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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. Jon Michael

    I am a Christian. I believe in creationism. I also believe in natural selection. I have never read in the Bible anything that would lead me to believe that the Earth is 6,000 – 8,000 years old. I am also not certain it is 4.3 Billion years old. We assume that Carbon14 has a linear rate of decay, which we cannot prove without observation. It is possible the Earth is younger than 4.3 Billion years, or perhaps even older. I like science and fancy myself an amateur astronomer, and am particularly facinated by the lifecycle of stars. I think Bill Nye is just as ignorant to dismiss intelligent design as some Christians are to dismiss science. Cheers!

    August 27, 2012 at 2:57 pm |
    • Sarah Wells.

      And it's very possible god is simply a man made invention. You sound a very confused human being. Don't operate heavy machinery.

      August 27, 2012 at 3:03 pm |
    • Dave

      for god's sake, its in the fossil record.... they are NOT incomplete, and there ARE connecting life forms. Its in the Geological record, in layers of sediment going back BILLIONS of years. IT is consistant no matter where you dig on the planet, be it in Asia, the US, the Artic, under layer of ice. This is imperical data! Fact, not a 'theory'.

      August 27, 2012 at 3:05 pm |
    • Jon Michael

      Even a scientist must admit that the possiblity exists that what is "known" to be true today may be different from what is "known" to be true tomorrow. I keep an open mind. I am sorry that you cannot experience it with the rest of us.

      August 27, 2012 at 3:05 pm |
    • Kevin

      and the science behind intelligent design comes from......?

      August 27, 2012 at 3:05 pm |
    • Jon Michael

      Read Thomas Aquinas. His approach to "proving" the existence of intelligent design is compelling even 800 years later. If you actually take the time to read how he argues, through logic, the existance of A god (not necessarily the Judeo-Christian God); then you may begin to have this conversation with a believer. But you won't, and so you can't. I love science and the logic that governs it. I still have yet to see anyone convince me that they are mutually exclusive (even Stephen Hawking, whom I respect, but disagree with on the existence of God). I might have more difficultly defending specific Christian doctrine...but I am not sure it is such a huge leap from Atheist to Agnostic as you might think.

      August 27, 2012 at 3:12 pm |
    • quintium

      @Jon Michael
      I believe you need to read up on your science. Carbon14 is well proven and is NOT the only isotope used for dating. This is were Christians that try to prove some magic person's doing with science is going wrong as always.

      August 27, 2012 at 3:12 pm |
    • Jon Michael

      I am not saying that cabron dating is not accurate. I might be. What I am saying is that you cannot OBSERVE the decay rate of anything over a long enough period of time to know if it is truly linear in nature. Science is all about "Assuming X is true, then Y is also true". When your understanding of "X" changes, so does our conclusion about "Y". Please understand the difference between being "pretty sure" about something, and being "absolutely sure". There is just as much in science that we are "realitvely sure about" (pun intended) as we are "pretty sure" about. The point is, no one can be certain about most of the universe around us, and so to dismiss any point of view out-right is the work of fools.

      August 27, 2012 at 3:20 pm |
    • Jon Michael

      *It* might be [accurate].

      August 27, 2012 at 3:21 pm |
  2. Tavernvoice

    Interesting how Nye states 'we need scientifically literate voters and tax payers in the future.' Forget the science angle Nye, I'd just be happy if we had more literate voters and more voters who actually paid taxes. Millions on the rolls are also millions on the dole. And many can barely form a sentence, let alone a rational thought behind why they vote for who they do.

    August 27, 2012 at 2:56 pm |
  3. Tom

    People forget about God when they have 'everything'... and they seek God when they have 'nothing'...
    When you die and have nothing, it will be too late...

    August 27, 2012 at 2:55 pm |
    • birch please

      Yep, so god is the pacifier of the poor, weak, and stupid.

      August 27, 2012 at 2:56 pm |
    • DC1973

      Maybe, but I'm really kind of expecting it. But when you die and have nothing, you won't ever know.

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

      No, it won't be too late. Any god worth believing in wouldn't condition "heaven" on believing in him. A real omnipotent being wouldn't be so insecure.

      August 27, 2012 at 2:59 pm |
  4. George Marshall

    I despair at the extraordinary ignorance revealed by most of these posts. Every branch of science supports the modern theory of evolution. Scientist are open to new ideas, and they are not opposed to theories in addition to, or in lieu of, evolution but they have to qualify as theories. In science beliefs, conjectures, ideas, opinions, convictions are not theories. In science a theory is a "well substantiated explanation of some aspect of the natural world based on a body of facts that have been repeatedly confirmed through observation and experiment." The modern theory of evolution meets all of those criteria. No other proposed explanation meets any of them.

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

      Get 'em George!

      August 27, 2012 at 3:07 pm |
  5. pat

    How can some one think carbon dating methods are grossly inacurate but still trust DNA analysis in a court of law?
    What do creationists think about the fact that many humans have Neanderthal DNA in their bodies, left over from when there were more than one human species at the same time, and in fact, they had offspring together?

    August 27, 2012 at 2:55 pm |
  6. Ger Republikins

    wii republikins dun ned 2 heer wut u demokrates tri 2 tel uz. wii no god crated da werld cuz houw elze wud et get heer. 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!!!!!!!!!!!! ronmey/Rian 2013!!!!!!

    August 27, 2012 at 2:55 pm |
    • DC1973

      I like you. You make me laugh.

      August 27, 2012 at 2:56 pm |
    • Jon Michael

      To qualify my opinoin, I would like for you to know that I am a conservative Christian who is a social moderate and fiscal conservative. I have a bachelors and masters degree in political science and public adminsitration with an emphasis in public policy. Some of the most intelligent and well adjusted students I have ever met were home schooled. They typically score much higher than even the top 10% of graduates of public schools. You show your ignorance when you make statements such as this. Cheers!

      August 27, 2012 at 3:03 pm |
    • A smart guy

      Funny thing is a person who talked like that would likely be a democrat of the darker skinned persuasion

      August 27, 2012 at 3:31 pm |
  7. Kevin

    Yes! People do not know whether or not their is any kind of god or some type of energy that controls us, we will never know, but the problem here is ORGANIZED RELIGION, any idiot can make up their own ridiculous story and force their beliefs on you, CHRISTIANS ARE WRONG, JEWS ARE WRONG, MUSLIMS ARE WRONG, HINDUS ARE WRONG, BUDDHISTS ARE WRONG, MORMONS ARE A JOKE. NO ONE WILL EVER BE ABLE TO PROVE THE EXISTENCE OF A GOD OR HIGHER POWER UNTIL IT COMES DOWN AND SHOWS ITS FACE! IN THE MEAN TIME LISTEN TO BILL NYE!

    August 27, 2012 at 2:55 pm |
    • michaelw777

      Bill Nye the Prophet Guy?

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

      Calm down. Why are you so angry that I choose to believe in God and in Jesus? You have the right not to believe. I'm not angry that you do not. I will pray for you. The way I look at this : one of us is right and one of us is wrong. If you are right, I have nothing to fear. On the other hand.... Please think about that.

      August 28, 2012 at 12:26 pm |
  8. bxgrrl

    Nice try, but creationists by definition aren't interested in facts.

    August 27, 2012 at 2:54 pm |
    • DC1973

      My youngest son is starting at a private school in a few weeks, because of bullying problems in the public school. I've spent hours preparing him for the, "No matter what they say about the Earth, you don't argue. If they tell you it's 6000 years old, that's what you write on your test. I know you know better, and I'll teach you real Science at home. Just don't argue with your teachers."

      I hate it.

      August 27, 2012 at 2:58 pm |
  9. Dumbpolitics

    The GOP doesn't like people that have an education. Especially a scientist no less. That's why they want to get rid of the Dept. of Ed. When you bring the bible into the discussion here you don't understand why the article was written. The bible was written by humans not God. But by being a human you can explore and discover why things are in life without having to be told by some people who lived a couple of thosand years ago.

    August 27, 2012 at 2:54 pm |
  10. Ola

    Why do you feel the need to tell me what to teach my children? Your agenda is for creationism to die out but it will never die out as long as the earth remains. People have believed in God for millions of years and pompous people have predicted that religion will die out but the evidence suggests that's not going to happen. Religion and science are not the same thing but they are similar. In science, you have a theorem(which is kind of a belief) and then you conduct experiments in a controlled environment to get your results. Religion is about faith(which is also belief) and then you carry out actions based on those beliefs. However it is not in a controlled environment because God is not a phenomenon that you can measure but a personality(the Ultimate Personality) that you have to relate to. He will decide when and how to answer you. Millions of people over millenia have done this and have found peace and fulfillment. People have literally died rather than renounce their faith. For you to throw away other people's experience because you haven't experienced it is the height of arrogance. Science has progressed over many years even with religion. To suggest you need young people now to forget about religion for the benefit of science is just being disingenuous and courting controversy; and also a bid to further your agenda of delegitimizing faith and eradicating religion. For your information, there are just as many people, if not more who are committed to the advancement of faith and be rest assured that they have some serious back-up in heavenly places.

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

      Please take some science courses before commenting about the nature of science. At least look up the technical definitions of Theory, Hypothesis, and Law.

      August 27, 2012 at 2:56 pm |
    • David L.

      I don't care what YOU teach YOUR children, but I expect the public schools to teach science to my children. You are free to teach your kids whatever you want, but school is for science, and church is for religion. If I can't force the church to teach evolution, then the church can't force the schools not to.

      August 27, 2012 at 2:59 pm |
    • Kevin

      so when did Jesus come down and talk to you? When did you and God hang out? I'm sorry but you are suggesting Faith is factual like science right? Because science is actually factual and can be tested over and over again to get the same results? WHAT exactly is it that you have faith in? What? Religious people are baptized young and then your forced into going to church during the prime learning phases of a childs development, they pound nonsense into your head that cant be backed up and then you grow up to deny science and the facts of life, when you die, nothing happens, be happy you had the chance to live, you were the one sperm that made it into the egg, you won the lottery on life in a sense, so be grateful of that, that is real

      August 27, 2012 at 3:00 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      Perhaps your children will contribute to the world my children will live in. I assume that they may, so I have an interest in the development of your children. I want them to be well-informed and able to think critically. I also want them vaccinated as the CDC recommends. It's reasonable for society to require things of you as you raise your children.

      August 27, 2012 at 3:02 pm |
    • DC1973

      "People have believed in God for millions of years..."

      *ahem*

      Wow. You have no idea that the oldest human fossils ever found are only around 200,000 years old, do you?

      August 27, 2012 at 3:04 pm |
    • Ola

      For your info, I am a medical doctor and I believe in science completely because that's what I deal with everyday. Medicine actually helps me to appreciate God's power. When I said millions of years, I was speaking in hyperbole.

      August 27, 2012 at 3:23 pm |
  11. Bigsmoot

    I'm a Christian and I believe in a creation. Was it 6 days of 24 hour periods. Probably not. A day to God could be millions of years for us. I think Science and religion are looking at the same object through 2 different windows. Each is trying to define their own version of the same thing. Christian's believe there is a higher order to things. Creationists attribute a Big bang. There wasn't a Big Bang which caused chaos to organize. How could you look at a masterpiece of art and say there was no creator? Evolution is the stone to bronze, bronze to steel, steel to plastic, fire to electricity. That is evolution. Not cave to New York. Short sided and narsasitic we are as mortals to think that our blip in the eternities makes a difference to anyone but ourselves.

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

      So, in a nutshell....when you have no answers for something – you merely say that "it's god's plan and who are we to know it?"

      August 27, 2012 at 2:59 pm |
    • Nitrogen

      The only reason it doesn't make sense to you is because the only people who have taught you about it have been against it. Evolution is actually quite simple to understand if you have some knowledge of genetics and a respect for huge swaths of time. Read a few books, and stop relying on your pastor to explain it to you.

      August 27, 2012 at 2:59 pm |
  12. J in NJ

    "when you have a portion of the population that doesn't believe in it, it holds everyone back." – I call BS on this one. If that were true and "46% of Americans believed in creationism, 32% believed in evolution guided by God" then by Bill's reasoning we should still be in the stone age instead America and its religious faithful are the most technologically advanced society on the planet. Bill Nye used to be relevant when he stuck to science. new his is just another political hack. We would all be better off if scientists stuck to science and theologans stock to theology.

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

      The point is, we could be further along. Instead, other countries are killing us education-wise.

      August 27, 2012 at 2:54 pm |
    • Doc Vestibule

      The technological advancements enjoyed by Americans come from the percentage of folk who are largely atheist.
      Modern biology and thus medicine are predicated on the practical application of the Theory of Evolution.
      Dr. Greg Graffin's PHD thesis found that the overwhelming majority of the world's pre-eminent biologists are atheists.
      Furthermore, the study found they see no conflict between religion and evolutionary biology, so long as religion is recognized solely as a sociological adaptation.

      August 27, 2012 at 3:02 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @J in NJ,

      our politics are pretty much stuck in the (bronze) age. (I'll be charitable and not say 'stone' age.)

      There's no other western developed country in the world that would pass a defence of marriage act.

      August 27, 2012 at 3:04 pm |
    • Ace

      Teaching kids creationism is tantamount to child abuse.

      August 27, 2012 at 3:08 pm |
    • Hal A. Looya

      The scientific community has been persecuted for centuries. You may want to read the following article, or then again, you may just want to firmly plant your head into the ground.

      http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2012/06/famous-persecuted-scientists/

      August 27, 2012 at 3:21 pm |
  13. jon

    I believe in creation. However! that being said, man has made mistakes in interpreting things such as the Bible and other things so important to the history of man. Nowhere does it say in the Bible that the earth was made in 6 days as compared to a 24 hour period. Man misinterprets what Genesis is saying. We don't know what a "DAY" is in Gods terms. There can be room for evolution in the grand scheme of things. Whoes to say that God had included evolution as part of his creation. No reason to bash each other. The answer lies in our faith and mans need to explore and wonder and ask questions as who were are? where did we come from? where are we going? I am a man of faith but I also believe in science.

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

      Well, if that's your best arguement then you don't know what any other word in the bible means in terms of god. Therefore, it is pointless to try and extract earthly meaning from a book whose words you can't even begin to comprehend.

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

      for all of you , evolution and creation group you must read the QURANIC version on this topic because the CREATOR has explained in great detail how the universe and the earth and the humans etc were created and there is no doubt left about this topic , but many of you are averse to reading the QURAN because of the false propaganda against it but if you read all the passages on this topic you will agree and understand very easily because it is true and also logical and scientific.

      August 27, 2012 at 3:03 pm |
    • Elaine.

      Here's a pretty good summary of why the quran is total nonsense. See the same site for similar about the bible too:

      http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/quran/contra/by_name.html

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

      By reading Exodus 20:10-11, one can easily decipher it was a literal six days. God made the third commandment so people would rest on the seventh day as He did after he finished creating everything.

      August 27, 2012 at 3:39 pm |
  14. Hal A. Looya

    I love the folks that think that each side should be considered as equal parts of the same equation. It kind of gives the notion that each argument has the same credible weight and that each side has valid points to make. If that were true, and it's not, then over time we should have seen a coming together of the 2 viewpoints, when in reality, the argument continually moves in the direction of evolution while the creationism argument recedes further into the abyss. The christian apologists try to move the argument closer to where evolutionists have taken it to, but all they're really doing is exposing the fallacies of the original content of the scriptures.

    August 27, 2012 at 2:52 pm |
  15. pete

    Teaching science without an understanding of evolution is much the same as teaching history without an understanding of religion. One needs a large background in both if they are to understand the world we live in today.

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

      Good point. Religion had a huge impact on history.

      August 27, 2012 at 2:54 pm |
    • @Mona

      HAD?

      wow, really?

      It DOES impact history everyday.

      August 27, 2012 at 3:04 pm |
    • Hal A. Looya

      No one is saying that religion shouldn't be taught to our children. It just shouldn't be taught in the public school science classroom. The history and/or philosophy classroom would the only appropriate place.

      August 27, 2012 at 3:04 pm |
  16. Samson

    Without creation, I don't think there can be evolution. Evolution has to do with time. In the past hundreds of year man and animals have evolved according to the environmetal changes. No matter how much evolution there has been it cannot disprove creation. Besides, if there is really a creator of everything seen and unseen, you think the created can possess the knowledge that's up to or that can surpass the creator's? It's like a car evolving to a point where it decides its own movements contrary to the owner's wishes.

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

      You have seen the new autonomous driving vehicles they are working or right? You know, the cars that drives themselves and apply brakes when necessary regardless of the driver's wishes or intent? You should probably pick a better analogy.

      I am a Christian and I believe in evolution with divine guidance. As for the literal translations of Genisis, you can ask any athesist and they will be more than happy to point out all the inconsistancies in the bible other than those found in Genisis... thus the difficulty in man's translation of God's word and His intenent and getting it right. The literal interpertation of the bible is difficult for some passages and VERY CLEAR in others... it is the responsiblity of each Christian to use the intelligence and free will that God has granted us to interperate the bible the best we can.

      This being said, Creationism is it's most basic for (literal translation of Genisis) flys in the face of reality and while Nye is taking it to the extreme, his point is valid. Public schools should teach evolution and it's the reponsilibity of the faithful to understand how this fact can coexist with biblical teachings.

      August 27, 2012 at 3:13 pm |
  17. rlgesq1

    Is someone who believes in God any less able to build stuff and solve problems or to master calculus, physics and chemistry? I practiced engineering for 9 years before becoming a lawyer and found a belief in God was common among those who applied scientific knowledge.

    August 27, 2012 at 2:51 pm |
    • David L.

      No, of course not. However, denying our children a proper scientific education will condemn them to a life of ignorance.

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

      Belief in god is not the question being discussed.

      August 27, 2012 at 2:56 pm |
    • joels2000

      Yes, but like you and people who think like you... God is one of those obligatory
      things brought up here and there but never practical in use. You will take a handful of
      medicine first... then prayer to God... just in case. You will plan everything for your
      vacation, even what sun tan lotion to wear but then...do a cheap little prayer that his
      will be done..... You are 99.9% agnostic and .1% faithful – then cry foul! on these websites.

      August 27, 2012 at 3:04 pm |
    • NotACreationism

      He never made that argument. He does not say that creationists are any less capable of mastering engineering or law. He does imply that creationists will never be able to master biology. And he's right.

      August 27, 2012 at 3:11 pm |
  18. sign

    The creationists aren't a problem, because Jews, Christians and Muslims are all creationists. The problem is believing the father impregnate his virgin daughter.How stupid of you and your father are, LOL!!!

    August 27, 2012 at 2:51 pm |
  19. haha ok

    The new religion in 2000 years will be the lord of the rings books or the world will be viewed from the hunger games!

    August 27, 2012 at 2:51 pm |
  20. lefty capuccino

    the same ppl who dont want to believe in creationism, are the same ppl who dont believe life originated in africa.

    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.