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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. brad

    how was evolution proven ...pray tell us all

    August 27, 2012 at 11:57 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Did you graduate from high school? How can you BE this stupid, brad? You are an embarrassment.

      August 27, 2012 at 11:59 pm |
    • brad

      waiting...

      August 28, 2012 at 12:03 am |
    • Tante Waileka

      Exactly! 🙂

      August 28, 2012 at 12:07 am |
    • Simran.M

      1. The universal genetic code. All cells on Earth, from our white blood cells, to simple bacteria, to cells in the leaves of trees, are capable of reading any piece of DNA from any life form on Earth. This is very strong evidence for a common ancestor from which all life descended.

      2. The fossil record. The fossil record shows that the simplest fossils will be found in the oldest rocks, and it can also show a smooth and gradual transition from one form of life to another.

      3. Genetic commonalities. Human beings have approximately 96% of genes in common with chimpanzees, about 90% of genes in common with cats (source), 80% with cows (source), 75% with mice (source), and so on. This does not prove that we evolved from chimpanzees or cats, though, only that we shared a common ancestor in the past. And the amount of difference between our genomes corresponds to how long ago our genetic lines diverged.

      4. Common traits in embryos. Humans, dogs, snakes, fish, monkeys, eels (and many more life forms) are all considered "chordates" because we belong to the phylum Chordata. One of the features of this phylum is that, as embryos, all these life forms have gill slits, tails, and specific anatomical structures involving the spine. For humans (and other non-fish) the gill slits reform into the bones of the ear and jaw at a later stage in development. But, initially, all chordate embryos strongly resemble each other.
      In fact, pig embryos are often dissected in biology classes because of how similar they look to human embryos. These common characteristics could only be possible if all members of the phylum Chordata descended from a common ancestor.

      5. acterial resistance to antibiotics. Bacteria colonies can only build up a resistance to antibiotics through evolution. It is important to note that in every colony of bacteria, there are a tiny few individuals which are naturally resistant to certain antibiotics. This is because of the random nature of mutations.

      When an antibiotic is applied, the initial innoculation will kill most bacteria, leaving behind only those few cells which happen to have the mutations necessary to resist the antibiotics. In subsequent generations, the resistant bacteria reproduce, forming a new colony where every member is resistant to the antibiotic. This is natural selection in action. The antibiotic is "selecting" for organisms which are resistant, and killing any that are not.

      August 28, 2012 at 12:14 am |
    • putty

      You got a computer? You know how to use google? Have at it, then.

      August 28, 2012 at 12:16 am |
    • Hi

      1. The universal genetic code. All cells on Earth, from our white blood cells, to simple bacteria, to cells in the leaves of trees, are capable of reading any piece of DNA from any life form on Earth. This is very strong evidence for a common ancestor from which all life descended.

      - No, it's not. DNA is one of the fundamental building blocks of all life here on Earth regardless of whether this is due to a common ancestor or a creator.

      2. The fossil record. The fossil record shows that the simplest fossils will be found in the oldest rocks, and it can also show a smooth and gradual transition from one form of life to another.

      - No, it doesn't. More accurately stated, the fossil record shows us distinct forms of life that have existed through the ages. Transitions and even ancestral relationships cannot be proven, only assumed.

      3. Genetic commonalities. Human beings have approximately 96% of genes in common with chimpanzees, about 90% of genes in common with cats (source), 80% with cows (source), 75% with mice (source), and so on. This does not prove that we evolved from chimpanzees or cats, though, only that we shared a common ancestor in the past. And the amount of difference between our genomes corresponds to how long ago our genetic lines diverged.

      - Genetic commonalities indicate nothing more than the fact that functions needed for life forms are governed by instruction sets (genes), and that these instruction sets follow a system that is undergirded by the limitations what DNA can do.

      4. Common traits in embryos. Humans, dogs, snakes, fish, monkeys, eels (and many more life forms) are all considered "chordates" because we belong to the phylum Chordata. One of the features of this phylum is that, as embryos, all these life forms have gill slits, tails, and specific anatomical structures involving the spine. For humans (and other non-fish) the gill slits reform into the bones of the ear and jaw at a later stage in development. But, initially, all chordate embryos strongly resemble each other.
      In fact, pig embryos are often dissected in biology classes because of how similar they look to human embryos. These common characteristics could only be possible if all members of the phylum Chordata descended from a common ancestor.

      - No, that is not the only way this is possible. A creator could have designed similar biological features across all Chordata which present similarly or identically during development because they are serving similar functions or resulting in similar biological structures needed to support life.

      5. acterial resistance to antibiotics. Bacteria colonies can only build up a resistance to antibiotics through evolution. It is important to note that in every colony of bacteria, there are a tiny few individuals which are naturally resistant to certain antibiotics. This is because of the random nature of mutations.

      When an antibiotic is applied, the initial innoculation will kill most bacteria, leaving behind only those few cells which happen to have the mutations necessary to resist the antibiotics. In subsequent generations, the resistant bacteria reproduce, forming a new colony where every member is resistant to the antibiotic. This is natural selection in action. The antibiotic is "selecting" for organisms which are resistant, and killing any that are not.

      - As mentioned, this is natural selection in action. Not evolution in action. Natural selection is not a creative process and cannot result in forms that transition from one family classification into another because the genetic potential does not exist. Additionally, genetic mutations are usually harmful, not beneficial. Over the course of time, and on balance, the few beneficial mutations would be greatly outweighed by the harmful ones with disastrous (not serendipitous) results.

      August 28, 2012 at 2:34 am |
  2. Jack

    Everyone is welcome at the – thestarofkaduri.com

    August 27, 2012 at 11:57 pm |
  3. Joe R.

    Another example of the vocal minority: atheists.

    August 27, 2012 at 11:56 pm |
    • Gadflie

      Kind of like scientists. While a minority, they have come up with EVERYTHING that you can see in your home right now.

      August 27, 2012 at 11:57 pm |
    • tallulah13

      Yep. It's always that way. Most people are so afraid of change that they prefer comfortable lies. It's up to those who are unafraid of reality to drag the ignorant - kicking and screaming - into the future.

      August 28, 2012 at 12:16 am |
    • b4bigbang

      Not so fast Gadflie: Scientists have not come up with everything i see in my home.
      My home contains art – paintings and sculptures. And before you say that the materials were invented by scientists, the fact is that the pigments are put together in many cases by the artists themselves, using local natural substances.

      August 28, 2012 at 12:26 am |
  4. MonarchzMan

    This is the most embarrassing part of this whole article is how nearly half of all Americans believe in creationism. Evolution is well accepted in the scientific community as fact. There is the continual argument that evolution is just a "theory" but that is were laymen terminology differs from scientific terminology. Laymen use theory like scientists use hypothesis. In science, theories have been well tested and are accepted as fact. Keep in mind that we also have Cell Theory which states that our bodies are composed of cells. That's "just a theory" as well, yet, not contentious.

    Having half of Americans believing in creationism is like having half of Americans believing that the Earth is flat. It's embarrassing.

    I'm sorry, but if you do not have a biology background, you have absolutely no opinion on whether or not evolution is happening.

    August 27, 2012 at 11:56 pm |
    • agree

      Monarch – Agreed. Fact. Macroevolution has been shown over and over again via repeatable scientific experiments...oh wait...

      August 28, 2012 at 12:35 am |
  5. ArthurP

    Creationism is a failed concept because if taken to its logical conclusion it gives Man dominion over God.

    Creationism negates the laws of physics and chemistry. Therefore God has to perform each and every chemical reaction Himself. God gave man free will so he does not know what Man is going to do. So if I start a process that requires a chemical reaction God must come and do it. I force God to do my bidding. I have dominion over God.

    August 27, 2012 at 11:56 pm |
  6. 03Cobra

    An honest look at the first chapters of Genesis shows that the 6-day creation story is not to be taken as literal history. There are two creation stories back-to-back. The first starts in Genesis 1.1 and goes to the middle of chapter 2 verse 4. The second creation story starts in the middle of chapter 2 verse 4. The second creation story has a different chronology: man created first, then plants, then animals, then woman.

    The writers of Genesis weren't stupid. They could tell there were two creation stories with different orders of events. This is evidence straight from the Bible that these stories are not meant to be taken literally.

    Don't believe me? It only takes a few minutes to read the two stories. Just read the first two chapters of Genesis and write down the order in which things were created for each of the two stories.

    A person can recognize God is the Creator and be a Christian without taking the "it's literal or it's a lie" position, a position that is not even consistent with the Biblical text.

    August 27, 2012 at 11:56 pm |
    • Frank

      Actually, the writers of Genesis were very stupid. God told me so.

      August 27, 2012 at 11:58 pm |
    • tallulah13

      I used to think that, until I realized I was simply trying to make the bible relevant in the face of reality. Eventually, I admitted that I was simply lying to myself, and accepted the fact that the bible is nothing more than a collection of Middle-Eastern myths. The world makes so much more sense when you remove fantasy from the equation.

      August 28, 2012 at 12:20 am |
  7. Rocinante

    Consider the idea that evolution is how the Creation was propagated.

    August 27, 2012 at 11:56 pm |
  8. your_god_can_suck_my_dick

    enough said.

    August 27, 2012 at 11:56 pm |
    • f4xtrafn

      He has teeth.

      August 28, 2012 at 12:16 am |
  9. Frank

    Question:
    How many Bible-thumpers can you fit in a suitcase?

    Answer:
    I don't know, but it sure would be fun to try to find out!

    August 27, 2012 at 11:55 pm |
  10. Seamus

    46%? I'm scared.

    August 27, 2012 at 11:54 pm |
    • reality check

      Give it up, Bill. If you could reason with religious people, there wouldn't be any religious people.

      August 27, 2012 at 11:55 pm |
    • Whyaresomanypeoplestupid?

      I'm scared too. I'm glad you understand. I wonder if I'll ever be proud of this species as a whole.

      August 28, 2012 at 12:01 am |
  11. Science Guy

    As a scientist I don't think it is very scientific to cut out a theory (there being a Creator) just because it offends our sensibilities. Many treat Evolution as a fact, but that it is not true, it is a theory. It may be the best theory we have but it is still just a theory. There are many issues that we havent figured out how they fit with evolution: symbiotic relationships – how could two sybiotic traits evolve in two different species at the same exact moment, the eye – the eye either sees or it doesn't see – how could it evolve, the lack of pertainent fossils, etc. We make fun of God making Adam from dirt and yet if we believe in the big bang theory we are saying in elemental form that Mankind eventually evolved from rocks. While I am certainly not saying that God created us with a magic wand, what I am saying is that we only have theories about how the universe came to be. If we only have theories then I feel too many of us blindly follow the mantra that evolution is the only way without bringing up questions that can help make a more robust discussion. I, myself, am a bit offended by what could be called "religious" fanatacism of those who can not think for themselves and therefore hinder exploration of new ideas that help solve the still unexplained.

    August 27, 2012 at 11:52 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Any idiot who writes the words "just a theory" isn't a scientist at all.

      You are a fraud.

      August 27, 2012 at 11:53 pm |
    • hinduism source of hindufilthyracism.

      it is hinduism, hypothesis, hypothesis nothing more.

      August 27, 2012 at 11:54 pm |
    • brad

      True and only one theory promises eternal life

      August 27, 2012 at 11:55 pm |
    • Gadflie

      You are no scientist. If you were, you would realize that Creationism, not being falsifiable, doesn't qualify as a theory.

      August 27, 2012 at 11:55 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      pertainent isn't a word. A real scientist wouldn't fvckup like that.

      August 27, 2012 at 11:56 pm |
    • hinduism source of hindufilthyracism.

      Because it is fact, truth absolute, hindu, ignorant.

      August 27, 2012 at 11:57 pm |
    • putty

      Please look up what a theory is and what is required to become a theory. Also note that gravity is also a theory.

      August 27, 2012 at 11:58 pm |
    • mcccccc

      The theory of gravity is also a theory, should we also be afraid to jump in case we don't come back down?

      August 27, 2012 at 11:59 pm |
    • Whyaresomanypeoplestupid?

      I agree with some of these commentors:

      You are either a fraud, delusional, or (I believe) a weakling.

      Stand up for science. These idiots are shooting at reason and you're letting it die.

      August 28, 2012 at 12:03 am |
    • Science Guy

      Gadflie – I said creator not creation. An all powerful creator would be potentially falsafiable via miracles just not practically so, macroevolution is not practically falsafiable either but I am still saying that it is a theory.

      August 28, 2012 at 12:15 am |
    • Dr. H

      Hey science guy, I just need to say that you obviously don't know jack sh!t about the eye and how is functions. The fact that you tout your scientific background and then say that the eye either works or it doesn't, quiet frankly that makes me question the intelligence behind everything else you said. As a medical doctor I have studied the eye. But let me not bog you down with cutting edge science. Instead I have an easy read for you, written about 10 years ago, it will in very simple terms explain how the eye could evolve from seeing simple shadowy figures to eventually being able to see colors and movement. It's called "The Making of the Fittest" and it is so simple maybe even you could learn something. Or you could not read it and remain science guy of your 3rd grade class.

      August 28, 2012 at 12:17 am |
    • mack

      sure, brad. and let jesus take the wheel. good strategy. take the wheel yourself and get control....see how that feels and let us know.

      August 28, 2012 at 12:30 am |
  12. Joe R.

    The Science Network's slogan: "Question Everything." I guess behind the scenes the footnote reads "except evolution."

    August 27, 2012 at 11:52 pm |
    • Rational Libertarian

      It was questioned. Then it was proven.

      August 27, 2012 at 11:53 pm |
    • Whyaresomanypeoplestupid?

      no it reads "especially creationism but that's just a bunch of s**t."

      August 27, 2012 at 11:53 pm |
    • mastershake

      in science u make a hypothesis, research and find evidence and come to a conclusion. if your conclusion is strong enough it becomes a theory. some theories can be disproven with the proper evidence. its not that science doesn't question evolution its just that their is not enough data to prove that evolution is not what happened. its like gravity, would u question wether it existed

      August 27, 2012 at 11:55 pm |
    • putty

      Oh yeah, definitely question everything. But you can't ignore established facts. And you can't throw your hands in the air and say, well, I can't explain this, that means God did it.

      August 28, 2012 at 12:02 am |
  13. Whyaresomanypeoplestupid?

    I would weep for humanity if most of it weren't so ignorant.

    Creationism is just 100% stubbornness and ignorance. 0% Truth.

    Why are making it harder for science?

    August 27, 2012 at 11:51 pm |
  14. Jim

    Where do people come up with this notion that smart people don't believe in God? There is just as many scientist, engineers, doctors, and other "educated" people, that believe in God, as there is that don't. I am " smarter than the average bear". I am an engineer, and I believe in God. I suggest you read up on Albert Einsteins religious views. I am not sure if creation is literal or figurative. But, here is something to think about: God doesn't want believing in him to be easy, if it was cut and dry it wouldn't be called faith. He gives evidence for and against; and wants you to question, then believe; not blind faith. You can say that rock formations and other evidence shows that earth is billions of years old; or you can say God made it look that way to challenge your faith. I believe in God, that does not stop me from being a great engineer. And being smart does not take away from my faith. Even if you don't believe in God, He believes in you!

    August 27, 2012 at 11:51 pm |
    • Whyaresomanypeoplestupid?

      Those people have unfortunately not taken the final intellectual step to atheism. They either do not realize how stupid they are being or they may scared of the threats they may get if they admit they don't believe in god. I understand being scared. I don't understand being scientific and believing in God. That doesn't make sense.

      August 28, 2012 at 12:08 am |
  15. lconstancio

    there is only conscious matter in the universe, going up in the evolution cycle and falling back down, only to rise again in a infinite cycle. those who have eyes will see truth

    August 27, 2012 at 11:51 pm |
  16. What???

    DanW, FYI I was raised by a science and a biology teacher! I have read every text book they had! I have read the encyclopedia Britannica from A-Z and I have not found one thing that can take the term that science uses in it description of its own faulty pillar of its truth! That is the THEORY OF EVOLUTION!!! NOT THE LAW OF EVOLUTION! Laws in science are proven, theories don't have enough facts to stand as a law?

    August 27, 2012 at 11:51 pm |
    • Rational Libertarian

      There are virtually no laws in science. Evolution is pretty damn close to being law.

      August 27, 2012 at 11:52 pm |
    • Gadflie

      What? You obviously have no idea what a scientific law is. A theory NEVER becomes a law. A law is just a repeated set of observations that show that something is consistent. It doesn't ever attempt to explain why or how. A theory ALWAYS attempts to explain.

      August 27, 2012 at 11:54 pm |
    • Eh

      Just like children of pastors become wild unruly children, so I would expect you to be stupid about science and biology.

      August 27, 2012 at 11:55 pm |
    • Eh

      I'm calling BS on "what???".
      Anyone with an ounce of science knowledge knows that laws and theories are virtually the same.
      You gotta look up the defiinitions idiot.

      August 27, 2012 at 11:58 pm |
    • What??? a moron you are!

      "Laws differ from scientific theories in that they do not posit a mechanism or explanation of phenomena: they are merely distillations of the results of repeated observation"

      It helps to know what a theory and a law is.

      August 28, 2012 at 12:05 am |
  17. Carl

    The CNN article is very defensive, saying Nye "slammed" creationism when in fact he was quite restrained in his comments, never once referring to creationists as "stupid", ïgnorant"or "delusional". These are challenging, even scary times for the world, but seeking shelter behind the discredited beliefs of the past is not going to help.

    August 27, 2012 at 11:50 pm |
  18. Frank

    What did they feed to the polar bears and tigers on the Noah's Ark?

    And, why were the dinosaurs left behind to drown?

    August 27, 2012 at 11:49 pm |
    • brad

      1 for 13" for we know in part"

      August 27, 2012 at 11:52 pm |
    • Alex

      and how the heck did noah catch all those thousand and thousands of insect species. by the way, he didn't leave the dinosaurs to drown, God buried dinosaur bones when he created the earth cuz he knows we like mysteries

      August 27, 2012 at 11:52 pm |
    • The Truth Can Finally Be Told!

      Now I will reveal the truth! It was actually "Noah's Arks", plural, because two of each of the roughly 2,000,000 land species that Noah had to have on board required not only many arks. And he needed a small flotilla of arks to carry 40 days and 40 nights of food and water for all those species, many of who cannot survive in the climatic conditions where Noah sailed (he of course built lots of nice air conditioned rooms for the arctic animals, and heated humidified rooms for the jungle species).

      Noah's Navy was quite a sight to behold, and a major technical advance!

      August 27, 2012 at 11:58 pm |
  19. jetscreamer

    Religious people should stop seeing their doctors or taking their medication, since both are related to science, and their is no place for science in their world. They should all relied on faith-based healing instead.

    August 27, 2012 at 11:49 pm |
    • hinduism source of hindufilthyracism.

      Science is a medium not the source, hindu's, ignorant s. Source is the truth absolute and truth absolute is the God.

      August 27, 2012 at 11:53 pm |
  20. rp421

    "Gadflie
    Adam, they have never actually discovered anything that is irreducibly complex. Sorry to burst your bubble."

    This one's for you.....you are officially debunked!
    [youtube=https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=videoseries&w=640&h=360]

    August 27, 2012 at 11:49 pm |
    • Gadflie

      No video there. Why don't you just say what you imagine is irreducibly complex. That should be fun.

      August 27, 2012 at 11:52 pm |
    • Vid Fail

      The video you have requested is not available. If you have recently uploaded this video, you may need to wait a few minutes for the video to process.

      August 27, 2012 at 11:53 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.