?

      August 27, 2012 at 3:13 pm |
  2. TM

    Saddest point of creationism or intelligent design is the notion that "IT" is figured out and needs not to be explored, to be questioned or to be discovered. That is the true ignorance and the affront to science, technology and truth. Though there are missing data and samples, discoveries in the fossil records are always adding to the evidence and dispelling the creationists' arguments, such as Cambrian explosion.

    Imagine if the Bible was written after the microscope, telescope, knowledge of Australia and the Americas, disease, gravity, genetics, electricity, radioactivity...

    Of course, this new "bible" would promote some other wacky idea like we are all descendants of an alien race. THANK YOU Mr. HUBBARD!!

    August 27, 2012 at 2:09 pm |
    • rob

      I see.

      August 27, 2012 at 2:59 pm |
  3. what a fool

    Bill Nye, Isaac Newton or Albert Einstein? I don't think so Mr. Nye you have not yet to evolved into an intellectual being such as these two Theists.

    August 27, 2012 at 2:09 pm |
    • If horses had Gods .. their Gods would be horses

      I'll give you one thing ... you name is correct.
      Albert Einstien was NOT a theist. Isaac Newton had no choice in his day.

      August 27, 2012 at 2:10 pm |
    • Observer

      “It was, of course, a lie what you read about my religious convictions, a lie which is being systematically repeated. I do not believe in a personal God and I have never denied this but have expressed it clearly. If something is in me which can be called religious then it is the unbounded admiration for the structure of the world so far as our science can reveal it.”
      - Albert Einstein, letter to J. Dispentiere, 3/24/1954

      August 27, 2012 at 2:12 pm |
    • A Frayed Knot

      Isaac Newton was big into the occult - alchemy (making gold with a magic Philosopher's Stone), numerology and other far-out beliefs. His scientifically verified concepts are accepted... the other stuff (including religion) - nope.

      August 27, 2012 at 2:18 pm |
    • rob

      um...

      August 27, 2012 at 2:52 pm |
  4. Dan586

    The GOP knows the Bible is not real, they just use it as a form of mind control to get people to do what they want.

    August 27, 2012 at 2:09 pm |
  5. mklsgl

    Ever wonder why Jews don't have a conflict with Creationism?

    August 27, 2012 at 2:09 pm |
    • rob

      oh

      August 27, 2012 at 2:45 pm |
    • rob

      well....

      August 27, 2012 at 4:01 pm |
  6. GC

    Creationalism or evolution or maybe both somehow put together to work...who knows? I just hope for those that deny God that when they die, there really is no God. Just take your fate it like a man or woman! Dont beg and plead later! LOL
    I've always loved scienc and the way it works, but it's also taught me not to rule ANYTHING out bc we dont know it all..

    August 27, 2012 at 2:08 pm |
    • jennymay

      If there is a god, and it wants to punish me for always questioning and trying to learn more in a huge, unknowable universe, rather than chosing the nicest feeling theory and sticking to it, it seems like no god worthy of worship.

      August 27, 2012 at 2:47 pm |
  7. shiststone

    Ignorance is simply the state of being uniformed.......stupidity is making a conscious choice to remain ignorant. Creationists are STUPID and they LIKE IT THAT WAY!

    August 27, 2012 at 2:08 pm |
    • Franco

      I believe in the Creator God and I know I am not stupid. To consider others as stupid, because they do not share you ideas is just arrogant. Maybe one day when we will know for certainty how everything started, we may all be very surprised.

      August 27, 2012 at 2:17 pm |
  8. rob

    What a moron! It is easy for idiots to spout off scientific (so-called) "facts" about events "millions" of years ago, but if you ask one of them to quantify that, in a year by year basis, that is, this star was here, that star was there, they just keep running into trouble about 2012 years ago. Start just aren't lining up the way they thought they should or something, I guess. Jesus said, "I am the bright and morning star". The next time some idiot talks about stuff that happened millions of years ago, I'm going to ask them if they mean millions of years by the Julian or Gregorian calendar. What's that? Huh? You don't know which calendar? There is a reason for that, Jack*ss!

    August 27, 2012 at 2:08 pm |
    • Bill T.

      Wrong.

      August 27, 2012 at 2:10 pm |
    • rob

      Wrong? That's all you got? Why don't you try to quantify that, moron? You can't.

      August 27, 2012 at 2:12 pm |
    • If horses had Gods .. their Gods would be horses

      Scary wrong even!

      August 27, 2012 at 2:13 pm |
    • Anthony

      Well seeing as how the Julian and Gregorian calendars only differ by a few years here and there, I hardly see how that matters. You don't measure marathons by millimeters.

      August 27, 2012 at 2:13 pm |
    • Mark

      By the way, historical studies have shown pretty conclusively that Jesus Christ was born bout 2018 years ago, not 2012.

      August 27, 2012 at 2:14 pm |
    • If horses had Gods .. their Gods would be horses

      rob ... it's impossible to answer since your post is so full in jibberish ... but it's millions of years by the orbiting of the earth around the sun not by the calendar, sheesh, think before you post.

      August 27, 2012 at 2:16 pm |
    • rob

      What do you think a calendar is, moron? It is a chart of what you just described. And there are more than one used in today's society. Which one are you referring to? Millions of year by the Julian, or by the Gregorian? It's a very simple question, but you have not considered it before!

      August 27, 2012 at 2:19 pm |
    • sqeptiq

      Your post is a perfect example of the arrogance of ignorance.

      August 27, 2012 at 2:29 pm |
    • Anthony

      I guess you didn't read my response.

      August 27, 2012 at 2:31 pm |
    • Bill T.

      OK, I'll play, "... they just keep running into trouble about 2012 years ago ... ", cite just ONE peer reviewed paper indicating that the apparent positions of stars in the sky are not calculable past the year 0 C.E. (your discussion is garbled but this appears to be your claim).

      August 27, 2012 at 2:36 pm |
    • A Frayed Knot

      rob,

      Yes, read Anthony's response.

      The Julian and Gregorian only differ by 3 days every 4 years. I don't feel like doing the math, but going back a million years, the difference might be a couple of MONTHS - W.T.F.!! I don't recall any scientific dating that specifies, say, 4.673456249 million years ago such and such occurred.

      August 27, 2012 at 2:43 pm |
    • rob

      Apologies, Anthony. I'm at work, takes me a moment. So, in response, there are MANY people who just don't care where the stars were around the years of 0 to 40. So, what's a few millimeters in a marathon? Not much, until you realize it is the starting line. THAT's my point. You have not considered why time is counted forward AFTER Jesus, and counted backward AFTER Jesus. I would say that the fact that your watches and calendars are BASED on these calendars, would therefore mean that I could rip the floor out of ANY argument you make regarding this world to be more than 5773 years old. But, this post is ONLY for the intelligent, who can understand dependencies, and how crucial they are....

      August 27, 2012 at 2:44 pm |
    • jennymay

      What a godly person you are in your posts. Idiot, moron and jack@#$. You've got self righeousness down pat huh?

      August 27, 2012 at 2:50 pm |
    • rob

      There is a REASON they differ by some years. And until you research this reason, you will probably go on believing that these past 60 years have proven the past 5000 years are a bunch of bunk. I mean, honestly, when was the last time you saw a scientific study that took in account for spirits? Yet "spirit" is a word in the dictionary. A REAL word, with a REAL meaning. Not my fault if you don't believe. Just would like to point out that it seems pompous that 5000 years of people believed in spirits existing....

      August 27, 2012 at 2:50 pm |
    • rob

      JennyMay, those words have meaning. They can be found in any dictionary. Are you my mother? I don't see you pointing out any calendar references..... You are not adding, you are taking away... (and running away, I might add....)

      August 27, 2012 at 2:56 pm |
    • rob

      squptic, you called me a name and ran away like a child. If you can't quantify your response, good riddance! Again, I ask, "In what way? By which calendar?" And yet again, no valid response. They run from me, like they run from Jesus. Anyone else wanna lip, and then run away?

      August 27, 2012 at 3:02 pm |
    • A Frayed Knot

      rob,

      "Delusion" is in the dictionary too... and so is "Fantasy".

      I don't think that people are running away from you for any validation of your credibility in this matter. You just have shown no purpose for this calendar schtick.

      August 27, 2012 at 3:10 pm |
    • rob

      Isn't "schtic" a Jewish word? Hmmmmm...... Don't the Jews say the world is 5772 years old? Hmmmmm..... Wasn't Jesus a Jew? Hmmmmm.... More than one calendar? Hmmmmm....

      August 27, 2012 at 3:15 pm |
    • Nissim Levy

      What are you babbling about?

      August 27, 2012 at 3:17 pm |
    • rob

      They edited my response. Guess it was just too much for them to bear...

      August 27, 2012 at 4:09 pm |
    • rob

      Bill T, I just sited two of them. Are you also a moron? The Julian and the Gregorian calendars. Then there is the Jewish calendar, the Chinese New year, etc. But ALL of them run into some kind of seeming un-explainable calculation problems somewhere about 2012 years ago, don't they. If I created some tech tv show that stated that this and that happened a gaggle-ga-zillion years or after something else, it would make no sense, because it does not relate to the time at hand, that is, the time on your watch right now, based on some calendar. Which one? Can't tell me? (Oh big surprise), but you think you can spout off "facts" about stuff a million years ago? That is STUPIDITY.

      August 28, 2012 at 11:44 am |
  9. Anon

    Gravity is a scientific theory just as valid as evolution, i.e., all evidence we have found supports it and all it takes is one bit of evidence disproving it to throw it all out.

    Now who wants to stand up and say they don't believe in gravity?

    August 27, 2012 at 2:08 pm |
    • rob

      Oh, Moron #2 chimes in (above). I still don't see you answer by which calendar. I wonder why that is, hmmmmm.... Maybe it's because YOU DON'T KNOW THE ANSWER. I would rather you not reply if you can't tell which calendar.... (grumbling... morons...)

      August 27, 2012 at 2:16 pm |
    • TommyTT

      Exactly. And if you don't believe in Newton's theories of motion, don't step on the brakes!

      August 27, 2012 at 2:19 pm |
    • Bill T.

      It doesn't matter "which calendar". What's meant are ACTUAL TIME MEASURED IN ACTUAL YEARS! (astronomical years). Or maybe you're going to tell me that we don't know that it takes 365.256 days for the Earth to orbit the Sun?

      August 29, 2012 at 11:47 am |
  10. So

    Maybe god did create man...but then it was left up to us to make this world heaven or hell.

    There is no one to blame but ourselves...god is not going to make anything better.

    August 27, 2012 at 2:08 pm |
    • rob

      hi

      August 27, 2012 at 2:39 pm |
  11. Carlin123

    Religion, organized religion is easily the BEST B.S. story ever told.

    August 27, 2012 at 2:08 pm |
  12. TAK

    Science flies us to Mars. Religion flies you into buildings.

    August 27, 2012 at 2:07 pm |
    • reddragon

      Absolutely needed that laugh. Thank you:)

      August 27, 2012 at 2:10 pm |
    • irunner

      Good one! And more people have died in the name of religion than any other reason in human history.

      August 27, 2012 at 2:19 pm |
  13. Rocky Mountain High

    Hey, what happened to miracles? Don't see much of them anymore.

    August 27, 2012 at 2:07 pm |
    • birch please

      You can still go to a magic show to see "miracles" that even jesus could not perform.

      August 27, 2012 at 2:09 pm |
    • Simran

      Science happened to miracles.
      So god is not angry anymore when there is an eclipse.
      It is not god's wrath anymore if the earth starts to shake and there is a rift.
      The lightning in the sky – well no longer god shining his light.

      August 27, 2012 at 2:10 pm |
    • AJ

      Depends on your point of view I guess. Maybe it's because I'm in the medical field, but I see miracles all the time, I've seen someone that should be dead somehow live and disease disappear without reason. I'm not arrogant enough to pretend I know why these miracls happen to some and not others, but they do happen.

      August 27, 2012 at 2:58 pm |
  14. Faith and Peace

    Why is everyone trying to change people's minds. Let the stupid people sit in their own idiotic and false worldview.

    August 27, 2012 at 2:07 pm |
    • birch please

      Because we live in a republic in which stupid people have a vote.

      August 27, 2012 at 2:08 pm |
    • Simran

      No problems as long as they sit in their home. But plenty of problems when they start preaching to your kids, start targeting women and gays, and so on...

      August 27, 2012 at 2:11 pm |
  15. jaw4

    To deny scientific fact is absurd and, as Nye put it, holds us all back. Yes- there are some missing pieces to the what some refer to as the puzzle of evolution but there are nothing but pure, undeniable facts that support it. And think about it- our knowledge as a human race is constantly evolving, as it has for thousands of years. Each civilization made up stories to explain the seasons because they didn't have the scientific knowledge to understand the shape movement of the Earth and it's place in our solar system. (i.e.- Greek mythology) No one in their right mind would deny the scientific facts now regarding the existence of the seasons but back then they didn't know any better. Who knows what man will know in 50 or 500 years. Maybe they will find those missing pieces. But just because they haven't yet doesn't mean they're not there. There is too much tangiable evidence supporting evolution and nothing supporting creationism (And no- a book written over the course of several hundred years by various men of varying opinions/ideas is not scientific evidence. It's a great work of literature.)

    August 27, 2012 at 2:06 pm |
  16. NSHSDad

    When will news media get the gumption to flat out and say that creationism is just plain wrong? And, what on earth is 'god guided evolution?'. If you can devise an experiment to distinguish 'god guided' versus 'atheist' evolution, I'm all ears. Science is an empirically driven endeavor. Giving equal footing to a belief that is in blatant contradiction to evidence is plain silly.

    August 27, 2012 at 2:06 pm |
  17. Carlin123

    I'm a joke God played on me.

    August 27, 2012 at 2:06 pm |
  18. Mark

    Dear Creationist,

    I have given you a brain that has evolved for billions of years. Please use it

    Thank you

    GOD

    August 27, 2012 at 2:06 pm |
  19. rudix

    or just go to amazon and type Rudi Merom so you can learn what is real and what is false

    August 27, 2012 at 2:06 pm |
  20. Designing Intellegence

    The belief statistics cited here are pretty scary for this being 2012 and all, but at least they're trending in the right direction. You'd think with all the data available today people would want to get off the "stupid" train as fast as possible, but I guess it will just take time because we all know how much Americans love admitting when they're wrong. (Especially about a deeply convicted topic that was brainwashed into them at a very young impressionable age). Perhaps personal enlightenment is just like the sun; it will eventually shine on everyone's darkness, but it's hard to see with your head buried in the sand. And until you pull it out, the rest of the world is only going to see one side of you..... 😉

    August 27, 2012 at 2:06 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.