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Bill Nye slams creationism
August 27th, 2012
11:31 AM ET

Bill Nye slams creationism

By Eric Marrapodi, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

(CNN)–Famed TV scientist Bill Nye is slamming creationism in a new online video for Big Think titled "Creationism Is Not Appropriate For Children."

"Denial of evolution is unique to the United States," Nye begins in a YouTube video posted on Thursday.  The video quickly picked up steam over the weekend and as of Monday morning had been viewed more than 1,100,000 times.

Nye - a mechanical engineer and television personality best known for his program, "Bill Nye the Science Guy" - said the United States has great capital in scientific knowledge and "when you have a portion of the population that doesn't believe in it, it holds everyone back."

"Your world becomes fantastically complicated if you don't believe in evolution," Nye said in the Web video.

Creationists are a vast and varied group in the United States.  Most creationists believe in the account of the origins of the world as told in the Book of Genesis, the first book of the Bible.

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In the creation account, God creates Adam and Eve, the world, and everything in it in six days.

For Christians who read the Genesis account literally, or authoritatively as they would say, the six days in the account are literal 24-hour periods and leave no room for evolution.  Young Earth creationists use this construct and biblical genealogies to determine the age of the Earth, and typically come up with 6,000 to 10,000 years.

Your Take: 5 reactions to Bill Nye's creationism critique

The Gallup Poll has been tracking Americans' views on creation and evolution for the past 30 years.  In June it released its latest findings, which showed 46% of Americans believed in creationism, 32% believed in evolution guided by God, and 15% believed in atheistic evolution.

During the 30 years Gallup has conducted the survey, creationism has remained far and away the most popular answer, with 40% to 47% of Americans surveyed saying they believed that God created humans in their present form at one point within the past 10,000 years.

Survey: Nearly half of Americans subscribe to creationist view of human origins

"The idea of deep time of billions of years explains so much of the world around us. If you try to ignore that, your worldview becomes crazy, untenable, itself inconsistent," Nye said in the video.

"I say to the grownups, if you want to deny evolution and live in your world, that's completely inconsistent with the world we observe, that's fine.  But don't make your kids do it.  Because we need them.  We need scientifically literate voters and taxpayers for the future.  We need engineers that can build stuff and solve problems," he said.

Creationists' beliefs about the origins of the Earth are often a narrow focus, based in large part on religious beliefs, and while they reject evolution as "just one theory," they often embrace other fields of science and technology.

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In "The Genesis Flood," the 1961 book that in many ways help launch the Young Earth creationism movement in the United States, the authors write: “Our conclusions must unavoidably be colored by our Biblical presuppositions, and this we plainly acknowledge."  Their goal for the book was to harmonize the scientific evidence with the accounts in Genesis of creation and the flood.

The idea of creationism has been scorned by the mainstream scientific community since shortly after Darwin introduced "The Origin of Species" in 1859.  By 1880, The American Naturalists, a science journal, reported nearly every major university in America was teaching evolution.

"In another couple centuries I'm sure that worldview won't even exist.  There's no evidence for it. So..." Nye ends his video.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Creationism • Science

soundoff (14,640 Responses)
  1. Andrew

    Good work, Bill Nye!!!!!!!!!!!

    August 27, 2012 at 2:40 pm |
  2. GOP Word Association

    WORD = GOP Association
    Old People = Glob of cells that we don't care about. Let them die.
    Sick People = Glob of cells that we don't care about. Let them die.
    Poor People = Glob of cells that we don't care about. Let them die.
    Female People = Glob of cells that we don't care about. Let them die.
    Non-white People = Glob of cells that we don't care about. Let them die.
    Non-christian People = Glob of cells that we don't care about. Let them die.
    Unemployed People = Glob of cells that we don't care about. Let them die.
    Gay People = Glob of cells that we don't care about. Let them die.
    Glob of cells in a womb = Something we PRETEND to care about just to get votes.

    August 27, 2012 at 2:39 pm |
    • Andrew

      You just declared their platform for the Convention! Don't forget focusing on those scaaaaaary protesters.

      August 27, 2012 at 2:41 pm |
  3. Melody

    Bill Nye is absolutely correct that we do not have a scientifically literate society. Americans used to love science because we wanted to get ahead, now I bet most of these commenters couldn't tell me the most elementary definition of quantum theory or even what a scientific theory is. If you discount evolution, you're also discounting geology which is how we learned the approximate age of the Earth and you're discounting physics which is how we learned the age of the cosmos. It's all connected and by not even having an understanding of evolution, then how are Americans supposed to further advance ourselves, our country, and yes, science.

    August 27, 2012 at 2:39 pm |
  4. ma & pa

    If God had said epochs or eons instead of days, who would have understood to write? He used the language that was used then. ...sigh...people, arguing against God, agog over ONE of God's tools, evolution, while you deny the existence of the ONE who made it and used it.

    August 27, 2012 at 2:39 pm |
    • intruder alert!

      ma & pa / Heavensent / james / "Atheism is Not Healthy . ." / Peter / Captain America / truth be told

      August 27, 2012 at 2:46 pm |
  5. David L.

    I think it is incredibly dangerous, and irresponsible to deny our children a proper scientific education because of religion. If we are going to teach our kids science, they need to learn it all. School is for math, science, language, etc. Church is for religion. If we can't force churches to teach science, churches can't force schools to teach religion.

    August 27, 2012 at 2:39 pm |
  6. joek

    To the atheiest- prove to me that God doesn't exist. To the believer in God- prove to me that he does. Conclusion? Proof or the lack of it cannot solve the question of the existence of God. Each draws their own conclusion, and answers the question themselves. Neither is right, neither is wrong, because both use the same tool to answer the question- belief.

    August 27, 2012 at 2:39 pm |
    • Horus

      That is true regarding the existence of a diety; however evolution is evidence based, where creationism is purely belief based, and ignores evidence that debunks it.

      August 27, 2012 at 2:41 pm |
    • IslandAtheist

      Define god.

      August 27, 2012 at 2:41 pm |
    • ChristardMingle.com

      joek, you are incorrect. The burden is not on the unbeliever to prove anything. We simple don't believe it God because there is no proof. If you want me to believe a fantastic tale like the existence of God you will have to provide evidence. If I wanted you to believe in the Easter Bunny, your correct expectation would be that I prove it to you, and give you some jelly beans too!

      August 27, 2012 at 2:42 pm |
    • Mick

      It's true that you can neither prove nor disprove the existence of God. But that's not a justification for believing in him. If it were, then why not believe in leprechauns as well?

      August 27, 2012 at 2:45 pm |
  7. HeavenSent

    You athiests are all over these blogs today, spewing your lies and stealing my handle. My breath smells of puke and cigarettes. Just because your "science" can prove something doesn't make it God's truth.

    Amen.

    August 27, 2012 at 2:39 pm |
  8. Bishop Hairy Palms

    The Bible was written by a bunch of bronze age goat herders who thought that the world was flat.

    This is nothing to run a modern society on.

    Keep your lunatic religion in your church and out of science class.

    August 27, 2012 at 2:39 pm |
  9. asdf

    Another oddity: evolution is always equated with the big bang. Evolution is much more comparable to dog breeding or plant genetics than the beginning of time.

    Unfortunately, the bible only talks about the creation of the world and once it was perfect everything stayed the same according to the bible. If you want to debate the big bang and how god created the world is 7 days that is fine.

    But, I simply ask you, was there a labradoodle on Noah’s ark? Now, if you want to debate evolution and the bible, this is where you may want start.

    If the wolf was perfect in Gods eyes why can one wolf species on Noah’s ark, over successive generations, turn into 100’s of different dogs? This should be impossible if it was a perfect animal created by god, right?

    August 27, 2012 at 2:39 pm |
  10. noel

    One thing evolution has not explained is where energy came from to begin with. "Nothing from nothing leaves nothing." So therefore your faith in energy from nothing is just as factual as God...period

    August 27, 2012 at 2:38 pm |
    • David L.

      Evolution doesn't try to explain the existence of energy. The "Theory" of Gravity doesn't explain why some people have red hair.

      I agree, science has not yet pinpointed every facet of our existence in this world. But the strides they make towards further understanding it are backed up by evidence and repeatable experimentation. Religion doesn't.

      August 27, 2012 at 2:41 pm |
    • sbp

      And yet you go way beyond saying a supernatural power created energy. You think this sentient being also directly transformed Lot's wife into a pillar of salt. Explain the physics behind that?

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

      @ David L. I just meant that most people who believe in evolution also believe in big-bang, so where did that energy come from? just saying. As far as Lot's wife there is more symbolism in the bible than most religions would like to admit. They are stories that explain why we (our spirits in physical bodies) are here & what happened to us (our spirits) before we came here. Example; Jerusalem = Heaven (another dimension).

      August 27, 2012 at 3:33 pm |
  11. Glenc

    I don't have a problem with evolution. But Darwin is just wrong. His assumptions about biology are laughable by modern science. He had no knowledge of genetics, DNA or much of anything else. His definition of species was little more than "what something looked like". And he got it it wrong over and over. Dogs for example are two species, big dogs and little dogs are different species according to Chucky D. If you plagiarized "Origin of Species" in a college bio class you'd get an F. Darwin is not science, it is "observationsim" and mistaken.

    August 27, 2012 at 2:38 pm |
    • Mark

      LMAO!!!!!!!!!!

      Please post more! Ignorance is good entertainment!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      August 27, 2012 at 2:41 pm |
    • David L.

      This is what makes Darwin's work so admirable. Without a proper understanding of genetics, he was able to predict what genetics would later prove through observation and the scientific method. He was WAY ahead of his time, and deserves A LOT more respect than you're giving him.

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

      Darwin wasn't "wrong" – he wasn't even trying to be "right". You nailed it, he was observing and sharing his findings. The key to Darwin's contribution is he started the conversation that brought a lot more "right" into the world.

      August 27, 2012 at 2:46 pm |
    • tommy mack

      Why did it take God 6 days? Couldn't he just will the universe into existence immediately? And do you really believe that stuff about a talking snake? And why a rib from Adam? If god needed to create women, he didn't need to get a damn rib.

      Bottom line, your fairy tale is no better than any other religion in the world. SCIENCE is not a fairy tail. Get over it.

      August 27, 2012 at 2:46 pm |
    • birch please

      And just because Galileo did not include quantum mechanics into his understanding of our solar system he was a mor on. dumb dumb dumb

      August 27, 2012 at 2:46 pm |
    • Areyoukiddingme

      So GLENC. you have taken a couple of science classes at the community college you have attended and know you know more then Darwin. Think about it, one of the most discussed topics in modern history and YOU have dispelled all of this through a college science book. NICE.... That's what's wrong with a LITTLE knowledge- it makes you look stupid..

      August 27, 2012 at 2:47 pm |
    • Silbaf

      You are contradicting yourself and failed to realized what science is.

      August 27, 2012 at 3:39 pm |
  12. basic123

    Religion is based on belief, and then what is belief? "Confidence in the truth or existence of something not immediately susceptible to rigorous proof". This definition from Directory.com is telling you any those beliefs are not supported by facts.

    August 27, 2012 at 2:38 pm |
    • Simran

      Please do not keep pointing this repeatedly. They will now insist on changing the dictionary definition of BELIEF!

      August 27, 2012 at 2:39 pm |
    • WASP

      @basic: belief: be·lief 
      (noun)
      1. something believed; an opinion or conviction: a belief that the earth is flat.
      2. confidence in the truth or existence of something not immediately susceptible to rigorous proof: a statement unworthy of belief.
      3. confidence; faith; trust: a child's belief in his parents.
      4. a religious tenet or tenets; religious creed or faith: the Christian belief.

      August 27, 2012 at 2:50 pm |
  13. chaz

    Bill Nye slams guys....

    read your bible Bill. The answers, all of them, are in there

    August 27, 2012 at 2:38 pm |
    • OOO

      Yawn. No substance to your post.

      August 27, 2012 at 2:40 pm |
    • Free Thinker

      The bible was written by men who had no more education or knowledge of our world, much less about science, then your average 1st grader. It was written to explain the world as they knew it and could understand it, without the benefit of science or advanced knowledge. It blows my mind that almost half of our country is so ignorant. If you choose to believe this ridiculous story, that's your choice but it scares me too that we will be left behind by other countries that don't blindly believe the 2000 year old fairy tale.

      August 27, 2012 at 2:48 pm |
    • JMM

      Yup, answers for those that cannot think for themselves. Sheep sheep.

      August 27, 2012 at 2:49 pm |
    • Stan

      The answers are in the Bible? Really? Where does it say in the Bible that the Earth is a spherical body that revolves around a medium sized star that we call The Sun? Where does the Bible speak of Plate Tectonics and Continental Drift? Where does it tell us that the Universe is expanding and is about 15 billion years old? Where does the Bible speak of radio waves, or the speed of light, or that if you create an airfoil you can actually fly like the birds? I don't think the answers are all in the Bible, my friend.

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

      No,chaz doesn't want those complicated answers. He just wants the answers that are there in the Bible, like what will happen to him if he dies (answer Heaven or hell).
      Now those science related stuff – he is just happy to get everything served to him on a silver platter (like this computer he is using, God helped us make it), he just likes the doctor to cure him (and he will claim God did it), he just wants his house to be built quake proof (and of course by God's grace)....

      August 27, 2012 at 3:03 pm |
  14. ChristianAndLogical

    Wow. Just wow. Why, whenever this is debated, are both sides characterized as having strict black vs. white views? Is there no room for shades of grey in this debate? As a Christian, I believe there is plenty of room for our own interpretations, understanding that strict interpretation of the Bible can be skewed by translations over a thousand+ years. And science is still discovering new "truths" every day, eventually disproving other long-held scientific "truths."

    The answer lies in each of ourselves and what we believe our own truths to be. I'm was not "injured" learning of Evolution during my formative years. It was taught with an eyes-wide-open discussion that Creationism is also a theory. Those who believe there is only room for one right answer in their own definition of answer have no faith in the human mind or heart.

    It's these hateful, vitriolic discussions that tear people apart. Those who choose to be unbelievers ridicule believers with such venom it makes one wonder how they manage to make it through their day, knowing that at least 50% of the people they come into contact with are believers of something they despise. And from reading these comments, they don't just despise the ideals, they despise the people.

    Wow. Just wow.

    August 27, 2012 at 2:38 pm |
    • JMM

      There is a large and very extreme sect of the christian faith that has been growing fairly rapidly for the past decade or two. They only see it one way and are true fundamentalists in their beliefs. While I am sure there are people on the other side with extreme atheistic views, but they are far and few between, especially in the every day news media. Not only are these fundamentalists a danger to our society at large, they spread hate when it comes to issue like gay marriage, minorities and even gender equality. Religion should be a choice, not something that is taught from the end of a gun barrel.

      August 27, 2012 at 2:48 pm |
    • just a John

      Criticism and even ridicule are not hate speech, maybe they are in your mind but not in the law. Just read the post below yours and tell me why non-believers should not respond?

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

      @JMM:

      "Yup, answers for those that cannot think for themselves..."
      "Not only are these fundamentalists a danger to our society at large..."
      "Religion should be a choice, not something that is taught from the end of a gun barrel."

      Get a little melodramatic sometimes? Your views are just as polarized and condemning as those you point at. Notice your usage of words of extremism.

      Please, in all seriousness, take a good, long, hard look in the mirror. Cure your own lack of tolerance before attempting to cure other's.

      August 27, 2012 at 2:59 pm |
  15. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things .

    August 27, 2012 at 2:37 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      Good afternoon prayer-bot.

      I see you're fully charged up and functioning today.

      August 27, 2012 at 2:38 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @prayer-bot,

      you do know that the first law of robotics is:
      1.A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.

      Your bad advice could easily lead human beings into harm. Perhaps you should process this data.

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

      Yup, it changes things in your mind (only).

      August 27, 2012 at 2:42 pm |
    • haha ok

      Ha yeah I could prey and worship my gallon of milk and just like your god I will either come true or not. If I have the thinking that oh well the milk gallon didn't answer my prayer then there must be a bigger meaning to it. If whatever happens comes true and happens then my gallon of milk just answered my prayer. Its easy to just say something has a higher power without facts. Maybe in 2000 years the lord of the rings books will be a new religion!

      August 27, 2012 at 2:49 pm |
  16. BG

    People today are not as smart as they think they are – it is arrogance that makes us think we know it all or know more than anyone else who came before us. The smartest, most scientifically educated people today still can't figure out how the Great Pyramids in Egypt were built 5,000 years ago. Odds are the people who designed and engineered the pyramids construction were smarter than anyone walking the earth today.

    August 27, 2012 at 2:37 pm |
    • sbp

      You only think no one knows how the pyramids were constructed because your basis of knowledge is books written for children half a century ago. They've figured it out. Right down to how slabs of rock were split using boiling water.

      August 27, 2012 at 2:41 pm |
    • therealpeace2all

      @BG

      How are ya' buddy ?

      Peace...

      August 27, 2012 at 2:46 pm |
    • Simran

      Well, I can agree to an extent on that one. The Hindus were also probably very advanced at one point of time. The system of Ayurveda had expertise on Medicine, Surgery, Pediatrics, Ophthalmology, ENT, Psychiatry, toxicology, reproductive medicine even in 1500 BC. Even plastic surgery has been described. But sadly this information has been lost.
      They might be the closest to metaphysics however. But again, the modern religion has so many confliciting concepts of God that no one can really believe them.

      August 27, 2012 at 2:51 pm |
    • Simran

      However, this would be no justification for "God created it" explanation whenever we fall short of understanding everything.

      August 27, 2012 at 2:53 pm |
    • Mason

      Live and let live? That would be fine if this wasn't about people trying to teach my kid in school that a wizard made the universe.

      August 27, 2012 at 2:59 pm |
  17. Jimmy Joe Jim Bob

    If we were talking about Superman® or Batman®, this wouldn't even be an argument. I've never seen the comic book superhero fix a broken leg, or a disease. Science cures those things. Since you can never show one legitimate curing of anything or anyone by the comic book superhero, it stands to reason, reason being something that sentient beings do frequently, that the comic book superhero never leaves the pages of the comic book. No matter how good you think this comic book is, the characters from its' pages will never be real. They will never jump from the pages into the spotlight. They exist only because you give them life. They are nothing more than fantasy delusions.

    August 27, 2012 at 2:36 pm |
  18. Roberts The Vile

    When I was a kid I used to think that he was such a goober. I had no idea how much I would grow to like him.

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

      No you had it right the first time!!

      August 27, 2012 at 2:44 pm |
  19. MKF

    There is no 'God' and by that I mean a supreme being that created everything. 'God', is science, biology, chemistry and physics. THAT is what created the universe and life as we know it.

    August 27, 2012 at 2:35 pm |
    • J North

      What created those? Where did the laws of nature come from? I say God.

      August 27, 2012 at 2:42 pm |
    • Joel

      Then what created God?

      Look, I have no problem with a belief in God. I do have a problem with "God!" as the answer to a question about science. It's a cop-out. It's lazy. It shuts down investigation and questioning.

      August 27, 2012 at 2:44 pm |
  20. dracomyst

    Personally, what I feel a vast majority of the people discussing topics like this fail to do is to make a distinction between a belief in a higher power (call it God, the oneness of the universe, whatever you want to call it), and religion. They are NOT the same thing. A religion is a hierarchical organization of human beings who use historical doctrine in an attempt to control the beliefs of others, and to ensure the continuation of their belief system over time. A belief in a higher power on the other hand is a strictly personal, and individual relationship with "God". Religions have often been shown to be not just highly questionable, but often corrupt, and frequently flat out wrong. Science does not preclude a belief in something greater than ourselves, and one does NOT have to be "religious" to believe in God, or to believe in and follow a moral code consistent with most of the ideals put forth by religious groups. Religion is the control of humans by other humans. God gave you a mind of your own, don't let others tell you not to use it.

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

      Well said.
      I like to think of religious denominations as franchises.
      They need to create distinctions from other franchised faiths so the members
      will feel like they are getting good value for whatever time and money they have committed.
      The more overhead they have, the more paying customers they need.

      August 27, 2012 at 2:42 pm |
    • noel

      I totally agree, religion has done more damage to God than just about anything else, if it disappeared off the face of the earth today the word & those that hear it would still remain.

      August 27, 2012 at 2:49 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.