Your Take: 5 reactions to Bill Nye's creationism critique
Commenters were fired up about Bill Nye, creationism and evolution.
August 28th, 2012
10:37 AM ET

Your Take: 5 reactions to Bill Nye's creationism critique

By Eric Marrapodi, CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

(CNN) - Bill Nye does not think that children should be taught to deny evolution, and a YouTube video of him explaining why has gone viral. The CNN Belief Blog's report on the video has generated around 10,000 comments and thousands of Facebook shares since Monday.

There were some broad themes in the comments, reflecting a debate that is largely unique to the United States.

While Christianity is booming in Africa, Asia and Latin America, creationism is not, Penn State University religious studies professor Philip Jenkins writes in his book "The New Faces of Christianity: Believing the Bible in the Global South."

Here are five schools of reaction that have emerged in comments:

1. Those using this controversy to bash religion

Atheists love the Internet, as we've chronicled on the Belief Blog. While they may be a small portion of the population, they seem to make up about half our commenters.  It was their chance to join with Nye and cheer him on:

midwest rail:
"If you're watching 'The Flintstones' as if it were a documentary, you're doing it wrong."

2. Those who say wait a minute, being a creationist isn’t necessarily being anti-evolution

Lots of folks from the theistic evolution camp came out to say that believing God was involved doesn't automatically make you anti-evolution.

"As someone who is a born again Christian, (senior) mechanical engineer in the technology industry, and a firsthand witness of the risen Christ, I just want to say that Bill Nye is on the right track. It is understandable that both sides seem to be entrenched in their own position, but did anyone ever think that both are correct, and that the truth lies somewhere in the middle?"

"I believe in God, I believe in creationism and evolution. I think that we all came from one man and one woman (God created), and I think that the human race has evolved from this paring. I am a Christian and I love science, learning about our world, and I appreciate the contribution that science has made. But my soul/spirit also need God's love."

"FYI, 'Science Guy': One can believe in evolution and creation at the same time. They are not incongruent.

3. Those who say that science is stupid and that young Earth creationism rules

Young Earth creationists, who believe the Earth is about 6,000 years old, appeared to be out in force in the comments.

"As a creationist, why would I want to debate an evolutionist? It (is) all a matter of FAITH. You either believe, and have faith in, what Christians call 'THE WORD OF GOD' or not. No debate. TRUTH IS TRUTH WHETHER YOU BELIEVE IT OR NOT.

The people who perished in the Great Flood, in the Bible, didn't believe it was going to rain until it was too late. Better start knocking on the door of the ark before it closes."

"Creationism isn't even taught in public schools. Evolution is. So if you want your children to have Christian beliefs, then you really need to home-school them or find a good Christian school. Unfortunately not the other way around!

"It seems to me that evolution requires just as much faith as creationism. You're just putting your faith in our human powers of observation and believe that what we have thought up based on those observations is correct. We've got a few hundred years at best, of scientific observation, that has now told us that one giant, explosive, random event started a chain reaction that, over billions of years resulted in humans, and flowers, and viruses, and dinosaurs. The belief that the unfathomable intricacies of every living thing on our Earth formed themselves completely at random seems just as fantastical to me as believing in a creator."

4. Those who say Nye should stick to his area of expertise

This tweet was the most polite remark we could find on this subject. Other comments and tweets, not so much.

"Thanks Bill ... but leave the teaching of my children to me. ..."

[tweet https://twitter.com/watsup1101/status/240168918109523968%5D

5. Those who say CNN is cooking up controversy where none exists

Lots of people suggested we were generating a story instead of covering one.

Tony Montana:

"Another example of CNN's mostly one-sided reporting. No wonder Fox is (No.) 1. Hopefully CNN will put on both sides in the future if for no other reason than their ratings. Parts of the Bible are dated and contains metaphors. ***SCIENCE IS SIMPLY AN OBSERVATION OF GOD'S CREATION.*** Humans did not make the solar system, billions of stars in billions of galaxies. 'ET' didn't make the universe either. Even if 'ET' did what made 'ET.' "

For the record, plenty of other news outlets covered this story, pointing out that Nye's video was posted on YouTube just before the Republican National Convention opened.  Turns out that Nye taped the segment awhile back and had no say in when it would be released.

Thanks for chiming in. The comments are open here, and you can always hit us up on Twitter @CNNBelief.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Belief • Creationism

soundoff (2,811 Responses)
  1. Tony B

    What I object to is the '"Teach the controversy" argument as it seeks to legitimise the creationalists point of view. There is no science in what they say, only pseudo-science and deliberate misinterpretation. If there is any merit in their argument then please point me to a scientific journal where it is peer reviewed. We scientists are more than happy to believe that the earth is 6000 years old if there is proof. Please do not call us closed minded because we don't believe in creation, call us inquisitive and looking for the true. A faith based book is not proof before anyone starts quoting form the bible.

    August 28, 2012 at 6:34 pm |
    • nojinx

      Exactly – creation science is a misnomer. What hypothesis could you form, much less test, to confirm creation science?

      August 28, 2012 at 6:41 pm |
  2. Robert Holt

    Creationism is the scientific evidence that God created the heavens and the earth and people. Creationism itself is not religion. Creationism is science that supports religion. But it is still science. Just because science agrees with religion doesn’t mean that it isn’t science. Science is science. To me, our own bodies are a good reason to believe in a Creator. There’s just no way that the human body with all its complexities could have come about without a Creator. The human body is far too intricate to have been an accident. There’s too much design to it. The rational mind has to say that there’s a Designer. But that’s just the human body. Also, who’s to say that everything you hear in a “non-Creationism” class is true? It’s largely a “theory this” and a “hypothesis that”. And those theories and hypotheses are changing all the time. I don’t know why Bill Nye decided to suddenly attack Creationism. I hope he won’t go to a Christless grave and find out the hard way that yes, God created the heavens and the earth and people and that we are accountable to God and there he is with no Savior.

    August 28, 2012 at 6:32 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      Robert, it's clear that you have no idea what Evolution is, nor do you understand how the biblical account of creation only confounds the facts made clear by scientific observation.

      August 28, 2012 at 6:35 pm |
    • Tony B

      Sorry – Creationism is not science. Point me to a paper that has been peer reviewed and accepted by the scientific community.

      August 28, 2012 at 6:36 pm |
    • Shaolin Sword

      Man's natural tendency is to perceive design where this is complexity. However, design has never been and will never be the best explanation for natural phenomena. Historically, it hangs around as a secondary explanation, only exiting the stage when its adherents are presented with overwhelming and absolutely irrefutable evidence to the contrary over a long time period.

      August 28, 2012 at 6:41 pm |
    • TheChosenJuan

      That is the stupidest, ignorant, excuse to pass creationism as science I've ever read. By the way creationism is not, nor will it ever will be, science.

      August 28, 2012 at 6:58 pm |
    • kenchandammit

      The complexity of life is indicative of the randomness of it, rather than evident of a design-minded creator. You might want to learn what the definition of 'science' is before trying to 'prove' 'scientifically' that your 'beliefs' are valid. Why is it that religious people are always trying to 'prove' that their 'faith' is real? 'Proof' is a scientific concept, whereas 'faith' merely requires one to believe because somebody told them to. If you're trying to 'prove' your 'faith', it seems like you don't have much faith, which I suspect is true!

      August 29, 2012 at 4:07 pm |
  3. Clyde

    I was raised as fundamentalist Christian and I'm now a born-again agnostic evolutionary biologist. While I honor and try to adhere to Christian values, I must object to the notion that both evolution and creationism can both be right or the truth is somewhere in the middle. Given my background, I can completely understand why someone would like to believe that the truth lies somewhere in the middle. However, if you thoughtfully consider this hypothesis you quickly come to serious problem: evolution is based upon natural laws of physics and chemistry and creationism is based upon belief of a supreme being that acts to direct the laws of nature. Directing the laws of nature, however, really means violating or subverting the laws of nature. People who try to have it both ways range from classical deists, "God set the universe in motion and then let nature take over", to the other extreme exemplified by the view of "candyapple" who said "I believe in God, I believe in creationism and evolution. I think that we all came from one man and one woman (God created), and I think that the human race has evolved from this paring." Candyapple's claim to believing in evolution can't be taken seriously because it relegates human evolution to the last 6,000 years since God is purported to have created Adam and Eve. Moreover, biologically, humans have changed very little over the past 6,000 years and we will need another 10,000 years or so of mutations and natural selection to adapt to our recent change in nutrition which has lead to an epidemic in obesity and diabetes. Nonetheless I'm sympathetic to candyapple wanting to have it both ways, and I’m aggravated by strident atheist who ridicule Christians who are struggling to find a way to resolve science and their religion.
    Having studied the Bible exhaustively for 20 years, raised in a loving Christian family, and then spent the next 40 years studying evolution, I have concluded for my self that (1) I have no way to prove or disapprove the existence of God, (2) evolution is not just theory but a fact supported by a massive amount of data, observations, and experiments, (3) life began on earth a few billion years ago in a very simple unicellular form and evolved slowly to the enormous diversity of life that we see today, however (4) we do not, and will not ever know, how life began on earth a few billion years ago. Chemists and physicists have theories and experiments suggesting how life could have gotten started by natural processes but it will never be possible to reach back that far and definitely determine how life got started. On the other hand, once evolution of life got down the road far enough to leave a fossil record, we were provided ample proof that evolution occurred and that we as humans are a product of evolution. In recent years, the pattern and history of the evolution of life has been largely confirmed by independent data from the field of molecular biology including the determination of the DNA sequence of humans as well as several other animals and plants. The evidence now for evolution of humans and all other species is massive and overwhelming and is growing exponentially. I then completely agree with Bill Nye that denying the truth of evolution to our children is irresponsible and damaging to them.
    It would be easy, for me and others, to take the Deist position that God got life started and then turned it over to Darwinian evolution. However, this ignores the fact that physics and astronomy have increasingly been able explain the evolution of the universe based upon natural laws without invoking a supreme being. Interjecting a supreme being into the picture seems less necessary to understand the origin of early life, much less the origin of species. Yet this is still not easy for me to resolve because I had two beloved parents who have passed on who deserve to be in heaven with Jesus and who fervently believed that they would be. Amen.

    August 28, 2012 at 6:30 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      Paragraphs, they're a good thing.

      August 28, 2012 at 6:36 pm |
    • jungleboo


      August 28, 2012 at 6:49 pm |
    • Brian

      "born-again agnostic evolutionary biologist" – I hope you don't put that on your business card.

      August 28, 2012 at 6:49 pm |
    • Boing

      Impressive, well done. Most thoughtful post written over the past 2 days of this debate.

      August 28, 2012 at 6:49 pm |
    • Brian

      I disagree that we will never know how life began. If we find many planets that have various stages of primordial life and they are consistant with each other on what steps take place, we could have enough evidence to know. Granted that may take awhile.

      August 28, 2012 at 6:57 pm |
  4. Nissim Levy

    It just occured to me that the enormous cost to creator the Large Hadron Collider in order to confirm the Higgs Boson was not necessary. Why not just have faith that the Higgs Boson exists. wouldn't that be easier and save so much money?

    August 28, 2012 at 6:28 pm |
  5. Shaolin Sword

    No scientists are busting into churches with evolution textbooks and demanding that "both sides be taught". No one is saying you have to hang a Darwin on the Church wall for each Jesus that is up there. The classroom is our church, why can't you leave us to it? Just enjoy the fruits and comforts that science provides you and don't attack things that you don't understand.

    August 28, 2012 at 6:27 pm |
  6. JeffreyRO5

    To the "we believe in both creationism and evolution" crowd, how is that possible? If your god created humans in their current form 10,000 years ago, then they didn't evolve. Evolution requires millions of years. A "young earth" isn't old enough for evolution to occur.

    August 28, 2012 at 6:26 pm |
    • sqeptiq

      It's possible if the "creation story" is an admitted allegory. Otherwise, not!

      August 28, 2012 at 6:29 pm |
  7. Edward Simms

    I love the guy that says, "he's a first had witness of the risen christ". So, apparently he is more than 2,000 years old. What a Ba-zoom. I don't want to travel in anything he builds. BTW, I'm a Engineer too.

    August 28, 2012 at 6:22 pm |
    • Mayla

      I wondered that too...................

      August 28, 2012 at 6:34 pm |
    • Brian

      True story...I went to a bus stop and there was htis old guy sitting there. We started talking and he mention that he had talked to Jesus Christ. I dismissed it as some metaphysical dream but then he said he talk to Aliens and King Henry the VIII and tonnes of historical figues. I asked him old he was and he claimed to be a few thousand years old. I kept a straight face the whole time and had a quite good conversation with him about the history of man kind. The truly masterful ending to the conversation took place when his bus showed up. He said he had to leave. I asked him where he was going. And he said he was going to see his psychiatrist because he has a problem with his perception of reality. At least he knew he was nuts.

      August 28, 2012 at 6:45 pm |
  8. cleareye1

    Any school that teaches creationism is not actually a school, it is a church.

    August 28, 2012 at 6:22 pm |
    • Faithbased

      I completely agree. My religion encompasses all truth - if something is true, it is part of my religion.

      August 28, 2012 at 6:52 pm |
  9. chickenhawk

    I don't understand evolution, and I have to protect my children from understanding it!

    August 28, 2012 at 6:22 pm |
  10. SkepticalOne

    "a first hand witness of the risen Christ"? Wouldn't that make you really old?

    August 28, 2012 at 6:22 pm |
    • Nissim Levy

      That would make him MAry Magdalene or one of the apostles. lol

      August 28, 2012 at 6:30 pm |
  11. budshot

    Creationism is a fairy tale. It's a bedtime story. It's made up to reinforce religious 'faith' that is wafer thin.

    There is reality and there is fantasy. Nye speaks to the real world and religious people speak to the fantasy they dream of.

    August 28, 2012 at 6:19 pm |
  12. Luis Wu

    In an interview, Albert EInstein was once asked if he believed in God. He replied that he didn't believe in a "personal" god but in something more akin to "Spinoza's God". Baruch Spinoza was a 17th century philosopher that believed that there is a "life energy" that permeates the Universe and is in everything, including inanimate objects. And living things are "modes" of this energy. He didn't believe that it was intelligent, just an energy field that's everywhere. This kind of belief is similar to Pantheism and it makes a lot more sense than a 2000 – 5000 year old book of ancient mythology.

    August 28, 2012 at 6:19 pm |
    • cleareye1

      That Einstein fellow knew a thing or two.

      August 28, 2012 at 6:24 pm |
    • D

      I like the idea of Pantheism, but, sadly, there's about as much evidence to support that theory as there is for any of the other theistic theories.

      August 28, 2012 at 6:26 pm |
    • sqeptiq

      May the FORCE be with you.

      August 28, 2012 at 6:31 pm |
    • Richard

      Love the Spinoza theories. I agree with Mr Einstein. God didn't create the world or the universe or anything; he just IS all of these things. The part I especially love is the idea that all of our human perceptions of good and evil are just that: Human perceptions. God doesn't have anything to do with it. Maybe some of the things in our lives that seem to represent universal truths (e.g., thou shalt not kill, steal etc) have been given godlike attributes but, seriously, I really don't think god had anything to do with their development........

      August 28, 2012 at 6:33 pm |
  13. cleareye1

    People that still claim to actually believe the Noah got 2 or everything on his ark and survived a flood that covered the earth should have to register with the government as a serial delusionist. Believing ion a supreme being of your own invention is fine, but claiming the Noah story as fact is bordering on insanity.

    August 28, 2012 at 6:18 pm |
    • Edward Simms

      Don't forget, it wasn't just 2 of everything, it also included 7 each of all clean animals. Well, that depends on which Noah story you want to tell. There are 2 stories of Noah in the bible. Anyway, they are all copies of the original Noah story told in the Sumerian and Babylonian texts from the Epic of Gilgamesh. They are not even Jews stories.

      August 28, 2012 at 6:28 pm |
    • jungleboo

      And as that lovely New Yorker cartoon depicted a few years ago, Noah's son stood in front of the ark and gave his father the troubling news, "Dad, the unicorns are gay!"

      August 28, 2012 at 6:57 pm |
  14. joecflee

    There really aren't two sides to everything. There are multiple sides. Hundreds of religions out there have their own beliefs as to how we came to be. Most who practice those religions also seem to accept scientific findings. 1+1=2 really isn't a matter of belief. The earth is round isn't a belief.

    The sad part is that those who propagate creationism try to put their beliefs on a par with science. Education is not about faith. In fact, education is about challenging what we may believe in, so that we can all learn something new. The unfortunate truth about faith-based voo-doo science is that there can be no new discoveries. Dogma is a great place to start if we want to become extinct.

    It is sad that we have this debate when millions of miles away, our little science discovery kit called the Curiosity is out there trying to answer one of mankind's most important questions, "Our we alone in this Universe?" Whether you're an atheist, a Christian, or someone who believes in any religion, we can certainly rally around enhancing our knowledge so that we can get a better understanding of our place in the world.

    August 28, 2012 at 6:17 pm |
    • Luis Wu

      Exactly. Science is based on EVIDENCE. On scientific method, testing and repeatability. The only evidence for an invisible, supernatural man in the sky is 5000 year old mythology. If you count other religions, more like 6000 – 10,000 year old mythology.

      All primitive cultures had their creation myths, cultures that survived and thrived turned these myths into religions, tweaking them over time to fit changing conditions and incorporating myths for other ancient people. It's just ancient mythology, nothing more.
      Science is based on observation of the world around us, experimentation, testability, repeatability and logic and reason. Not ancient mythology. Science deals in facts, not blind faith.

      August 28, 2012 at 6:24 pm |
    • Jon

      This is actually completely false and shows your personal biase opinion. Evolution was birthed out of the Dark ages when scientist like Darwin decided to place their personal dogma (or worldview) above evidence based science. There was a rebellion against the church because of the hypocrisy that was seen in religion, causing scientist and philosophers to come up with a world view that did not include God. If you know your history this is where you have men like HUME, KANT, and DARWIN all projecting there new world views in their area of study. This is also were we got the theories and philosophy’s of evolution and communism. If you look at the THEORY of evolution you will see many areas that cannot be proven with evidence and are accepted as truth in theory only. We all understand that there are two kinds of science Theoretical science and Factual science. One can be proven and the other is just a THEORY. Guess which category evolution falls into? Both evolution and creation require faith and there is evidence that can establish both. An evolutionist is just as guilty of projecting his world view on science as a creationist. I wish we could just have an honest discussion about the FACTS.

      August 28, 2012 at 7:00 pm |
  15. Holy Man

    Why would anyone expect low-intelligence Americans to do any differently? They teach their children racism. They teach their children bigotry against those who are different. They teach their children that women are inferior. Why wouldn't they teach their children mythology and present it as fact?

    Idiocy is idiocy, and anyone who believes the world is 6000 years old is not intelligent enough to understand science, anyway. These people can't use correct grammar, don't know how to do simple mathematics, and couldn't point to Iran on a map. Why would anyone expect them to grow a brain when it comes to evolution?

    August 28, 2012 at 6:17 pm |
    • sqeptiq

      As Mr Gump said, "Stupid is as stupid does."

      August 28, 2012 at 6:32 pm |
    • Brian

      While in your country parents obviously teach their children to stereotype other coutries based on the worst people in their population. Try sterotyping America based on all of their best people and positive things they have brought to man kind.

      August 28, 2012 at 6:36 pm |
    • Erin

      Please don't group all Americans together with the delusional creationists. I'm an American. I live in Utah. I'm an atheist and have raised my four children in an atheist household. I've tried to teach them critical thinking skills, so that they can think for themselves and make intelligent decisions. When I found their education lacking when it came to evolution, I taught them about it myself. Not that I'm an expert, but we do have the internet so we learned together. My youngest child is five and only recently started hearing things about god and religion so I've given him a brief explanation of christianity. He actually thought I was teasing him when I told him what they believe. It just goes to show that unless you start indoctrinating children at a very young age, they won't make very good christians.

      August 28, 2012 at 6:52 pm |
    • jungleboo

      @Erin. Thank you dear. That was a very good post, and I can see the truth in your conclusion. That is one cool kid!

      August 28, 2012 at 7:01 pm |
    • Duck Dodgers

      You just called 315 million people stupid.
      I guess it takes one to know one.

      August 29, 2012 at 6:15 pm |
  16. Christopher

    I always find it amusing when all the "Born Again" folks say that the entire foundation for their position comes down to faith. FAITH OFFERS NO ANSWERS AND DISMISSES ALL QUESTIONS.

    August 28, 2012 at 6:16 pm |
  17. Shaolin Sword

    I think some people are just not very imaginative when it comes to the effects if time. If there is a God, then unconstrained time time is His imagination. Evolution, geology, and astrophysics shatter the constraints of human time and bring us closer to that imagination. Religion is largely an attempt to explain God though man’s imagination. Man’s imagination is varied, but selfish which explains why there are so many religions and why they focus so heavily on man. The imagination of God is infinite and makes man look infinitely small. It’s can be hard to accept this.

    August 28, 2012 at 6:14 pm |
    • Brian

      2 CNN post penalty for abusing the word "imagination"

      August 28, 2012 at 6:31 pm |
    • jungleboo

      Ludicrous for imbuing your god with a human mind.

      August 28, 2012 at 7:21 pm |
  18. Darwin

    My opinion on Creationism is evolving.

    August 28, 2012 at 6:14 pm |
  19. Whatever

    Bill Nye is right. Let the SCHOOLS teach the science, math, chemistry, physics of evolution. Creationism is a religous belief and ...shocker...not all religions believe in creationism! So, why would you teach one BELIEF in school and exclude others? Answer: You wouldn't. Separation of church and state, people...remember? This is faux outrage for the sake of having an argument and it's pointless. Next...

    August 28, 2012 at 6:10 pm |
    • Brian

      I htink you are slightly confused. Bill actually not only wants schools to not teach Creationism, he doesn't want parents to teach it to their children.

      August 28, 2012 at 6:29 pm |
    • sqeptiq

      Brian, he would simply prefer that parents teach their kids reality.

      August 28, 2012 at 6:35 pm |
  20. galaxybeing

    i wonder just how anonymous the internet is,and i wonder if comments
    are pre -screened which cnn claims they are not.i am going to say the
    most oxymoronic and schizo type thing that i dare and see if the men
    in white coats or black suv's and helicopters show up at my door.
    'tis simple truth,sweetest toungue has sharpest tooth.
    i love you all so much.
    don't be alarmed, i am just a peace loving,retarded rabbit that wants
    a much better world than we live in now.
    i just couldn't resist this silly experiment..

    August 28, 2012 at 6:09 pm |
    • The Man

      we're on to you...

      August 28, 2012 at 6:14 pm |
    • Brian

      I think they filter using basic word search. If you read your denied post you may find a word that can be used inappropriately. I told a guy to go get stuffed and it made it through.

      August 28, 2012 at 6:28 pm |
    • sqeptiq

      They don't really have a filter algorithm. They just randomly reject a comment every now and then to make you think they have one.

      August 28, 2012 at 6:36 pm |
    • Duck Dodgers

      I can call you an azzhole if i do it right.

      August 29, 2012 at 6:18 pm |
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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.