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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. ScottCA

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yeblvLoVJCA&w=640&h=390]

    August 30, 2012 at 2:25 am |
    • .

      .

      http://www.cgg.org/index.cfm/fuseaction/Library.sr/CT/ARTB/k/1186/Gnosticism-False-Knowledge.htm

      –..+..–

      August 30, 2012 at 11:42 am |
  2. extensiones de cabello

    Valuable info. Lucky me I discovered your site by chance, and I am stunned why this twist of fate didn't took place in advance! I bookmarked it.

    August 30, 2012 at 1:55 am |
  3. Anon

    Got a case of the chortles.
    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6OgAXbyzP5g&w=640&h=390]

    August 30, 2012 at 12:29 am |
    • ScottCA

      I am not often in favor of the destruction of any book. In this case however, the toilet does seem like the correct place to store that book of BS. Now they need to do the same with the Qur'an and all other faith based religious lies.

      August 30, 2012 at 12:47 am |
    • b4bigbang

      This video may help explain the Bible-in-toilet video:
      [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vUFUujSNpEU&w=640&h=390]

      August 30, 2012 at 12:51 am |
    • Anon

      Nah, nearly all Christians are like this in the head.
      [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vM5n8jESUEk&w=640&h=390]

      August 30, 2012 at 1:05 am |
    • ScottCA

      [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LdBJL1c7xUI&w=640&h=390]
      The ending of this is very logical and sums things up well.

      August 30, 2012 at 2:21 am |
    • ScottCA

      [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LdBJL1c7xUI&w=640&h=390]
      An excellent summation of why faith has nothing to offer us.

      August 30, 2012 at 2:23 am |
    • ScottCA

      Anon, LMAO I love the story of Suzie.

      (and sorry all for the double video post, that was supposed to be posted just once)

      August 30, 2012 at 2:30 am |
    • ScottCA

      [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UTDLNQsO6p4&w=640&h=390]

      August 30, 2012 at 2:38 am |
    • .

      http://www.cgg.org/index.cfm/fuseaction/Library.sr/CT/ARTB/k/1186/Gnosticism-False-Knowledge.htm

      Why fools flourish abundantly.

      August 30, 2012 at 11:50 am |
    • Lisa

      b4bigbang
      Atheist arguments aren't like the gobbly go.ok of the first stage in your video. If they sound like that you you then the problem lies with you. Personally, I have zero education in music theory. I can't read a note and I'm completely ignorant of the terminology. Because I understand this I wouldn't dream of criticizing actual musicians until I schooled myself in their lexicon, ... oops! I mean words.

      August 30, 2012 at 1:14 pm |
  4. diabetes

    Hi there, simply was aware of your weblog through Google, and found that it is truly informative. I am gonna be careful for brussels. I'll appreciate if you happen to continue this in future. A lot of other people can be benefited from your writing. Cheers!

    August 29, 2012 at 11:51 pm |
  5. Reality

    Considering the topic, do not skip this comment:

    CALLING ALL NEADERTHALS!!! (this is not a joke)

    You might be part Neaderthal and for $99 might actually find out:

    As per National Geographic's Genographic project:

    https://www3.nationalgeographic.com/genographic/

    " DNA studies suggest that all humans today descend from a group of African ancestors who about 60,000 years ago began a remarkable journey. Follow the journey from them to you as written in your genes”.

    "Adam" is the common male ancestor of every living man. He lived in Africa some 60,000 years ago, which means that all humans lived in Africa at least at that time.

    Unlike his Biblical namesake, this Adam was not the only man alive in his era. Rather, he is unique because his descendents are the only ones to survive.

    It is important to note that Adam does not literally represent the first human. He is the coalescence point of all the genetic diversity."

    For your $99 and a DNA swab:

    "Included in the markers we will test for is a subset that scientists have recently determined to be from our hominin cousins, Neanderthals and the newly discovered Denisovans, who split from our lineage around 500,000 years ago. As modern humans were first migrating out of Africa more than 60,000 years ago, Neanderthals and Denisovans were still alive and well in Eurasia. It seems that our ancestors met, leaving a small genetic trace of these ancient relatives in our DNA. With Geno 2.0, you will learn if you have any Neanderthal or Denisovan DNA in your genome."
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

    August 29, 2012 at 11:25 pm |
    • Heisenberg

      You do know the meaning of SPAM, correct?

      I can see every 10 pages or so; but seriously?

      Its almost as bad as that Hinduracist bot...

      I'm certain of this...

      August 30, 2012 at 1:43 am |
    • Reality

      Reiteration is an important education tool.

      August 30, 2012 at 6:55 am |
    • .

      Exactly.

      http://www.cgg.org/index.cfm/fuseaction/Library.sr/CT/ARTB/k/1186/Gnosticism-False-Knowledge.htm

      August 30, 2012 at 10:53 am |
  6. ArthurP

    ElectroMechanical-Genesis:

    There are now research tools that are capable of manipulation of individual atoms. So it is now possible to actually build a living cell sort of how a child builds a Lego structure. Piece by piece.

    Machines making Life.

    Now it would be very expensive and take a while but it could be done.

    August 29, 2012 at 11:21 pm |
    • .

      You better watch it.

      http://www.cgg.org/index.cfm/fuseaction/Library.sr/CT/ARTB/k/1186/Gnosticism-False-Knowledge.htm

      August 30, 2012 at 10:54 am |
  7. ArthurP

    @Chad:

    "For reasons like these, the RNA world hypothesis has been largely abandoned by proponents of abiogenesis in favor of other hypotheses, like the simultaneous development of both proteins and genetic templates or the development of life around undersea vents similar to those currently inhabited by today's extremophiles."

    ==============

    "Now, however, two Scripps Research Inst.itute scientists have taken a significant step toward confirming the viability of the RNA World model. For the first time, they have synthesized RNA enzymes that can replicate themselves indefinitely without the help of any proteins or other cellular components.

    Reporting their work in Science, Scripps' Tracey Lincoln and Gerald Joyce explained how their breakthrough began with a method of forced adaptation known as in vitro evolution. The ultimate goal was to take one of the RNA enzymes already developed in the lab that could perform the basic chemistry of replication, and improve it to the point that it could drive efficient, perpetual self-replication."

    Knocking on the door of life: Self-replicating RNA synthesized

    You should really keep up the the current research.....

    August 29, 2012 at 11:10 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      There's this from 2009:

      Self-sustained Replication of an RNA Enzyme

      http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2652413/

      August 29, 2012 at 11:19 pm |
    • Artificial Life Student

      Thanks for the informative posts, ArthurP and Tom, Tom, the Other One (no, not that one, the other one).

      Check out "Robustness and Evolvability of Living Systems" if you have a decent local college library nearby.
      A bit dated (2007) but a good read.

      August 30, 2012 at 1:46 am |
    • Mahebb

      "synthesized," "forced adaptation," "take... enzymes already developed in the lab," "improve it..."

      Sooooooo... using extant building materials, advanced technology, and advanced scientific knowledge, a self-aware independent agent was able to intelligently design a form of one of life's many building blocks?

      That irony is so expensively delicious that it should be served on a plate of Italian white alba truffle, sevruga caviar, and saffron, and washed down with a steaming cup of kopi luwak. :)

      August 30, 2012 at 7:33 am |
    • .

      http://www.cgg.org/index.cfm/fuseaction/Library.sr/CT/ARTB/k/1186/Gnosticism-False-Knowledge.htm

      .>+<.

      August 30, 2012 at 10:56 am |
  8. ScottCA

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yIMReUsxTt4&w=640&h=390]
    This is a long one but filled with valuable information. One cannot help but feel smarter, after listening to Dawkins and Pinker speak, for having taken the time to have listened.

    August 29, 2012 at 11:00 pm |
    • Rufus T. Firefly

      Agreed. Have you seen "The Four Horsemen?" Dawkins, Daniel Dennett, Christopher Hitchens, and Sam Harris. So much beautifully articulated clear thought that it seems like the table might collapse under the weight of it.

      August 29, 2012 at 11:49 pm |
    • ScottCA

      I have watched the four horsemen now. Thanks for directing me to it. Very good discussion, I will soon be reading some of these men's books for sure.

      I am proud that I made the journey of freeing myself from religion on my own, through the course of my education, it was actually after already abandoning the irrationality of religion that i first encountered Dawkins views by chance as I was examining evolutionary psychology and evolution became an area I required a deeper understanding of. But I am immensely proud to have freed myself with logic an reason and original thought.

      August 30, 2012 at 12:22 am |
    • .

      http://www.cgg.org/index.cfm/fuseaction/Library.sr/CT/ARTB/k/1186/Gnosticism-False-Knowledge.htm

      -
      +

      August 30, 2012 at 10:52 am |
    • donna

      Love it! These guys are rock stars.

      August 30, 2012 at 2:18 pm |
  9. ScottCA

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yIMReUsxTt4&w=640&h=390]

    This is a long one but filled with valuable information. One cannot help but feel smarter, after listening to Dawkins and Pinker speak, for having taken the time to have listened.

    August 29, 2012 at 10:59 pm |
  10. ScottCA

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qfm-q7oBr3Q&w=640&h=390]

    August 29, 2012 at 10:51 pm |
  11. ScottCA

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VQxJi0COTBo&w=640&h=390]

    August 29, 2012 at 10:49 pm |
  12. ScottCA

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LdBJL1c7xUI&w=640&h=390]

    August 29, 2012 at 10:37 pm |
  13. Tom, Tom, the Other One

    Chad hopes that if we regard the network of events leading up to our existence as sufficiently unlikely we will think that it was impossible without God. I think Chad's expedition into probability is misguided. The likelihood with which we came into being does not influence the fact that we do exist. We exist and can look back on how we came into being and marvel that, perhaps, it all happened with probability 0.

    August 29, 2012 at 10:34 pm |
    • Chad

      "The likelihood with which we came into being does not influence the fact that we do exist. We exist and can look back on how we came into being and marvel that, perhaps, it all happened with probability 0."

      a common logical fallacy known as Begging the Question.. It as sumes there is no other reason for "us being here" other than purely randomness.. By ignoring other possibilities, you are engaging in a logical fallacy..

      Begging the question is a type of logical fallacy in which a proposition relies on an implicit premise within itself to establish the truth of that same proposition. In other words, it is a statement that refers to its own assertion to prove the assertion. Such arguments are essentially of the form "a is true because a is true" though rarely is such an argument stated as such. Often the premise 'a' is only one of many premises that go into proving that 'a' is true as a conclusion.

      August 29, 2012 at 10:40 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      Way to completely miss the point, Chad. The issue was probability, not an argument for or against a process. Do you try to miss the point? You do it so often and so completely.

      August 29, 2012 at 10:46 pm |
    • Chad

      TTTOO is smart enough to know exactly where his argument is, as I point out, begging the question...

      August 29, 2012 at 10:50 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      Again, Chad, you're a fvcking moron. You're so convinced that the argument is about HOW it happened, that you can't correctly par.se what's actually being said about the mathematical PROBABILITY of human existence. It's like someone is telling you that we're standing on a bea.ch, and you're calling them stupid for not explaining how the sand got under your feet. I pity you.

      August 29, 2012 at 10:59 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      It was a statement about our position as observers of ourselves, Chad. I'll stand by it.

      August 29, 2012 at 11:01 pm |
    • Chad

      Ah, ok so by saying

      Chad hopes that if we regard the network of events leading up to our existence as sufficiently unlikely we will think that it was impossible without God. I think Chad's expedition into probability is misguided. The likelihood with which we came into being does not influence the fact that we do exist. We exist and can look back on how we came into being and marvel that, perhaps, it all happened with probability 0.

      you werent trying to say "Chad is misguided in saying that small probabilities point to God, the fact that we are here demonstrates that it is possible to have occurred naturalistically with out God"

      you were merely saying "disregarding the question of how we got here, we're here because we're here"

      got to say.. that's a poor attempt at a finesse... ;-)

      August 29, 2012 at 11:07 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      "Chad hopes that if we regard the network of events leading up to our existence as sufficiently unlikely we will think that it was impossible without God." – Seems true in light of all you've been saying this evening. Actually, its a consistent theme you have going that is related to the Strong Anthropic Principle.

      So what does probability actually say about our existence?

      "The likelihood with which we came into being does not influence the fact that we do exist."

      I think that's true. We do exist regardless of how we got here. We would be in the same position as observers if the likelihood were associated with probability 1, or even God, as we would be if the likelihood were associated with probability 0.

      So I said

      " We exist and can look back on how we came into being and marvel that, perhaps, it all happened with probability 0."

      Anyway, all this is meant to address something that perhaps you don't mean: That I should believe in God's influence because the alternatives must seem (to me after hearing your persuasive arguments) very very unlikely.

      August 29, 2012 at 11:49 pm |
    • Lisa

      Chad
      Have you posted your usual Punctuated Equilibrium argument yet? I never get tired of watching that one get ripped apart.

      August 30, 2012 at 12:13 pm |
  14. ScottCA

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8fbplK-J5IA&w=640&h=390]

    August 29, 2012 at 10:19 pm |
    • exlonghorn

      Thanks Scott...that's a pretty cool video I haven't seen before. How do you get videos to post here?

      August 29, 2012 at 10:30 pm |
    • ScottCA

      Just post the url from you tube

      August 29, 2012 at 10:36 pm |
  15. dan

    The article begins "Famed TV Scientist" whooaaa, that better get out attention. lol I thought creationism was supposed to be dead according to scientists? Why should this be news among "famed scientists"? Could it be that these "enlighted ones" are intimidated by creationism? It sure seems so. And they should be. God has provided a detailed account of how He brought all things into being by the power of His Word. What do "scientists" give us? Well, it started with gas, no, no, thats not it. It started with crystals, yea, thats the ticket. lol These delusional know-it-alls are obviously clueless. I hope no one is foolish enough to pay any attention to them. Stop following men, and follow the Lord, The Maker of heaven and earth. The One who sent His Son to die on the cross to pay the penalty for our sins. Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and receive Him into your heart as your personal Savior, then you will know peace. And this type of nonsense will be obvious to you. God bless.

    August 29, 2012 at 10:01 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      Holy Sh!t you're serious, aren't you? Ever wonder why educated scientists who are also christian accept evolution as completely proven fact, with zero doubt? You should.

      August 29, 2012 at 10:10 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @dan,

      "Could it be that these "enlighted ones" are intimidated by creationism?"

      Ummm, no. It's that 46% of Americans are too besotted with their big book of smiting to comprehend that the earth is not only much older than 10,000 years but about 450,000 times older than that.

      And these people vote. That is what the 'enlightened ones' are afraid of.

      August 29, 2012 at 10:19 pm |
  16. ArthurP

    Chad

    Because it's atheists that need to stop being so comfortable with "given enough time, anything is possible"
    as in

    how did life on earth originate?

    ==============

    Life is a ongoing chemical reaction. It is controlled by the characteristics of each element. It starts by creating simple molecules and then they bond to form more complex ones and then they bond with others to form more and more complex ones and soon they become self replicating and can evolve (we have got to this stage in the lab). There is no limit to the size, there is no limit to the eventual complexity.

    But that is Abiogenisis not Evolution. Learn the difference.

    August 29, 2012 at 9:25 pm |
    • Chad

      Criticism of Abiogenesis

      While the experiments carried out by Stanley Miller and others who have built upon his work show that life may have arisen from a primordial soup, that possibility remains theoretical. There is no evidence for pre-cellular life on Earth; what's more, critics of the RNA world hypothesis point out that the experiments that support the concepts were conducted with biologically created RNA. RNA can act as both a template for self-replication and an enzyme for carrying out that process, but these findings have been carried out in controlled laboratory experiments. This doesn't necessarily prove such delicate actions could happen in the seas of the ancient Earth.

      For reasons like these, the RNA world hypothesis has been largely abandoned by proponents of abiogenesis in favor of other hypotheses, like the simultaneous development of both proteins and genetic templates or the development of life around undersea vents similar to those currently inhabited by today's extremophiles. But there is one criticism that any abiogenesis hypothesis has difficulty overcoming: time. DNA-based life is thought to have developed on Earth beginning around 3.8 billion years ago, giving pre-cellular life forms about 1 billion years to carry out random processes of encoding useful proteins and assembling them into the precursors of cellular life .

      Critics of abiogenesis say that simply isn't enough time for inorganic matter to become the theorized precellular life. One estimate suggests it would take 10^450 (10 to the 450th power) years for one useful protein to be randomly created .

      August 29, 2012 at 9:59 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      Chad-

      I left a few references for you on pre-life in the Tuesday Morning Speed Read.

      August 29, 2012 at 10:03 pm |
    • Colin

      The fundamental flaw in Chad's math is that it would only be aplicable if biologists thought life came into existence in one step. That is not the theory at all. In fact it is a gross misrpresentation of it. No evolutionary biologist I know of thinks we magically appeared all of a sudden. I have never read such a thing in any science book ever.

      Ironically, the only books I am aware of that makes the ridiculous assertion that life popped into existence in one step are the Torah and it’s derivatives, the Bible and Qu’ran.

      The theory most scientists currently favor for the origins of life is called “abiogenesis,” the gradual emergence of life on Earth from non-living matter. To understand why it is thought that life arose on Earth from non-living matter, one has to understand some basic biochemistry. This is where the “talking snake crowd” have such a problem. They have to actually understand some very basic science. They can’t just rely on what they were taught at Sunday school as an eight year-old.

      All life is comprised of complex arrangements of proteins, fats and carbohydrates, all orchestrated by DNA and/or RNA. DNA/RNA and proteins are by far the most important components of a living organism, carrying out virtually every function in a cell. Fats and carbohydrates are generally simpler molecules and play critical, but subordinate roles in cells.

      DNA and RNA are made of five nucleotides – adenine, thymine, cytosine, guanine and uracil. They act as the cell’s “mission control,” orchestrating the cell’s activities. Proteins are made of 20 amino acids. They are the workhorse of the cell – the nails, wood, steel beams and machinery that make the cell run. It is the order of amino acids in a protein that determine its shape and, therefore what it does. This order and shape of proteins is itself dictated by the DNA through RNA.

      So, in short, life is made up of complex arrangements of:

      The five nucleotides – adenine, thymine, cytosine, guanine and uracil – arranged into DNA and/or RNA
      The twenty amino acids – that form all proteins, including enzymes and the other 100,000 or so proteins in a complex organism’s body.
      Carbohydrates – literally “water-carbon,” which include sugars and starches. These are much simpler elements than proteins or DNA/RNA and act as an energy source.
      Fats – also called lipids, these are important in constructing cell membranes.

      The simplest cells are prokaryotic cells. They exist today principally as bacteria. Stromatolites and other fossils from all over the planet suggest that, for the first billion years of life on earth, all life was simple, prokaryotic life. These cells consisted of a fatty cell membrane, like a balloon skin, with DNA/RNA, proteins, fats and carbohydrates on the inside. They had no nucleus. Cells with nuclei, called eukaryotic cells (which make up virtually all multi-cellular organisms) are much larger and more complex that prokaryotic cells and likely resulted from the early combining of prokaryotic cells.

      So, can a simple prokaryotic cell come into existence without the intervention of God, Allah, Shiva, Vishnu, Yahweh or any other divine/magic being?

      Beginning in the 1950s, scientists started trying to mimic the conditions on the early Earth to see whether some kind of “life-fairy” was necessary to get things started. In the most famous experiment of this era, the Miller-Urey experiment of 1952, Stanley Miller demonstrated that heating and running an electric spark through an atmosphere of water vapor, ammonia, methane and hydrogen for a few weeks resulted in these very simple molecules self-assembling into all 20 of the amino acids upon which life on Earth is based. This is a startling result. All 20 building blocks of proteins, which comprise over 99% of the cell’s functional structures, self-assembling without a magic wand from God, Shiva, Vishnu, Allah etc!

      The experiment was groundbreaking because it suggested that, under the perfectly natural conditions of early Earth, the building blocks of life can and will self-assemble. Indeed, it now seems that major volcanic eruptions 4 billion years ago would have created an even more diverse atmosphere than Miller used, including carbon dioxide (CO2), nitrogen (N2), hydrogen sulfide (H2S), and sulfur dioxide (SO2). When these were added to the mix in subsequent experiments, they have resulted in the creation of all 5 nucleotides, all 20 amino acids and basic fatty membranes and various carbohydrates. That is to say, with no magic/divine intervention, all life’s building blocks WILL self-assemble.

      But nails, wood, wiring and bricks a house do not make. Even the simplest life requires these building blocks to be arranged in very, very complex ways. In various experiments with various conditions, scientists have been able to create a wide range of cell-like structures of increasing complexity on the road toward a simple self-replicating organism. These creations are called protobionts or coacervates and if you “you tube” or google these terms, you will see many examples.

      This is still a far cry from a cell, but the important thing is that the experiments uniformly demonstrate that organic molecules have a natural tendency to clump together in increasingly complex ways under early Earth-like conditions. They are not being pushed into doing something “against their will”.

      Where it gets really suggestive is that scientists have been able to isolate what they believe to be some of the most primitive genes of Earth, by comparing the DNA of two organisms whose last common ancestor lived soon after the formation of the Earth. For such genes to be common to both such organisms, they must be very, very old. When these ancient genes produce amino acids, they are rich in the amino acids most common in the Miller-Urey and similar experiments! This suggests that these experiments do indeed reflect early Earth conditions and that life itself did arise under such conditions.

      The other important factor is that these impressive results have been achieved in laboratories over small periods of time. Imagine the whole Earth as the “Petri dish” and hundreds of millions of years as the timescale. Simple life gradually emerging from such a “soup” does not seem at all incredible, certainly not incredible enough that we in the USA have to give up and call the remaining gap in knowledge “God,” while our Indian colleagues do the same and attribute it all to the Lord Shiva.

      Scientist are also approaching it from the other side too, gradually stripping away at prokaryotic cells to see how stripped down they have to become for life to “stop,” while others continue to build up from coacervates and protobionts. The gap is narrowing as our knowledge continues its inexorable march.

      August 29, 2012 at 10:07 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      Chad hopes that if we regard the network of events leading up to our existence as sufficiently unlikely then we will think that it was impossible without God. I think Chad's expedition into probability is misguided. The likelihood with which we came into being does not influence the fact that we do exist. We exist and can look back on how we came into being and marvel that, perhaps, it all happened with probability 0.

      August 29, 2012 at 10:36 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      Creationist logic: "Yeah, you have mountains of evidence and real-time observation in thousands of experiments, and the genetic record and fossils from here to the moon and back with every method of dating and cross-referencing proof possible, but that's not nearly as good as our answer-big invisible sky wizard chanted a magic spell–see how much more sense that makes–you evolution guys are just stupid.

      August 29, 2012 at 10:41 pm |
    • ArthurP

      Chad

      If you are going to cut and past stuff at lest use per reviewed material that is recent. As opposed to an article written using data from populist news stories. That way you will not be shooting yourself in the foot so much.

      August 29, 2012 at 10:52 pm |
  17. justmetoo

    niknak,
    I admit that I cannot prove an existence of God but since you apparently know that one does not exist, please prove it to me.

    August 29, 2012 at 9:22 pm |
    • Unleashed

      I admit that I cannot prove an existence of GodZILLA but since you apparently know that one does not exist, please prove it to me.

      August 29, 2012 at 9:30 pm |
    • sbp

      Well, justmetoo, that makes you far more rational than most of the fundamentalists posting here. I don't have an issue with people who believe, whether I agree with them or not. But they should not even attempt to "prove" god, especially not by resorting to the Bible (which is like trying to prove Lord Voldemort exists because it says so in Harry Potter). Belief as far as I'm concerned (and I grew up religious) is a matter purely of faith – trying to make logical sense of it is futile.

      And you SHOULD have doubt. Having doubts but believing at least is indicative of a genuine attempt to understand your faith. What makes the rest of us nuts are the smug "I believe not only in God, but in ONE particular god, because it's the truth, and it's the truth because it is, and if you don't believe in MY God, you go to hell."

      August 29, 2012 at 9:42 pm |
  18. donna

    Where are all of these evolutionary-minded people getting the false idea that we did not evolve FROM apes? Come on people, you are the ones who are supposed to be advocating for evidence and rational thought.

    All of the Hominoidea are apes. Apes are large, tailless primates. Not only are we apes, and chimps, bonobos and gorillas, etc. apes, but our ancestors for millions of years have been apes. The last common ancestor between chimps and humans were APES. Our most recent ancestors were apes. So we most definitely, inarguably evolved FROM apes, and to reject that would be to reject all of the fossil and DNA evidence.

    August 29, 2012 at 9:05 pm |
    • sbp

      So, Donna, do you have a degree in evolutionary biology or genetics or a related field? Yuo seem to have a good grasp of the details.

      August 29, 2012 at 9:28 pm |
    • donna

      Close. I have a BA in physical anthropology and was working on my masters in evolutionary biology when financial issues kept me from finishing. Fascinating stuff, but there's not a lot of money in it unless you can do bio-research.

      August 29, 2012 at 9:37 pm |
    • Chad

      actually, the real question is not common ancestry, but the impossibility of reconciling what we know of the nature and occurrence of genetic mutation with the fossil record showing species stasis and rapid change every time.

      We know that mutations are truly random: Factors in the environment are thought to influence the rate of mutation but are not generally thought to influence the direction of mutation. For example, exposure to harmful chemicals may increase the mutation rate, but will not cause more mutations that make the organism resistant to those chemicals. In this respect, mutations are random—whether a particular mutation happens or not is generally unrelated to how useful that mutation would be.

      We know that in the vast number of genetic mutations, the result is negative from a survivability perspective and are quickly removed from the gene pool by natural selection.

      Given the randomness of a mutation, the overwhelming probability that it will be negative, how is it possible that in a short period of time we see an explosion of necessarily interdependent mutations providing a benefit to the host at precisely the point in time where natural selection will preserve it?

      I believe in common ancestry, what I dont believe is that it's possible for that to have occurred randomly. It just isnt mathematically possible.

      August 29, 2012 at 9:39 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @Chad,

      pssst @ArthurP wants to play – look at the top of the page.

      August 29, 2012 at 9:41 pm |
    • sbp

      @donna – I'm Biological Basis of Behavior from U. Penn, but that was ages ago. Accordingly, took some course in genetics, evolution, and what was then a brand new field, sociobiology. Just a few years after EO Wilson wrote the first major book. Gave a different way of looking at social constructs.

      August 29, 2012 at 9:49 pm |
    • MikeA

      @Chad ...
      >We know that in the vast number of genetic mutations, the result is negative from a
      >survivability perspective and are quickly removed from the gene pool by natural selection.

      Nope.

      Most DNA is non-coding, so most mutations are going to be neutral rather than negative.

      August 29, 2012 at 10:00 pm |
    • donna

      sbp: Oh wow! That was a huge time for this field.

      My focus within evolutionary biology is evolutionary psychology, which is the "new" name for sociobiology. I saw EO Wilson talk at a conference a few years ago (with Trivers, Pinker and some other greats). He went almost exclusively insect after the horrible backlash he received from daring to talk about humans and sociobiology.

      August 29, 2012 at 10:06 pm |
    • sbp

      Very cool. Yes, you can imagine how the folks on this board would react to a detailed exposition of the evolution of religions/morals as an adaptation conferring genetic success at the individual level by encouraging order in social organisms.... I did once try to get into prairie dog alarm calls to explain a genetic basis for altruism. That went far....

      August 29, 2012 at 10:13 pm |
    • donna

      Chad, you might want to brush up on your mutations info. They aren't all random. There are mutations that commonly happen and all mutations happen because of a "cause."

      And we are talking about a huge amount of time, and there's no problem reconciling the rate of change and the fossil record.

      You should look into computational modeling- that's where a lot of that research is being done today.

      August 29, 2012 at 10:13 pm |
    • Chad

      @MikeA "Most DNA is non-coding, so most mutations are going to be neutral rather than negative."

      Nachman and Crowell estimate around 3 deleterious mutations out of 175 per generation in humans (2000). Of those that have significant effect, most are harmful, but the fraction which are beneficial is higher than usually though. An experiment with E. coli found that about 1 in 150 newly arising mutations and 1 in 10 functional mutations are beneficial (Perfeito et al. 2007).

      ultimately, the reality of stasis demonstrates that the statement "most mutations are not beneficial" is true. The gene pool wobbles about the genetic mean precisely because mutations are weeded out (beneficial ones would have survived)

      August 29, 2012 at 10:14 pm |
    • Chad

      @donna " They aren't all random. There are mutations that commonly happen and all mutations happen because of a "cause.""
      @Chad "Factors in the environment are thought to influence the rate of mutation but are not generally thought to influence the direction of mutation. For example, exposure to harmful chemicals may increase the mutation rate, but will not cause more mutations that make the organism resistant to those chemicals. In this respect, mutations are random—whether a particular mutation happens or not is generally unrelated to how useful that mutation would be.

      ====
      @Donna "And we are talking about a huge amount of time, and there's no problem reconciling the rate of change and the fossil record."
      @Chad "given enough time anything is possible :-)

      a common, but irrational, dodge

      August 29, 2012 at 10:23 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      Chad, you're a dishonest dipsh!t. Why do you think it's okay to lie? The issue put forth is the rate of change versus the fossil record. There's NO discrepancy regardless of your incessant oversimplification squawking about "given enough time, anything is impossible SQUAWK!!!.. Given enough time, anything is possible....SQUAWWWWK... Given enough time.... SQUAWKKKK."

      August 29, 2012 at 10:30 pm |
    • Cq

      Chad
      How, exactly, did you calculate natural evolution as being mathematically impossible?

      Also, how is "given enough time anything is possible" relevant to this discussion? We're not talking about just "anything" being possible, as if somebody could be transformed into Spiderman given enough teenage geeks being bitten by radioactive spiders, or something equally silly. We're talking about a specific something, a process, that really only had to happen just once on the entire planet, back at a time when conditions here were drastically different than they are today, with an incredibly long time in which to occur. Most serious scientists not only think it was possible, but that it did happen, and they have more than ample reason to.

      August 30, 2012 at 8:21 am |
    • donna

      Chad, That was your "dodge" not mine. I don't actually believe that given enough time anything is possible. Ours is a universe of physical realities, which means, physical constraints. It's the people who believe in fantasy and fairy tales that think anything is possible.
      Don't put words in my mouth- I'm trying to talk to you rationally.
      Your argument is best addressed by computational modeling however I think it's clear that you're trolling and you aren't truly interesting in what scientists are really finding with these issues.

      August 30, 2012 at 2:33 pm |
  19. Chip

    Here's a more detailed rebuttal to Nye on youtube.

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r-AyDtD6sPA&w=640&h=390]

    August 29, 2012 at 8:52 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @Chip,

      so much for all the good Christians who observed that Bill Nye looked goofy. Here's someone returning the favor.

      August 29, 2012 at 8:54 pm |
    • Chip

      @Not A GOPer
      Nothing to say about the science, huh. Just make personal attacks and hope it all goes away.

      August 29, 2012 at 9:01 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @Chip,

      only echoing what must be dozens of posts with nothing better to say than criticize Bill Nye's appearance. A bit childish? Sure, but in the spirit of what's sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.

      August 29, 2012 at 9:05 pm |
    • exlonghorn

      @Chip,

      Nice try, but this video misfires badly.
      1) Yes, creationism is taught by Muslims (duh), in India (Hinduism), Africa (Muslim), Brazil (Catholicism). Show me where they teach creationism in a agnostic or atheist culture. THAT I would like to see.
      2) Both folks FAIL because they presume that it is the CHRISTIAN God and bible which correctly explain the origin of the universe. Why not the Norse gods? Greek? Hindu? Mayan? Incan? Neither 'scholar' makes even a trivial effort and explaining why THEIR god and holy book is the right one.

      August 29, 2012 at 10:12 pm |
    • exlonghorn

      Revealing that all Dr. Purdom's published work in secular journals avoids the God hypothesis, and all of her non-secular work appears on a single website..."Answeringgenesis".

      August 29, 2012 at 10:21 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      The weird-looking female lied. She said that creationism and evolution were both "historical science." No. Creationism is not science because it does not have anything to measure, and it has no falsifiable hypothesis;thus, it's not science. They should take her Ph.D. away for lying about something so fundamental. Epic Fail.

      August 29, 2012 at 10:26 pm |
    • ScottCA

      The amount of utter ignorance in this video is appauling. Evolution has been witness in the here and now, both micro and macro, we can witness it in organisms that replicate fast enough to bred the many thousands of generations required to watch it happen. We have tested and proven it beyond any resonable doubt.

      The girl in this video talks like cletus from the simpsons and shows the same level of intelligence.

      The utter ignorance of this is discusting. to argue against science is to paint oneself asinine because you are dooming yourself to eventually being proven wrong. To agrue in favor of religious delusional faith is an equally doomed endevor, for a little thing called realtiy keeps getting in the way.

      August 29, 2012 at 10:32 pm |
  20. Chad

    For all those that erroneously believe that "given enough time, anything is possible, so the improbability of an event happening a certain way, or resulting from a certain cause, can effectively be ignored".

    From the statistical point of view there is a finite, but exceedingly small possibility that a system that is well mixed could suddenly "unmix" and that all the air molecules in the room could suddenly come to the front half of the room.

    The unlikelihood of this is well described by Denbigh [Principles of Chemical Equilibrium, 1981] in a discussion of the behavior of an isolated system:
    "In the case of systems containing an appreciable number of atoms, it becomes increasingly improbable that we shall ever observe the system in a non-uniform condition. For example, it is calculated that the probability of a relative change of density, , of only in of air is smaller than and would not be observed in trillions of years. Thus, according to the statistical interpretation the discovery of an appreciable and spontaneous decrease in the entropy of an isolated system, if it is separated into two parts, is not impossible, but exceedingly improbable. We repeat, however, that it is an absolute impossibility to know when it will take place."

    August 29, 2012 at 8:49 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @Chad,

      why do you persist on directing your arguments at atheists when you, like them, believe in evolution?

      Why not direct your attention to the looney 46% of Americans who insist that the earth is less than 10,000 years old. As an theist evolutionist I'm pretty confident that you do not believe that to be true.

      August 29, 2012 at 8:57 pm |
    • Chad

      Because it's atheists that need to stop being so comfortable with "given enough time, anything is possible"
      as in

      how did life on earth originate?

      August 29, 2012 at 9:08 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @Chad,

      so you don't think it's problematic that 46% of Americans think that Satan planted dinosaur bones just to decieve them or that the Flintstones is somehow representative of pre-historic life and that the earth really hasn't been spinning for 4.5B years?

      August 29, 2012 at 9:14 pm |
    • Chad

      I dont argue with Christians, they arent the ones in need of salvation..

      August 29, 2012 at 9:17 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @Chad,

      Haa Haa Haa. Good one! Even if they're really being stupid?

      Oh an argument. I see. Well, do you want to have just one argument, or were you thinking of taking a course?

      Is this a five minute argument, or the full half-hour?

      August 29, 2012 at 9:22 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      Let's do YouTube, since Google didn't embed.

      [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yTl9zYS3_dc&w=640&h=390]

      August 29, 2012 at 9:23 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.