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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. Karen

    I just don't understand how they can say the Universe is 10,000 years old. How do they explain light years?

    August 27, 2012 at 6:20 pm |
    • .

      Light years are a measurement of distance, not time.

      August 27, 2012 at 6:22 pm |
    • Codepwned

      True but it actually is used for measurement of distance as an abbreviation for the actual distance light travels in a year. They use light year because the distance light travels in a year changes depending on the environment especially black holes that can alter that distance.

      When scientiests say something is "1 billion light years away" it's easier than saying it's unteenth bazillion miles away". People like more familiar numbers. Get about 1 billion and people have trouble grasping what it means other than it's a long way.

      August 27, 2012 at 6:40 pm |
  2. Snap

    Relgious people are dangerous. They are dragging us back with them.

    August 27, 2012 at 6:20 pm |
    • Martina

      "Science flies you to the moon. Religion flies you into buildings.”
      ― Richard Dawkins

      August 27, 2012 at 6:34 pm |
  3. just a John

    Dumb.
    Dumber.
    Dumbest, but if the sheepies buy it the cash flow wiil continue. Go to my website, SnakeOil.net, the elixer of life that will give you a direct line to the god or saviour of your choice for an additional small fee, shipping and handling not included.

    August 27, 2012 at 6:20 pm |
    • niknak

      Religion is the all time best vehicle used to seperate the stupid from their money.
      Nothing has generated the amount of profit like religion does.
      Snake oil indeed.

      August 27, 2012 at 6:41 pm |
    • Wrenn_NYC

      If I had less ethics, I'd set up my own religion. Just like Hubbard did.

      August 27, 2012 at 6:45 pm |
  4. William Moore

    "Without worship, you shrink, it's as brutal as that." Martin Dysart, from "Equus", by Peter Shaffer.

    Modern naturalism fails miserably in its self-proclaimed status as the only rational explanation for the existence of existence, itself and life, with all that that entails. One such entailment is that of ultra-complex organisms that happened to create themselves within a hostile environment and rose in complexity to become able to discuss these ideas on an internet website, using personal computers being manipulated in accord with impulses sent from our brains to our fingers along pathways that are astounding in complexity and engineering genius. No intelligence was involved in the making of such things? Really? I find that spontaneous generation in its modern iteration is still woefully inadequate as an explanation, or a basis to live and experience life fully. Just sayin'...

    August 27, 2012 at 6:19 pm |
    • t3chn0ph0b3

      A lot can happen in 4 billion years in 326,000,000,000,000,000,000 gallons of water.

      August 27, 2012 at 6:21 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      LOL, naturalism doesn't claim to answer the question of why the universe exists. That's the domain of philosophies.

      August 27, 2012 at 6:36 pm |
    • TJ

      You could have also mentioned that scientists today agree that it is IMPOSSIBLE to obtain animated matter from inanimate matter. In short, "science" has no clue how life began. In FACT, it has no clue where life BEGINS, other than by its own self-ascribed definition.

      Also, do you who believe in evolution think, for one moment, that God did NOT use science in all He did? While you mull that over, have a glass of water and consider it. No "magic" there in that glass of water. Yet you all believe our "science" is so evolved (gee, that's EVOLUTION) as to be able to tell us ALL about the universe??? Aw, c'mon now, don't be shy, you non-believers know it all. Of course you do, that's why you already have the cure for cancer and literally every other disease on this planet. What's that you say? You don't? Hmm... perhaps God gave us "science" for a reason. Not to tell us how much we DO know, but how LITTLE we will NEVER know.

      Oh, and uh, where exactly did God come from? What was there before God? Hey, if I had the answer to that, that would make me God, wouldn't it? I mean, after all, any "god" you can understand isn't a god at all. He's just a man.

      As for me... I am a scientist myself. I subscribe to both schools of thought. I do know we will NEVER know all the secrets of our Universe. Nor do we need to. It's not ours.

      August 27, 2012 at 6:51 pm |
  5. Adam

    Learn to say "I don't know."

    August 27, 2012 at 6:19 pm |
    • Richard Louis Fairchild

      where?

      August 27, 2012 at 6:20 pm |
    • Adam

      Hi Rich! That was meant to be a reply to RCW's comment, "So ... Everything was developed by nothing?"

      I am sorry for the error.

      August 27, 2012 at 6:21 pm |
    • donna

      Learn to say, "just because you, or someone on a message board, doesn't currently understand something, that doesn't mean that it isn't true."

      August 27, 2012 at 6:27 pm |
  6. johnny

    Go Bill, GO!

    August 27, 2012 at 6:19 pm |
  7. fableanne

    Why do you think we have no standards, no morals, and the complete decay of society? Blame science.

    August 27, 2012 at 6:19 pm |
    • Murphy

      Is that a joke response? It's religion NOT Science that is destroying this planet.

      August 27, 2012 at 6:22 pm |
  8. Saul the Finance Guy

    How many creationists have actually read about evolution to the point of understanding the theory. I bet most don't get past page one... I mean who cares about Finches if we can't shoot them, right?

    August 27, 2012 at 6:18 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      Great point. I have yet to hear from ONE evolutuion-denier who has any clue what the theory is or even understands the rigor of standard science. "Intelligent design" is a conclusion, NOT a science–and most can't even understand that idea.

      August 27, 2012 at 6:22 pm |
    • Richard Louis Fairchild

      yeah, let's learn about a bunch of stuff that isn't true so we can converse with really smart people and be a little liked by them at first and then despised, unless we compromise, then we may be liked for a longer period of time. yeah, let's do that. i also want to learn math based on 1 + a banana equals 4 people standing in line at the grocery store. i always wanted to know that stuff.

      August 27, 2012 at 6:22 pm |
  9. rcw

    So ... Everything was developed by nothing?

    August 27, 2012 at 6:18 pm |
    • GodFreeNow

      There are plenty of books out there that address your question. If you're serious, you can find answers. Warning: Reading my lead to learnin'

      August 27, 2012 at 6:21 pm |
    • donna

      NASA has a great page on current theories. But as GFN points out- that's only if you're serious about learning something, which most people who make comments like that on message boards are not.

      August 27, 2012 at 6:24 pm |
    • sybaris

      Right recw, your god just "poofed" itself into existence!

      August 27, 2012 at 6:26 pm |
  10. Snap

    Thanks to all docile, brainwashed christians! You truly are the dumbest people on the planet!!

    August 27, 2012 at 6:18 pm |
    • mydogbill

      Or the wisest.

      August 27, 2012 at 6:28 pm |
  11. Mario

    As a humanist and an educated atheist, I couldn't agree more with Bill Nye. It is a shame that in our country, the cradle of so many wonderful inventions and scientific progress, half of the country chooses to prefer a fable (creationism) with absolutely no link to reality. Science is science, it deals with facts, not fiction. Do the country a favor, read and learn more about evolution, expose your children to it. You benefit from science but refuse to make it part of your life. You can still be spiritual/religious without embracing defeatist ideas like creationism.

    August 27, 2012 at 6:17 pm |
    • niknak

      Thanks for some actual reason Mario.
      Unfortunately, the mind of a fundie has been closed a long time ago. They only understand a clenched fist.

      August 27, 2012 at 6:44 pm |
  12. Tyler

    Thanks for speaking up Nye, more scientists need to be speaking out.

    August 27, 2012 at 6:17 pm |
  13. Onslow

    Bill Nye hit on the key problem. There are no christian, muslim, jewish, etc. children, only children of parents who teach them this drivel. If kids were taught to be logical and chose belief for themselves, the world would advance and ditch organized religion more quickly and recognize it for what it is – foolish fear and the reliance on a supreme being to give their life meaning. Kids are taught from infancy that their religion is correct and everyone else's is wrong. That's just stupid and harmful. Bill is also correct that religion will someday give way to knowledge, but unfortunately it's taking way too long. We need to preserve this planet with science, not primitive theology.

    August 27, 2012 at 6:16 pm |
  14. Mikeben

    Wow! Over 40%! I had no idea Americans were that screwed up.

    August 27, 2012 at 6:16 pm |
  15. IdreamofJeannie

    Did anyone actually watch the video linked from this article? Or are you just reacting to the text on this page?

    In case you didn't bother to watch the vid, Bill Nye's points were:
    1. Lots of innovative people live here in the US.
    2. Evolution ties biology together in a tidy way. Without the idea of evolution, biology is much much more complicated to explain.
    3. Please don't deny the idea of evolution to your children. Evolution is a critical piece of biological science and innovation in the future is dependent upon building on the knowledge we have.

    Not once does he say the word "creationism", nor say that he thinks people who believe in god don't believe in evolution too. He didn't SLAM CREATIONISTS or propose atheism.

    NO OTHER IDEAS are presented.

    He is only talking about whether evolution is plausible and important and should be understood by a voting public.

    It's this type of misleading "journalism" and wacko blogosphere that is causing the intellectual decline of this country.You people should really check your facts. I linked to this stupid blog article off of CNN's front page. Super irresponsible guys.

    August 27, 2012 at 6:16 pm |
    • Free Thought

      Who denies evolution other than creationist? He certainly was tactful, but in the current environment where schools are under pressure to teach creationism and down-play evolution, there is no doubt who he is referring to here. I watched the video and believe the report is fair and accurate and I applaud him for speaking up – a true patriot that cares about the future of this country.

      August 27, 2012 at 7:01 pm |
  16. cosmicsnoop

    I have debated this with many people and have always win the debate. Of course the losers just claim they are right and the Bible is right, so even in the rules of high school debating, which I just won, they refuse to acknowledge it. I don't talk to stupid people anymore.

    August 27, 2012 at 6:15 pm |
    • turner1988

      A basic grammar lesson might be in oder. Then you can teach us all about science.

      August 27, 2012 at 6:20 pm |
    • Layne

      I feel lonely already.

      August 27, 2012 at 6:24 pm |
    • Get Real

      turner1988,

      cosmicsnoop has a typo – "win" for "won"... much like your own "oder" for "order". Get real.

      August 27, 2012 at 6:28 pm |
  17. mark

    "46% of Americans believed in creationism, 32% believed in evolution guided by God, and 15% believed in atheistic evolution."

    This country is sooooo screwed.

    August 27, 2012 at 6:14 pm |
    • Robert

      Well, at least we're diverse.

      August 27, 2012 at 6:16 pm |
  18. Elizabeth

    Why do people seem to think that a day is "24 hours" in terms of the world being created in 7 days? Who are we to decide that we set this standard. There is enough room for both theories to co-exist if you can get over the fact that a day in the bible can be many hundreds/thousands of years. God may have created the world in 7 days, however 7 of his days can be a very long time which allowed evolution to take place.

    We need to get over ourselves!

    August 27, 2012 at 6:14 pm |
    • Richard Louis Fairchild

      Yeah, the word day should mean millenium, and the word millenium should mean day. I totally agree. I never liked the word day, and I never believed it meant what people said it meant. Last week I had 2 "days" off from work, and for me 2 "days" equal 4 24 hour periods. I am still fighting my firing, and I think I will win, since I have evolution on my side. Please don't pray for me. Thanks.

      August 27, 2012 at 6:17 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      "There is enough room for both theories to co-exist"

      No there is not.

      One has volumes of evidence to back it up.

      The other is a circular argument with no basis or foundation.

      August 27, 2012 at 6:17 pm |
    • Observer

      The funniest excuses for the Bible always involve pretending words don't mean what they do.

      August 27, 2012 at 6:17 pm |
    • Richard Louis Fairchild

      Well chesse, you must be a cheenius.

      August 27, 2012 at 6:18 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Well "Fairchild" you must be a "homely adult"....

      tsk tsk

      August 27, 2012 at 6:22 pm |
    • Dan, TX

      The bible is infallible. The bible uses the word day. A day is 24 hours. You want to make up stuff about the bible. Fine. But then you can't use the bible for more than just a book of philosophy.

      August 27, 2012 at 6:24 pm |
    • Wrenn_NYC

      Actually, Blessed are the Cheesemakers...

      Yes, there is a way that they can co-exist.

      One is science.

      The other is a parable, a story to teach people responsibility, conservation, and 2 person marriage for life.

      August 27, 2012 at 6:32 pm |
    • Blessed are the Cheesemakers

      Wrenn,

      If it is a parable it is by definition fiction and cannot be compared to science, so you are wrong.

      Unless you mean an Encyclapedia and the Lord of the Rings can co-exist as books on a shelf.

      August 27, 2012 at 6:40 pm |
  19. mydogbill

    When the Moon eclipses the Sun they appear the same size in the sky. Yet you could fit 72 million moons inside the Sun. They appear the same size because the Sun is 416 times further away from Earth as the Moon is so they eclipse perfectly. Wow, what are the chances of that? It would have to be astronomical. Unless of course it was designed.

    If you seek God through Jesus Christ you will find Him. He will let you know of His existence. This is what Christians have known for over 2,000 years. God does exists and he calls you to know Him Through His Son Jesus Christ.

    August 27, 2012 at 6:14 pm |
    • One one

      The universe created by magic by a magic man? Nonsense.

      August 27, 2012 at 6:19 pm |
    • Dan, TX

      If the moon were smaller, it would orbit closer to the earth and would block out the sun exactly. If the moon were bigger, it would orbit farther away from the earth and block out the sun exactly. In fact, no matter what happens the moon will be "just the right size" to block out the sun. I guess God is so much more powerful than you even realize..

      August 27, 2012 at 6:27 pm |
    • Beadlady

      You do know that the moon is moving furthr away from the earth all the time. Thousands of years ago it was much closer to the earth.

      August 27, 2012 at 6:29 pm |
    • Andromeda

      Just because we can measure it doesn't make it a miracle.

      August 27, 2012 at 6:31 pm |
    • Josh

      Your first paragraph brings up an extremely interesting fact and from a religiously neutral point of view, the similarity of the apparent sizes of the sun and moon is an extraordinary coincidence. Of corse, your proposed solution doesn't really explain it. It's not as if there is some compelling theological reason why God should have wanted to the sun and moon to be the same size in the sky. Further, there is a good, purely physical reason to think that a large and nearby moon would be required for land-based life to evolve since tides are needed to get life out of the ocean and onto land. This fact about the moon and sun that appears to be coincidence would then be at least partially explainable by sample bias.

      But maybe you have a point with your first paragraph. That in no way even begins to imply your second paragraph however.

      August 27, 2012 at 6:31 pm |
    • Really-O?

      @mydogbill –

      Are you kidding me? A total solar eclipse implies God because of a "perfect fit"? A perfect fit, huh? How about the other, on average, 140,620 times the moon does not eclipse the sun? Where's your perfect fit then? Seriously, do you guys even think before you post your design nonsense?

      Here's the math:
      On average, a total solar eclipse occurs once every 385 years at any given place.
      385 (years) x 365.25 (days) = 140,621.25 days
      So, a total solar eclipse occurs once every 140,621 days at any given place. Oh my, I marvel at that design.

      August 27, 2012 at 6:46 pm |
    • Dan, TX

      More seriously, isn't it a strange coincidence that:

      – The world's three tallest mountains are all within 1000 ft of being the same height?
      – That the continents all have roughtly the same land area?
      – That the number of species of mammals is the same as the number of species of insects?
      – That the Earth has the same number of moons as it does oceans?
      – That the distance to the sun and the distance to the moon are the same?
      – That the stomach of a hummingbird is exactly the right size to hold a duck?

      And so on and so on. The number of possible coincidences is infinite - the fact that a few of them happen to actually be true isn't strange, unusual, or even all that interesting: it's a guarantee from the law of large numbers.

      August 27, 2012 at 6:47 pm |
  20. Chip Fields

    strange how one rational person, who pays his taxes, cuts the grass when it gets high, and knows basic algebra can look at the evidence and say, "I see God in that." And another rational person, who pays his taxes, cuts the grass, when it gets high, and knows basic algebra can look at the same evidence and say, "I don't see God in that."

    August 27, 2012 at 6:13 pm |
    • Tyler

      There is no evidence for god, just what desert wandering uneducated male chauvinist pigs lied about to get power. I highly doubt anyone would listen to what anyone living in the mid-east would have to say about 'god' in today's society, because we are more intelligent, because we evolve.

      August 27, 2012 at 6:21 pm |
    • Dan, TX

      There is a strong evolutionary selection for belief in the supernatural. It can inspire members of the tribe to sacrifice their own lives for the benefit of other tribe members. That evolutionary advantage is strong enough to have evolved an instinctual behavior that predisposes people to believe in the supernatural. To overcome instinct with rational thought is called wisdom.

      August 27, 2012 at 6:51 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.