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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. DH

    Its always amusing when so called religious individuals start cussing especially when defending their point. In what book of the Bible did Jesus say Jack*ss?

    August 27, 2012 at 2:22 pm |
  2. RSH

    This is off the topic, but this article has got me wondering what the next wave of religions will look like. Throughout man's history there has always been religion, there is even some evidence that our Neanderthal cousins who preceded us, followed religious beliefs. So, I believe there will always be religions, but what form will they take? It is becoming increasingly difficult for the current popular religions to reconcile their centuries old doctrine with common knowledge of the world and the universe and so they are losing ground. Will they be replaced by pseudo-religions? Or will there emerge stricter religions that force followers to shun all scientific discoveries? This second possibility is what appears to worry Mr. Nye and me too.

    August 27, 2012 at 2:21 pm |
    • Doug

      Scientology

      August 27, 2012 at 2:35 pm |
    • Next Step:

      Republican v. Democrat – the new religious debate

      August 27, 2012 at 2:38 pm |
  3. this guy

    If you could reason with a religious person there would be no religious people.

    August 27, 2012 at 2:21 pm |
  4. Derek

    It should not have been phrased "atheistic evolution." It is just the Theory of Evolution. Atheism has nothing to do with it. Not sure if that was CNN's wording or the wording of the survery, but I am not a fan of it.

    August 27, 2012 at 2:21 pm |
    • bwlrjim

      I think CNN was trying to separate those who believe in evolution, but thinks it was guided by a god; and those who think there was no god involved. I think Bill Nye was slamming those who don't believe in evolution at all. As a mechanical engineer, imagine if I ignored the Laws of Thermodynamics (Science!) while designing a nearby power plant. Things may not turn out so well.

      August 27, 2012 at 2:34 pm |
    • Matt

      The article was simply reporting the different option that were included in the poll. The poll itself distinguished between atheistic evolution, and evolution that was guided by god. In other words, people who believe in purely secular and scientific evolution, and people who believe in the scientific theory of evolution, but also believe that it was guided by divine intervention instead of, or in addition to, scientific mechanisms and mathematical probabilities. Nothing inherently wrong in making that distinction in my opinion, and anyway it was a distinction made by the authors of the poll, not the authors of the article.

      August 27, 2012 at 2:40 pm |
  5. basic123

    People are not created by god,
    People creat god.

    August 27, 2012 at 2:21 pm |
    • 2/8

      Learn to spell, then come back and try to convince the planet of your "theory".

      August 27, 2012 at 2:26 pm |
  6. 2/8

    Nobody knows for sure. So please, STOP regurgitating the thoughts of others. How do you know they were correct? How do you know others were wrong? We're only human, and in the big picture, we're pretty stupid. So give it a rest, go preach or lecture to people who will buy into your ego.

    August 27, 2012 at 2:21 pm |
    • ChristardMingle.com

      @2/8

      Who are you talking to?

      August 27, 2012 at 2:22 pm |
    • 2/8

      The people on here who cut and paste other people's ideas. Nice try with the humour though.

      August 27, 2012 at 2:25 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @0.25

      Nobody knows how gravity works but there is plenty of evidence to suggest that it exists.

      So we should stop teaching people about how to build airplanes and spacecraft?

      August 27, 2012 at 2:26 pm |
    • 2/8

      Wow, you guys are the wittiest crowd I've ever seen. Pretty good. You see, I'm not arguing for or against the idea of God. I'm arguing against the armchair know-it-alls who use sarcasm and plagerism to prove their point. And t i ts like you who try and be the center of "cool" by manipulating my nickname and posing ironic questions which don't really add to your intelligence. So please, go back to WOW.

      August 27, 2012 at 2:28 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @0.25,

      when the post rate is really high (like it is now) the tract-o-matic copy/pasters are more irritating than usual.

      It is futile when there isn't time to read them.

      August 27, 2012 at 2:28 pm |
    • birch please

      No one knows for sure if any other god really exists either ..... Why dont you believe in anything someone tells you without evidence.... Im sure youll find your ego somewhere in the answer.

      August 27, 2012 at 2:29 pm |
    • 2/8

      @Gooper

      LoL, typical American arrogance. No wonder the rest of us can't stand you guys. When you get over yourself, we'll have a conversation. Until then, go back to blaming politics and looking down on others for their beliefs. Have fun, and play nice.....

      August 27, 2012 at 2:34 pm |
  7. gf

    It seems the premise of the argument, despite Nye's absolute argument, is that "don't make your kids do it. Because we need them." Implying that they will be useless otherwise, or not helpful, or not able to contribute. That premise is nothing more, as actual results still show the U.S. one of the most advanced countries with continual generation of new knowledge and scientific facts. Probably the biggest thing holding us back we should focus on is the education and work ethic of younger generations. Asians are eclipsing Americans at American universities in the graduate departments in areas of science and engineering. They work harder, study more, probably because they must to compete with so many to succeed. I think that's our biggest hurdle. In the end, people will pursue knowledge independent without being held back by what their parents taught them ... at least people that actually contribute to societal knowledge.

    August 27, 2012 at 2:20 pm |
  8. bill common

    Cant even fathom that in parts of this country we even have to have this discussion anymore. Scary

    August 27, 2012 at 2:20 pm |
  9. nobikiniatoll

    Jesus, save us from your followers.

    August 27, 2012 at 2:20 pm |
  10. Wayne Slowick

    If we evolved from monkeys, why do we still have monkeys?

    August 27, 2012 at 2:20 pm |
    • HeavenSent

      Because Wayne, we did not evolve from monkeys. Wow are you REALLY that ignorant?

      August 27, 2012 at 2:21 pm |
    • Colin

      If America came from England, why do we still have England?

      August 27, 2012 at 2:22 pm |
    • sam

      Go look it up. And stop acting like that's a clever question.

      August 27, 2012 at 2:22 pm |
    • sam stone

      Really, Wayne? Is that all you got? Go home, boy, and get your shinebox

      August 27, 2012 at 2:24 pm |
    • nobikiniatoll

      A specious argument is supposed to outwardly make sense. Fail.

      August 27, 2012 at 2:26 pm |
    • CTYank

      Inherently stupid question. Domestic dogs evolved from wolves, partly by humans selectively breeding them for some characteristic(s). Trivially simple to see that in their genomes. Couple of dogs at a time. Wolf population essentially continued as before.

      Were you to check, you might find that "monkeys" and humans share some common ancestor. Proceeding from that, it'd be silly to insist on either/or. Open your mind and your time-horizon.

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

      Did you even TRY to understand the subject? Utter nonsense is not an admirable argument.

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

      Creationists may have evolved from monkeys, but I didn't.

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

      We still have monkeys because not all of the monkeys evolved....it's clear from some of the commentary here.

      August 27, 2012 at 2:29 pm |
    • birch please

      It appears your ancestors had an extra chromosome or were trolls.

      August 27, 2012 at 2:30 pm |
  11. Just Another Science Guy

    @Don C
    [there is no "scientific" evidence to [sic]proove evolution.]
    All modern biological science is based on evolution. Have you never heard of say; Genetics? There is ample evidence. What I think you meant was; "There is no scientific evidence known to me that proves evolution." So be it, but you hardly seem an authority on the subject.

    [That is why they call it the evolutionay "THEORY".]
    A scientific theory is an explanatory thesis composed of observable, tested facts. It is not the same usage or meaning as; "just a guess." Atomic Theory is also "just a theory" (read instead; scientific theory) however, thermonuclear weapons aren't likely to just become inert over an insignificant margin for revision. Gravity, likewise is "just a theory," though I don't believe you're ever going to fall up from the surface of the Earth due to Relativity.

    [So given that fact in order to believe in OR the other, you have to have what...?]
    Observable, testable, falsifiable phenomena and evidence. I do not simply "believe" in anything. I am forced to accept those notions possessed of a crushing weight of verified evidence towards their veracity and integrity.

    @Author: Eric Marrapodi
    "Atheistic evolution"

    So just evolution then? You may as well say; "atheistic gravity" or "atheistic quantum theory." It's an unnecessary modifier as science has no interest in deity until such time as it or they present themselves for observation and investigation. The truly supernatural is outside the realm and interest of science as a methodology or product.

    August 27, 2012 at 2:19 pm |
    • 2/8

      Okay, so you've read a few books. Mmmmmkay.....

      August 27, 2012 at 2:22 pm |
    • ME II

      @Just Another Science Guy,
      "Atheistic evolution"

      Good point about this, but I think the wording on the survey was, "human beings have evolved over millions of years from other forms of life, but God had no part in this process," so perhaps the author's wording is understandable.

      August 27, 2012 at 2:31 pm |
  12. John Blackadder

    Even that great scientific theory "The Big Bang" is strongly influenced by creationism. Why we would believe our universe started at a single point in time is poor science, but good religion. The shape of the universe and theories from cosmic expansion and dark matter to relativity all owe that (Judeo-Christian) concept.
    I think Fred Hoyle may have been an early reconciler of science and religion, just like Bill Nye.

    The strong belief in creationism probably owes more to the poor state of science education in our schools than to organized religion.

    August 27, 2012 at 2:18 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      No, it's not poor education.

      It is that people regularly reject real knowledge and facts that are inconsistent with their worldview.

      eg: Fact: Ronald Reagan raised taxes.
      Examples are legion.

      August 27, 2012 at 2:23 pm |
    • Don't_know_too_much

      No, the Big Bang is the very best model offered by astronomers for our universe's past. From what they see, it would be absolutely untenable to say that the universe has always existed. And no evidence-based knowledge exists for what might have come before.

      August 27, 2012 at 2:48 pm |
  13. Matt

    Leave it to the 'science guy' to inject politics into the evolution debate. But if you've kept up with Bill since Miss Crime's 6th grade science, you're not entirely surprised.

    "We need scientifically literate voters and taxpayers for the future.  We need engineers that can build stuff and solve problems..."

    August 27, 2012 at 2:18 pm |
    • therealpeace2all

      @Matt

      Yes, we need people to have the capacity to use sound 'critical thinking' skills.

      Peace...

      August 27, 2012 at 2:25 pm |
  14. the_dude

    First off Biil Nye is a mechanical engineer not a scientist. Just some dork who thinks he knows everything about everything but really would probably get run over by a car if he walked accross the street. Mechanical engineers are like the drop-outs of the enginerring society anyways, maybe just a step above civil engineers as being the lowest on the totem pole.

    August 27, 2012 at 2:18 pm |
    • John Blackadder

      You must be a programmer!

      August 27, 2012 at 2:20 pm |
    • DERP

      You are probably a Janitorial Engineer.

      August 27, 2012 at 2:20 pm |
    • Austin

      LOL the dropouts of the engineering world?? I'm a ChE but have a lot of respect for ME's, ChE's and EE. Those 3 are probably the toughest engineering majors. You may not agree with him but don't make yourself look like an even bigger moron by discrediting ME as a major.

      August 27, 2012 at 2:35 pm |
    • the_dude

      I can change my own oil. i don't need some geek with a degree to do it for me.

      August 27, 2012 at 3:01 pm |
  15. Bob the Janitor

    Science IS a religion to people like Bill Nye.

    Funny thing is that "science" changes each time there is a new discovery that forces modification to what was previously believed. Bill's statement that "if you want to deny evolution and live in your world, that's completely inconsistent with the world we observe" is totally off-base with the reality of what passes for science. The problem with science is two-fold: its foundation is based on either hypothesis (a guess) or repeatable experimentation (which is only repeatable in a controlled environment) AND the fact that we don't know what we don't know (think about that one and it will sink in.)

    Christianity does not change because there isn't a single thing in the Bible has ever been disproved...in fact, each new discovery only serves to reinforce what the Bible says is true. People who attack the accuracy of the Bible are either ignorant of the facts or it has the facts have not been discovered yet rather than disproved.

    So much for Bill's worldview...I suspect that his 15 minutes are about over.

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

      I understand how you got the job.

      August 27, 2012 at 2:19 pm |
    • John Blackadder

      Sorry bubba,
      the bible as history basically sucks. You're getting too much of your information from the History Channel!

      Go read a book or two.

      August 27, 2012 at 2:22 pm |
    • birch please

      "there isn't a single thing in the Bible has ever been disproved" hahahahahahahahahahahahahaahahhhahahahahahahahahaha

      August 27, 2012 at 2:22 pm |
    • Jimmy Joe Jim Bob

      Hi, Bob. Someone threw up in the Boy's Room, Bob, and I want you to stop posting here and go clean up that crap right now.

      August 27, 2012 at 2:24 pm |
    • head the shaker

      pretty good grasp you've got on things there. surprised you're a janitor.

      August 27, 2012 at 2:25 pm |
    • factoidjunkie

      That's a bold statement – that the Bible is 100% accurate and nothing about it has been disproved. Could you cite references of things that have been said to be untrue about the Bible but shown to actually be true?

      August 27, 2012 at 2:26 pm |
    • Buckhippo

      Wow. Ignorant much? By your own logic then unicorns must be real too because we can't prove they exist. So, do you believe in unicorns? Or the tooth fairy? Prove to me that they don't exist. It's always amazing how the people in denial about the completely unfounded nature of religion are often the most offended when it comes to challenging their beliefs. Classic denial, classic ignorance.

      August 27, 2012 at 2:26 pm |
    • JP0

      Prime example of stupidity at work. I hope you are a lawyer, venture capitalist or in some other profession that contributes nothing to the advancement of mankind.

      August 27, 2012 at 2:27 pm |
    • Really???

      Are you serious? Really? Granted some stories in the bible do have archeological truths, as recorded by other world religions such as the flood which can be found in cultural mythology from all over the globe giving credence to the fact that there probably was a devastating flood which is a natural (not supernatural event with a dove at the end), but I would love to see the evidence for a talking snake, or an explanation as to where Cain and Seth found wives to procreate with, thus creating descendents from two sole individuals, among other things.

      August 27, 2012 at 2:37 pm |
    • Nissim Levy

      You are not intelligent.

      August 27, 2012 at 2:40 pm |
    • ichibanchef

      This was all a joke right? I mean...you don't really believe that science is wrong just because what we know changes when we make new discoveries do you?

      August 27, 2012 at 2:49 pm |
    • Oh Long Johnson

      People reap the benefits of science in modern technology yet deny its principles. Modern medicine couldn't exist without evolution yet how many hospitals are named "Our Mother of the Worthless Miracle?" Christianity is a giant contradiction followed blindly by equally contradictory people. If you want to be a good Christian, move to a country where you can beat your wife and own slaves like the Bible commands.

      August 27, 2012 at 2:58 pm |
    • sam stone

      well, bubba....how is that second coming coming along?

      August 27, 2012 at 3:01 pm |
    • Trevor

      Oh please! So bats are birds, and Pi is 3.0. It's all in your bible.

      August 27, 2012 at 3:51 pm |
  16. DancingInPDX

    Oh please, not this debate again. Blood letting via leeches is the cure for all ills, fire is the only way to purify a witch (who are easy to identify by weighing against a duck), and God created the world in 7 days ... which happens to be flat ... so be careful boating. Oh, and everything in the universe, er, I mean, "up there" revolves around us, including the moon ... which is made out of cheese. Blah blah blah. Let's not rile up the Enlightened with all this science mumbo jumbo.

    August 27, 2012 at 2:18 pm |
  17. birch please

    Since you don't have a ghost/spirit/soul and there is no "afterlife", who cares what is bigger than the universe.... until we have the ability (if it is possible) to actually experiment with it.

    August 27, 2012 at 2:18 pm |
  18. eavesdrop

    Nye also fail to mention That The Bible says that in the last days false prophets will rise up against the Word........
    Need I say more.......

    August 27, 2012 at 2:17 pm |
    • birch please

      Yeah and the bible also said that jesus was supposed to come back in a single generation..... fail.

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

      Right, Bill Nye the "Prophet Guy", how ridiculous!

      August 27, 2012 at 2:21 pm |
    • just a John

      Ya actually did you mean prophets or profits?

      August 27, 2012 at 2:24 pm |
    • John Blackadder

      You probably ought to say more!
      Maybe "Hurricane Issac was God's warning to the Republicans for putting Mammon ahead of humanity!"

      August 27, 2012 at 2:24 pm |
    • Buckhippo

      It amazes me how weak people are that they must cling to ancient fairy tales of superior beings in the sky so that they can cope with their lives on earth. The world needs people to focus on the immediate needs and not the mythical after life you so pretentiously think you deserve just for being born.

      August 27, 2012 at 2:31 pm |
  19. Heath

    Finally, a voice of reason in the wilderness. When will this ignorant country wake up?

    August 27, 2012 at 2:17 pm |
  20. Tom

    We all have our own beliefs. For example, there are three people. One is an Atherist, one is Jewish and the other one is a Christian. They can get along with each other. They don't care about each other's views. We shouldn't look bad at others for what they believe in. It's this stuff that gets said that upsets people. If we were to stop this, there would be a lot less people upset because this stuff starts offending people. I know two Atheists, but I'm cool with them. I won't say stuff to offend them and they'll do the same.

    August 27, 2012 at 2:17 pm |
    • Vicki

      Well said!

      August 27, 2012 at 2:30 pm |
    • factoidjunkie

      I agree. As soon as Christians stop saying this is a Christian nation and Jewish nationalists stop saying they have a Biblical right to Jerusalem and atheists stop saying that humans are evolved animals like all others, then we will all get along. Do you really believe that a person's fundamental beliefs don't show up in everything they think and do?

      August 27, 2012 at 2:35 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.