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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. jllsppw

    Slam whatever you want, we'll see how you fee when you get to the gate... If you get there.

    August 27, 2012 at 3:45 pm |
    • Horus

      Why does your god need a gate?

      August 27, 2012 at 3:47 pm |
    • Meh

      i wouldnt worry too much...according to the Word, all we need to do is say that we are sorry and then were golden

      August 27, 2012 at 3:48 pm |
    • Duh

      To keep republicans out. Duh.

      August 27, 2012 at 3:49 pm |
    • Sagian

      That's like saying Santa isn't bringing me a damn thing this year.

      August 27, 2012 at 3:50 pm |
    • Norm

      The gate is for Christians.
      The rest of us pass right through.

      August 27, 2012 at 3:52 pm |
  2. michiganhockey11

    Consider just two possible changes. Atoms consist of protons, neutrons, and electrons. If those protons were just 0.2 percent more massive than they actually are, they would be unstable and would decay into simpler particles. Atoms wouldn’t exist; neither would we. If gravity were slightly more powerful, the consequences would be nearly as grave. A beefed-up gravitational force would compress stars more tightly, making them smaller, hotter, and denser. Rather than surviving for billions of years, stars would burn through their fuel in a few million years, sputtering out long before life had a chance to evolve. There are many such examples of the universe’s life-friendly properties—so many, in fact, that physicists can’t dismiss them all as mere accidents.

    “We have a lot of really, really strange coincidences, and all of these coincidences are such that they make life possible,” Andrei Linde says, in the afternoon at Stanford University.

    August 27, 2012 at 3:45 pm |
    • Howie

      The Anthropic Principle, let me show you it.

      August 27, 2012 at 3:48 pm |
    • Spencer

      I like your deduction. I think what most religions need to realize is that God and science do not have to be polar opposites. For the reasons you just listed religions should adapt to the new information reather than simply deny it. So what, the Earth isn't only 6,000 years old, I'm pretty sure a MAN wrote that bible anyway, not God.

      August 27, 2012 at 3:49 pm |
    • me109a

      You’re thoughts are similar to many I have had for a long time. I give you credit at least you think-bravo!

      It seems to me we exist because the conditions, all of them allow for it. If for instance if water wasn’t weird compared to most other molecules and was denser in its frozen form, the earth would just be a block of ice. This can seem too good to be “coincidence” for we would not exist if ice sank.

      Some ice-“men”, would be sitting around their super magnet driven computers asking why is it that ice sinks ? It is just too convenient for our exsistance.

      Here is another good one, how can we see the light from billions of years ago if the big bang is true? How did we get here before the light? Hint, since the universe expands slower than light travels is why – think about it.

      August 27, 2012 at 5:20 pm |
  3. ORChuck

    "Famed TV scientist Bill Nye is..."

    Wait a minute. Mr. Nye is not a scientist. He started his career as a mechanical engineer. His advanced degrees are all honorary.

    He is an educator, an entertainer, a comedian, a journalist... but not a scientist.

    August 27, 2012 at 3:44 pm |
    • Observer

      scientist:

      def.: A person who is studying or has expert knowledge of one or more of the natural or physical sciences.

      August 27, 2012 at 3:46 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV

      @ORChuck.

      so engineers know nothing of the sciences?

      Do you drive a car, use a mobile phone. Clearly you use the internet. Who do you think 'created' these things and what principles do they use to design them?

      August 27, 2012 at 3:46 pm |
    • Howie

      Good point. It's like even someone who isn't an actual scientist is smart enough to know that evolution is a fact.

      August 27, 2012 at 3:51 pm |
  4. Dave

    Always stick with the plausible and you'll be OK. We all owe Bill Nye a round of applause!

    August 27, 2012 at 3:44 pm |
  5. Jerry

    Sam,-go to Bible.org for your answers. But this is from their site, explaining "be fruitful and multiple" : While some understand the reference to Adam in Genesis to be a general reference to mankind as a whole or the creation of more than one couple, most conservative scholars reject such a view and understand the Genesis account to refer to the creation of a literal Adam and Eve as a single couple. This is further supported by the NT. For instance Paul understood the OT to refer to a literal Adam and Eve (see Rom. 5:14; 2 Cor. 11:3; 1 Tim. 2:12-13). He clearly understood the reference to Adam and Eve to the first man and woman.

    As to incest, it was not considered a sin and was not prohibited for Adam and early man. If the race was to populate and fulfill the command of Gen. 1:28, there is little doubt that Adam’s sons and daughters had to have married their own sisters and brothers if the race was to populate the earth, but due to the purity of the race as evidenced also by the long length of life, there were no adverse effects as we see happening today. Gradually, as the effects of sin took its toll on the human race, marrying one’s own sister, etc., began to create hereditary problems.

    August 27, 2012 at 3:44 pm |
    • How's

      How's your Dad and his sister doing..........er I mean Mom doing?

      August 27, 2012 at 3:45 pm |
    • ChristardMingle.com

      Jerry, go to college for your answers, for Christ's sake.

      August 27, 2012 at 3:47 pm |
  6. Dave

    You're right....we're just primordial ooze right? The finite mind simply cannot grasp the infinite. I'm guessing I'd rather be safe than sorry!

    August 27, 2012 at 3:44 pm |
    • PudninTane

      Hey, God makes the best primordial ooze going! Not to mention the best place for it and events leading up to it from the Big Bang...

      August 27, 2012 at 3:48 pm |
  7. KnowsMoreThanYou

    Science is a sin against God and humanity.

    August 27, 2012 at 3:43 pm |
    • ChristardMingle.com

      Troll, lol

      August 27, 2012 at 3:44 pm |
    • unless

      Is that sarcasm? I can't tell when people are kidding anymore.

      August 27, 2012 at 3:47 pm |
    • JoeyE

      wrong! God loves science and you know better than that! Why do God allow us to study science? to improve our quality of life, and technology that we need to survive..

      August 27, 2012 at 3:51 pm |
    • AScientist

      ...he/she writes on a computer/smart phone and transmits it via electronic data all over the globe in a fraction of a second...

      August 27, 2012 at 3:52 pm |
    • Emm

      What are you doing on a computer, then?

      August 27, 2012 at 3:52 pm |
  8. slason

    In America more people believe in Angels than Global Warming. We are not the smartest nation on the planet...by far.

    August 27, 2012 at 3:42 pm |
  9. I believe in God

    I just want to know who created her.

    August 27, 2012 at 3:42 pm |
    • Alan

      We did!

      August 27, 2012 at 3:48 pm |
  10. Alan

    Ah religion, created and believed in out of fear. Fear that there is nothing beyond the life one leads. Fear that death is the end. Created because life itself is too much to fathom. Why are we here? Who knows? Does it really matter? The fact is we are here and that is it. Accept it. Do not look for some deeper meaning.

    Thanks Bill Nye!

    August 27, 2012 at 3:42 pm |
    • Jeff O

      thanks for what? using religion as a scapegoat for our failure as a nation in math and science?

      August 27, 2012 at 3:48 pm |
    • YoozYerBrain

      I have a new name for Alan, he is now
      ALAN the UNAFRAID
      Thanks Alan, you said it clearly and concisely. Fight the Fear!

      August 27, 2012 at 4:00 pm |
  11. emdub

    what a ridiculous topic to even need to discuss in 2012, religion is willful ignorance and nothing more

    August 27, 2012 at 3:42 pm |
    • donna

      Excuse me, but when 46% of the population believe in creationism, I think it's something we ought to be talking about. And a lot more loudly than we are.

      August 27, 2012 at 3:50 pm |
    • baptiste6

      you are right. We should be talking loudly about how 46% of the population can be so misguided and uneducated.

      August 27, 2012 at 3:55 pm |
    • eAbyss

      That's 46% of the U.S. population. Practically everywhere else in the world, except Islamist countries, that number is closer to 20%.
      That kind of shows how backwards our country is.

      August 27, 2012 at 4:46 pm |
    • Scott_G

      He bud,
      I am a Religious Nut, as some would say, but I build homes, design heat systems even have a patient. I play the piano, been to college and read every day.
      I have loads of proof of creation and proof that evolution is a false theory.

      August 27, 2012 at 6:18 pm |
  12. frodo1008

    As a true Christian I have absolutely no problem with science stating that (in terms of our time) the Earth and the universe are indeed billions of years old. And what is truly remarkable is that the bible (if the so called evangelists would even bother to read the book) agrees with me. Two of the greatest figures in both the old testament and the new testament decidedly state this, as follows:

    2 Peter 3:8 But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.

    Psalm 90:4 For a thousand years in thy sight are but as yesterday when it is past, and as a watch in the night.

    So, both King Davis (who wrote the Psalms and St. Peter (who wrote II Peter) knew that God's time IS NOT our time. In fact if you use the same units (days) for both then God's time is some 365,000 time sour time at the very least!

    Remembering that if God is indeed the true creator of both time and space in our universe (as the bible certainly states God is) then time has absolutely no meaning to such a God. And therefore a day to God would not only be a thousand years, but could be just as easily the 13.7 billion of our years that science states is the age of the universe in OUR time. Heck, to such a God 100 trillion years could be a microsecond!!!

    Then there are those "creationists" that have come up with the relatively (to me as a true Christian at least) repugnant notion that God has deliberately made it "appear" that the universe is billions of our years old, when it is indeed truthfully only some 6,000 years old. But we go once again to the book that such people are supposed to believe in, and it states:

    Psalm 19:1 The heavens declare the glory of God;
    the skies proclaim the work of his hands.

    So, if we are to believe such a theological theory, then both the works of God;s hands, and His Glory would be a deceit!!

    Do much for that theory!

    By the way, I am also one of the 32% that believe in physical evolution as guided by the hand and mind of God!!

    August 27, 2012 at 3:41 pm |
    • Boing

      How do you know you're a 'true' Christian?

      August 27, 2012 at 3:43 pm |
    • John

      You know you're a True Christian® when you know that your intrepretation of the bible and of what it means to be a Christian is the right one and all the 100s of millions others are wrong.

      August 27, 2012 at 3:48 pm |
    • donna

      Ah- one of those "true Christians" who cherry-picks their bible. How are you doing with that Old Testament wisdom? Having fun raping your enemies' wives?

      August 27, 2012 at 3:51 pm |
    • CJ

      Yeah, you know second peter was one of the last books written, well after the first christians had died and jesus' prediction of the end of time , mark 9 v 1, had not happened. It was a way to deal with failed prophecy saying that well 'time is not like we understand time...' etc. And there is nothing in that about the world being billions of years of old. Nor anything about how we humans are 98 % genetically identical to chimpanzees, or what process causes stars to burn (nuclear fusion), or that diseases are caused by microscopic organisms. Not a word about that. That you think it informs anything about what we understand now about the world is astonishing and ignorant.

      August 27, 2012 at 4:02 pm |
    • yurp

      True christian with a name like Frodo...

      August 27, 2012 at 4:04 pm |
    • me109a

      Apparently the earth was flat so you could see all of it from one mountain once too!

      "Again the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. (Matthew 4:8)"

      August 27, 2012 at 4:17 pm |
    • Scott_G

      Frodo,
      I also am a Christian, very serious, read the bible every day etc...e tc...
      -
      I also can see what your saying, and it might be true, not that I think there has been an evolving world over 14 billion years, I think that is wrong, not science, and the fossil record does not show evolution, but it does show "introductions" of living things, but these things many still live today unchanged.
      -
      But, I also can agree with a 6000 year old earth because, no matter how you work it, there is always the question of what happened before, and before that, so, what does it matter if God created the first Atom or a tree fully grown with topsoil under it, which in itself suggests hundreds or millions of years of decay.
      -
      The big bang is false, and its clear to see that because no Bang, could send out stars 14 billion light years in just 14 billion years and we see light from them or could detect them. we should only be able to see the universe from a 7 billion year old stance, and that light would be getting to us now, but we see light from stars 14 billion light years away. and to get there they would have to be traveling double the speed of light ad the light traveling back double the speed of light to get to us, and if things are moving away from us at the speed of light light coming toward us would never reach us. A-B=zero movement in space in relation to us. (the big bang theory, expanding space etc. is a false theory.)
      -
      As for Evolution, like I said, there is no proof of evolution. there should only be transitional fossils, but they keep trying to find or say look this is a transitional fossil, but its not. one here one there.
      -
      The fact is, we have 400 million year old bugs, still living today in fossil records. No change, and that is remarkable, not the exception but the rule, from frogs to fish to bugs to birds, all unchanged.
      -
      So while I agree there seems to be a delay between each introduction, and some supernatural event killing some of them off etc. before the next stage, even that is muddy. (pun intended.)
      -
      Regardless. There is lots of reason to see Gods fingerprints all over just about everything. from Phi, to Pi.
      -–
      [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=videoseries&w=640&h=360]
      -–
      there are 39 vidoe's all proving God in some way or another.

      August 27, 2012 at 6:35 pm |
  13. aghast

    couple of detachable horns and a pitchfork and thats that splittn image of the devil himself

    August 27, 2012 at 3:41 pm |
    • Boing

      Or a beard, long hair, white robe and a halo and he's Jesus Christ.

      August 27, 2012 at 3:45 pm |
    • CJ

      put horns and a pitchfork on you and I think most would say you look like the 'devil' too. Get out of the bronze age. These are myths.

      August 27, 2012 at 3:46 pm |
    • Closet Atheist

      So... have you actually SEEN this "devil" that you speak of?? Is your jesus a bearded white guy also...??

      August 27, 2012 at 4:08 pm |
  14. The_Mick

    Creationists sin by assuming they can speak for God and that they know 1 day to be 24 hours (even without the Sun existing on the first day), that they know that God did employ a physical method (like evolution) to achieve His aims, etc. They claim to literally believe in the Bible even though Genesis gives two accounts of creation where everything is NOT in the same order and where woman is made differently in each case. They are NOT engaging in standard Christian belief. Virtually EVERY organized branch of Christianity recognizes the figurative nature of the creation stories and that evolution could have been involved.

    August 27, 2012 at 3:41 pm |
    • religion&politics

      You make an excellent point here and I completely agree. Why on earth could God have NOT used a method to accomplish his goals that we ourselves are only now starting to understand (i.e. evolution)??

      This makes God even more real to me, like how an understanding of chemistry can help explain how Jesus turned water into wine (I'm thinking he instructed the water atoms to arrange themselves into alcohol molecules, etc).

      Science and religion can certainly co-exist. I have yet to find a scientific "fact" that disproves my belief in God.

      August 27, 2012 at 4:08 pm |
    • me109a

      Hey religion, this is cool with me. Keep religion out of science class and we can keep science out of theology class. Deal?

      August 27, 2012 at 4:22 pm |
    • ScienceRules

      Um... water doesn't have any Carbon atoms (ehtanol: C2H6O)

      August 27, 2012 at 4:29 pm |
    • religion&politics

      @ScienceRules – they do if you move some protons and electrons around ... LOL ... silly example on my part anyways 😉

      August 27, 2012 at 8:58 pm |
  15. baptiste6

    It's sad that in the 21st century people are still arguing about the tooth fairy. Wake up America. The rest of the world is leaving us behind. One woulld think from the responses on here that we still burn witches at the stake. Maybe we should start burning tooth fairies too...

    August 27, 2012 at 3:41 pm |
  16. sophie

    This is so disturbing. You can be Christian and believe in science. I hate the fact that our political leaders use religion to control the masses. Are we going to follow them blindly? Now we are teaching our kids ignorance while the rest of the world laughs about the "stupid Americans". We need to teach Science, Math and critical thinking in our schools. If people want to teach creationism as part of a curriculum they should open their own schools that are NOT state funded. Creationism is NOT science in any shape or form. As a Christian I still believe in separation of church and state. It's the only thing keeping our country from turning into a theocracy.

    August 27, 2012 at 3:41 pm |
    • Burnell

      Here here I agree, I'm agnoistic but never understood the deep problem between religion and evolution, it seems to be more of a case of liiteralitist infecting believers that seems to be disturbing the balance.

      Probably a lack of understanding of what science is, and what religion is, two can coexist and have coexisted for a couple of centuries now, wonder what changed?

      August 27, 2012 at 4:46 pm |
  17. Sarah

    There is no "belief" in evolution. You either accept fact or are willfully ignorant.

    August 27, 2012 at 3:40 pm |
    • donna

      I disagree, accepting as fact is a form of belief. Our brains have been shaped by natural selection to constantly form beliefs, it's how we think and it's an inescapable process- that doesn't change just because what we believe is a fact.

      August 27, 2012 at 3:53 pm |
  18. TonyB

    These people are dumb as rocks coupled with their evangelical zeal. Morons.

    August 27, 2012 at 3:39 pm |
  19. YoozYerBrain

    As a rockhound I've found many examples in the field of stones that are ergonomically shaped to fit my hand as a tool, complete with finger indentations in all the right places, protrusions for hammering or scraping, really uncannily crafted and beautifully engineered. Except they were all verified as naturally formed. Not man-made. We've found so many that there is no argument no matter how compelling the form. We WANT them to be man-made because we find it hard to believe that nature can do that, impossible to believe with some of them! And yet, whether we can or want to believe it, nature made these perfectly complex forms.

    Just a small example of what nature is capable of. If you take the size of the galaxy alone, the probability-equation for the existence of planets with all of the conditions that made life possible on earth gives us a number that is too large to ignore. Sorry, nature can do things you might not believe, but it doesn't require a god or any supernatural power to do it. Just physics.

    FIGHT the fear you feel when you try NOT to believe the lies, and free yourself of that fear. The universe and nature is a sacred enough place in the world of physics that you don't actually need an Old-Man-In-The-Sky, but the priests need your money. So what's more important? The priest-class or humanity as a whole? Screw the priests, it's their turn, and please read history. The Old Testament is just another book. So is the Quran, Torah, etc etc... if you need a creation myth, try JRR Tolkiens Silmarillion, there's a great version of the Beginning there. Way more sacred than the killing and death in the screwed up Yahweh book...get out of the bronze age middle east already! Sad...

    August 27, 2012 at 3:39 pm |
    • Ryan

      I see your point that complex things can happen randomly without intelligent intervention. However this theory always requires an outside force or mechanism to be present. In the case of rocks that mechanism can be wind, water, other elements. You followed it to it's eventuality by saying that all that is needed is 'physics'. I take that to mean that you believe the laws of physics are existent and perfect.... always have been and always will be. Timeless, you could say? All powerful? They do in fact govern everything that happens in the universe and cannot be bent in the slightest. If you so freely believe in such a powerful force, how can you so casually dismiss the possibility of a timeless being that exists outside our perceivable universe? Or even one that is not timeless and came to be though a series of evolution-esque events. Surely if you believe we came about unaided, then any number of beings could have come about unaided in their own realms. I'm not saying this is proof of a creator, just that it is just as foolish to blindly believe science as it is to blindly believe creationism.

      August 27, 2012 at 4:39 pm |
  20. JP

    I think the belief that: "All you see here, in its amazingly complicated and beautiful forms, came about when gasses exploded and evolved over years and years" is a MUCH greater leap of faith than, "God created it all, and it's been evolving ever since."

    August 27, 2012 at 3:39 pm |
    • Sagian

      Yes... and the fact that we have actually identified planets being created in other solar systems be damned.

      August 27, 2012 at 3:42 pm |
    • Horus

      Except that it's not just a "belief'. There is evidence in fossil and soil records proving the evolution not just of species, but of this planet.

      August 27, 2012 at 3:42 pm |
    • BioGuy

      What you're really implying is "Its easier to accept what I've been told by an authority than to try to study and understand reality."
      Of course its easier to do that: Thought requires effort. I respect your laid-back approach to life, but we can't all be that lazy, can we? We'd still be banging stones together to make knives, watching most of our children die of disease and predators, and dying of injuries and infections before our 40th birthday.

      August 27, 2012 at 3:48 pm |
    • theshoeminator

      You are the type of person that Mr. Nye is talking about.

      August 27, 2012 at 4:05 pm |
    • drivennail

      You can also say that God was formed from hot gasses and coalesced into an intelligent being, who then created (invented) time.

      August 27, 2012 at 5:46 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.