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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. sunpacific

    It is amazing that some here have posted that there is no proof for evolution: we can't make you believe that which you will not at any cost. The proof of evolution lies in the very cells of each and every living creature on the planet.

    This quote from Isaac Asimov sums up the Creationist stance for me: “Anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that 'my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.'"

    August 27, 2012 at 4:49 pm |
  2. Dyslexic doG

    Rather than inculcating our children with the primary-color simple Sunday school legends and myths most people do, might I suggest the following ten comandments to enable them to think for themselves.

    1. DO NOT automatically believe something just because a parent, priest, rabbi or minister tells you that you must.
    2. DO NOT think that claims about magic and the supernatural are more likely true because they are written in old books. That makes them less likely true.
    3. DO analyze claims about religion with the same critical eye that you would claims about money, political positions or social issues.
    4. DO NOT accept it when religious leaders tell you it is wrong to question, doubt or think for yourself. It never is. Only those selling junk cars get frightened when you want to "look under the hood".
    5. DO decouple morality from a belief in the supernatural, in any of its formulations (Christianity, Judaism, Islam etc.). One can be moral without believing in gods, ghosts and goblins and believing in any of them does not make one moral.
    6. DO a bit of independent research into whatever book you were brought up to believe in. Who are its authors and why should I believe them in what they say? How many translations has it gone through? Do we have originals, or only edited copies of copies of copies– the latter is certainly true for every single book in the Bible.
    7. DO realize that you are only a Christian (or Hindu or Jew) because of where you were born. Were you lucky enough to be born in the one part of the World that “got it right”?
    8. DO NOT be an apologist or accept the explanation “your mind is too small to understand the greatness of god” or “god moves in mysterious ways” when you come upon logical inconsistencies in your belief. A retreat to mysticism is the first refuge of the cornered wrong.
    9. DO understand where your religion came from and how it evolved from earlier beliefs to the point you were taught it. Are you lucky enough to be living at that one point in history where we “got it right”?
    10. DO educate yourself on the natural Universe, human history and the history of life on Earth, so as to be able to properly evaluate claims that a benevolent, mind-reading god is behind the whole thing.

    I sometimes think that, if we first taught our children these simple guidelines, any religion or other supernatural belief would be quickly dismissed by them as quaint nostalgia from a bygone era. I hope we get there as a species

    August 27, 2012 at 4:49 pm |
  3. God

    I'm tired of republicans twisting my son's teachings to support their selfisness so I'm sending a hurrican to get rid of them all.

    August 27, 2012 at 4:49 pm |
    • GodNotReligion

      LOL!
      Here in TX, Rick Perry held a prayer meeting last summer to pray for rain. One day later, God set TX on fire.

      August 27, 2012 at 4:52 pm |
    • just a John

      Useless mammary, you missed by miles, not much in your domain, I suppose. How are things going in the Phoenix cluster of galaxies, a couple of hunderd thousand new galaxies to look after, so I guess I will have to forgive you, must be busy.

      August 27, 2012 at 4:54 pm |
    • vahellbilly

      I agree to a point, but the liberal-mind in education is as fantasy filled as the conservative one is... What should be going on in schools, universties and the media is what's called "unbiased and balanced".

      Unfortunatley, this will never occur as humanity is too focused on political agendas, prejudice (real and perceived) and religious fundamentalism/extremism to be concerned with unbiased and factual thinking.

      August 27, 2012 at 4:57 pm |
  4. GodNotReligion

    I like the idea of following what Jesus said but leaving religion behind. I can believe in scientific theory and evolution and still believe in a universal power that connects it all as well as a man who probably existed and may or may not be divine. It was his message that was awesome and that's what brainwashed religious nut-bags keep forgetting. The most judgmental, hateful people I know are super religious Bible thumpers who can't think for themselves and keep forgetting to love their neighbors.

    August 27, 2012 at 4:48 pm |
    • save the world and slap some sense into a christard today!

      And that's where agnostics and people who believe in christ as a spiritual savior can sometimes find enough common ground to get along well, but like you said, well I will say it my way: extremism is high.

      August 27, 2012 at 4:54 pm |
  5. Dyslexic doG

    Christians feel insulted and "dehumanized" when scientists say that people evolved from other life forms, but you have no problem with the Biblical claim that we were created from dirt. What a laugh.

    August 27, 2012 at 4:48 pm |
    • GodNotReligion

      Not only that but we were all descendants of Adam and Eve? Well, they had children and then, um, well the children must have had children with each other. Then we're all products of incest!

      August 27, 2012 at 4:50 pm |
  6. David Nelson

    So easy to call people crazy who diagree with you isn't it Bill? The evolution loving Communists of the USSR were certainly agreeable people too now weren't they Bill? This tiresome bashing of Christians as unknowledgable simpletons was tired 50 years ago. Yet Bill beats the same dead horse. Yep, the world of Aspertaime, Agent Orange, GMOs, Prozac, and guided nuclear weapons is really wonderful isn't it Bill? Isn't science wonderful?

    August 27, 2012 at 4:47 pm |
    • just a John

      The computer and email you are using should be replaced by the pony express?

      August 27, 2012 at 4:49 pm |
    • exlonghorn

      David, please describe the cause and effect relationship between communism and Atheism.

      Also, you kindly cherry-pick a couple negative outcomes of modern science. Just like actual scientific evidence of evolution, I guess you're also willing to ignore...

      Dialysis machines
      Gene therapy
      Modern vaccines
      Open Heart surgery
      Transplant surgery
      Brain surgery
      Skin Grafts
      Cancer treatments
      Joint replacements
      Endoscopic surgery
      MRI's, PET scans, and NMR scans
      The Hubble telescope
      Wi-Fi
      IPods
      Flat screen televisions
      Airbags
      Safer food and better water purification
      And I could go on for a few hours, but that would be rubbing it in.

      August 27, 2012 at 4:54 pm |
    • Catca

      Yet you offer no rebuttal to evolution or the fact that the mountain of evidence supporting the theory of evolution. Bill Nye is not taking issues with adults who wish to believe in creationism. What he is taking issue with is the Christian lobby on state educational boards, particularly in states like Texas, to cover creationism in schools when there isn't scientific evidence to lend credence to the theory. I don't think anyone would object to creationism being covered in a religion class, but they are trying to take valuable time away from the science curriculum to cover a theory that has no scientific support. Even students aren't confused between evolution and creationism, they are losing valuable teaching time that could be spent on building core scientific literacy. If Christain's didn't inject themselves in the political process like that, they wouldn't be targets.

      August 27, 2012 at 4:57 pm |
    • Realist

      It's laughable the seriousness with which you argue for a fairy tale. I really can't get my head around the fact that we in the United States, in the 21st century, still believe in 3000-year-old mythology. It's shameful.

      August 27, 2012 at 5:00 pm |
    • Locker

      Gee David it sure is easy to completely ignore the point and make up a bunch of stuff you don't like about science. Why don't I list all of the damage, people killed and suffering spread in the name of religion and we can compare it.

      Sure will help you avoid the fact that you believe in a big dead guy in the sky instead of actual evidence you can see, measure, touch and repeat.

      August 27, 2012 at 5:10 pm |
  7. Barry G.

    Bill,

    How well do you understand higher (literary) and lower (form) criticism?

    How much do you know about the structure of the book of Genesis?

    What do you know suppose the author(s) of Genesis were making vis-a-vis the creation and flood accounts of the Ancient Near East (e.g., Epic of Gilgamesh, Enuma Elish, etc.)?

    Pleas tell me. Surely you know these matters?

    August 27, 2012 at 4:46 pm |
  8. Steve

    Is it possible they are both correct? The only difference in the two is the time involved. The steps are the same! How would God (everlasting and eternal) explain to a human with a finite life, how he created life. Man could not have understood the concept of time and many still do not. God simply said (day one, he created the heavans and the earth) Day 2 the sun formed and the planets started rotating creating day and night.... and so on. EXACTLY as the bible and evolution says it happened. ONLY time is different.

    August 27, 2012 at 4:46 pm |
    • TheTruth72

      I think you are putting God in a box. If God is all powerful, then He can definitely create anything in any amount of time He wants. Plus, there is so much proof that evolution is a lie that it leaves the answer of truth right in front of you. Don't believe me, go research it yourself.

      August 27, 2012 at 4:51 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @theTruth (LOL sure)

      And what is your "proof" that evolution is a "lie" (like it's some big conspiracy by those evil secular scientists LOL).

      August 27, 2012 at 4:53 pm |
    • exlonghorn

      Steve....not quite. One day A PERSON WROTE "God created the heavens and the earth". Actually, that's not even true because that is a translation. God never said or did anything that we can prove. God's existence is 100% hearsay.

      August 27, 2012 at 4:58 pm |
    • ME II

      It is not the same actually, besides "morning" and "evening" happening before the sun existed, the Genesis story has birds showing up before land animals and plants showing up before the sun or land animals, neither of which is correct, according to the evidence to date.

      August 27, 2012 at 4:58 pm |
    • ME II

      Sorry, that should be "fruit bearing land plants before land animals"

      August 27, 2012 at 4:59 pm |
    • Arthur

      That is the thinking of the 32% that believe in creation guided by God. I am one of those.

      August 27, 2012 at 5:01 pm |
  9. Bob Christian (aka: Christian Bob)

    BE TRUE FREE THINKERS !!!
    * Please don't be Darwin Dummies !!!
    * Precious human life did NOT come from slime or monkeys. (See http://www.AnswersInGenesis.org)
    * To be a TRUE Free Thinker, you need to refrain from having closed-end minds (otherwise, you come across as "Mental Midgets").

    August 27, 2012 at 4:46 pm |
    • t3chn0ph0b3

      You're funny!

      August 27, 2012 at 4:46 pm |
    • ME II

      From the AIG 'Statement of Faith' page:

      "By definition, no apparent, perceived or claimed evidence in any field, including history and chronology, can be valid if it contradicts the scriptural record. Of primary importance is the fact that evidence is always subject to interpretation by fallible people who do not possess all information."

      August 27, 2012 at 4:50 pm |
    • Tim in TX

      Yes, believe what Ken Ham, the failed biologist from down under wants you to believe. By the way, he has a lot of products he wants you to buy on his website. Beside, I don't think Ken should be the one making the point against evolution since he looks like a chimp. AinG is completely wrong biblically and scientifically.

      August 27, 2012 at 4:56 pm |
  10. TheTruth72

    I had the fortunate (maybe unfortunate) opportunity to have Bill Nye walk into my Astronomy class back in college around 2005. It definitely was an interesting experience. But I have to tell you that a lot of the stuff Bill says here in this article is just opinion and he's trying to force a conclusion on people based upon that. Evolution has never been proven. It's still a theory, and a bad one at that. If you look at any evidence for your self, evolution can be easily disproved. Go check out Kent Hovind on YouTube and watch him actually give sources and proof in creation. It takes more faith to believe in evolution than it does to believe that God created everything.

    I also dislike how this article assumes that all creationists are Christian. This article seems more like propaganda.

    August 27, 2012 at 4:45 pm |
    • Jeff O

      Low hanging fruit... Bill doesn't want a Fatwa on him.. and certainly doesn't want to challenge teachers unions, etc...
      Other Countries are beating us in math and science and have a larger religious component...The emperor has no clothes.

      August 27, 2012 at 4:48 pm |
    • SciGuy

      Hmmm.......Was that an Astronomy class or an Astrology class of yours?

      August 27, 2012 at 4:55 pm |
    • ME II

      There is plenty of evidence for evolution:
      Fossils like Ambulocetus, Tiktaalik, Archeoptyrx, etc.
      Biogeography like marsupials, peguins, etc.
      Genetics like Endogenous Retroviruses (ERVs), Human Chorosome-2, etc.
      Experiments like Richard Lenski's long term e.coli experiment http://myxo.css.msu.edu/ecoli/

      Just to name a few..

      August 27, 2012 at 4:55 pm |
    • SciGuy

      You do not understand what a scientific theory is........And you were in a science class?!!

      August 27, 2012 at 4:57 pm |
  11. Jason K

    1. Evolution is a theory, it cannot be proven, and therefore is not a scientific law by its own standards.
    2. If there is no God, life after, whatever you want to call it, what does it matter if those future kids are bible thumpers or scientists? In the end the heat death of the universe will still end all existance...eventually.

    So, without any belief/faith/trust in something else, what real drive is there for man? I don't care if you're athiest, agnostic, spiritual, or religious, let people live the way they want. Stop forcing the "religion" of science on people. Its just another system of rules that tell you how to live your lives. Some of them are true, and some of them are not proven...just like any religious scripture.

    August 27, 2012 at 4:45 pm |
    • Allen

      In science, the term "theory" refers to "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." Wikipedia. Looking up, not hard

      August 27, 2012 at 4:47 pm |
    • NOT MY CHAIR

      gravity is a theory, so its not law but i dont see any one flying away

      August 27, 2012 at 4:48 pm |
    • stormchaser1983

      1. evolution is a fact. Just like gravity is a fact. Because both are not observable directly, experimental and theoretical results help state the fact. in scientific terms, this is called a theory. An idea proven by experiments and measurements.
      2. God created the world and works his magic to this day via evolution, an incredible process. u can sing glories to jesus for coming up with something quite fantastic.

      August 27, 2012 at 4:49 pm |
    • hj

      Jason... please re-examine your understanding of theory and law. Laws are parts of theories. The law of heredity is now part of evolutionary theory. Theory is the absolute strongest "thing" you can have in science.

      August 27, 2012 at 4:51 pm |
    • ahren

      Sounds like a bunch of Scientists having "faith" in something they can't directly prove to me.

      August 27, 2012 at 4:51 pm |
    • ReasonableXX

      The problem is when religion is used as a basis for decisions and laws. That is why we want less religion and more education. Children who are taught that religion is more correct than science will not compete in a global job market when other country's teach their children facts. Political leaders who make laws that impact our lives and the planet should be doing so based on rational examination of the facts not outdated religious ideology.

      August 27, 2012 at 4:55 pm |
    • ahren

      I don't get why you atheists insist on trying to separate christians from science, wasn't Issac Newton who was deeply religious a scientist?

      August 27, 2012 at 4:56 pm |
    • ReasonableXX

      Ahren, stop repeating this idiotic arguement. Everyone was religious in Newton's time. They didn't know what we know. If he was alive today, he would most certainly not be a creationist.

      August 27, 2012 at 4:58 pm |
    • ahren

      You don't know that, and to imply something like that is idiotic.

      August 27, 2012 at 4:59 pm |
    • ahren

      So don't try and take credit for what a Christian like Newton did.

      August 27, 2012 at 5:00 pm |
    • Allen

      Actually a hypothesis came first. A theory is used to test a hypothesis. In science established truths are called laws, they are observable and undeniable. The theory of evolution can never be proved or disproved (no more or less that religion). The theory of evolution will be around until a)it is disproved b) any other theory replaces it. Laymen say the"theory of gravity," but in science it is called the law of gravity, as it is undeniable and measurable.

      August 27, 2012 at 5:01 pm |
    • W. R. Martin

      Sorry, Jason. What you wrote isn't even wrong!
      F minus minus.
      Please do try again. The fact that you seem old enough to write and have Internet access is quite frightening. Your entire post is nothing but argument from ignorance. Classic and very, very old, and not at all original ignorance.
      Hint: Gravity is a Theory.

      August 27, 2012 at 5:21 pm |
  12. john vance

    I am fascinated by the remarkable degree of black and white on this issue. Even the hot-button items like abortion, guns, gays seem to elicit a lot of ambivalent responses. "I don't like this but..." or "I'm in favor of that however..." Everyone seems to be remarkably decisive with very little wiggle room when discussing evolution.

    August 27, 2012 at 4:45 pm |
    • NOT MY CHAIR

      the others are ideas about morality and what people view as reality this arguing evolution with a creationist arguing the theory of gravity with some one.

      August 27, 2012 at 4:51 pm |
  13. Dyslexic doG

    46% of Americans believe in creationism. What an embarrassment to the 21st century!

    August 27, 2012 at 4:45 pm |
    • Michelle

      It is a huge embarrassment. Especially for America, go somewhere else in the world and tell someone you are American. You will be met with laughter. I am shocked almost half of the US population believe in that crap.

      August 27, 2012 at 4:47 pm |
    • Matt

      Have you ever traveled before? Because people just ask what I think of our country. They don't laugh at me. They welcome me with open arms and listen. Weird...

      August 27, 2012 at 4:59 pm |
    • Antonio

      The Catholic Religion in Latin Countries equals about 95 percent.

      I live in a Latin Country. Very few go to church until someone gets married or dies. FACT!

      Very few are turning to "god" for prayer! FACT!

      And less are believing in that silly book! FACT!

      And more and more are turning to the sky and looking for the "aliens" that visited and are probably visiting now.

      Creationism is dying in Latin Countries. FACT!

      And the girls here are hot hot hot.

      August 27, 2012 at 5:00 pm |
  14. Dinesh Sharma

    Its funny – Creationists find it unbelievable that life could have appeared out of "mindless matter" but at the same time they believe that a creator so complex that he is capable of creating the whole universe could have appeared out of – where? If you can believe in the existence of a creator, you can as well believe in the creation of life from just molecules.

    August 27, 2012 at 4:45 pm |
    • ahren

      So you have "faith" that what you say is true, how interesting.

      August 27, 2012 at 4:45 pm |
    • donna

      Ahren, having faith means forming beliefs without evidence. So believing that you are right, based on the evidence, isn't having faith that you are right.

      August 27, 2012 at 4:51 pm |
    • ahren

      That depends on what you call evidence. Evidence to some fallacy to others.

      August 27, 2012 at 4:54 pm |
    • Gods_in_the_math

      Faith is not solely the domain of the Religious, I'm a Bears fan I have Faith they are going to the playoffs this year, however that does not mean they will, just that I in my heart believe it is possible. Scientists are allowed faith, that is how hypotheses are formed, however that faith is then either backed by the evidence or disproven again by the evidence. Evidence should not be pulled from a single source, but multiple experiments and observations to allow for your belief to be proven. Faith is a means to an end, it is not the end.

      August 27, 2012 at 7:57 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      Depends on which myriad of definitions you are using for faith. Faith when it is normally talked about with regards to religion, is not the faith that would apply to sitting on a chair and having faith it's going to hold.

      August 27, 2012 at 8:00 pm |
  15. ahren

    Yeah shame on Sir Issac Newton for holding us back....

    August 27, 2012 at 4:44 pm |
    • ahren

      That Christian scientist, what did he know anyway?

      August 27, 2012 at 4:49 pm |
  16. leroy

    he kinda looks like an obamarangatang..........

    August 27, 2012 at 4:44 pm |
  17. polycarp pio

    Gee if Bill Nye says it so it must be so. I mean his books were written by more authoritive men then my book. I guess I will just have to throw my faith away since Bill Nye the SCIENCE GUY says it aint so. Another repobate scientist who hopes he is right, an unwitting pawn in the hands of satan. Bill repent and be reconciled to God through Jesus Christ. By the way bill those of us who know the bible know the earth is BILLIONS OF YEARS OLD, BILLIONS bILL NOT 6000 TO 10,000. pp

    August 27, 2012 at 4:44 pm |
    • Jason K

      You're not helping your cause... Besides, repentence doesn't bring one to Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ brings those that the father has given him. Repentence is an evidence of faith, not a precursor.

      August 27, 2012 at 4:47 pm |
  18. Kandi

    Keep praying to your god for rain. The easter bunny was a book, santa claus was a book and those little ferries that fly around in your brains...they were a book too.

    Keep living in fear and go to your church and give, give, give to your minister so he can abuse your children. That is the way of your god.

    I believe in Radamet Falcao and his futbol team will beat Chelsea Friday!

    August 27, 2012 at 4:44 pm |
  19. UncleJohn

    All theories and beliefs of origins are just sounds humans make to explain away the darkness.

    August 27, 2012 at 4:43 pm |
  20. Mike

    All you dog owners out there- ALL dogs are descendents of wolves, and look at the variety that exists today. This happened in a VERY SHORT TIME geologically speaking.

    August 27, 2012 at 4:43 pm |
    • donna

      And before anyone says it: Yes deliberate breeding of dogs by humans is a part of evolutionary processes. It's no less natural than eating the fruit from a tree and leaving the stems.

      August 27, 2012 at 4:49 pm |
    • Allen

      Actually there is no evolution to a wolf becoming a dog. They can mate and have off spring they are on the same evolutionary tree.

      August 27, 2012 at 5:06 pm |
    • donna

      Allen, maybe you should recheck your definition of "evolution," but it doesn't just entail speciation.
      Evolution occurs whenever there is a change in allele (gene) frequencies in a population, which happens whenever things are born or die (or become sterile). Speciation occurs when changes result in reproductive isolation.

      August 27, 2012 at 6:19 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.