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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. ahren

    Atheists are just as bad as religious zealots. I'm sure it won't be long before Atheists start to force you to believe in evolution at knifepoint.

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

      false

      August 27, 2012 at 2:49 pm |
    • Fallacy Spotting 101

      Post by 'ahren' is an instance of the Slippery Slope fallacy.

      http://www.fallacyfiles.org/glossary.html

      August 27, 2012 at 2:51 pm |
    • John Sharp

      The problem is that people that don't believe in evolution but insist on having magical thinking rule their lives are ruining this country.
      Religious people with childish beliefs are trying to force their beliefs as law on everyone else.
      You are right we are going to drag the fools into modern life.

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

      False equivalency. The difference is that atheists will always follow the physical evidence and modify their worldview accordingly. The religious zealot will not change their worldview no matter what evidence they are presented with. Very different.

      August 27, 2012 at 2:52 pm |
    • ahren

      Do you have faith that life exists outside of Earth?

      August 27, 2012 at 2:55 pm |
    • sam

      That's a silly, leading question. Faith has nothing to do with stuff like that. Bug off, you're just looking for an argument.

      August 27, 2012 at 2:58 pm |
    • ahren

      I'll take that as a yes.

      August 27, 2012 at 3:00 pm |
    • Friendly atheist

      Where would you come up with this? What evidence do you have to support the idea that this will ever happen? Which atheist is going to threaten people to believe in evolution at knifepoint? When are they going to do it? Where did an atheist allude to wanting to do this?

      Or maybe, are you just making things up?

      August 27, 2012 at 3:18 pm |
  2. Samuel Birdsall

    Coming from a religious household, I understand their mindset, while agreeing with Bill Nye (to clarify, I'm atheist). From what I can see the reason for believing in creationism is centered around holding onto tradition, and because it gives hope to see deceased family and friends, even when there is absolutely no basis for this belief when put under any scrutiny whatsoever. It's a powerful ideology, which I think will be predominant for around another century in the US, simply because no matter what evidence is put forth, creationists will simply ignore it by putting their fingers in their ears and chanting "La, la, la, la, la!" like preschool children. It must be frightening to believe that the entire government and scientific community are out to trick you. It's frightening to me that people like that exist, and it's pitiable as well. It's like a form of schizophrenia, paranoid, with severe delusions. Sad.

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

      we believe in a god beacause it is real not for hopes in the afterlife but theres already proof of the afterlife and the bibble has never failed its all happening right now in this world you just choose not to believe it the earthquakes famines and worst droughts ever thats just the start of things israel cant be destroyed and they havent just like the bibble says it also says in the end days most wont believe in god most will turn to hate and be hatfull and many shall grow cold and be decieved the bibbles the most accurate book there ever is and thats why athiest and non believers dont like the bibble when you die youll find out all about god and you wont be able to deny him then i live based on the facts that the bibble has not lied its all happening exactly like it says right now i not have one reason to walk away from the truth that the word of god is happening even specific events are happening how much more proof do you need

      August 27, 2012 at 3:19 pm |
    • bobrob

      mike: Why is it that every religious fanatic writes like a 3rd grader that just went 3 rounds with Mike Tyson?

      August 28, 2012 at 1:41 am |
  3. Carl Sagan says Different

    Sagan said in, "Contact" 95% of the world believe in a Supreme Being, so you think 46% is high for Americans?

    And yes, I know it is a movie. I also think Sagan was far more intelligent than Bill Nye the kiddie science guy.

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

      Apples and Oranges...

      You're defining 'belief' in a higher power as being exclusive to having a creationist viewpoint.

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

      But in essence, the Founding Father's believed in a higher power, but not a sentient being who commanded Noah. To them, Nature itself was essentially god.

      August 27, 2012 at 2:51 pm |
    • The Jackdaw

      1.) Just because Bill Nye has a science show for children does not mean that he is ignorant like a child.

      2.) Sagan published "Contact" in the 1985 when the demographics on religion were different than today.

      3.) Sagan did not write the movie, he wrote the book. Sagan hated the movie adaptation.

      August 27, 2012 at 2:52 pm |
    • QS

      And just in the years since that book/movie came out, that number has dropped to somewhere between 80-82%.

      August 27, 2012 at 2:52 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      Bill Nye was a student of Sagan's.

      August 27, 2012 at 2:54 pm |
    • Carl Sagan says Different

      I meant to say book/movie.

      The quote exists in both.

      So ...yeah

      August 27, 2012 at 2:54 pm |
    • Carl Sagan says Different

      I love how you "scholars" turn your beliefs in fact.

      Ripped those numbers right out of your rear ends ...

      I am an evolutionist, but facts still remain – the majority of people believe in Sky Wizards and we still have holy wars based upon religions.

      August 27, 2012 at 2:57 pm |
    • QS

      I'm actually agreeing with you...I was simply pointing out that since the release of that book/movie, the 95% number quoted in the book/movie has dropped. Essentially, we are slowly but surely getting through to some people.

      August 27, 2012 at 3:00 pm |
    • skeptical

      You are right, Carl Sagan was a brilliant man. Do you believe for even a second that he viewed creationism as anything other the junk pseudoscience?

      Could you please point me to one just one peer reviewed article in Scientific literature that argues for creationism? No you cannot, because there has never been one.

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

      There's a scene in "Contact" where Jake Busey's character, the cult leader, is speaking to a crowd as Jodie Foster's character is walking by. He stops and points at her and says "Now these scientists have had their chance....are these really the people you want talking to YOUR god for you?"

      This is also indicative of Sagan's brilliance as this basically sums up what most religious people, not just creationists, think about science.

      August 27, 2012 at 3:14 pm |
  4. cicadasystem

    And Nye serves up a slam dunk! BOOM!

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

      BIG DEAL!
      He still can't answer the big question, Where does life come from?
      It's stupid to think that something sophisticated can come from something simple.
      The smallest living organism is FARRRRRR more superior than the space shuttle, which is the most complex creation of man!!

      August 27, 2012 at 2:57 pm |
  5. Religiosity

    Sad to see that 46% of Americans are so stupid. Yet, not really surprising.

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

      lol – and America is still FAR MORE POWERFUL than your little cowtown burg.

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

      So, 85% of Americans are idiots. Sounds about right.

      August 27, 2012 at 2:52 pm |
    • andrew

      No idea why, but this comment made me laugh.

      Need to put some more money into education peeps.

      August 27, 2012 at 2:52 pm |
  6. deidramt

    Can somebody point out a logic flaw in my thinking, if there is one?

    God created us in his image ->
    We are imperfect ->
    God is imperfect ->
    God is fallible?

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

      Flaw-God exists

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

      It's open to interpretation as to what "his image" means. Does it mean as in our ability to create and destroy as he does or something else.

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

      No no no, suspend your belief for just a second, and *IF* there was a god and we were created like him, yet we are not perfect, then he cannot be perfect himself..?

      I'm an Agnostic, crazy stuff happens, it just doesn't have to be god that controls it.

      August 27, 2012 at 2:51 pm |
    • Yes, I saw Jurassic Park too

      hack.

      August 27, 2012 at 2:52 pm |
    • lorne

      Just read the first sentence.
      God- what is that.
      His- so now whatever it is is masculine
      image- so we all look like God. Does "we" include any form of life on earth, or just your God fearin' Christians?
      What EVIDENCE can you produce to prove any of your "logic"?

      Take basic embryology courses, or study the fossil record if you want proof.

      August 27, 2012 at 2:54 pm |
    • deidramt

      I'm just wondering if I have a logic loophole. I'm using basic theology terminology. I don't personally prescribe to anything that was written by man 1000s of years ago.

      August 27, 2012 at 3:46 pm |
  7. AreYouKiddingMe?

    Better watch it.. Apple we be saying they invented the earth and all it's lowly inhabitants, then proceed to sue this website for damages...

    August 27, 2012 at 2:46 pm |
    • You should have been smarter

      And bought Apple at 84.00/share as I did.

      /bummer (for you)

      August 27, 2012 at 2:51 pm |
    • kim no dong

      hi korean person gallantly defending the motherlands favorite multinational on an evolution thread.

      August 27, 2012 at 2:53 pm |
    • therealpeace2all

      @You should have been smarter

      How many shares of Apple ?

      Peace...

      August 27, 2012 at 2:54 pm |
    • You should have been smarter

      187 to date.

      And it will never split.

      August 27, 2012 at 3:02 pm |
    • therealpeace2all

      @You should have been smarter

      Wow ! Congrats ! :D

      Peace...

      August 27, 2012 at 7:32 pm |
  8. Ken

    I@Mark & Simran. I suppose I wasn't being very clear. I am not a creationist. I am a strong proponent of evolution. I do not believe iin creationism, it is not rational. Please carefully read what I wrote one more time. I simply do not believe that attacks on other people's views or disciplines are helpful.

    August 27, 2012 at 2:46 pm |
  9. HBar

    Liberals and conservatives are distinguished by the context in which they choose to understand evolution: biological or economic.

    August 27, 2012 at 2:46 pm |
    • Bill in AZ

      I'd use a different criteria: factual vs make believe.

      August 27, 2012 at 3:01 pm |
  10. Insert Clever Name Here

    Evolution is a myth! If it's a legitimate evolution, then God has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.

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

      By legitimate evolution, do you mean forcible evolution?

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

      LOL!!!

      Did Jesus support that bill?

      August 27, 2012 at 2:48 pm |
    • therealpeace2all

      @Clever Name...

      Say What ? :D

      Peace...

      August 27, 2012 at 2:50 pm |
    • therealpeace2all

      *Ooops... missed the yolk... !

      Peace...

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

      The way I look at it is you cant be closed minded in thinking we all came form Adam and Eve.
      But you have 2 options, either you dont believe it or you do. What is the worst that can happen if you believe in God?
      Really not much, as a 25 year old catholic i am by no means a "bible thumper" but it has taught me morales, values and to treat ppl with respect and dignity while earning an honest buck. I treat ppl the way i would want to be treated and this has got me very far in life.

      I will leave you with a quote ive always enjoyed.

      "You know, the interesting thing about sceptics, is that we're always looking for proof... the question is, what on earth would we ever do if we found it?"

      August 27, 2012 at 3:08 pm |
    • therealpeace2all

      @Jaysfan

      You have so many logical fallacies going here... I don't have the time or patience to point them all out.

      Peace...

      August 27, 2012 at 3:16 pm |
    • Jaysfan

      My guess is, youve never come across a good natured human being which leads me to believe you aren't one either.

      My take on you as a person is someone who must bash, argue and stuff your view point down ppl's throats to get some joy out of the day.

      August 27, 2012 at 3:23 pm |
    • therealpeace2all

      @Jaysfan

      Thank you for confirming my belief that debating with you would be a waste of time.

      Peace...

      August 27, 2012 at 7:33 pm |
  11. Chas

    Many of the mechanisms (adaption, natural selection, etc.) involved in the theory of evolution are clearly supported by empirically evidence. However, Evolutionism rests on a premise that is inductive and requires faith – naturalism. Naturalism is not anymore "scientific" than any other belief system/worldview. It claims that the phenomenon of existence can be completly explained by natural causes. This is not supported by science. Roger Penrose, a renowned Oxford mathematician, estimated the likelihood that the four fundamental forces – gravity, electromagnetism, weak nuclear force, and strong nuclear force – would produce the conditions and energy distrubution at the moment of creation in such a way that the universe would eventually support life were fewer than one in 10 to the 123rd power. Scientists estimate that the probablility of the creation of the proper atmosphere with the coinciding establishment of the water cycle during the creation of Earth is one in 10 to the 26th power. There are only 10 to the 22nd planets in the universe. The Anthropic Principle should not be ignored if one wishes to be objective. The mechanics of evolution and the theory of creationism are not contradictory.

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

      What if we are in one of the 10^123 universes.. the anthropic principle always fails.... next youll be supporting pascals wager.

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

      Unfortunately Penrose's calculations fail in that they assume that each variable is independent of one another, i.e., that changing one variable can be accomodated for by changing another variable.

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

      I meant that changing one variable CANNOT be accomodated for by changing another variable

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

      Please look at the Miller Experiment and the work of the late Dr. Cyril Ponamperuma before you spout such nonsense, Also the extremeophobes which seem to pop up in the unlikeliest of places such as deep water vents and boiling hot springs.

      August 27, 2012 at 3:05 pm |
    • Friendly atheist

      I disagree, but thank you for being thoughtful and respectful.

      This is called an argument from hindsight. You don't hear people from other planets complaining about how these constants prohibited life. Why? Because they do not exist.

      The only people who can make this argument are those that already exist. And by nature of the fact that they exist, the constants *must have* worked in their favor. It's an argument from hindsight.

      It is equivalent to a lotter winner claiming that he won because of his lucky socks. It's easy for him to say that now - he already won!

      August 27, 2012 at 3:33 pm |
  12. tj

    Denying evolution is like believing that the world is flat.

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

      spot on

      August 27, 2012 at 2:47 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      Like denying that the world is roundish, but I agree.

      August 27, 2012 at 2:51 pm |
    • Ger Republikins

      wii republikins dun ned 2 heer wut u demokrates tri 2 tel uz. wii no da werld iz flaat. udderwize wii wud fal ovf. u demokrates lyk to raze taxiz fer skools. wii kin bii hom skoold lyk uz dun sowt. u demokrates juz wunt 2 tayk awhey jezuz n r gunz 2. ger repbulikins!!!!!!!!!!!!

      August 27, 2012 at 2:52 pm |
    • tj

      tu che TomTom

      August 27, 2012 at 2:57 pm |
    • rkdres

      actually, there are many parts of evolution that have been proven flawed. I don't subscribe to creationism, but evolution also has its holes throughout.

      August 27, 2012 at 4:05 pm |
    • Chris Mankey

      Thumbs up!

      August 27, 2012 at 5:31 pm |
  13. Azhar

    If God truly existed and affected our universe IN ANY WAY, EVERY mathematical equation in the universe would have to have a variable "G"(for God) in it to compensate for his affect. In another word famous equations like F=MA would have to be rewritten to F=MA+G. So being that Math disproves God in every equation is learning mathematics the teaching of the devil. OH NO!!!

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

      good example

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

      I will at least agree that algebra is of the devil.

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

      EXTRA-dumb post. Not much math in your background, eh?

      August 28, 2012 at 12:02 pm |
  14. Sam Vicker

    I don't get it. Why do people graduate from university and tell people they're crazy for believing in God. On the other hand, why do people complete seminary school and go around telling people their going to burn in hell for NOT believing? Is there nobody left who meets in the middle and says "You know what? I have no idea."

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

      The acceptance of God is irrelevant to this discussion. God could've created evolution and its also possible that evolution happened on its own. We will never know, but all Bill Nye is saying is that evolution did take place and to not accept that is ridiculous and counterproductive to society.

      August 27, 2012 at 2:48 pm |
    • Sam Vicker

      So you admitted that you don't know. Thank you, I don't either. It's nice that at least one person admits it.

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

      people that go to universities and schools obviously gain an education and receive knowledge, people that go to a seminary get the jesus message pounded into their head and the jesus message lacks any facts or proof and is just a nice idea where they can steal your money, good Christians give 10% of their income...all about the benjamins

      August 27, 2012 at 2:49 pm |
    • Sam Vicker

      Yeah, it is kind of sad how money always seems to play a role.

      August 27, 2012 at 2:52 pm |
    • illusive

      There are plenty of people who take the middle road (I'm one of them), if your curious look of the term Apathiest, basically "It does not matter if god(s) exist or not, and my life would not change either way."

      August 27, 2012 at 4:53 pm |
  15. Michael

    People do not want God for MORAL reasons. From the origin of time so many have sprung up and declared, there is no God.
    However, all of them are gone and God still remains and remains in the heart of men and women. Because of men and women who know God reasonably, people like Bill can slam God the Creator.
    Let him do the same thing, if he can, in Saudi Arabia.

    August 27, 2012 at 2:45 pm |
    • Fallacy Spotting 101

      Post by 'Michael' is an instance of the Begging the Question fallacy.

      http://www.fallacyfiles.org/glossary.html

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

      What the hell is this guy even talking about...?

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

      People do not want God because there are so many to choose from. Gods rise and fall and no one is certain if the fad will last. They don't want to invest in the uncertainty of it all. The Christian god has only been around for a couple thousand years. The gods before that were around for a few thousand. There were and are gods for fire, water, and thunder. In fact, the god of Abraham, who Christians adopted as their god, was the god of thunder before he got a promotion.

      August 27, 2012 at 2:59 pm |
  16. pat

    The universe just happened or god just happened and the universe was then created, either way, something simply happened without cause.

    August 27, 2012 at 2:45 pm |
  17. Adam

    "It is time we realized that to presume knowledge where one has only pious hope is a species of evil." ~Sam Harris

    August 27, 2012 at 2:44 pm |
  18. cleareye1

    Obviously creationism in not appropriate for children, at least for children you want to grow up to be contributors in improving the world. In fact, Sunday schools should not exist. They are a form of emotional molestation that if discontinued would help end human reliance on myths for guidance. People should all be capable of thinking for themselves as independent beings.

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

    I have to admit, I had no idea that nearly half of Americans believed something that defies reasonable conclusions based on tangible evidence. That's a bit scary indeed. Oh well, they must be right. After all, how could so many be so wrong ;-}

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

      Big time scary... big time. But it makes me wonder who actually conducts these research studies, and also, who are these people dumb enough to waste their time listening to a telephone solicitor? That is how they take these surveys

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

      because many are brought into Christianity at a young age and are brainwashed into believing it.

      August 27, 2012 at 2:48 pm |
  20. Kevin

    it is absolutely terrifying that 46% of Americans believe in creationism, which is a completely ridiculous idea that has absolutely 0 scientific evidence. Find some evidence religious people, I urge you to please find some evidence, because the bible, the bible was written by human beings, and then re-written from dead languages, and then interpreted differently and rewritten again and again by powerful kings that used it as a means of controlling the populous, anyone who believes in something that was written when humans were completely retarded (by comparison to the knowledge we have now), needs to take a good look in the mirror. Religious people have legitimate mental issues when they accept the bible or any other dangerous religious text written by HUMANS that are meant to CONTROL humans. If there was ever a zombie apocalypse, which Christians consider a possibility, I'm taking down the religious fanatics first....zombies second.

    August 27, 2012 at 2:44 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.