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. Roger Ogilvy Thornhill

    Bill Nye – bah! Who does he think he is, some kinda Science Guy?

    August 29, 2012 at 3:12 am |
    • 0rangeW3dge

      I know, huh? Like some people think they know so much...just 'cause they study stuff

      August 29, 2012 at 3:24 am |
  2. Ishmeal

    Your grandchildren won't question whether or not evolution is true, just like you don't question whether or not the earth is flat.

    August 29, 2012 at 3:04 am |
  3. Fritz Hohenheim

    Reading that truth doesnt matter and that faith determine what is true and crazy stuff like that, seriously makes me woinder how great America could be if all the efford that is put into religion (and sports for that matter) would be put into science and progress. People who put faith into stuff that's been proven wrong about reasoning and logic, are just pitiful. America will so fall behind Asia and Europe with regard to science in this century, it is a true shame.

    Remember guys: Science flies men to the moon. Religion flies planes into buildings!

    Besides, it is untrue that creationism is not big in Africa and the arabic part of Asia. It is a HUGE issue there and moslem creationists are even worse than christian ones. In Europe with it's huge number of Arab hordes flooding the continent and taking over it is becoming a BIG problem in the public schools now. Do some homework. Nonsense is everywhere where religion rises it's ugly head.

    August 29, 2012 at 2:44 am |
    • Eric Sotelo

      I'm just glad that God is the only greatness to behold. Mankind sure is stupid..

      August 29, 2012 at 3:22 am |
    • religion; a way to control the weak minded

      "I'm just glad that God is the only greatness to behold. Mankind sure is stupid.."

      LOL mankind created god and the bible.

      August 29, 2012 at 12:49 pm |
  4. fly on the wall

    Make up whatever you want to, say it is the FACTS from the Bible and VOILA! You've got ignorance ignoring archaeology, lab scientists (carbon 14) and all those researching for how long? Oh yeah, throw out real science attempts to struggle through figuring the past and let's just say well that is wrong and I'll prove what I am saying is right, I will build a theme park and a museum. Amazing 2 steps forward, 143 steps back. So just pretend God invented intelligence also and then pretend you have some and then pretend you are using it. As Bugs would say,"What a maroon".

    August 29, 2012 at 2:40 am |
    • Eric Sotelo

      But even archeology has it wrong. There is a scientific studies that show that there was actually a great world flood and that fossils are not inclusive evidence when using any of the top processes to tell how old something else. In some cases they found dinosaur bones several layers on top of other layers of soil supposedly when mankind lived before them. The whole thing is a sham and some of those very well known scientists have recanted their evolutionist viewpoint (I'm not talking about Darwin either..that's not substantiated..)

      The scientists are now finding that their counterparts research has too many holes in it to be complete and conclusive.. Science is pointing to an intelligent designer.. It's not a cop out, it's just facts.

      August 29, 2012 at 3:27 am |
    • Tony B

      @ Eric.
      This is where you diverge from science. Please point me to published papers that back up your assertions? We are more than willing to listen to evidence, what we won't agree with is heresay. Oh and please don't say Kent Hovind, what he says is not based in science.

      August 29, 2012 at 8:57 am |
  5. Marco Perches

    Hey CNN, theistic evolution != creationism, so why is that reason even listed?

    August 29, 2012 at 2:26 am |
  6. ScottCA


    August 29, 2012 at 2:13 am |
    • Nitrogen

      Excellent video.

      August 29, 2012 at 3:18 am |
    • Eric Sotelo

      ...yup the fool says there's no God..

      August 29, 2012 at 3:28 am |
    • Simran

      Dear Eric,
      Did you even see the video??? Or just post a comment after reading the topic??? Dear baby, the video is actually explaining how you are an idiot!

      August 29, 2012 at 9:47 am |
    • ScottCA

      The idiots guide to Atheism seems to have been too complicated for Eric. we will have to dumb it down even further for him.

      August 29, 2012 at 3:03 pm |
  7. ScottCA

    "The supposedly immaterial soul, we now know, can be bisected with a knife, altered by chemicals, started or stopped by electricity, and extinguished by a sharp blow or by insufficient oxygen."
    — Steven Pinker (How the Mind Works)

    August 29, 2012 at 1:39 am |
    • 123elle

      Gosh, even I don't believe that. Mr. Pinker, and I'm a "hard-core" evolutionist. Nothing is really "destroyed" in our physical universe, it only changes form. If the phenomenon of consciousness is a consequence of the electricity whizzing around the synapses in that hunk of meat between our ears, then destroying the hunk of meat with some utensil or through deprivation of oxygen does not necessarily destroy the electrons that have been the carriers or transporters of those charges. So our "thoughts," as we would term the sum total of all that electrical activity are not necessarily destroyed, but perhaps diverted - or maybe a portion of them remain to bubble around in all that extra real estate within an atom ... I am not a scientist but it does seem intuitive that thoughts are actually physical things at some point or at some level, and they may change form too. Just as the elements that compose us were once spewed out in some supernova explosion and ended up in our bones or our brains... This sounds wacky, I guess, but I write science fiction, and I have done a lot of reading of predigested physics for the liberal arts major. If our observation of a phenomenon can actually change that phenomenon as in the "living dead cats" experiment, then might not a "thought" that consists of a perception of self continue to exist independent of the meat hunk it once resided in?

      August 29, 2012 at 3:21 am |
    • ScottCA

      You could learn an awful lot by reading the works of Steven Pinker in regards the Evolutionary Psychology and the Human mind. Also rRihard Dawkins on evolution. Consciousness is pretty well understood by neuro-psychology and Pinkers statement is quite accurate with all evidence.

      Don't cling to irrational hopes of an afterlife, there is no evidence of such existing.

      August 30, 2012 at 1:04 am |
  8. ARodgersFan12

    not sure why there’s still debates about this – atheists might make up a smaller % of Americans, but no "creationist" has a chance at political office outside the states. Few people believe in Roman, Greek, or Hindu gods anymore, and the Judeo-Christian belief stories, including the details of Christ’s life, were adopted from many similar, often identical, origins from earlier figures – for example, details of the life of Horus: Age at baptism: 30. Subsequent fate of the baptiser: Beheaded. Walked on water, cast out demons, healed the sick, restored sight to the blind. Was crucifed, descended into Hell; resurrected after three days.

    August 29, 2012 at 1:37 am |
  9. ScottCA


    The second part to the video

    August 29, 2012 at 1:36 am |
  10. ScottCA


    Always worth listening to this man. I really want to see Dawkins speak with him.
    I would pay a lot of money for a ticket to hear Dawkins, Dennet and Pinker have a conversation.

    August 29, 2012 at 1:27 am |
  11. Bill B.

    Three hundred years or so from now, no one will remember Bill Nye or even Charles Darwin, for that matter. (Darwin may be reviled, however, as the perpetrator of the most outrageous hoax in history.) Meanwhile, the evidence for creation science will have continued to mount.

    August 29, 2012 at 1:27 am |
    • lamb of dog

      Evidence? You need help.

      August 29, 2012 at 1:30 am |
    • lamb of dog

      The hoax is 2000 years old. Bill pay attention and put down the buybull.

      August 29, 2012 at 1:32 am |
    • lamb of dog

      In300 years no one will remember you. Probably alot less time then that.

      August 29, 2012 at 1:34 am |
    • Mr. Black

      "Continue to mount" suggests you've already collected some evidence. Where is it?

      August 29, 2012 at 1:41 am |
    • lamb of dog

      He wont reply. It took him all day to write that comments.

      August 29, 2012 at 1:44 am |
    • Mr. Blond

      Mr. Black, Bill is correct thanks to a fluke of mathematics. Since he starts at zero evidence and other creationists bring in more zeros, they are indeed creating an enormous amount of zeros, just piling those zeros up sky high. And they can add them as much as they like, their enormous pile of zeros will always end up being a big zero.

      August 29, 2012 at 1:51 am |
  12. Peter

    "Bill Nye slams creationism says its not appropriate for children and will be gone as a theory in a 'couple centuries'"

    I hope it doesn't take that long! Our country is already around #30 in math and science education. If the creationists continue to advance their agenda, we'll be back in the Dark Ages in no time!

    Willful ignorance is not a theory!

    August 29, 2012 at 1:18 am |
    • Bill B.

      I believe the "willful ignorance" resides in the evolutionist camp. To cite one very simple example, paleontologists are finding dinosaur fossils with some soft tissues still intact—to wit, Mary Higby Schweitzer's recent discovery of soft tissue inside the fractured thighbone of a fossilized Tyrannosaurus rex. Evolutionary science estimates T. rex to have died out some sixty-five million years ago. Since soft-tissue survival after such eons of time is an utter and absolute impossibility by any scientific standard, we are left with the inescapable conclusion that T. rex did not become extinct millions of years ago, but much more recently. No doubt the evolutionist camp will resort to absurdly convoluted theories to explain away such anomalies (of which there are many), but if we apply the principle of Occam's razor, the simplest explanation that requires the fewest assumptions is usually correct.

      Another example would be the fact that when fossilized specimens of extant (still existing) species are compared with their modern counterparts, the similarities are uncanny—down to the minutest details. A couple of examples would be the coelacanth (Latimeria chalumnae) and the dawn redwood (Metasequoia glyptostroboides), both of which—in their modern forms—are virtually indistinguishable from fossil specimens and were in fact identified from their fossilized remains. If evolution were true, these species would have changed substantially over the posited millions of years.

      August 29, 2012 at 2:35 am |
    • lovesmicrobiology

      Are you talking about the collagen extraction? I think you might want to actually read those reports instead of interpreting them as you have. Our knowledge of the tissue's behavior differs from yours, apparently. Regardless, the fossils for T-Rex, the fossil discovered by Dr. Schweitzer, still lies below the thin Iridium K-T boundary signifying the extinction event 65 million years ago (fun fact- no human fossils below this line 😀 ) I could go on, but I suggest just using Google.

      As to the examples given, the DNA sequences between the ancestors and current versions of said species show nothing more than the species still existing in its current expressed form, stating you know nothing about natural selection. The current thought with Metasequoia is that the species you mentioned is a living ancestor that due to mutations in populations have spawned the variations of different species. You state that there are no differences. Simple microbiological knowledge states that time and reproduction alone would produce enough mutations in the DNA to separate the current population from the ancestor fossil observed. Though traits may still be expressed, it simply states that any mutative traits that could have taken it in another direction but didn't produce the other populations that we have proof of did not survive, and that the current allele expression was hearty enough to let it survive up to this current time in its environment. I know you don't understand half of the words in this paragraph. I forgive you. Now go open a science textbook, and stop telling us scientists what we know is bull.

      August 29, 2012 at 3:15 am |
  13. dumb bob

    I don't get it. The picture on the right is painting of Darwin, and the picture on the left is same after being restored Mr Bean style??

    August 29, 2012 at 1:17 am |
  14. Theodosius

    It's not what you believe.
    It's why you believe it.

    August 29, 2012 at 1:14 am |
    • ScottCA

      Correct, when you believe in something without evidence to support it, the why is insanity.
      When you believe in something due to evidence that supports it, the why is sanity.

      August 29, 2012 at 1:15 am |
    • lamb of dog

      And why do people believe in any one particular god?

      August 29, 2012 at 1:18 am |
  15. ScottCA

    I would like to see Steven Pinker speak with Richard Dawkins I think the conversation would be mind shatteringly good. Even better than the Dawkins and Dennet conversations.

    August 29, 2012 at 1:13 am |
    • lovesmicrobiology

      There are many fantastic interviews already available of debates between Dawkins and other famed creationists. His book, The God Dillusion, tackles many of the arguments made in mainstream creationist apologetics. I'd love to see you youtube those debates or simply read his book 🙂

      August 29, 2012 at 3:17 am |
    • lovesmicrobiology

      Eep- sorry- I applied to the wrong post! The joys of 3 am postings...

      August 29, 2012 at 3:19 am |
    • ScottCA

      You misunderstood what I was saying Steven Pinker is not a creationist. He is a Harvard psychology professor, who understands evolutionary psychology very well.

      August 30, 2012 at 12:57 am |
  16. Anne

    Let's break both sides into the simplest explanation possible, evolutionists believes that everything evolved from one thing. Creationists believe that God created everything, hence everything came from one thing. What's so hard in that?

    August 29, 2012 at 1:11 am |
    • lamb of dog

      Creationists believe that their one thing should also dictate how you live your life.

      August 29, 2012 at 1:15 am |
    • Simran

      Ya, one is called science and the other religion. Simple solution – keep them separate.
      And with science, it si not about beliefs. It is about evidence. With religion, however, it is only belief, no evidence.
      Now would you put Mr X in jail bcoz I believe he killed Mr Y?

      August 29, 2012 at 1:16 am |
  17. lamb of dog

    You can't argue with irrational people using reason.

    August 29, 2012 at 1:11 am |
    • icurheinie

      Roger that.

      August 29, 2012 at 1:16 am |
  18. randomthoughts

    Stephen Roberts

    "I contend that we are both atheists. I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours"

    August 29, 2012 at 1:09 am |
    • dumb bob

      I like that. But it would be like an extra bran muffin tomorrow for some folks if they think about that long enough.

      August 29, 2012 at 1:36 am |
  19. pedagoguish

    Bill Nye, the Science Guy, is absolutely right. Most Americans would rather believe in creationism, UFOs, and parapsychology than expend any effort learning something–anything– about real science. My God, what do they think of us in India or China? They are laughing all the way to the future.

    August 29, 2012 at 1:08 am |
    • lamb of dog

      Yes. Americas dark age?

      August 29, 2012 at 1:13 am |
  20. Mike V

    It's hilariously telling that the most rational stance is dismissively written off as "bashing religion" in the shortest summary of them all.

    August 29, 2012 at 1:07 am |
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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.