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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 • Faith Now • Science

soundoff (14,640 Responses)
  1. katie o'gill

    why would anyone NOT accept science? have your faith, believe in god, but accept the science, and reconcile your god, and realize that a parable is not inconsistent w/reality. the world was not created in 7 days. you can still believe in god. expand your world view. just don't deny reality.

    August 27, 2012 at 10:03 pm |
    • Seethrough

      The world and everything else was created in 6 days. God rested on the 7th.

      August 27, 2012 at 10:06 pm |
    • t3chn0ph0b3

      Good luck with that stance. Your grandparents would throttle you for it.

      August 27, 2012 at 10:09 pm |
    • I am John

      The mysteries of God explain that which man can only imagine with their feeble and limited minds. I choose to be a child of God so that I can see and hear my Father.

      Luke 8:10 – “And He said, “To you it has been given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God, but to the rest it is given in parables, that ‘Seeing they may not see, And hearing they may not understand.”

      August 27, 2012 at 10:17 pm |
  2. Why I'm the Science Guy

    Why aren't we hearing much from the 32% tonight?

    August 27, 2012 at 10:02 pm |
    • tomparis

      because they are not threatened. Only the delusional percentage that doesn't believe evolution

      August 27, 2012 at 10:09 pm |
  3. 123elle

    I have to ask, why would so many people believe literally in creationism that runs so counter to simple common sense? I can only think that it's a combination of fear and upbringing. I cannot slam people for being afraid, and I am not being patronizing here. Life is terrifying; tragedy, illness and the unpredictable stalk us all and our loved ones. If there is the slightest chance that some superior "being" is pulling the strings and there is some way to pray or placate that terrible uncertainty with faith in the unknown... then it becomes very difficult if not heroic to just toss that off as a fairy tale. People are just not able to thumb their noses at religion when it has been the underpinning of civilization for thousands of years. The most revered people in the world insist that a divine being is working the universe. People worry that by dismissing this all as an old wives' tale, could they be tempting fate, or putting themselves or their loved ones at risk? Can they really bear to live in a universe that is simply run by indifferent laws that originated out of chaos or ... We will never talk people out of creationism because it is pure emotion and care for loved ones that is at the bottom of it, People aren't ready to let go of religion and what its elders preach in favor of a cold and physics-run cosmos.

    August 27, 2012 at 10:02 pm |
    • Al

      I think it's reasonable to believe in both. That a superior being(s) exist within this cold and physics-run universe and are capable of manipulating the stuff within it beyond what we can imagine right now. Kind of like "Q" on Star Trek the Next Generation. :)

      August 27, 2012 at 10:09 pm |
  4. One

    The concept of "strict" creationism is not the same as the general concept that a higher power created the laws of the universe. Science can describing mechanisms that are within our limits of detection. But it can't say much about why the fundamental laws of the universe are what they are. Isn't it a curious thing that every particle must follow a particular order?

    August 27, 2012 at 10:02 pm |
    • Rick James

      Yeah, it is. Science tries to figure out why particles do that.

      August 27, 2012 at 10:04 pm |
  5. Blame the deserving

    No, Wayne. I did. Evolution is an absolute fact. There are problems with Darwinian evolution in explaining human abilities and tendencies in religion,math, and art. But Darwinian evolution is limited to individual survival, but there are promising avenues related to group evolution that explain much.

    August 27, 2012 at 10:02 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      Why is it a problem for evolution to solve (art and etc..) ?

      August 27, 2012 at 10:05 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Why would evolution not account for artistic, musical, and mathematical giftedness, among other abilities? Having an innate ability does not ensure that one will become the next Beethoven; greatness in art or any other field is not determined solely by inborn talent.

      August 27, 2012 at 10:09 pm |
    • WAYNE

      He needs to create problems in the hope they will never be solved so he can put his foot in the door with God.

      August 27, 2012 at 10:10 pm |
    • hawaiiguest

      @Blame the deserving

      Just using the label "darwinian evolution" shows you don't even know what you're talking about.

      August 27, 2012 at 10:13 pm |
  6. Gemma

    This is very irresponsible, CNN. This headline implies that Creationism is a serious alternative to Evolution, which it is not. Any scientist worth his degree believes in Evolution. There is no controversy here – please don't stir the pot of nothing just to make people click on your articles.

    August 27, 2012 at 10:00 pm |
  7. d.gremaud@comcast.net

    There are a lot more people a lot more intelligent than Bill Nye who have slammed creationism.

    I'm not impressed. Yawn. ;-O

    August 27, 2012 at 9:59 pm |
    • Jerod

      and you are aware of Bill Nye's intellect how?

      August 27, 2012 at 10:07 pm |
    • Gunny

      I can't believe you took the time to type such an absolutely irrelevant statement. I'M not impressed with you. Brain cells matter, stop wasting them.

      August 27, 2012 at 10:13 pm |
  8. 0rangeW3dge

    Having "faith" that others agree with your tunnel vision and supernatural exaggerations is NORMAL.

    But "spirituality" is something that can be verified in all people... Maybe the "faith" people need to broaden their horizons and accept that ALL people have the same feelings about things,,, not just them

    August 27, 2012 at 9:58 pm |
  9. ArthurP

    If you believe in Creationism you bust reject the rules of chemistry and physics.
    If you reject the rules of chemistry and physics then God must control and manage every chemical reaction.
    If God has to manage every chemical reaction the I can force him to do want.
    For example by mixing vinegar and baking soda if force him to manage the process sand manipulate the atoms to make CO2 among other things.

    Creationism therefore gives Man dominion over God.

    August 27, 2012 at 9:58 pm |
    • jimbo

      Thats assuming he isn't the one allowing you to make the reaction

      August 27, 2012 at 9:59 pm |
    • ArthurP

      If that is the case then all is preordained and therefore abortion is not a sin but is part of God's plan.

      August 27, 2012 at 10:01 pm |
    • Wilson

      Hum hum... this is why you will live forever, right?

      August 27, 2012 at 10:03 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      Most pregnancies end in the female body rejecting the clump of cells before the woman even knows she is pregnant; ergo, god is the most prevalent abortionist in existence.

      August 27, 2012 at 10:07 pm |
    • ArthurP

      Wilson:

      No I will live forever because I have a picture hidden in my attic.

      August 27, 2012 at 10:07 pm |
  10. Larry

    Most people who do not believe evolution never seriously read about evolution. Just like most Christian never read about other religions and just "know" their belief is the right one. Pure ignorance. But, there have to be ignorant people in the world, so the wise can prosper. Just like there have to be college dropouts, so the ones with college degrees can make a better living.....

    August 27, 2012 at 9:58 pm |
    • Nietodarwin

      All cultures have evolved with some sort of religion, so religion is part of our evolution, although delusional. I love Bill Nye for saying this, and protecting kids, but still, evolution is not part of religion, but religion is a part of our species' evolutionary history.

      August 27, 2012 at 10:02 pm |
    • Nietodarwin

      Not "believing" in evolution, ("not accepting" would be a better way to phrase it) is a result of educational neglect. I just feel so sad for kids who would do OK in science classes if they had not been so misled. Bill is correct to point this out.

      August 27, 2012 at 10:07 pm |
  11. Moose Boy

    I would love to be there one day as he stands before his LORD to explain his position. I hope he brings along his video.

    August 27, 2012 at 9:58 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      Why? What are you implying?. Just come out and say it already.

      August 27, 2012 at 9:59 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Are you really as dumb as this?

      August 27, 2012 at 9:59 pm |
    • Rick James

      The Lord might say, "You did good in spreading truth to the masses. Welcome to paradise."

      God, as presented in the Bible, is a very complicated guy, should he exist.

      August 27, 2012 at 10:00 pm |
    • TheVocalAtheist

      How do you get those huge antlers up you azz?

      August 27, 2012 at 10:00 pm |
    • Why I'm the Science Guy

      He didn't say anything nasty about God, or for that matter, religion.

      August 27, 2012 at 10:01 pm |
    • RichardSRussell

      Don't wait for "one day". Leave today. Rejoin your Lord. You know you want to. Get there early to get a good seat for Bill's eventual appearance.

      August 27, 2012 at 10:06 pm |
    • Nietodarwin

      MANY MANY people of all kinds of religions all over the world, including MILLIONS of xstians here in the USA accept evolution as fact. (Don't think because it's called a theory that it's a "guess" scientists use that word differently.) Go talk to a teacher of biology at a catholic school, or even many protestant schools. IT"S ONLY AN EXTREME ELEMENT THAT DENIES EVOLUTION. You can work this out, even within the framework of the religion in which you currently believe.

      August 27, 2012 at 10:12 pm |
  12. GeeWhiz

    My, how disappointing and disturbing this is...a subtle hint of fascism in his comments. This is a excellent example of the reason why it is a good thing that more scientists are not in positions of power. I'm sure if given the opportunity, he would want to legislate the most "scientific" way of parenting.

    August 27, 2012 at 9:56 pm |
    • TheVocalAtheist

      Actually a pretty good idea, seeing there are over 7 billion and not enough resources.

      August 27, 2012 at 9:57 pm |
    • Duh...

      lol.. yea.. do you know what Fascism is? like really? you're silly... you're silly!!!

      August 27, 2012 at 9:58 pm |
    • t3chn0ph0b3

      It's coming. Get ready for forced reversible sterilizations and parental licensing boards. We're only a few generations away.

      August 27, 2012 at 9:59 pm |
    • Rick James

      Scientists allow you to use a computer, yet you fear them. Oh boy....

      August 27, 2012 at 10:02 pm |
  13. TheVocalAtheist

    Where do all you fu*cking nut bags come from?

    August 27, 2012 at 9:56 pm |
    • ....

      nuts

      August 27, 2012 at 9:57 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      I KNOW! *channelling Craig Ferguson*

      Isn't it disturbing how many of them there appear to be? Is this blog representative of the general population?

      August 27, 2012 at 9:58 pm |
    • mydogbill

      If you sought God with all your heart you might realize you've been the nut. Jesus will return and things will be done our way.

      August 27, 2012 at 9:59 pm |
    • TheVocalAtheist

      I'm thinking it must be raining in Tampa and they're all in their hotel rooms using the free wifi to blast the science guy.

      August 27, 2012 at 10:02 pm |
    • G. Zeus Kreiszchte

      Um, no. Your Jeebus said he was coming RIGHT BACK. And that was about 2000 years ago! Will there still be idiots like you just waiting and waiting in the year 10000?

      August 27, 2012 at 10:03 pm |
  14. logicalman

    Creationism is nothing but abject stupidity. How do they explain the fossil record?

    August 27, 2012 at 9:55 pm |
    • jimbo

      Millions of tons of pressure from a worldwide flood- next question

      August 27, 2012 at 9:57 pm |
    • Why I'm the Science Guy

      It is God's test of their faith.

      August 27, 2012 at 9:57 pm |
    • t3chn0ph0b3

      ...and carbon dating ...and gravitational lensing ...and everything the Hubble telescope sees

      August 27, 2012 at 9:57 pm |
    • Rick James

      "Worldwide flood". LOL

      August 27, 2012 at 9:58 pm |
    • G. Zeus Kreiszchte

      "god" can't play "his" game without playing lots of tricks, like surrept-itiously planting those fossils deep in the ground for later generations to discover and develop science to back up their existence. Nope, this "god" has to trip up most of us since "he" doesn't want us in his precious little "heaven" anyway! What a dou-che!

      August 27, 2012 at 10:07 pm |
    • Nietodarwin

      I too get SO FURIOUS with these "&^%*&& nutbags full of "abject stupidity" for spouting creationism, but that's what their church taught them to do, to show their ignorance. WE WOULDN'T MOCK SOMEONE FOR NEVER HAVING LEARNED TO READ AT ALL, we only mock them for not learning to think about what they been taught, (or maybe never have had the opportunity to be taught) BILL NYE was pretty diplomatic compared to all of us commenting on here, and still got in some zingers.

      August 27, 2012 at 10:18 pm |
  15. jimbo

    He's alive? D:

    August 27, 2012 at 9:55 pm |
  16. Bugger

    Love your comment 'Blame the deserving'. Too much of the controversy focuses on evolution in terms of how life changes. But where life came from is a fantastical mystery that most people ignore. We hear on every nature show about the 'primordial soup' that gave rise to the first living cell. Since there isn't even a rationale model for this so-called theory, it is the scientific equivelant of creationism. Nothing wrong with invoking a creator.

    August 27, 2012 at 9:55 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      Saying "I don't know" is what a rational person does when they don't know. It's okay. But, if you need to say, "My big fuzzy wuzzy magic fairy tale sky daddy used a magic spell" then go for it.

      August 27, 2012 at 9:56 pm |
    • Rick James

      Other than that is just pretty lame thinking. Goes against the law of Occam's razor, for starters.

      August 27, 2012 at 9:57 pm |
    • Bugger

      Suppose we found the equivalent of an iphone buried on mars. Would you say, gee I don't know how it got there. Must have been some geologic forces that shaped it. Or would you say "Hey, I wonder who made this thing?"

      August 27, 2012 at 9:59 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      Yes, Bugger, because we know about cell phones. What the fvck is your point and have you any clue how to present an argument?

      August 27, 2012 at 10:00 pm |
    • Really-O?

      @Bugger -

      I might say, "God Damn! Steve Jobs went everywhere before he kicked-it!"

      August 27, 2012 at 10:03 pm |
    • Bugger

      Sorry. I will clarify for you simple mind. The point is that living things have an amazing amount of complexity and organization. Unlike anything else we see in the Universe. Just like an iphone has an obvious level of complexity and organization. There are currently no natural explanations for how it could have come into existence.

      August 27, 2012 at 10:04 pm |
    • sbp

      There ARE explanations for abiogenesis, and the details are currently being worked out. However, there is a world of difference between saying "I don't know the mechanism, but we'll eventually figure it out" and "I don't know the mechanism, so rather than try to figure it out, I will choose to believe it is magic."

      August 27, 2012 at 10:07 pm |
    • memyself

      No model for the primordial soup? You need to read more. Start here http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/abioprob/originoflife.html

      August 27, 2012 at 10:07 pm |
    • Really-O?

      @Bugger – regarding: "There are currently no natural explanations for how it could have come into existence."

      No, really, there are natural explanations. That's what science is all about. May I suggest...education?

      August 27, 2012 at 10:08 pm |
    • Bugger

      Sorry Really-O. I've seen that before. It is a who's who of could's and if's. It is a shotgun of models that are not even close to complete, make wild assumptions with nothing but open hand waving and ignore many basic facts that would otherwise undermine the arguments. While it sounds scientific, these theories are fantastical and based on very little actual science. They require a miraculous series of step-wise transitions that are about as chemically likely as an iphone forming by the accidental aggregation of metals and elements in the earths crust.

      August 27, 2012 at 10:19 pm |
    • memyself

      @Bugger. "The point is that living things have an amazing amount of complexity and organization. Unlike anything else we see in the Universe."

      This is a very silly statement. 1) This is a judgement call. Galaxies are pretty complex things, right? 2) Evolution explains the complexity and organization of living things very nicely. Things are complex in just the ways Evolutionary Theory predicts and organized in just the way Evolutionary Theory predicts.

      August 27, 2012 at 10:20 pm |
    • Really-O?

      @Bugger –

      Really? Are the explanations posited by science more miraculous, wild, and fantastical (that's not a word), and do they involve more open hand waving than explanations posited by illiterate Bronze and Iron Age desert dwellers who didn't know where the sun went at night? Your ignorance is showing, Bugger.

      August 27, 2012 at 10:26 pm |
    • Bugger

      Memyself- you need to read up on some biology. The genetic code, the functionality of proteins, the organization of the cell, and the ability of living systems to replicate and evolve make them unlike anything else in the Universe.

      August 27, 2012 at 10:29 pm |
    • Really-O?

      @Bugger – regarding: "The genetic code, the functionality of proteins, the organization of the cell, and the ability of living systems to replicate and evolve make them unlike anything else in the Universe."

      Unsupported nonsense. However, at least you do admit that living systems evolve.

      August 27, 2012 at 10:35 pm |
    • Bugger

      Many of you seem to ignore the fact that if life was created, it was done so using the same elements found in the universe. So the fact that it came into existence through physical events is obvious. The question is whether or not those events were random or guided. The difference is whether or not the complexity exceeds a point where it is rationale to propose existence through random processes.

      August 27, 2012 at 10:38 pm |
  17. Alien Orifice

    God created the universe.

    Many billions of years ago, a life form evolved on a planet not so far distant and their scientists deduced the building blocks for life existed in the universe and from it, new life forms could be created.

    These ancient ones populated Mars with life and eventually, due to asteroid events over millions of years, life arrived here on Earth. We are a product of that primeval turbulence.

    Therefore, we must worship the Aliens, not God. The Aliens have to worship God.

    This is all true because I have faith that it happened just this way.

    August 27, 2012 at 9:53 pm |
  18. G. Zeus Kreiszchte

    Creationism is so RIGHT ON, man, all you gotta do is go down to Kentucky and visit the Creation Museum where you'll see how dinosaurs and modern humans lived side by side. TRUE STORY! Just like the Flintstones!

    August 27, 2012 at 9:52 pm |
    • t3chn0ph0b3

      I went there once. I laughed so hard they almost threw me out.

      August 27, 2012 at 9:54 pm |
    • Rick James

      I'm all for free speech, but that museum is an embarrassment to museums. A friend from the UK visited there once and couldn't believe half a country could believe that stuff.

      August 27, 2012 at 9:55 pm |
  19. chris

    i thought the god particle article was gonna shut this idiot up lol

    August 27, 2012 at 9:52 pm |
  20. Bill McNeal

    Religion is the opiate of the masses. Thinking hurts but believing is easy.

    August 27, 2012 at 9:52 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 and Eric Marrapodi with daily contributions from CNN's worldwide newsgathering team.