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.
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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.
Evolution does not explain death. The Bible does explain death. Death is a huge proof of God's existence. The Bible demands Christians believe that death entered this world by Adam's sin. If you reject that idea - you are not a Christian.
I'm going to have to disagree.
Death is just a by-product of entropy.
Biology explains death perfectly well as the cessation of metabolic activity. Explaining death as a magical curse that entered the world because someone ate a forbidden piece of fruit is not even an explanation – it is a childish folktale.
Simple biology explains death, thanks.
Evolution of course doesn't explain death, because death isn't what evolution explains. Evolution explains the diversity and transitions of species into other ones over long periods of time, period. Death is explained by other scientific processes, such as protein decay, telomere shortening, lack of nutrients to keep the body going, and many other things. The existence of death is no proof (or even hint) towards the existence of a deity.
@mgm: i totally agree. evolution hasn't ever tried to explain death for anything more than what it is, the death of a being.
i also totally agree i'm not christian etc etc etc because death is the puncuation in our life sentence. that's all she wrote folks, no beautiful after-life for you while your enemies burn, no coming back in a next life as a butterfly..........however some folks i've met would be lucky if they did come back as anything more than a roach. lmfao
A real science guy would know, as edunbar pointed out, that there is no necessary contradiction between belief in God and belief in evolution. I am a lifelong Christian who was taught evolution by Benedictine monks over fifty years ago. Go figure. Try broadening your own view, Mr. Science Guy, instead of trying to narrow the view of others.
there is no proof for the god-fairy-tale. Teaching it to children is the equivalent of teaching that storks bring babies.
Where does he say anything about belief in God and evolution contradicting each other. He says belief in CREATIONISM is the problem, not belief in God. I believe in God and I believe in evolution (likely, though not necessarily, guided by God), and I think Bill Nye's video is dead on the money. I don't feel a criticism of the belief in God at all.
Why should he expand his viewpoint to include lies and shams?
I am Catholic and I do believe in God, but Bill Nye never said there was a contradiction between religion and evolution. He said there was a contradiction between Creationism and evolution. This is because the Book of Genesis is a story in the Bible, not a literal account. That is where Creationism fails. It takes every word in the Bible literally when they are not meant to be taken as such.
He did not say anything about belief in God. He merely is stating teaching Creation to children is bad. Most scientists believe in God in one way or another, but most also know children should be taught evolution in schools and not anything resembling intelligent design.
You'll notice that he never said that it wasn't OK to believe in god, what he said was that ignoring the vast piles of evidence that all disagree with a literal interpretation of the Bible was silly, and that in the long term it was harmful to the country to have half the people in it believing things which were contrary to the observable world. Believe in God if you want to, but do it with your eyes and mind open to the world around you.
The truth hurts. Take your pill. It's time for bible thumpers to grow up and stop holding humanity back with your fairy tales based on prehistoric men's minuscule viewpoint of the world.
In Shinto mythology, the Eath came before the Gods.
At the beginning of time, the heavens and earth were mixed in a great cloud that slowly separated itself.
The lighter parts rose up and became the Heavens while the heavy parts descended and became an ocean of muddy water. Between the two, a green sprout began to grow and flower. When the flower opened, the first God emerged.
Once again – how is this myth any more or less credible than the Abrahamic one?
If scientist have all the answers, then why do they contain "theory"? Big Bang Theory and Theory of Evolution. Supposedly humans and animals have been evolving for millions of years, yet absolutely ZERO proof of this exists. Don't forget that nothing was compressed and blew up creating the universe. Ask a scientist where the nothing came from or how it was compressed or how the void existed for it to expand in. People who do not want to believe in God will grasp at any straw to try and disprove His existence. Yet these very people call Christians stupid for their faith, yet base theirs on these "answers". You can even test evolution yourself. Take all the parts of an iPhone and drop them on the ground repeatedly until they form a working iPhone. Sounds pretty dumb, yet millions of people believe this same process is how humans were created.
Scientists do not have all the answers, but they are working on trying to find them.
Religion is the one claiming all the answers with no proof, only that "God did it"
When an ordinary person uses the word "theory," they usually mean "A guess that I have that I don't have a lot of evidence for." That's not at all what a scientist means when they say "theory". A scientific theory is an idea that has quite a bit of evidence behind it. It is not the same as a hypothesis, which is what most laypeople mean when they say "theory."
Evolution, though anarchic, is not a random process.
By the time you wrote this drivil revealing your ignorance to the entire planet you could have actually cracked opened a dictionary and educated yourself what the term "theory" actually means in the world of science.
Do you understand the term "theory"?
Gravity is still a theory.
Science has all the answers we currently know are true. You can give endless, meaningless answers as well as questions. Science shows us which questions are worthwhile to ask and which answers we can know are correct. They have tons of evidence for both the Big Bang Theory and the Theory of Evolution. All creatures have been evolving for billions (not millions) of years. In scientific terms, a quantum singularity that goes through a phase shift and destabilizes an energy matrix causing a huge expansion to form the universe, isn't really nothing. We have these things called Law of Conservation of Matter/Energy in science. People, like me, who do not believe in a god(s) don't desire for people to be so outright tunnel vision they think a single mythology from the Bronze Age is their salvation and truth. If an iPhone had the properties of amino acids and such around hydrothermal vents or boiling pools, they we would see it, but anything else and your proposal is ridiculous. Actually the process of abiogenesis is quite simple in complexity and is quite easy to understand.
So you must be a big science fan – otherwise the church would never have allowed technology to progress to the point where you would have an iPhone. The world isn't flat, remember?
"Theory" doesn't mean "unproven" in terms of the general principles. You shouldn't confuse the common use of the word with the scientific use of the word. As for something from nothing, this is something we don't know yet, but a common idea is that there was never really a point in "time" when there was "nothing." Anyway, it seems to me that theists have the same problem: if the universe came from God, when where did God come from?
Perhaps because the first definition of "theory" is this:
"a coherent group of tested general propositions, commonly regarded as correct, that can be used as principles of explanation and prediction for a class of phenomena: Einstein's theory of relativity. Synonyms: principle, law, doctrine. "
Tom, please educate yourself as to the scientific use of the word "theory", as opposed to the common usage. It is beyond ridiculous to claim that there is zero proof of evolution. Evolution was not created to disprove God–it is the result of a great many observations that lead to a common explanation. Your iPhone analogy is beyond silly. If you don't want people to think you're stupid, you'll need to stop with such utter, complete non-sense. Seriously, you do your side of this "debate" a great disservice with your post.
Please read a book. Your assumptions and over simplification of the theory of evolution are embarrassing. It is a perfect example of what Bill Nye is talking about. Don't doom your offspring to a life of drudgery in menial low paying jobs. Let them learn about science. It is scary for you but do it for the kids.
At least scientists can say "I dont know"..........religous zealots make up more lies
@ Tom. "Take all the parts of an iPhone?!" You could use some reading up on common biology. Evolution speaks of mutations in nature that occur that make one "version" of a species survive better in their environment in a given "population". Hence, giraffe's have long necks so that they can reach food in a dry climate those that are able to do this the best are able to survive and breed passing on their "mutation". This happens gradually and it is not about "the fittest, smartest, strongest or best survive just those that have adapted to survive the best in the environment they live in.
This is how you get creatures like the Star-Nosed Mole that have "mutated" over thousands, millions of years to what we see now that can survive and pass on their genetics to the next generation to survive in the earth. If their environment were to change rapidly they could all die off but there is a change that offspring may mutate genetically to adapt to that change and so on for millions of years.
Where evolution is still a "theory" is due to the fact that we do not know what causes these mutations in nature, how or why.
And, we're trying. For the sake of the country and the whole human race, we're trying.
Except for places like Missouri, Louisiana, Arkansas...... where they are still trying to push their creationist agenda in the schools.
Its easier for people to believe a theory with huge holes in it, than to believe in god. Theories change, evolution is old science with less than minimal proof yet we still hold on to it . At the very least try to come up with something a little more scientific and less Science fiction.
What holes are you referring to? And don't trot out missing transitional forms, that's been addressed many times.
"Its easier for people to believe a theory with huge holes in it, than to believe in god."
Clearly that's the exact opposite of the truth, or the statistics would be the other way around. Scientific explanations are often complex, and few people take the time to understand them. It's far easier to say "I don't understand, and therefore it was magic."
No it isn't. If you see a fossil, it is much easier to think that it is just really old, rather than a god put it there, made it to look old, made it so carbon dating would give a false result, etc etc.
You my friend must live with your ears and eyes shut tighly to lend more credence to a childish god that to scientific fact.
@JOHN: yes science doesn't have all the answers, that is where we say "i don't know, but i will find out"
religion saids "i know all the answers and god did everything" lmao
then if god did everything, don't use modern technology or modern medicine because god made you in his image, thus you shoudl survive any disease or accident easily. ROFLMFAO.
if you use these things you are ignoring the fact that god created you by saying you require medicine to heal you, or a doctor to prevent you from getting sick.
Joel – What transitional forms are you talking about? There are none that exist, except the ones that have been disproved many times. If they do so readily exist, then why are they still looking for the "missing link"? You'd think after millions and millions of years they'd be laying all over the place with other fossils. Maybe you should find another theory to base your life on that's more believable.
Who is looking for a missing link? When was the last time you read a book? Sounds like 1950. I haven't heard about the missing link for decades. Try to stay current.
“I contend that we are both atheists. I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours.”
Lighthouses are more useful than churches Ben Franklin
So, parents, answer me this: do you genuinely believe that if there were no Bible, you would have no hope on your own of teaching your child about basic morality?
i know a lot of athiests who dont believe in the concept of morality and hope. theyd laugh at you.
Oh, bull. I know a lot of atheists too, and all of them are ethical, moral people, as much as any religious person.
Even without the written Bible, people have the spiritual Bible written on their hearts which defines their morality.Read Romans chapter 3 and you will understand what I am alluding to. There are cultures without the written Bible that practice a higher degree of morality than those who claim to have the written Bible.
Utyon...NEVER quote the bible if you're trying to legitimately defend your faith...you have to work from common ground, not Christian ground.
We are selfish creatures by nature, yet our survival depends on cooperation. In order to balance these two conflicting instincts, mankind has had to develop rules that allow room for both.
These rules are not the same for all communities – hence we've had so many different types of religion and government throughout history.
Religion binds communities together by giving a common frame of reference. Shared fears (like divine retribution), hopes (like going to heaven) and rituals allow the instinct for self preservation to extend beyond one's self and immediate family.
This is why the great majority of evolutionary biologists find no conflict between religion and science – as long as religion is recognized solely as a social adaptation.
Something is written on your heart? That sounds serious...better go see a doctor.
Flowery poetic language doesn't make your argument any more believable. Morality is just plain common sense. We evolved as social creatures and the use of ethics and morality are what allowed us to cooperate with each other. No god required.
Where do you get your idea of basic morality?
"i know a lot of athiests who dont believe in the concept of morality and hope. theyd laugh at you."
Says the Catholic who let their child be mol-ested.
Says the bible thumper who burned and drowned women for "witchcraft"
Says the muslim who kills people in a Jihad
Says the muslim who kills their own daughter "for honor"
Need I go on? How much horror has been inflicted on the world by religion.
Religion is filled with anything but morality... if anything, it provides cover for predators and sick, twisted individuals.
On the other hand, if an atheist lives a moral life, they're doing it of their own volition, and not fear of some punishment from a lake of fire in the afterlife. They're doing it out of good intentions. Which frankly, makes atheists MORALLY SUPERIOR to religious people, who act only out of FEAR of the unknown.
In the book Guns, Germs & Steel, Jared Diamond notes that contrary to popular belief, people who live in tribes as they did thousands of years ago tend to do things like kill people from other tribes whenever they meet them. He theorized that religious thinking evolved at some point (ironically, you might say) and that in some cases tribe leaders were able to use this to get people to stop fighting and to form bigger, more powerful political units, which in turn won out over isolated tribes, thereby facilitating the spread of a particular religion. While many across the world no longer believe in a lot of religious concepts, and while the roots of quite a bit of morality could possibly have proliferated because of religion, a core of that morality persists, and I think it will continue, because people who don't follow that morality are at a disadvantage (most people don't want to be around someone who steals or kills or lies). With our society being firmly integrated and densely populated, we are dependent on this core of morality, and almost everyone supports it, which really, makes it pretty easy to teach, in my opinion. Those tenants that don't yield much advantage, ie. that you should eat wafers of bread and believe that they are the body of Jesus, may fall by the wayside.
This is a question I've given a lot of thought to. At this point in time, if one lives in a western society, he will have certain basic judeo-christian morals, which have been accepted. I think that without the bible, these morals could have developed, mostly out of self preservation (we wouldn't last so long if everyone was going around killing each other) but probably would have taken much longer to develop universality. It is not necessary for certain ideas to have evolved, as is evidenced by other cultures (not to say in any way that they are wrong, however, there are practices that oppose the morals ingrained in us by the society we live in) so could a parent raise perfectly good children without the bible, in this day in age, probably yes, but you must recognize, that much of what they will be teaching will come from their society, adn quite honestly I'm not sure honoring your parents, and not killing are such a bad thing.
Since people of faith cannot explain the origin of god and science cannot explain the origin of matter (directly before the big bang), then both start off at the same place, the exact origin of their system cannot be explained. Therefore, we rely on evidence afterwords to explain our universe. Christianity, as well as many other popular religions, have just a few books written thousands of years ago that have been translated so many times there is no way to know what was originally in the books, but science has many thousands of books, past and present, that go to great detail to explain the universe. Given this, I fail to see how religion has any credibility at all. However, the research that shows non-religious people are typically more intelligent than religious people would explain a lot.
to date the only book (or in thss case a piece of papyrus) called P52 and it is about the size of a credit card. Dated from the mid-second-century. A few books (not complete) from the 3rd century and the majority of books date from the 8/9/10th century (CE). In short the stories have been re-written so many times..who knows what?.
Religious faith is the polar opposite of intellectual curiosity
Yes, dead on. If you're not curious at all, then religion is all yours.
Creationism also reflects how much time and money is wasted in America. It's bad enough the faithful build these expensive churches that totally contridict the teachings of a humble Jesus who was a champion for the poor, some have gotten so mad at science for the way it tells the 'story of us', that they have fabricated an entire science in a futile attempt to prove the scriptings of an ancient people. How freeking wasteful is that?!? And some have the audacity to call themselves 'conservatives'? Please invest in my project, 'throw-money-away-people'; It's called 'Final Proof'. If given ENOUGH cash (oh like, a few million) I can call forth the Lawd to poke his head in the dimension and scare all non-believers. Then no more arguments. Got it? Are U ready kids?
How about you stop wasting my air with your blabber as well?
@Derek – funny thing about sending messages through the internet; I don't waste your air, Derek. Now go, eat some food. Preferably some fish. Get that brain warmed up, eh buddy?
God is the sound the mind makes when it doesn't want to think anymore.
Nye is incorrect in believing that majority opinion has any effect on the progression of science. Scientific discoveries are not the norm, they are the exception; they always have been. Scientific discovery doesn't need peer review and approval from the teaming, ignorant masses. Science, by its nature is an elitist activity. Get used to it!
Actually, it does need public approval. The population of scientists come from your educated children, and a lot of funding comes from taxpayer money, which in influenced by who the public has placed in political power. It's not some elitist society any more than doctors are, it just requires 10 years + of intensive training.
True, Henry... but fostering a culture that embraces, rather than runs and hides from, scientific methodologies and critical thinking will serve us much better. I'd rather have 46% drop to 0% and greatly increase our chances of being the home to more of those "outliers" of scientific achievement.
Does 'elitist activity' mean 'things smart people do' where you're from? Because I didn't come from an 'elitist' background and I absolutely love science.
@AverageJoe76 – Elitist (as I use the word) doesn't have anything to do with where you came from, physically, economically, ethnically or otherwise. Elitist (again, as I use the word), means something of an intellectual nature, founded in truth, and practiced by few.
for all that don't understand evolution, let me enlighten you.
adaptation happens to a few of a species due to enviromental changes, if those with that adaptation survive and pass it on to their offspring over time the species changes as a whole; that is evolution.
"if evolution was a staircase, adaptation would be the steps."
God is the sound makes when it doesn't want to think anymore.
In 2 peter chapter 3- verse 8 it says: 8 But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. 9 The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.
1 corinthians 3: 19-21 states: For the wisdom of this world is foolishness before God. For it is written, “He is THE ONE WHO CATCHES THE WISE IN THEIR CRAFTINESS”; 20and again, “THE LORD KNOWS THE REASONINGS of the wise, THAT THEY ARE USELESS.” 21So then let no one boast in men.
A human being cannot out think God!! A student is not greater than his master. That is why it takes FAITH to believe in God and creation!!!!!!!
Faith is belief in something without evidence. In other words, delusion. Please go and check your self into a mental health facility.
That's a retarded explanation. "that's why it takes faith" is stupid, go bury your head in the sand.
@terry: faith: belief in something without proof.
yeah that sounds about right, religion doesn't want to show you proof because it has none.
science is based solely on having proof.
Again, no god – yours included – is needed or warranted for evolution. The science is sound on this. Adding a god or gods to the mix only adds an unneeded layer of complexity that provides no additional explanitive power.
Could God have created life that is able to adapt to environmental change? Not likely, I know. I'm comforted more by the simplicity of a medieval vision of a king upon a throne– presiding over a heavenly court, protected by angelic knights who carry firey swords. My universe can remain human and earth-centered if I discount the work of modern astronomy, that has uncovered an unimaginably vast cosmos. Perhaps our undestanding of God needs to adapt, but that's not for me... I'm just not smart enough.
Rein, you wrote, "I'm just not smart enough." Flash: Neither are the rest of us. But you are honest – and that is the door to wisdom.
Bill, that is a "hate" crime you are committing by denying their beliefs.
Denying blatant stupidity is not a hate crime, but justifying stories that were told in antiquity as some sort of truth without any proof required. That is a crime of humanity lost on the past with religious hatred and religious wars. To either convert you or you will die. To date Atheisms has NOT burn ANYONE at the stake in the name of a deity.
Stephen F Roberts: “I contend that we are both atheists. I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours.”
How does the creationism vs evolution debate actually impact anyone's life except for more meaningless contention between the pro-God and and anti-God crowds?
Is it a hate crime to tell these fundiots that gravity is a fact as well?
Creationism=no evidence to support it
Evolution= evidence to support it
You are directly affected by *soemone* having knowledge of evolution when you consume all agricultural products (meat, veggies, fruits), go to the doctor,see a geneticist for counseling before having a child, take medication, or are impacted by poilicies concerning environmental change, which is a driver for forcing adaptation vs extinction. You don't need to be educated or care to enjoy the fruits of others labor, however if you are educating your children to be creationist, that's one less American scientist, which has been impacting the role of this country in biomedical research. You are also a powerful consumer with the ability to vote – who you place in power will influence what gets funded and what goes in textbooks.
BTW, pro-evolution isn't anti-God at all. God is based on faith and faith does not belong in science. It belongs in church and philosophy. Understanding how evolution works has nothing to do with the existence of God, *unless* you believe that everything currently on earth was placed there in it's current form by God 6,000 years ago.
I'm so disappointed. Bill Nye was a huge fascination for me as a kid and helped encourage my love of science that made me an Engineer as an adult. But even more important was the christian schools, family and university that taught me all of that science. Creationism and/or belief in God does not hamper my ability to innovate if anything it inspires me to greater things. The idea that an ancient or billion year old world is the proven and evidenced fact is so very closed minded and from Engineer to Engineer, that is what will hold you back and limit your thoughts and life potential.
Nye isn't commenting on belief in Christianity, just lack of education about what evolution is and what it is not. Misconceptions like yours cause people to think that understanding evolution has anything to do with the creation of the universe, which it does not. You can be a creationist and a scientist, as long as your field has absolutely nothing to do with DNA research, such as cancer/molecular biology, genetics and microbio, because in those fields understanding how DNA changes and is likely to change is fundamental. Given how incredibly fast research in this field is proceeding, it is sad that half of their country has left themselves out of understanding any of it.