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.
Bill simply stated that creationists who disregard evolution and want to replace the study of evolution with creation only teachings are stilfing our future because creationism alone, belief alone, dulls the challenge of discovery. If all one believes is that God did it all and that is the only answer necessary, then further inspection and analysis are unnecessary.
I am sure that there were many devout, religious people who discovered amazing things that have helped the development of society but that was because they were able to seperate their religion from their scientific studies. There is unfortunately a movement to get Chiristian relgious doctrine in the schoos by claiming Creationism as a science.
btw: If Creationism is a science, I would like it to be taught from the perspective of each of the major religions. That would never happen, because the real issue is that those who want Creationism taught want it taught ONLY from the Christiain perspective....very open-minded, of course.
Very well put Sean. Had Copernicus believed in the Earth-centric model of the universe like everyone else (including the Church), science and astronomy could not have progressed to where we are now. Nye is merely making a call for more people like Copernicus, Newton and Darwin.
Good post. Also, it seems to me that we have been down this road before. It was called the Dark Ages. And, while there is plenty of evidence for evolution, there is no evidence for creationism, except the words in a book.
Evolution is a tool used by God to prepare the world for us (then only outstanding smart species in the planet). The seven days are representing of periods.....The message had to be communicated in a way it could be easily understood back then. When the human evolution was ready to host our advanced brains, the creator interviened and altered the DNA so that humans can become the stewarts of this planet.....thas is my opinion, I don't feel that these two theories should clash but rather that they work together......don't agree with me...then let me know why no other species in the planet evolutionated like us.
Want me to agree with you?
Show me independently verifiable evidence.
That is bad science.
As ever, the 'humble' religious perspective. Evolution was 'guided by god' to bring about.....ME!
aliens came down from planet xenu and impregnated a virgin via telepathy and voila Jesus was born. My opinion.
"then let me know why no other species in the planet evolutionated like us."
Please, there is plenty of evidence of other species evolving. is Evolutionated even a word?
Wait, did you say 'evolutionated'? Dude. You missed a whole lot of classes didn't you? The fact is every species 'evolutionated' like we did. All of them. Which is why we share 98% of the DNA of chimpanzees. We even share the same mutation that de-activated the enzyme that synthesizes vitamin C. Which is why we need to eat it in our diet, along with all the other primates including gorillas and chimpanzees. And your dog does not. And please tell me the great purpose god had for guiding into existence small pox?
I believe the word you are looking for is "evolved".
@FGC "then let me know why no other species in the planet evolutionated like us."
if it is your wish to propose a theory that proves that your point if view is right, it is your responsibility to provide research and analysis. Then have it independently verified. It is not up to the rest of us to prove your point for you. We are taught to prove our point by providing our own research. Maybe you missed that part of biology/physics/astronomy/Algebra/Geometry/Calculus/Chemistry pretty much all of the sciences.. We are taught by proofs, and then we understand why something works. It does the human race absolutely no good to practice science the way you just proposed. All you do is introduce confusion by your own ignorance.
We already send the kids to schools which mostly teach evolution and then pay a fortune to send them to universities where you teach them evolution again. Don't blame the parents for evolution not catching on. You can't even blame creationism as if it's so powerful. Maybe, just maybe, it's the theory itself that does not make sense. Also, the arrogance of people like this tv professor turn people off.
First off, younger generations are increasing accepting evolution for the fact that it is. Those that do not believe it are heavily influenced by their parents and other authority figures in their life.
Few things in life make more sense then evolution if you actually take the time and effort to learn it.
Saby, you say to not blame the parents??? What are children supposed to think when they receive two days of evolution instruction when they are 12 years old, as opposed to a lifetime of being told "God did it"?!?
Only the dumbest people alive would believe in creationism.
no, no, no, you miss the point. evolution may not be perfect in explaining everything, but the difference between science and religion is that science is constantly changing what is "fact" based on the evidence, while religion is based in belief that cannot be proven and resists changes despite the evidence against their "facts".
Even if I give you that evolution might be wrong (based on the reasoning that there are nothing you can be 100% sure about) it's FAR more likely then creationism. The viewable evidence shows that the earth was not created in 6 days (not to even get into the discussion of the genesis sun being created after day/night separation despite the sun and the earths rotation creating day/night).
Regarding the scientists elitism... are you telling me that an evolutionary biologist with multiple years, degrees, and research papers (requiring thousands of hours of research) is to be less trusted then your uneducated opinion based on a book written in the bronze age during a period when the common belief was that the Earth was flat? Why would your resource be more scientifically accurate then Bill Nye's resources?
The younger genaration is accepting evolution so this guy should be happy. Why do you suppose he did this video? Also, why is evolution referred to as a theory and not a fact?
Because that's how science works. Its basics 101. There is always room to refine a theory as more evidence arrives. Please educate yourself on definition of the term "Scientific Theory"
Since I realize you haven't taken the time to study evolution you probably won't take the time to look up scientific theory.
Let me quickly sum it up. A scientific theory is the best possible explanation that encompasses all the evidence and observations that have been made. It is so accurate that it can be used to predict future events with an extremely high level of precision. However, if a single pieceof evidence comes along that contradicts the theory you either throw out the the theory and start over or modify the theory to encompass the new evidence. To date, for over 150 years since Darwin published his findings, every single discovery in ever single discipline of applicable science in every conceivable region of the world has strengthened the theory of evolution. This includes biology, genetics, geology, paleontology, oceanography, etc. the list goes on and on.
Saby, in science, the word "theory" means something far more strongly than it does in day to day life. Creationism is just a fairy tale.
holy crap... i live in a country where only 15% believe in the real theory of evolution?
Yup, better move brah.
Thanks for typin' "theory" too.
As far as I know only HeavenSent thinks crap is holy, but she is part of the 85%, figures.
@Babs If you want to deny an established scientific theory, may i suggest that you start with the theory of gravity...
Humans are afraid of death and want to feel comforted and special, so they invented religion, among their other notable inventions.
Maybe it is you who have invented the idea that you are not accountable to your Maker.
"Maybe it is you who have invented the idea that you are not accountable to your Maker."
Or maybe they don't believe in a "maker" without proof other than what many human being wrote a very long time ago, then other humans edited.
This "Maker" you speak of must be crapping his pants after making this screwed up world then, since he'll be accountable to his "Maker" too.
Time for Bill to read C.S. Lewis' book, Mere Christianity.
Time for you to read something beyond apologist drivel. Try biology, biochemistry, physics, microbiology, geology and astronomy for a start. Let us know when you get out of the bronze age.
“not accept the possibility that the 6 days as described in Genesis are symbolic for billions of years”
If the “6 days” quoted in the bible can be symbolic for billions of years then anything in the bible can be symbolic for anything else which would make all the rules stories and commandments in the bible useless because you can never know what they are symbolic for. For example the crucifixion and resurrection could be symbolic for the spring planting and fall harvest
TR6, well said. But that's the whole point behind the inherent flexibility of the Bible...it means whatever you want it to mean. This is a bit different from gravity, which just IS.
We need religion....to keep the population down. Nothing like a good war in the name of reiligion to reduce the populaton and the gulible sheep.
No I wasn't.
I was a liberal, socalist, hippy. Living a communal life style with my buddies where we shared our wealth, fed the hungry, and provide free health care to anybody that needed it.
people who dont believe in GOD are idiots because they cant see GOD they think HE doesnt exist. well i have never been to france ever in my life and i could sit here all day and deny it exists. but does my denying it exists mean it doesnt? no!
You're funny. France isn't an intangible, omnipotent, omnipresent, unseeable being, except to the French.
SCOTTA, that just means you're a poorly traveled mess. How do you explain the satellite images of France? How do you explain the volumes of photos taken in France? How about French passports that every government in the world recognizes? Just because you're clueless doesn't mean the world will be clueless with you.
How silly. You could go to France. Many people have been to France. To my knowledge no one has ever been to God's house.
Athiests don't believe in god because they can't see him (although that helps), we don't believe in god because there is absolutely no reason too based on history and all disciplines of science.
Except that there is evidence France exists. There is nothing on God except 2,000 year old books written by homeless wandering farmers in the remote part of a desert.
That is by far the most absurd analogy I've ever heard.
Obvious troll is obvious.
But someone can actually show you France. You cannot show us God ever, no matter how hard you all try. FAIL.
Worst logic ever. You can buy a ticket and fly to france. You can't buy an interview with God.
SCOTTA – You are a moron. There is a proof that France exists. You can take a plan and land there or see the country on TV or browse through narrow lanes of Paris on Google streetview.
Now, give me a proof that God exists. Of course, you would show Bible, which in reality was written by sheep herders in the Middle east. You have the same IQ of those sheep herders. America, as we know, would be doomed if she produces more morons like you.
I can't believe I'm reading this! You are so DUMB!
SCOTTA your argument is naive at best. It is possible for you to gather objective evidence for... oh damn it, I'm trying to use reason.
If you don't want to believe in science, then why do you accept the existence of the internet that you smear with your willfully ignorant opinions?
Not believing in creationism does NOT necessarily mean one does not believe in God. It just means one does not believe in the literal interpretation of the book of Genesis.
If supremely powerful supernatural beings can exist, then why can't there be more of them? Why couldn't one create another if they can literally do anything? Why couldn't they create lesser ones? Did the first one simply exist? Did he ever wonder why he existed or where he came from? Did he wonder if he was created too?
Ah, the brilliant scientist explaining how order came from disorder. It truly takes more faith to believe that 'this' is all purposeless randomness than to believe in Creation. The existence of God is evident by His creation. Where there is a creation, there is a Creator; where there is a design, there is a Designer; where there is a miracle, there is a God.
** cricket chirp **
When there's randomness then what?
"The existence of God is evident by His creation. Where there is a creation, there is a Creator; where there is a design, there is a Designer; where there is a miracle, there is a God."
Assuming your god created it, but even then, you dont know if your god was the actual creator. You speculate, just like you speculate gods existence. what about the other 2500+ deities out there? Could they not possibly have had a hand in creation or is it only your god?
Well, the "designer" or "creator" did a pretty craptacular job "designing" an awful lot of things – circulatory systems, digestive systems, efficiency of heat transfer, fossil fuels, human feet and spines, the platypus... You don't understand order from disorder? Do you realize that outside your little tiny worldview, there is more disorder than order? Will you trot out how evolution isn't possible because of the second law of thermodynamics? Do you even understand the second law of thermodynamics?
If a deity can create anything and everything, why can't there be multiple deities are multiple levels of power with the most powerful creating lesser ones? What's to prevent a deity from creating another deity, since that deity is supposed to be all-powerful? And if a deity can exist without themselves being created, why can't anything else simply just exist? What created your deity? What makes your deity real and others not? Was he simply bored with his own existence in an empty environment somewhere outside of space and time that he created everything else? Maybe he created other deities for companionship? Or maybe the idea of a deity is simply symbolism for an idea? If no one told you your religious text was supposed to be real, and you read it like any other book, would you have considered it a work of fiction? Do you realize that no deity told ever you that your religion was real, but only repeatedly by fellow humans like yourself?
Why does it take more "faith" to believe in evolution. All you're saying is "I can't explain so god did it". Just presuming for the sake of discussion that a god created the world as we know it – what evidence do you have that it was "your" god? All religions and ancient tribes have a creation myth.
Jonathan, it is obnoxious to start your comment with "Ah". However, unless you are indeed a wise old sage, then my apologies. Please disregard.
Nowhere did the article attempt to explain how order came from disorder. I think Mr. Nye's message was that staunch creationism should not be taught to children. This does not necessarily equate to teaching them to be atheists.
I agree. I just wish people would close their minds and open their hearts to the reality of the Nine Worlds that are bound together by the World Tree.
The Watchmaker argument has long been disproven.
And, obviously, if all "creations" require an intelligent designer, then who/what created your god? This is an unavoidable question for those that insist that "something can't come from nothing"... which is what you're implying.
You the man, Bill Nye! We need more scientists to step up and expose these frauds. Hopefully, creationists will crawl back under whatever rock they slithered out from under 6000 years ago. Fantasy belongs in comic books, not science books.
"There ain't no jesus gonna come from the sky.
Now that I found out, I know I can cry." – John Lennon
So many comments to make.
First, the Bible doesn't say the earth was created in 6 days; it says the earth in its current form was created in 6 days. It says in the beginning God created earth *and the earth became without form and void.* It goes on to talk about re-creation in six days. Elsewhere, the Bible speaks of a great battle between God and Lucifer. It is entirely consistent with the Bible that earth was created billions of years ago, that other life forms lived on it, that at some point there was massive destruction (perhaps as part fo that battle), and that the earth, the seas, the atmosphere, the creatures, and man in his current form were then created.
Second, the Bible tells us that to God a day is as a thousand years. The "six day" story does not necessarily mean six 24-hour time periods.
Finally, science has yet to explain a viable alternative. There was matter that interacted with each other in a way that caused life. Where did the matter come from? Where did the laws of physics that caused the matter to interact with each other come from? We're just suppose to trust that it was always there - and they say this should not be questioned?
Ed, anything you read in the bible are the words of a bunch of fallible human beings over a long period of time. Those humans used their intellect to control the masses through religion. Then later on, other men edited the book to fit their agenda of control, money and power. And before you go on and state "well, they were inspired by god", I will tell you that THOSE SAME PEOPLE ARE FEEDING YOU THAT INFORMATION. Coincidence?
Secondly, religion has not explained anything. All it says is god created it. That is a pretty lazy assumption.
Read up on M-theory. You might be surprised at how close we are to understanding the universe absent a God construct.
Just one question.
The day that scientist actually offer rock hard evidence of evolutions, will you agree with it? Or will your beliefs adjust to continually skirt science in an explanation? One day, will the church has astrophysicist working to disprove evolution as the evidence becomes stringer and more conclusion which it unsubtly will?
Tell Mr. Nye to take a look at this website –
Word on the street is that this is what broke up Captain Kangaroo and Mr. Green Jeans. That Mister Green Jeans was a Godless Hippie.
Can someone tell me why a Childrens television host should even be alloed to speak in public?
He's supposedly slamming something that can't be taught in public schools.
Creationism can't be taught because its nonsense!
Yeah no Christians are engineers, oh wait there are some???? Guess ole Bill failed to use the scientific research model beforing throwing out that statement...
Nothing I say here is going to sway almost 50% of my fellow Americans from believing that they are wrong, so why bother?
Oops, worded that wrong, but you get the point...
We and everything in the universe, and again us, are, as has been said, flukes of the universe. Consider the Tao of the whole thing, if there is a whole thing. Is it so hard to accept, regardless of the years, days, seconds, micro-seconds or billions of years that we are motes in cosmic dust, as is every other mote in the universe? To try and understand, if we can, how we came to be is way cool and a worthy quest, for it may bring great succor to humans. The why is not important and unknowable, maybe. We are a part of what is and being part of the what is is enough.
It's a shame that people are not as enthusiastic about ethics and human decency, as they are about religion.
Seriously. You can't be that stupid and still know how to breathe.