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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About this blog
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.
Teach all of the theories. What are we so afraid of?
Children's minds are vulnerable and teaching contradictions will either confuse or cause disinterest in both evolutionary sciences and religion.
WhyareYOUsostupid?, This makes no sense. We are the most conservative country in the world. Our country was founded on Judeo-Christian beliefs and has been this way for the last 236 years. Over 80% of the country believes in God and we have provided the world with some of the most modern technology in history. So, by your arguement we should ALL ALONG have NOT been the technological leader of the world. Yet we are!
Right, so teach about how the world is actually a giant turtles back, and how in Guam the sun and planets are eyeballs of giants, and about how people climbed from the underworld as ants led by a coyote, and how we were sneezed out from a sleeping giant, and ...
Get my point? These are "theories" to the very same extent that Creationism is a theory. Why not teach them all? By the way, will there be any time left to teach science instead of mythology?
There is some intellectual dishonesty, congruence, and implicit condescension in Bill Nye's arguments which is quite the turn-off for me, a college student, looking up to this man and trying to learn the truth using the Socratic method.
Nye starts by saying that America is the leader in the world. He also claims that denial of evolution is unique to the US. (He is somewhat right. About 70% of the population of the US believes a form of creationism.) He starts by saying that America is the best, but then says we need to aspire to be like other countries. by virtue of the facts he states about our uniqueness and prowess as "the best," he gives no solid reason to change. Thus, that argument felll flat. Then he effectively calls every religious parent childish because they raise their kids to share their beliefs. He further implies that only evolutionist can be scientifically literate, be engineers, and solve problems. Very ironically, we have learned much about the world around us from religious or creationist people like Isaac Newton, Carl Linnaeus (the creation of animal classification), and even Galileo. It is quite evident this wasn't about science or facts by virtue of Nye's implicit condescension. If he honestly wants people to listen, he needs to use the fas and not simply state, "You know, in another couple of centuries that world view, I'm sure, will be, it just won't exist." and that "There's no evidence for it." I realize this is only a 2 and a half minute video, but if he wants to persuade someone of an different world view, he's going about that wrong.
What I'd like to ask Bill Nye is this: "If evolution is true beyond a shaddow of a doubt, please help our generation intellectually reason through the topic, listening to and questioning all sides, so that we can come to the point where we know the truth just as you claim to know it." He seemed to have been allowed that chance, so all I ask is he gives this generation a chance to think through all the questions, too. Sadly, this seems to be nothing more than Nye pushing an agenda and not really facilitating and promoting intellectual discussions.
You totally perverted what Nye said. Your slander of "intellectual dishonesty" just flops.
Why are you Christians so slanderous?
Very true- and many of our astronauts were 'creationists' as well. Stupid? Unscientific? I think not.
One issue here is that few, if any, have the time or expertise to examine all of the relevant data from all the relevant fields, that is, astronomy, physics, chemistry, geology, paleontology, organismal and molecular biology, ecology, etc, etc.. We rely on experts to condense and synthesize information which is ultimately incorporated into science education. Suffice it to say that at every opportunity, mainstream science and evolutionary theory has withstood both scientific and legal challenge. Evolutionary theory is supported by every relevant scientific discipline. Creationism/ID is supported by none. To deny evolution is to effectively deny science itself.
Whoa. Almost a hundred pages of comments? Someone touched a nerve.
"but the acceptance of scientific observation and experimentation is the essence of scientific understanding." Observation is relative. Two people observing the same thing from two different points in space will see two different things. Science history; the sun revolves around the earth (wrong), the earth is flat (wrong), what goes up must come down (wrong). I could go on and on. Science does Not have all the answers. And there have being more scientific theories been dis-proven, then proven. Is science bad? No, it is great. But don't give it the almighty, reputation of being the one true believe. You will be wrong more than you are right. You can say science is God's way of helping humans cope with not understanding the meaning of life. Science is not perfect, and if you beat away at trying to understand everything; you will more new questions then what you have answered. Humans will never understand everything. There will always be something new to comprehend. Science history: elements are the smallest building blocks (wrong). We know today that protons, electron, neutrons are made up of smaller things. In the future are we going to learn that smaller particles travel in dimensions we don't even understand today? And from there, then what? Study science, its good for mankind. But don't pretend humans will ever know everything.
Uh... Science in general makes the claim that it knows practically nothing. It's the religious who seem to have all the answers wrapped up in a neat little bow.
How dare you call me a troll. I am just responding to people's attempts to either to insult atheists or unnecessarily start preaching in this serious debate. You're the one talking about your "IQ that borders on genius." Sounds to me like you think you compare to the god you worship. You also berate everyone who has developed their own stance from science and facts. It's your arrogance (especially without evidence) that makes you the troll.
WhyareYOUsostupid? You need to keep your targets straight. Lance didn't say what you quoted I did. And you're offended by him calling you a "TROLL" when not only is your username offensive but you lack any cohesive argument other than calling other people stupid. If you can't stand the heat quit setting the kitchen on fire.
I wonder why God only lets stupid people believe in him?
Thank you Mr Nye.
Yes, thank you Mr. Nye. Who are you anyway? And who cares what you believe and say? Not me. And not God.
If you believe in creationism, you dishonor God, by limiting God's creative intelligence.
Dishonoring god is my job. Thats why he created me.
No, he created you as a free agent, and you chose to rebel and usurp his glory, that's why you lie, and why you'll lose. Have fun in outer darkness for eternity. Fail.
Let's face it, scientific explanations are just too hard for some people. You have to take all the advanced math courses, like calculus and trig, and read a lot of books with big words in them, and then spend time doing experiments and research projects until you begin to grasp the underlying concepts. This takes a lot of time and a lot of hard work and study. The tests can be excruciatingly difficult. Your classmates make fun of you if you don't catch on right away and girls start to think of you as a bore. Creationists can find all they ever need to know in one book and the bit about creation only covers a few pages. But the best part is, they don't really have to understand or make sense of any of it. They just have to believe it.
this is too complicated.
So I'm guessing you are referring to yourself, the high school drop out, that is now living in your parents' basement?
i haven't heard anyone say what is so obviously .the real
"truth".the existence or nonexistence of god is simply an
unanswerable question.that is the hardest of all to swallow.
i believe the" truth"is what motivates the most vociferous
of you all on either side of the equation.uncertainty is a
condition that is hated by human beings.
God is a scientist! More of a scientist than any other human on Earth. God created Evolution for our sake. So we could make the conscious choice as a collective to grow out of our duality between science, and religion, so they could form as one. Or instead, make the choice to continue to fight like "animals" instead of grow all together as humans in harmony. We are trying so hard to prove one another wrong, instead of just realizing the truth thats right in front of all our faces. The "ego" loves conflict!
If God were a scientist, his manuscript would have been rejected for failing to adequately describe his methods...
He failed to have his work peer reviewed. Very shoddy work.
And the shoddiness shows up elsewhere. How many people die every year choking on food? What sort of "intelligent designer" would have a single tube for both food and respiration? I can buy it evolving by chance, but being put into humans by design? Why the heck do dolphins get a separate tube for respiration, removing odds of choking on food, while we don't?
Hate to break it to those of you who believe in God, but all the really smart people know it and I'm going to say it:
GOD DOESN"T EXIST
STOP HOLDING MANKIND BACK WITH YOUR STUPID IRRATIONAL BELIEFS
The Bible, a stupid book of unknown origin and certainly little reliability, is not a reputable source of evidence.
Evolution is backed by science which actually deals with the world we live in.
Why do only very few people see how pathetic it is believe in a religion? Religion is just people trying to explain their problems in some ignorant way while at the same time trying to become "part of something bigger:" a connection with some illogically omnipotent being.
Mankind knows way more about our universe now then ever before and it was still a stupid idea to believe in God thousands of years ago when we didn't know as much. I suggest that everyone who believes in God should stop blindly following the beliefs of the uneducated people of the past and really really think about what makes the most sense:
That if it ain't backed by science it's not true! Evolution is backed by science! Creationism is backed by idiots.
People like you are the reason other people post dumb things. We like seeing you act like an idiot.
Why do you think I'm here?
Cause I'm bored and reading the comments of stupid people like you is hilarious.
See, we can all live in harmony making fun of each other.
Science and religion are not mutually exclusive. Unfortunately the 90+ pages of comments shows exactly the problems on both sides. Christians need to realize that a poetic interpretation of the story of creationism does not mean that God doesn't exist. Finding errors in the Bible does not mean that God doesn't exist. Proof of evolution does not mean that God does not exist. Instead of fighting science and fostering ignorance, Christians need to embrace science as a means of better understanding the God they believe in.
On the atheist side, undeniable scientific proof of the big bang theory and evolution do not disprove the existence of God. Science can disprove the literal creationism account, science can disprove the flood, but science will never prove that there is no God, because science studies the natural and God by definition is supernatural.
I find it unfortunate that Christians today are represented by the dogmatic, close minded, and unintelligent individuals that are focused on in the media (including a lot of the GOP). Being a Christian does not make you stupid in the same way being an atheist does not make you intelligent. I think its evident by the comments here that dogmatic, close minded stupidity exists on both sides. The intelligent people are not spending their time insulting other people's beliefs on a CNN blog. They're spending their time studying and reading to pursuit the truth.
Stop using science or the rejection of science as a means to sound your hatred toward another person's beliefs.
A majority of Christians belong to churches that read Genesis as a fable, with no conflict with evolution. It is a small portion of Protestant sects that have the problem. They just happen to be common in the US
Science and religion are mutually exclusive. Science deals with that which is real, that which can be tested or supported with evidence. Science deals with peer-reviewed data and reproducibility.
Religion is belief without support. It is utterly the opposite of science.
That does not mean scientists cannot be religious individuals. We are not perfect beings, sometimes someone's desire to believe there's life after death or someone watching over us can overpower their ability to separate fact from fiction.
But science and religion are mutually exclusive.
I've never responded to any CNN forum post. But Now that I have; I enjoyed reading this post. I hope everyone does. Everyone.
So Damon, do you believe there is not a god? If you do, you believe a host of theories and conjectures that have no experimental support. I'm not talking evolution either.
beautifully said. The heart justifies what the mind believes.
You're incorrect. The point he is making is an individual, such as myself, can beleive both in science and the fact the universe was created by a superior intellect. He is stating the fact that just because you believe in science doesn't mean you denounce the notion we are living in a created universe. And, just because you believe in God doesn't mean you cannot believe science.
Science has strengthened my belief in God, it has not weakened it. You're making a comparison between religion and science, not the core belief that God created the universe and science.
"Being a Christian does not make you stupid in the same way being an atheist does not make you intelligent." Agreed. Thank you for that blunt observation. I'm fond of saying that nobody has all the answers in life for everyone else.
I pretty much spend my time reading, and being here has helped me read beyond my own scientific field. Now i have been here for 2 weeks, and I must say every day I have learnt a new concept.
Now for the theists I have often argued with – Oh, I do it for the kicks!
I do not believe in god. I do not believe there is an invisible pink unicorn in the room with me. I do not believe in things with no factual support.
To say that evolution is extremely well supported is a laughable understatement. In my job I see the evolutionary process at work firsthand every single day.
Science was born of Christianity. A basic Christian belief is that God set the Earth in place and that it operated by his laws. Most previous systems of thought Held that events were all the actions and whims of many gods. Sure, God might cause this or that to happen, but in general the world followed laws. The discovery of these laws was considered a holy and religious endevour. Thus was born science. Of course the fact that Christianity is a melding of Judaism and Greek thought helped too.
Demo to my point. To believe there is no God is to believe that the universe against all odds came to be in a way as to support life. The laws of physics, the balance of matter and anti matter, the strength of the strong and weak atomic forces. These all have to be just right to create a universe able to support life. The odds are many billions to one against all this.
Therefor, there are only three options. There are billions of universes, there is one extremely lucky universe, or there is a God who planned it. With zero evidence for any of the three, all are likely, unless you believe in things that have no evidence or support beyond untested theories.
Science was not born of Christianity. Science is simply the rules by which this universe operates. Our understanding of those rules grows steadily. Some people that learned about those rules were Christian, some were Muslim, some were Aztec, Zoroastrian, Hindu, Canaanite, Chaldean, etc. Our understanding of science most certainly did not originate with Christianity. It originated the first time a human began to figure out how things work, and what events could be replicated.
Demo, I am sorry. You would do well to read a book on history. Who do you think founded the university system in Europe? Whose universities did people like Gelilao learn at? What single organization can claim membership of more scientific giants of the early scientific era? I know you will try to deny it, but later, do some research and learn some facts. Doing so will help you in not talking about things of which you know very little. The answer to the above questions was the Catholic Church.
"To believe that there is no god is to believe that the universe, against all odds, came to be in a way to support life."
The universe simply exists. It has rules and properties which, as it happens, makes life possible.
You tell me that you refuse to believe that the universe could simply Exist, that it had to be made.
Okay. Let's apply that logic to what you believe. God cannot possibly exist, he had to be made by someone. And whoever made him had to be made by someone. And whoever made him had to be made by someone, and so on, and so forth.
You don't believe that, do you? No, you believe that God simply Existed, and had certain properties including the ability to make our universe.
I cut out the middle man and believe the universe simply Existed and had certain properties, including the ability to theoretically support life.
As for the subject of "odds"? The universe is 14.6 billion years old, and possibly infinitely big. That's enough time and space for all sorts of longshots to have happened, including the formation of worlds capable of sustaining life.
But more to the point, the Greek then Christian belief system describes a world of consistent cause and effect. It was this simple difference that spawned the scientific revolution. Muslim thought, early on held to a similar thought system, but over time became more fundamentalist, like American fundies. This killed Muslim science 600 years ago.
Demo, you don't get my point at all. You believe that the universe "just" exists as it does, and as such supports life. You believe this. Let me repeat so you get it. You believe this, without empirical evidence. There are three possible reasons that the universe is as it is. I have no clue which one it is, and don't claim to know. You do claim to know. Who is making unsupported claims? Who is stating a belief without support?
Damo is correct here. Science and religion are indeed mutually exclusive. A *scientist* and stupidity, however, are not. The great thing about scinece though, is it is a system for reviewing claims, no matter who utters them. Scientists disprove eachother on a daily basis, that's kind of the whole point. It's a cute little thing called 'peer review'.
Doesn't anyone think that CNN writing "Famed TV scientist Bill Nye is slamming creationism" is one sided and trying to stir controversy?
CNN has a belief blog. A blog devoted to people voicing opinions about events caused by belief in books of fiction.
The very fact that religion is treated as being that important is stunning, and you're upset that sometimes CNN publishes articles by people voicing their disbelief? The vast majority of blog posts are written by people treating their beliefs in religion as facts, and you think it's unfair that there's one dealing with someone that sees your beliefs as fiction?
I do not sympathize with you.
I'm not upset at all! I love seeing people getting bent out of shape over it. This is better than Seinfeld!
Someone touched on science not being able to prove the "missing link" from early man to intelligent man of today. There are some scientist that believe that Aliens preformed DNA alterations to make the jump to intelligent man. These are scientist with PhD's that came up with that. They also say angels and gods in the past were actually aliens with greater technology. Scientist like any other subset of people have a wide range of beliefs and theories; from there is no god, to god is an alien, to God is what the bible says he is. People are saying Christians are only hurting the world. That is so untrue. Christians make the world a better place every second of every day. Not, to say atheist don't either. No matter what classification you talk about, there are people in every group that do good, and some that do bad. God loves everyone; not everything you do or say. And we as humans should have the same love for one another. I don't agree with some things atheist say or do but love them. The most valuable think you can learn, is everyone has something to offer you. I don't care if they have an IQ of less then 70 or if they are child that has not learned to speak yet; you can learn something from them. I have a high IQ, I am well educated; but I understand there is so much I don't know and so much I will never know.
Nmae two, of each category.
Jim: To be blunt. You're just not very smart. Picking extreme examples (hey! There is a PHD who believes aliens built the pyramids!") of scientists doing or believing stupid things, is utterly absurd. You see, in science, facts actually mean something. So even if one scientist happens to believe something dumb (like god, for instance) unless he can show conclusive evidence to support his hypothesis.....**no one will take him seriously in the scientific community** Compare that with religion, where every dirtbag and fraud is speaking for a god who can never be wrong. That is some scary stuff. And, no, christianity does far more harm, ever minute of the day. It has held us back centuries. YOU have held us back.
I grew up watching Bill Nye, I love science because of Bill Nye, I got my degree in Mechanical Engineering because of Bill Nye. I'm so proud to hear my hero's wise word reverberate through the internet. I love and respect the scientific method and the fact that it's 2012 and people still exist that still don't accept evolution as a scientific fact is just unreal! I'm all for having a skeptic mind because that's how good science is achieved, but you must also remember to have respect for evidence and an open mind to follow it wherever it may lead. Evolutionary biology is the foundation of modern biology and has as much chance of being removed from legitimate science as Newtonian mechanics from Physics. I'm sorry if the facts upset you, or contradict your existing beliefs, but the acceptance of scientific observation and experimentation is the essence of scientific understanding.
Having a bachelors in ME does not make you a scientist.
"I love and respect the scientific method"
You mean the scientific method devloped and refined through the centuries by Christian and Muslim creationists, right Ben? 😉
Mr. Nye seems to have conveniently forgotten that most modern science exists because of the thinking and hard work of creationists throughout history. 🙂
Mahebb you are grossly mistaken, modern science and science as we know today evolved in the 19th century. The science you are referring to was much more nomadic back then
He never said he was a scientist. He said he loves science and became an ME because of Bill Nye. Not quite the same thing.
Many of the Great Greek Geniuses believed in Zeus, and believed that lightning was him throwing a temper tantrum.
The fact that they came up with some good ideas does not mean everything they believed was true.
The vast majority of scientists in the past were religious. It's what they were told was true growing up, and it's not easy overcoming indoctrination. It takes a special mindset to question the things everyone takes for granted as being true.
But once you start applying that scientific method to religion, the house of cards comes falling down.
damo12345: You are asserting that those men and women pursued and developed their respective scientific interestes in SPITE of their religious foolishness, but I think you are letting your own notions about religion shape your conclusion. If you read much of what was written by Christian scientists of the past centuries, you will find that most of what they did was BECAUSE of their religious beliefs, not in spite of them.
My point is that Bill Nye's assumption that real science cannot be conducted by religious people is ridiculous on its face. Christians (and atheists and Muslims and Jews and Hindus and Buddhists and Pagans) have in the past and will continue in the future to make important contributions to all fields of science. Faith and science are not mutually exclusive.
Thank you Bill Nye for speaking the TRUTH! It is honestly sad reading these comments and the lack of knowledge people have of Evolution/Science/Reality. Yes, evolution is a theory. Want to know what else is theory? Gravity... If you do not believe in it, jump in the air and see what happens.... People say that evolution is ignorant, and creationism isn't. Lol maybe you should do a little research and learn where Christianity really came from. (Pagan/Egyptians). Or maybe you should open your eyes and realize that religion is perpetuated by ignorance, culture, and inherited beliefs. Do not come crying to me when you learn the hard way that bacteria is EVOLVING and becoming resistant to antibiotics. I wonder how the Swine flu came about as well? EDUCATE YOURSELF!! Some of you may find this offensive, well that is not my goal here. I am 24 years old, 23 years I was a christian, I am now happily agnostic/atheist.
O and another thing, American was not founded on christian beliefs. Most of our forefathers were agnostic/atheist. Also "under god" was not added to the pledge of alligence unitl 1950. Again...... Educate yourself..
But I am a firm believer that everyone has the right to believe in what they want to. Peace!
It's crazy the mental loops people jump through to try to convince themselves that it's okay to believe that maybe evolution could be reality, even though it isn't what their priest told them when they were a kid.
What? ... What?!
“To suppose that the eye with all its inimitable contrivances for adjusting the focus to different distances, for admitting different amounts of light, and for the correction of spherical and chromatic aberration, could have been formed by natural selection, seems, I freely confess, absurd in the highest degree.”
Yep, but he was wrong. They eye's evolution is simple to trace. In reality, every step required exists today in different animals.
Oh, btw, the entire quote is ""To suppose that the eye with all its inimitable contrivances for adjusting the focus to different distances, for admitting different amounts of light, and for the correction of Spherical and chromatic aberration, could have been formed by natural selection, seems, I freely confess, absurd in the highest degree. When it was first said that the sun stood still and the world turned round, the common sense of mankind declared the doctrine false; but the old saying of Vox populi, vox Dei ["the voice of the people = the voice of God "], as every philosopher knows, cannot be trusted in science. Reason tells me, that if numerous gradations from a simple and imperfect eye to one complex and perfect can be shown to exist, each grade being useful to its possessor, as is certain the case; if further, the eye ever varies and the variations be inherited, as is likewise certainly the case; and if such variations should be useful to any animal under changing conditions of life, then the difficulty of believing that a perfect and complex eye could be formed by natural selection, should not be considered as subversive of the theory." and then he goes on and explains exactly how the eye did indeed evolve.
GOD DOES NOT EXIST.
Creationist may now begin submitting ACTUAL proof for examination on their belief
*the Bible is not a reputable source as it was written long ago and could easily be a fairy tale. It has no relevance to the universe today and so it provides no evidence.