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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. Human, Like You

    Evolution happens all the time all around us.
    Models of the universe are everywhere.

    Just look at what some cells can do in 9 months.
    Then we die and evolve into soil.
    Then the soil evolves into food.
    People eat the food and make more babies.

    We are the universe. The universe is us.
    Duh.

    August 27, 2012 at 4:55 pm |
  2. ngc1300

    A wag once observed that England sent all of her criminals to Australia, and all of her religious malcontents to America, and wondered if Australia hadn't got the better deal.

    August 27, 2012 at 4:54 pm |
  3. ArthurP

    Speaking of Intelligent Design:

    What is so intelligent about putting the sew outflows in the middle of the playground?

    August 27, 2012 at 4:54 pm |
  4. Phil

    Arguing against the beliefs of the faithful is futile.

    August 27, 2012 at 4:53 pm |
  5. A Mom

    It is easier to believe that God created the earth and everything in it in 6 days than to believe there is no God, it is all some marvelous accident, that man developed over billions and billions of years out of a cess pool. Bill, perhaps you can explain where that first spark of life came from?

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

      Learn some chemistry and you will see that it was not a 'real accident'.

      August 27, 2012 at 4:55 pm |
    • religion; a way to control the weak minded

      "It is easier to believe that God created the earth and everything in it in 6 days than to believe there is no God, it is all some marvelous accident, that man developed over billions and billions of years out of a cess pool. "

      Congratulations on taking the easy road and easy explanations for the world and universe.

      August 27, 2012 at 4:57 pm |
    • M.E.

      Actually it was quite literally a spark, lightening to be exact. If you zap the right chemicals and elements when they happen to be intermingled with one another anyway, they can and will do funny things. Suddenly you get amino acids, the building blocs for life. When the atmosphere is full of charged particles courtesy of volcanic eruptions (I've sure you've seen incredible photos of volcanic lightening) it's not much to ask for a bolt to strike the right spot, there were plenty going everywhere anyway.

      August 27, 2012 at 5:04 pm |
    • PhD

      He isn't denying the existance of God. As a scientist and as a Christian, I only see my belief in God being strengthened by the beautiful organization of the molecular world. What I have a problem with is christians who limit the ability of God to create everything in 6 days (as it was most easily understood when the bible was written), instead of understanding his omnipotence of being able to create the world however he damn well pleases whether it be from a cess pool or instantly from darkness. As scientists we've seen that God created from a single spark that expanded into galaxies and over millions of years evolved into life, how much more magnificent is that than just magically making things appear. It makes you understand the infinite wisdom and patience that went into our creation.

      August 27, 2012 at 5:05 pm |
    • A thinker

      Easier does not equal right. It can be scary not to have all the answers. But I don't see how making up answers (or following someone else's made up answers in the case of the bible) does anything for you. It may give you a sense of security, but it doesn't provide answers or move the collective knowledge of society forward.

      August 27, 2012 at 5:07 pm |
  6. Dyslexic doG

    Evolution – 95% proven
    Creationism – 0% proven

    All you knuckleheads who say evolution is not proven need to read the endless proof that is readily available anywhere outside a christian bookstore.

    America has become the laughing stock of the modern world. What an embarrassment!

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

      You could leave at any time.

      August 27, 2012 at 4:58 pm |
    • Rod IMBEAU

      Very well said !!

      August 27, 2012 at 5:01 pm |
  7. forgodsake

    One phrase should be able to solve your pathetic discriminatory battle.

    The right for FREEDOM of religion

    That phrase last I checked meant that regardless of what the person believes in means they are free to do so without persacution and ridicule. I am ashamed that all of these people would fight for their own rights but not recognize the rights of others.

    Just because someone believes in creationism does not make them an uneducated fool. If you were truly educated in science you would know that most of the other theories like being spawn from primordial ooze and the big bang theory are just that THEORIES!!! No real scientific proof either way.

    To call yourself educated you have to have the facts from either side and unfortunately most of you do not. You critcize others for picking out parts of the bible they choose to believe in when your arguments are built in the same fashion.

    Stupidity is all over this post. As an American you have no right to criticize, demean, insult and discriminate against anyone for their religious beliefs and if you do than I pity you because you have no comprehension of the word freedom.

    For the record I am of the 32% that believe evolution is guided by God. Because there is just as much proof for that as there is the Big Bang theory.

    August 27, 2012 at 4:53 pm |
    • Dyslexic doG

      Evolution is 95% proven
      Creationism is 0% proven

      All you knuckleheads who say evolution is not proven need to read the endless proof that is readily available anywhere outside a christian bookstore.

      America has become the laughing stock of the modern world. What an embarrassment!

      August 27, 2012 at 4:54 pm |
    • TravisL12

      Just so it's clear. Evolution does not describe the beginning of life. That process is called Abiogenesis, and it isn't what we're talking about here. Just making sure we're all on the same page.

      August 27, 2012 at 4:57 pm |
    • T Rock

      Mr. Nye is asking that our children be taught science not fairy tales. Freedom FROM religion works the same as freedom of religion.

      August 27, 2012 at 5:02 pm |
    • mandarus

      Regardless of your chosen beliefs, there is evidence to support these 'theories'. How much evidence is there to support the existence of your God? When God waves his hand goodbye to me as I descend into Hell, I'll be happy to admit I might have been mistaken.

      August 27, 2012 at 5:03 pm |
    • Joe

      UGH! Whever anyone tries to back up Creationism by saying that Evolution is just a theory, it makes me want to slam my head against the wall. When you say something like that, it just shows how INCREDIBLY ignorant you are about science.

      Try Wikipedia for a change: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientific_theory

      Scientific Theory represents scientific fact. NOT speculation.

      August 27, 2012 at 5:04 pm |
    • bmb88

      ok but the point is that school's should be teaching evolution to kids instead of repressing it because of religious beliefs.

      August 27, 2012 at 5:05 pm |
    • Dudus57

      Think very hard about your comment and take your own advice. How long has freedom of religion also served as a right to persecute the non-religious. And how often does the church stand up and say, "Oh wait just one second! Those people have a RIGHT to think differently then us. Our religion most certainly does not not insist its spread over the world, leave them alone. They are allowed to think the way they want and we have no reason to disapprove" Yeah... right.

      So before you go bashing the non-believers clean your own house of those who force your beliefs. So omitting the religious concept completely, what gives you your right to propagate your beliefs and not us? Nobody is infringing on your right, we're voice our opinion, "ridiculous" just as you do, "converted".

      Religion tends to skit the law as a right, but I have the right to fight back with my "religion", non-belief, which is just as righteous and effort worthy as you believe yours.

      August 27, 2012 at 5:08 pm |
    • jackeer

      Actually, private citizens have every right to belittle and ridicule the faith of others if they so choose. The Bill of Rights initially only applied to the federal government and requires that the government not sponsor or make laws that regulate or dictate faith. It was then incorporated into the states, which now can't make laws regulating faith either. To say that individuals (private citizens) don't have a right to say things against Christianity is just silly and shows a fundamental lack of understanding about our government and your rights. Please pick up a freaking book and read it. In other words, check again.

      August 27, 2012 at 5:08 pm |
    • Dudus57

      Wait.... this has to be a troll. What "righteous" follower would "take the lord's name in vain" as their user id. Busted?

      August 27, 2012 at 5:12 pm |
  8. See ThruIt2

    Denial of Evolution is not unique to the U.S. It's just rare in other parts of the world where they behead their nay-sayers.

    August 27, 2012 at 4:52 pm |
  9. Human, Like You

    Evolution happens all the time all around us.
    Models of the universe are everywhere.
    Just look at what a cell can do in 9 months.
    Then we dies and evolve into soil.
    Then the soil evolves into food.
    We are the universe. The universe is us.
    Duh.

    August 27, 2012 at 4:52 pm |
    • Micheal Valentine Smith

      Grok

      August 27, 2012 at 5:01 pm |
  10. leroy

    just one look at that ugly mug and there is no doubt he came from a pile of prehistoric poo p

    August 27, 2012 at 4:52 pm |
  11. Allen

    What's at stake here isn't Atheism versus a belief in God, gods, or a creative force or whatever. It's simply that evolution is basic science, it's practically the cornerstone of Biology. Without it biology is just "observations about the behavior of critters", anatomy, and advanced animal husbandry.

    Rejection of evolution is monumentally stupid. Especially when it is in defense of a creation story that has a friggin talking snake in it, come on people.

    August 27, 2012 at 4:52 pm |
    • Realist

      I agree with you, except for the phrase "it's practically the cornerstone of biology." Evolution IS the foundation upon which modern biology is built. Without it, biology makes no sense.

      I would add that in order for there NOT to be evolution, you must have a perfect copy process every time. Every cell in your body must replicate perfectly–every time–and every sperm and egg must replicate perfectly with each conception. But in fact, what we find in nature is just the opposite: there has never been witnessed a perfect replication. There are ALWAYS errors. And errors are CHANGE. I believe that if Christians actually understood what they are proposing by denying evolution–that the replication process is perfect every time, that each new offspring is a perfect copy of its parents–they would at once say, "Well, no, of course it's not perfect every time...of course there are errors." Well, errors are change. And when you get change, there will be some beneficial changes and some harmful changes. The organisms lucky enough to develop (or, more likely, inherit) the beneficial changes will have more offspring. Thus, over generations, they will out breed their neighbors who lack the beneficial changes, and they will come to characterize the species, as their neighbors' genes disappear through being out bred.

      Evolution is as simple as that. And it is undeniable to anyone who cares to pull their head out of the sand. It's going on in your body right now, and the end product will one day be cancer, if you are lucky to live long enough.

      August 27, 2012 at 7:06 pm |
  12. John-117

    Bill Nye isn't even a scientist. He's a television personality.He no more qualified to talk about his subject than a Walmart cashier.

    August 27, 2012 at 4:52 pm |
    • ME II

      However, even a cashier should understand that Creationism doesn't hold water.

      August 27, 2012 at 5:02 pm |
    • tiredtraveller

      There are many of us at various stores throughout the country that have to feed our families by working at positions like this, so I think it's safe to assume you're not as bright as you'd like us to believe. I have two masters and have three IT certifications yet I have NO PROBLEM working at Target, the closest retail chain we have here, so F- off to those, like yourself who feel "beneath" the cashier – and never turn your back on us again: 5 years in the Army taught many of us an awful lot about "anatomy".

      August 27, 2012 at 6:19 pm |
  13. tony

    Any one notice how the Collection Plate has evolved over the centuries, and is now something you can fill on-line, with a credit card?

    August 27, 2012 at 4:52 pm |
  14. Savid the dentist

    Stop!!! You're both right! It's two mints in one.

    August 27, 2012 at 4:52 pm |
  15. pdough

    Galileo was persecuted in the 15th century by the Church for his heliocentric theory. It's now been turned on its head – Christians are now being persecuted by secular humanists (read atheistic liberal socialists) because of their beliefs – by people like Bill Nye, who essentially assert that to encourage a child to believe in anything other than evolution is a form of child abuse. The appeal and implications of Nye's deplorable logic are obvious. An inquisition 400 years later is still an inquisition.

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

      The child is both an atheist and logical, unless a screwed up adult gets to pump religious nonsense into him (or a less respected her)

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

      @ tony – spoken like a true rabid atheisic socialist.

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

      To deliberately deny a child the right of access to the facts of civilization, and to a intellectually honest education, in favor of some preferred yet demonstrably false dogma is child abuse. It is abuse in the same way that denying your child access to medical attention, because you believe in the efficacy of intercessory prayer is abuse.

      August 27, 2012 at 5:02 pm |
    • ME II

      @pdough,
      The difference being that Galileo's idea could tested and validated by anyone with the proper equipment and know-how, i.e. scientific evidence.

      August 27, 2012 at 5:07 pm |
    • pdough

      @Adam – to discount a faith by asserting child abuse because its basic tenants contradict prevailing secular empirical observation is dehumanizing and hate filled. The argument that there is some sort of equivalent to access to medical attention vs. intercessory prayer is malevolent and extreme.

      August 27, 2012 at 5:14 pm |
    • ME II

      @pbough,
      How are accusations of child abuse, dehumanizing? Abuse is a human capacity, I think. Perhaps you mean demonizing.

      August 27, 2012 at 5:19 pm |
    • Realist

      If you are ignorant, you should be told you are ignorant. How else are you going to realize that your worldview is wrong. If you take that as persecution, then it simply shows how stubborn and inflexible you are. It takes courage to admit that you're wrong, and, sadly, most Christians lack that courage.

      August 27, 2012 at 7:14 pm |
  16. ArthurP

    Life is just an ongoing chemical process that started, on this planet, about 2 billion or so years ago. Ergo you are not special, nobody is. So grow up and deal with it.

    August 27, 2012 at 4:51 pm |
  17. Greg R

    I don't know if there is a "God" but maybe "He" is just responsible for the Big Bang and then hung out waiting to see how it turned out. If you're an immortal, omnipotent being, you maybe get bored and try creating universes once in a while. I also subscribe to the Gary Larson cartoon version showing God experimenting in his bedroom as a child. That's funny.

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

      Welcome to Atheism! No certainty required.

      August 27, 2012 at 4:54 pm |
    • ME II

      @Adam,
      Yeah!

      August 27, 2012 at 5:04 pm |
    • Realist

      Here's the kicker: the Judeo-Christian God is IMPOSSIBLE! You nearly hit the target. Here it is: If God knows everything, then everything must include the future–even his own future actions. So once he has decided how the universe will be, and once he has created it, he can never interact with it again, except as some kind of Shakespearean play actor. He can't make decisions because he cannot change his mind. If he were going to change his mind, he would have known ahead of time, and then it wouldn't be a change of mind. So God can never be angry (he predicted whatever event supposedly makes him so), or disappointed, or surprised. So prayer cannot possibly work, even if there IS a God. After all, God cannot change his mind. He could PRETEND to change his mind. But then what kind of hokey play-acting God would he be. "I knew you daughter was going to get cancer, and I knew you were going to pray to me, and I knew I was going to pretend to change my mind and take the cancer away...but since I knew all of these things ahead of time, I never really changed my mind."

      It's just silly. And why would a being who could create the universe need to be reassured by the worship of a lowly creature that he created. That would be like me creating a computer program to tell me how great I am. And I would derive absolutely no real joy from that, so why would God get joy from being worshipped by the beings he supposedly created and told to worship him? And why doesn't he take the blame for creating creatures that didn't mind very well (Adam and Eve)? He created them–he should take responsibility. None of this creationist baloney makes a bit of sense when you examine it.

      August 27, 2012 at 7:24 pm |
  18. vahellbilly

    Faith is not fact...

    The Torah/Old Testament are rip-offs from ancient Sumerian lore and mythology, speaking of. Ancient Astronaut theories hold more weight and have roots on all continents within many cultures and various times in human history.

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

      Must cite sources. The moon is made of cheese – heard it somewhere.

      August 27, 2012 at 4:52 pm |
  19. Tim in TX

    I am a Christian, but I am also a PhD scientist. I think and believe evolution is right on the money. Do I pay for this belief from fellow Christian? Yes. I have all but stopped going to church because of fundamentalist that know very little of science and the bible, but yet they want to be experts on everything every Sunday. Good for you Bill. You are right and I have experienced it.

    August 27, 2012 at 4:50 pm |
    • Adam

      In what sense are you a Christian?

      August 27, 2012 at 4:52 pm |
  20. TM

    Saddest point of creationism or intelligent design is the notion that "IT" is figured out and needs not to be explored, to be questioned or to be discovered. That is the true ignorance and the affront to science, technology and truth. Though there are missing data and samples, discoveries in the fossil records are always adding to the evidence and dispelling the creationists' arguments, such as Cambrian explosion.

    Imagine if the Bible was written after the microscope, telescope, knowledge of Australia and the Americas, disease, gravity, genetics, electricity, radioactivity...

    Of course, this new "bible" would promote some other wacky idea like we are all descendants of an alien race. THANK YOU Mr. HUBBARD!!

    August 27, 2012 at 4:49 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.