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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
This entire story, and the reactions to it, are hilarious. But here's the big question: if Nye bugs you, then are you going to skip going to EPCOT center to hear him teach about the universe Big Banging (out of nowhere for no reason) along with another controversial JC Penney's spokes-person?
Personally, I agree with the last comment: I think CNN runs stories like this just to get people foaming at the mouth in the chat forums...
The few times I go the religion part it is solely for humor. Once again y'all thank you.
Hey, they forgot the trolls spouting nonsense and sidelining the entire conversation.
I'm still laughing (and crying) at the stat that nearly half of Americans believe in creationism. I wonder what a poll about Noah's Ark would yield.....
I know right! It's really scary and funny at the same time. The scary part is that these people vote and might be your boss. The funny part is.....well we know why they are funny, we don't need to give up our secret jokes about them on this forum.
Truth? You can always twist the truth to suit your needs . . . it's the FACTS that can't be toyed with. FACTS ARE FACTS and science is a self-correcting, fact-based system - religion, simply put, is not.
I deal with the current reality of how things are on earth. Knowing how they got to be that way doesn't help me in the least.
Hmm. Interesting. If there's a broken window on my house, I don't JUST fix it. I also wonder how it got that way, so I can figure out how to prevent it from happening again.
Likewise, other people certainly have reasons. Vaccines. Kind of hard to make those to predict future outbreaks of viruses if you don't know how the viruses develop.
Each time we fail to learn from history (or observation), the cost of the lesson becomes greater.
Wow am I banned?
How can you discuss athiesm or christianity if so many words are censored?
Yes. Nobody can see your post.
sam, for your reference, I found information on words that are banned:
ar-se…..as in Car-se, etc.
co-ck…..as in co-ckatiel, co-ckatrice, co-ckleshell, co-ckles, lubco-ck, etc.
co-on…..as in rac-oon, coc-oon, etc.
cu-m……as in doc-ument, accu-mulate, circu-mnavigate, circu-mstances, cu-mbersome, cuc-umber, etc.
cu-nt…..as in Scu-ntthorpe, a city in the UK famous for having problems with filters…!
ef-fing…as in ef-fing filter
ft-w……as in soft-ware, delft-ware, swift-water, etc.
ho-mo…..as in ho-mo sapiens or ho-mose-xual, ho-mogenous, etc.
ho-rny….as in tho-rny, etc.
jacka-ss…yet “ass” is allowed by itself…..
ja-p……as in j-apanese, ja-pan, j-ape, etc.
koo-ch….as in koo-chie koo..!
pi-s……as in pi-stol, lapi-s, pi-ssed, therapi-st, etc.
pr-ick….as in pri-ckling, pri-ckles, etc.
ra-pe…..as in scra-pe, tra-peze, gr-ape, thera-peutic, sara-pe, etc.
se-x……as in Ess-ex, s-exual, etc.
sh-@t…..but shat is okay – don’t use the @ symbol there.
sp-ic…..as in disp-icable, hosp-ice, consp-icuous, susp-icious, sp-icule, sp-ice, etc.
ti-t……as in const-itution, att-itude, ent-ities, alt-itude, beat-itude, etc.
tw-at…..as in wristw-atch, nightw-atchman, etc.
va-g……as in extrava-gant, va-gina, va-grant, va-gue, sava-ge, etc.
who-re….as in who’re you kidding / don’t forget to put in that apostrophe!
Also Sam, the word is atheist.
Please let me know if I may be of any further help Sam.
How about "What you believe is truth is what you believe is truth whether it is truth or not." Science works at developing theories that explain what we experience and that predict other behavior. If a scientist does not have an explanation he will keep looking for one or work on another problem where he can hopefully make some progress. Some other people may say "I don't understand how that could be, so God must have done it".
Science and religion are not compatible. Science is a method of testing and verifying observable information in our universe, and when a theory is proven false it is abandoned. While religion is about believing in what someone else tells you and not questioning it and even if a belief is proven wrong time and time again that belief remains a concrete part of that belief system. It's fact versus fiction and just like Bill Nye said we need a new generation of critically thinking people who can help humanity progress and religion is about keeping things stuck in a vacuum.
Could not agree more. Well said!!!
It's entirely possible that a creator set up the universe with a whole slew of rules and components, hit "play" and this is what we've got. But to suggest the planet is only 5000 years old is naive and egotistical, not to mention ignorant of all the evidence around that suggests otherwise.
to satisfy the religious zealots you can even say god set up the components and rules 15 billion years ago hit play and what we got is exactly what he wanted and knew would happen, that is perfectly consistent with all known science, denying that evolution happens is just stupidity
Bear in mind that this is pure idle speculation on my part, but imagine that some intelligence created this universe. That being would, for a number of reasons, necessarily be very different from us. A multidimensional being, perhaps. What motivates it to create the universe, I can't imagine. After all, one can't think 11 dimensional thoughts with a 3 dimensional brain. This being would be so different from us, that if you put a human next to, say, a single bacterium, that being would look at both and see essentially the same thing. It's indifference would know no bounds. Far more likely, in my opinion, that this universe, and everything in it would be a very small part, perhaps even an un-intended side-effect, of some much grander creation.
Of course, I'm just spitballin' here.
You Americans are so silly. The rest of the civilized world watches in disbelief . How can you be so childish and still get to mars ?
luckily we have just as many smart people as dumb people, the dumb ones are the loud ones though, that's where your impression of us comes from
Because to excel, you need an imagination, which you and your country lack. Sorry.
I live in the US and I am so ashamed of this country. We look like a big dumb bully with nuclear weapons and we shove our views down other countries throats.
No other countries are having this debate we look like idiots in the scientific community.
What Veritas said. Times many.
Dang, Bill, Bill, Bill, Bill. You are so ill, ill, ill, ill.
Glad you said that of your Free Will, Will, Will, Will
And we know where THAT came from.
congrats on posting the dumbest thing ever in the history of the internet.
Why do those who believe still not understand threats to those who dont are empty. I could threaten you all day that flying monkeys will come and steal all your cookies and burn your hair. You wouldnt bat an eye, you would think me insane. When you threat or elude to threats from a divine creator all atheists just kinda shrug and think man that dude is crazy...Also to any moron who says its just a theory, so is gravity. I wish you could deny the theory enough to just float away...
CNN says atheists are a small portion of the population, but I'm not buying it. Faith is the enemy of reason.
When all reason escapes you and you are at wits end, what is left? Faith.
I didn't say "Faith in ____", but faith.
hemplover, I agree. I think that Atheists are greatly under-represented in polls because people don't want to self-identify as Atheists because there are negative societal pressures.
Please,don't e that naive.
Eric you hit the nail on the head. That's consistent with the numbers of atheists we see here, where we can discuss/argue/cajole/belittle without worrying about gunshot wounds or losing a job. Some of us live in very primitive areas of the country and can't discuss this subject in public without getting faithful people really angry.
To those who think that all of the beautiful intricacies of life couldn't possibly arrive out of random occurences: Firstly, the occurences aren't random; they follow the laws of physics. If you want to call those laws of physics God, I can't argue with you. Secondly, I don't think that it is understood how long 14.6 billion years is. It is a loooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooong time. Long enough that systems of unbelievable complexity can arise.
god! god! god! And still not one shred of evidence that "he" (Why a he?) exists. Silly rituals and leaps of faith. Not one real miracle. Just burn marks on tortillas. Allows world-wide suffering because he "loves" humanity. Hogwash from top to bottom; front to back.
You are proof of God, bufalo.
did you ever stop to think that god cannot be proven, and that doesnt mean it doesnt exist? just because something cannot be proven doesnt negate its existence. only arrogant humans proceed in absolutes. (and for that matter evolution cannot be proven)
I think god is completely embarrassed at his creation he left town. He is now working on a new project.
Your way of thinking is confined to this world. What you get from this world and universe is all you have. God is outside of all this. How could you possibly understand God or prove his existance by your worldy limitations ? Well, I can't prove it so it can't be real. Another FYI, God doesn't dictate everythiing that happens in this world. This is not heaven. It's not perfect. Sadly this is only heaven that alot of people will know. It will not get any better for them. To a christian, this is our hell.
Did you ever really look at a tree, buffalo? A sunset? A flower. I mean really look at a river and what lives in it? A baby? Heck buffalo, have you ever had a look at the buffalo and how they live on the grassy plains? You have seen the face of God and don't even know it yet! You know, you can't see the wind but you always know it's there....
More mealy-mouthed, "is-is not" God drivel from weak-minded knee-crawlers. I laugh at your drivel.
In reply to FLK,
I cannot prove the Flying Spaghetti does not exist. Does that mean it too could also exist? Therefore, by your logic, the flying spaghetti monster and God are in the same tier.
Have you ever looked into the eyes of a starving child in Africa, dying as a his body cannibalizes itself. Have you ever watched as millions of people were marched into death camps, left there for weeks and then eventually were put to death during the holocaust. Have you ever seen a devout Christian lead a perfectly good life, and wonder why his god abandoned him as he lay there dying of cancer?
Have you ever seen men, being told they weren't allowed to read because they didn't want them becoming too intelligent. These same men were forced to obey other men, if not punishments could result in whippings or even death? Have you ever seen an atomic bomb drop and kill millions of people in two major cities?
For an omnipotent God, he sure doesn't care about his people.
The truth lies somewhere in the middle. I can accept that there had to be a creation at some point. After that, it is evolution.
There is no requirement for the truth to lie somewhere in the middle. As far as I can tell, it lies closer to the side of science. And, even if science has it wrong, religion has it more wrong.
That last comment is fabulous. Fox sure as hell isn't No. 1 because they cover the news. They do anything but present two sides of any story.
Obviously, you haven't bothered to watch FoxNews. Their news shows are straightforward. Their opinion shows obviously are hosted by conservatives, but these hosts always bring on liberals to give their view. CNN is similar except that all of its hosts are liberal. They got rid of their one independent, Lou Dobbs, who now works at FoxNews. I watch both networks to insure I get both sides of the story. The "news" channel that is out on a limb is MSNBC. Liberal through and through with no attempt to be fair. Chris Matthews? Mr. "thrill up my leg"? The man who called the US Military Academy "the enemy camp"?
Ole Bill better hope he's right, he looks to be about 80 years old now. His days are running out. Bill boy, you better hope that you are right when you draw that last breath because when you open your eyes on the other side of eternity you'll be staring at your creator..........
i believe in god because i think there is evidence of his existence/influence, but i can't help thinking many people believe in god only because they're scared of what might happen to them if they don't, and those tend to be the dogmatic ones who ignore facts all around them
Why would you have eyes in your spectral form? Sorry, this stuff is just too easy to blow holes into.
Awww how cute Pascal's Wager. Too bad it's a defunked pile of garbage.
Why bother to label the post as Pascal’s wager? I don’t see the wager element being presented. An atheist has hope (or for the materialist has expectations) that their belief system is true otherwise you would be living a lie. Who lives life against their belief system intentionally? No one!
Ergo the statement is true in that Atheists hope there is no God after death.
TDogg , the odds of him being right is infinitely more than your Hebrew god existing. Keep your blinders on, lot easier for you obviously, but don't pollute our children with your ignorance.
Or, more likely, same thing he was staring at before he was born.... nothing.. why is it so hard for people to accept that when the lights go out they just go out? Are you really that special? Do you really deserve to exist forever? Look at yourself! I think not!
Alex, To believe in God does not save you from anythiing. Even the demons believe. By merely believing will get you no where.
You cannot calculate the odds the existence of God is greater or less than the non existence of God.
What we do know is that the more we learn about our existence from a physical perspective (i.e. our known physical world) the greater the odds that random chance not a possibility. Current odds of random chance resulting in our existence is x to the power of 740. Most honest people acknowledge that is statistically impossible.
So atheists really need to stay away from mathematics when it comes to God.
oyyy veyyyyyy. There is nothing to debate. Anyone who believes that evolutionary theory isn't sufficiently proven doesn't understand the facts. If you want to convince yourself of some ridiculous childish young earth garbage, well, great. But please don't insist we listen to the inane argument.
"Sufficiently proven." You don't get the whole science thing...do ya?!
no but I bet you're about to drop some knowledge on me and capitalize the words Him or God.
Nope, just pointing out that you are a person of faith.
my faith in scientific method is not like your faith in spirits never seen nor heard from in human history. don't be ridiculous. you won't make an intelligent point here. You're incapable of doing so on this topic. guaranteed.
your outlook and faith in science is religiously skewed. most christians love science, its the mind of god. people like you are seriously blind and follow whatever the latest trend in science is. like saying evolution is a fact. its far from it. regardless of what you believe or dont. evolution is a theory that changes regularly. is there evidence of the possibility of evolution? certainly. is it a fact of how humans came to be? absolutely not. accept it and keep digging
For the record, I do appreciate and enjoy science. I think that science offers consistent, calculatable, and useful explanations that help us understand, exploit, and manipulate the physical world. It's when you tell me that my world is all the result of coincidence and domino effect that you lose me. How such a belief can be thought to not require a measure of faith equal to that of religion is an inconsistent conclusion. "You'll never know the scientific explanation, but you know there is one." Just remember that your explanation needs to go back to "nothingness", which does not include gas or slime.
@flk thanks for the additional nonsense. statements like "science is the mind of god" add nothing to a critical debate. One can provide thoroughly competent scientific data to prove that the earth is 4.54 billion years old. can you point me to something similar to prove that "science is the mind of god"?
and to be fair to both of you (I've made a point to pretty mean-spirited thus far), I have always found evolutionary science and the concept of the big bang to be very very confusing and deep. I just find it sad that so many Americans run from such an intellectual challenge. If you try to understand it, you just might!
Hey Ned.... Where is this missing link they have been looking for ever since this THEORY came about ? To believe in evolution do you know how much faith you have to have ? What are the chances that every male and female species evolved at the perfcect rate with each other to keep the species going ? How many years did the penis take to evolve yet the species managed to stay in existense ? I could go on and on.... Sounds like evolutions have alot of faith.
Ned, I like your last comment on trying to understand it. I was once in your shoes. I really looked into both thoughts of creation/evolution. Give the other a try, You may just understand a bit more.
@flatpicker your statement indicates almost no grasp of the foundations of evolutionary theory. You could really learn alot online instead of just wasting your time (like I am right now). Today's lesson, look of the term "gene flow" on wikipedia. really interesting stuff I feel.
Sorry Ned. The"Gene Flow" just doesn't cut it. You have more "Faith" not "Fact" than I do!
"""Anyone who believes that evolutionary theory isn't sufficiently proven doesn't understand the facts."""
It's quite clear from the rhetoric here that most of these deniers have very little understanding of what's going on in science. Like the people who bring up the "missing link" (that's so mid-19th century) or ask why there are monkeys if we evolved from monkeys. They are totally ignorant of the subject.
I highly encourage any of you who deny the validity of evolutionary theory to READ. Just read SOMETHING! The body of literature available in all the sciences supporting it will blow your mind.
Get a subscription to a more basic magazine like Popular Science, for example. But at least make an effort.
Believe me, we can tell when we're arguing with someone who hasn't done their homework. You sound really, really – i g n o r a n t.
Imagine that...I didn't miss anything while I was away. Lol. Ned, you may think or you may have intended to be mean-spirited, but I didn't take it as such. You see...when you believe in something that's based upon individual experience that some random person on the Internet comes along and vehemently even denies that you've experienced, you just chalk it up as ignorance and nothing more. I've come to realize that the athiest argument is usually about 1 percent persuasion and about 99 percent self-serving...you have to hear it and sell it to yourself repeatedly, whereas I already know what I know. Now, If I were suddenly free from the "shackles of religion", I wouldn't turn to a life devoted to it. My 2 cents.
fsjunkie, induction is not faith, and faith is not induction.
Fox is #1 because the people watching don't know how to change channels.
Scientist = reverse engineer. God = engineer. Any questions? I love science. God was gracious enough to design a world that we could figure out how to manipulate and exploit. If your explanation of the origin of life or the origin of the universe begins with anything but "nothingness" (like gases or pools of slime), you're just guessing and your faith is no better than mine. Sorry I don't take I.O.U.s.
What gives you the authority to set the "if, then" properties in this debate? You have absolutely zero proof that your god exists. You have absolutely zero archeological evidence that Jesus even existed. We have archeological evidence for the existence of almost all revered historical figures dating back to the stone age. There is, however, not one single shred of archeological evidence that proves Jesus Christ ever existed. That's one strong foundation your belief system is founded on. (Note the sarcasm)
Provide any credible, reproducible, verifiable evidence for creationism or so-called intelligent design (which is nothing but warmed over creationism to feed to the ignorant). Why would you accept as true anything without solid evidence? Your 'faith' argument is just waffling. Explain why you think science is just faith. Please avoid regurgitating already discredited blather from creationist web sites. You clearly have no clue how science works.
Butch – Are you kidding me ? You must be really clueless to say that Christ did not even exist ? His split time in our current world ? Our dating system is after his name ? There are many secular historians that mention him. To say he never even exiisted really shows your intelligence. I would brush up some on the subject before I made remarks like that.
"""There are many secular historians that mention him."""
NO. This is not true. There is but one obscure reference that MIGHT mention him (it's not obvious) in a non-religious text, and even that one is subject to intense debate.
Too bad I didn't stick around to debate a couple of these posts. I'll keep it simple: you have your faith, and I have mine. The difference is that I acknowledge mine as such. I studied enough science up through my Masters degree and beyond to find out that I enjoy it, but to also appreciate how much it reflects the limits of our intellectual capacity as human beings. You can't even have this debate..there aren't even words in our collective vocabularies to discuss those things that I believe are answered by religion and you believe are answered by science. You are comfortable accepting your faith in the scientific method and the laws that we recognize in science to be capable of one day answering those questions about origins "evolving" from "nothingness". I'm comfortable with believing that my world and beyond with all of its complexities were not ultimately the result of coincidence and domino effect. Agree to disagree.
No, the engineers are the natural laws which govern natural selection via random genetic mutation. A lifetime of indoctrination has left you with damaged critical faculties.
Cop out. No explanation, no evidence. Not enough science; glad you enjoyed it. Your 'faith' in your opinion, based on nothing you can verify or demonstrate to anyone else is more convincing to you than what can be observed with your 5 senses (the only ones you have, unless you have compelling evidence to suggest you are somehow special compared to the rest of us). Nice that you're comfortable with your unverifiable mental construct. Pin your flawed logic on that. You clearly won't listen to any vocabulary that challenges your views. Science is about challenging views, no matter what you make up without evidence to mischaracterize science. Good that you didn't stick around to debate, since you don't think you're up to it. You're not. Like real science, sensible, serious debate relies on evidence.
Orange, you can talk until you're blue in the face, you will never prove anything...you will simply string words together and apparently have orgasms. You are a man of faith (in man). Deal with it.
Hmm. Must have touched a nerve. You must be blue in the face. Can't you follow my string of words? Thanks for the juvenile insult. I've provided evidence for (proved?) plenty, in my work as a real scientist, and in your responses. You still have no evidence and plenty of fantasy. Deal with it.
You are undeniably correct about one thing: We are way beyond talking past each other at this point. So I agree to disagree.
Jeff Williams – I believe you are wrong. The Jewish Historian Josephus mentions him. Roman senator Tacitus mentions him. To say that Jesus never existed is ignorant.