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. Oregon Alley Cat

    Creationism is a pseudo-science. This should be very clear by now. Its as simple as that. There are plenty of persons of faith that arent afraid to label it as such. Its not about theist or atheist here. Its about teaching science in science class as opposed to trying to slip in some pseudo-science.

    August 28, 2012 at 4:49 pm |
    • kabong30

      Yeah, you might trip on the hockey stick and then fall into a puddle of AGW.

      August 28, 2012 at 4:54 pm |
    • Your just kiddin, I hope.

      You hit a great point, but the problem is that religion is in politics.... Politics lobby school funding... Religion wants this taught, politics use religion to gain elections.... Sooooooo politics in some states try to force this as an actual subject.

      August 28, 2012 at 5:03 pm |
    • Chance

      pseudo-science like a multiverse theory?

      August 28, 2012 at 5:04 pm |
    • Chance

      I've never heard of a public classroom where creationism is taught, I believe the only way to get away from secular teaching is private schooling.

      August 28, 2012 at 5:07 pm |
    • Your just kiddin, I hope.

      Fighting that in Tennessee actually... And I think Georgia.

      August 28, 2012 at 5:33 pm |
  2. God

    i said a hip hop a hippie to the hippie
    to the hip hip hop, you don't stop
    a rockin to the Big Bang boogy say upchuck the boogy,
    to the rhythm of the Evolutionary beat.

    August 28, 2012 at 4:48 pm |
  3. 4sanity

    Much of the Bible is a hodge-podge amalgamation of previous or concurrent supernatural beliefs. An ominpotent God; a trinity; virgin birth; catastrophic floods; Messiah; Creation story; Tree of Knowledge etc. etc. – all were used by others in previous versions. Truth is Judeo-Christianity EVOLVED to incorporate other peoples beliefs as it saw fit. That process was rampant back in Roman times (incorporation of paganism e.g. Christmas celebration) and continues to the present day (Mormonism, Jehovah's Witnesses).

    Just about the only thing that hasn't been added is the Hindu creation myth that the Earth sits on top of the giant elephant that rests on the shell of a enormous turtle. But then again maybe they're right and all our empirical satelilte data is designed to trick us it isn't.

    August 28, 2012 at 4:48 pm |
  4. Foxman

    correction to my comment: I had said "(faith and evolution are both theories)" I meant to say, "(young earth creationism and evolution are both theories)".

    August 28, 2012 at 4:48 pm |
  5. Rob

    comment on the comment... I do like it when they categorize the commentary. There are too many to read through and difficult to digest everyone's opinion. It makes sense that there are only a few main themes throughout them all.

    August 28, 2012 at 4:48 pm |
  6. I REPEAT:



    August 28, 2012 at 4:48 pm |
  7. CJ

    Creationism, indeed all of Christianity, is a SUBSET of evolution and secular knowledge.

    It is a tiny part of a broader story, ignoring all the historical and archaeological evidence, ignoring all the other cultures (creationists don't have passports except for when they need to convert the ignorant) history and myths, and ignoring quite often the very needy people Christ wanted to help. (They vote Republican!)

    August 28, 2012 at 4:47 pm |
    • kabong30

      Well, that tied all the things you seem to dislike together very nicely didn't it?

      August 28, 2012 at 4:52 pm |
  8. Brian

    Hey, CNN should have an article on Bill Nye's take on everyone else take on his take of creationism! Then we can open up the comments sections get everyone's take on his take.

    August 28, 2012 at 4:47 pm |
    • a guy

      cnn article comment I n C e P t I o N

      August 28, 2012 at 4:54 pm |
    • Dan

      Yo, Dawg. I heard you like commentary, so we got a commentary on your commentary so you can comment on the comments.

      August 28, 2012 at 4:57 pm |
  9. KBW

    Yes, Vacation Bible School will keep them out of trouble and is fun, but it won't prepare them for employment. I was raised as a Baptist. "saved' at the age of 9. However after reading the Bible thoroughly and understanding it better; free will is the adult decision.

    August 28, 2012 at 4:42 pm |
  10. Cycledoc

    Believe in fairy tales? Ogres? Angels? If you do then go ahead believe creationism. It won't change anything, except demonstrate to the world your remarkable denial of reality. This is truly American exceptionalism.

    August 28, 2012 at 4:42 pm |
    • kabong30

      Actually, the concept of American exceptionalism can be found in those that simply allow others to think and behave as they feel as long as it isn't hurting anyone and that allows people to flourish in all areas of their lives. Way to show that you're not exceptional.

      August 28, 2012 at 4:50 pm |
  11. E in MO

    This collection of responses in this article misses Bill Nye's main point that the abuse of the religious has lead to a decline in acceptance and understanding of science and the processes that scientists use to engage the world. We would not have the intellectual problems with science that we have in this country if it was not for the religious. That is simply a fact. Science should not bother with religion and religion should not both with science. And they should meet in different rooms when it comes to politics.

    August 28, 2012 at 4:42 pm |
  12. Charles Darwin

    What gets my goat is that christians are so set that a god so powerful and knowing created everything, but continues to let wars rage on, people starving by the millions, people dying from floods, shooting, murder etc. and yet this mighty god can't seem to stop it.
    But on the other hand saves someone floating down a raging river by floating a log over to them or lets them win the lottery.
    Why did god allow them to fall into the river in the first place? And does god not have better things to do than stop the lottery wheel with a person's number on it?

    I forgot, it's god's plan. Give me a break!

    Yes I know all about what the bible (written by men) says about god not interfering yada yada...

    There is no common sense or reason with the whole story. It's all made up folks! Not one observable hint or clue to anything magical out there, its all in your minds!

    One last thing....where was god before the big bang?

    August 28, 2012 at 4:41 pm |
    • Chance

      Did you ever stop to think that we the human race have the ability to put a end to hunger? We could even prevent millions of deaths by joining UNICEF or other organizations. UNICEF currently has a initiative to stop all pediatric preventable deaths in the years to come, a cause worth advocating. Your argument is very counter productive. If our fellow man/women especially children are dieing of hunger it may not be our fault but we should do our part to end it. If you believe in God you would have the conviction to help the less fortunate. I think blaming God or waiting on God to do something is about hunger is foolish in light of the fact the world has the ability to change things if we really wanted to.

      August 28, 2012 at 4:57 pm |
    • dontuwanna

      science damn it!!!!

      August 28, 2012 at 4:58 pm |
    • Chance

      You asked "where was God before the Big Bang?"

      The answer to a believer would either end in a brute fact or a necessary being without cause.

      Now the counter question would be how did nothing produce everything? or why is there something rather than nothing? a follow up question -> is it logical to believe in nothing producing everything?

      August 28, 2012 at 5:02 pm |
    • Brian

      Don't get hung up on the everything from nothing claim. It's not nothing as you understand it. It's energy being converted into matter. So the universe came from energy. And matter is continuously being created from energy all around us and inside us wherever space exists. this has been prooven in quantum mechanical tests.Where the energy came from is another question and we will likely never know the answer. But based on laws of probability it is ver likely that it came from a multiverse where space is continually in inflation. But we will likely never see evidence for that so it can't be tested. Where did the multiverse come from? No scientist cares. Scientists only care about things you can prove and test.

      August 28, 2012 at 6:15 pm |
    • Chance

      I understand the nothing your talking about; the problem with a universe out of nothing is it also is a series of infinite regression. To believe that a quantum vacuum appeared out of the void of nothingness because of the laws of quantum mechanics demanded it does not solve the question why there is something rather than nothing.

      The question remains who made these infinite laws? on what tablet in the universe are these laws written? why is that these laws can command the void of empty space and create a quantum vacuum? I could go on but I think you get my point. If the laws of physics are eternal why is it so? how did they arise from nothing and make everything?

      Your point about a multiverse is not science! You yourself admit this! You say "Scientists only care about things you can prove and test." You pre qualified that with "But we will likely never see evidence for that so it can't be tested". Read what your typing you disqualified your own argument! A multiverse is a axiom for those who subscribe to the idea; it can never be tested! And your dead wrong about science not pursing the origins of the universe or life. Work is being put in around the clock to answer the questions.

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

      What are you talking about? Infinite regression? You just put made that up and put words in my mouth. I said it is false to say matter comes from nothing. That's all. I said the matter comes from energy. That's all. I didn't claim some infinite regression.

      "To believe that a quantum vacuum appeared out of the void of nothingness because of the laws of quantum mechanics demanded it does not solve the question why there is something rather than nothing." – This is a non-sensical sentence. Vacuum appeared out of the void? vacuum is a void. Laws don't demand, they model and predict. Why there is something rather than nothing? Are you serious?

      So you think a question still remains of who made these laws? Nobody, answered. And I'm sure there is no tablet with written laws. So how do these laws command a void to become a vacuum? Nonsensical again, but you need to understand that in the space inside and around you there exists a space time fabric that can be interacted with. It is not a void. Within this fabric there are energy fluctuations that create unstable matter. This matter then disintigrates back into energy. SO when a scientist uses the term vacuum he actually means a space where no particles exist. Even though within that vacuum there are actually sub-atomic particles being created and destroyed all the time. But this pressure created by these subatomic particles is low enough to ignore for most science. However scientists did do an experiment where they put 2 metal plates so close together in a vacuum that larger subatomic particles could not get created. There was not enough room. This created a very small pressure difference between the outside of the plates and the inside. This resulted in the plates moving together. Simple test that proved a vacuum is not actually a vacuum at the subatomic level. This was predicted by quantum mechanical theory.

      I never claimed that the multi-verse theory was scientifically proven. That's why I qualified it. And who knows if something exists outside of the multiverse? We can only see within our own universe unless another universe was created so close to ours that they mixed. So even though quantum mechanics math predicts the possibity of a multi-verse it can't be proven through scientific method. Therefore the scientific community will not grant it as a scientific theory. But that does not mean it is not possible. And it does not mean a personal God created it. You have your own burden of proof to claim that. Just as the multi-verse proponents have the burden of proof to claim theirs. So all we can use to conclude if a multi-verse or a God created the universe is evidence and reason and guess. So what evidence supports a multi-verse? Well, based on your vantage point in the universe you can multiply space by 10x multiple times before you reach the size of the universe. You can also divide by 10x multiple times to reach subatomic particles. What do you think the odds are that the universe ends at exactly the scale we can observe and goes no further smaller or larger? If you say 100%, then you are the frog in the well. Also, quantum mechanics math predicts the multi-verse. So does probability, as it is unlikely that the only universe in existence got all the variable right. So I would be willing to "guess" based on probability, that a multi-verse exists. But we can't prove it. You have no evidence except ignorance to prove the existence of God. Now, my argument is perfectly sound and without error because I do not claim proof, only reasoned guess based on evidence. Which I am perfectly allowed to do.

      August 29, 2012 at 8:05 pm |
    • Brian

      oh and "And your dead wrong about science not pursing the origins of the universe or life. Work is being put in around the clock to answer the questions." – Can you please re-read my post and point out where I said this? Again you are putting words in my mouth to make an argument. You are dead wrong about something I invented you said. Nice. Way to argue.

      What I said was "Where did the multiverse come from? No scientist cares. Scientists only care about things you can prove and test." – Completely different from what you claim I said. No scientist is trying to figure out where a multi-verse comes from. If they can't prove whether a multi-verse exists, do you think they would be trying to speculate on where it came from? The guy who came up with the theory of the muti-verse tried for many years to get other scientists to study his proposal but scientists only like things they can prove as you can't win a nobel prize for best speculation. It is only recently that other scientists started making progress on the idea that a multiverse could exist but we are only talking about a handful of people here. As far as scientists pursuing the beginning of life, ofcourse they are and they are making alot of progress, I never said anything to the contrary, you made that up. When you argue in a message forum, re-read the persons post while you are replying so you don't let your imagination change what the person said into what you think he said or hope he said. ANd go learn proper argument and logical fallicies and scientific method.

      August 29, 2012 at 9:33 pm |
    • mama kindless

      Chance said "If you believe in God you would have the conviction to help the less fortunate. I think blaming God or waiting on God to do something is about hunger is foolish in light of the fact the world has the ability to change things if we really wanted to."

      No she DI-UNT!! my goodness!

      Child, that's where religious folk are just hoodwinked. You don't need make believe people that politicians made up hundreds of years ago to be a good person and help the unfortunate. Maybe there was a deity that put a special ingredient that we don't know about yet into certain building blocks for certain species so that they might be destined to be intelligent, but one things for certain, child – no one knows the first thing about that and one thing we are certain of is that with this intelligence man has found a way to sell misinformation very easily to his fellow man – religion is an obvious example of that if you look at it carefully.

      Religion has done nothing but stifle progress in all apects of life. Sure good deeds are done "in the name of" and "on behalf of" a particular religion. But that in no way excuses people from questioning that they may have been lied to for hundreds of years. The good things that people do, they do because for the most part, people are individually built this way, much in the same way that ants usually do what's best for the colony.

      People need to focus on what is "best for the colony" in our lives right now. Not everyone needs to be arguing for or against what happened before the big bang or if god exists. But they ought to acknowledge what is obvious. And what is that? Well, for one, if I lived in the lower Bible Belt, I would be very thankful right now that between now and – well at least before Teddy R., people in the US of A were at least smart enough to let people be educated about the best that science had to offer at the time to allow this wonderful country to have great scientists in many fields. Fields including, just for one example, people that have become the Army Corps of Engineers that have now most likely saved a lot of a$$es in that Bible Belt from washing away again. sure some of those engineers are religious – I'm sure. But what's important, which goes back to the 1st amendment, is that people keep that stifling religous junk from "stoppin' us now". my goodness, mama do go on after a good rye manhattan.

      August 29, 2012 at 10:11 pm |
  13. Brad

    Either way, we're not allowed to truly make up our own minds. There are schools of thought that people align themselves to. This is vastly different from an ability to be able to decide for yourself.

    August 28, 2012 at 4:41 pm |
    • CJ

      With a christian education – which millions of atheists had – you get no choice. The whole point of a secular education is to see what might be and to question everything. That's as good as it gets.

      August 28, 2012 at 4:50 pm |
  14. Brian

    One thing I notice about these "faith" or "belief" blogs – all of the relevant comments get censored out. You can't offend a sacred cow in this country. Or is it a sacred elephant in the room.

    August 28, 2012 at 4:40 pm |
  15. SomeNameHere

    jms4177 wrote: "How can anyone argue that the earth has only been here 6,000 years? That does not take faith. It takes ignorance."

    I totally agree. We KNOW for certain that the earth is billions of years old. However, I think you CAN believe in creationism and evolution at the same time. You just need to not take everything in the bible so literally. God gave you a brain for a purpose. Use it.

    August 28, 2012 at 4:40 pm |
    • JamesW

      That sir is not true. And that is the problem some folks have in completely believing in evolution. we do not KNOW for certain. We are using tests that man designed to gauge things. Since we do not know the answer to the question, we can not build a test to verify it. We have built a test to prove what we think we know, it is not the same thing. The same was true with the nifty carbon dating test, it looked right. Until we learned a little bit more and then learned we were wrong about what we 'thought' we knew.
      We are still learning, science for now is still some what an art, we think we know, then learn more and find our we were wrong and now we know more than we did, but we are certainly not finished and do not yet know it all.

      August 28, 2012 at 4:49 pm |
    • Alpha

      JamesW –
      Please clarify where you got your informatoin to respond with: "The same was true with the nifty carbon dating test, it looked right. Until we learned a little bit more and then learned we were wrong about what we 'thought' we knew." Please show me a scientific paper (that was peer reviewed) that talks about how carbon dating is 'wrong'. Carbon dating is based on the half-life decays of elemental carbon and simply using a mathematical equation to pre-date back. If you think this is 'wrong' then you also think anything related to the Bible-era could be either 10 years old, 2000 years old, or 10,000,000 years old, we cannot know for certain. Welcome to 2012 where we rely on more than just oral and written histories to determine the past. Your comment absolutely astounds me.

      August 28, 2012 at 5:07 pm |
  16. Norm

    Why do we even need to discuss it?
    What point is it going to make either way?
    Just live your short life in the best way you can and stop trying to find things to argue about.

    August 28, 2012 at 4:39 pm |
    • CJ

      This would be a fair comment except for the fact Christians run the country, assume you don't do charity if you're secular, that my kids have to say 'under god' BS at school each morning, and that non believers are essentially silenced and oppressed in the mainstream culture.

      August 28, 2012 at 4:52 pm |
  17. BestScienceGuyEver


    August 28, 2012 at 4:39 pm |
  18. Pete

    Soooooo.................incest is allowed per Christian beleifs? If we all came from Adam and Eve....and they only had two sons, Cain and Able..and Cain murdered Able..than he married his sister Awan who gave birth to Enoch..their incestuous child..I mean COME ON PEOPLE! WAKE UP! Did these female relatives just start migrating to all parts of this planet and drop thier litters and like puppies in all the different colors of the rainbow?
    If you beleive in every word of this "novel" are you murduring your daughters for not being virgins? Are you taking up with your brothers wives in your brother dies? Christians seem to follow whats convenient for them and their life-styles.
    According to you Christians, you either beleive or you dont...so you either follow ALL of what you book says or NONE..you can't pick and choose.

    August 28, 2012 at 4:38 pm |
    • JamesW

      It would be of much more help if you understood things such as "New Testament" christians do not blieve that the things written in the "Old Testament" are meant for us today. So, to answer your question, no we should not be doing those things. And yes, you are correct there are plenty of things the bible does not explain or share and a reasonable mind would have to believe that there is plenty of things we are not told that went on during the bible days.
      I know there are those that take the bible literally, you nor i can change those folks. But they are not the norm and people are going to believe what they want to believe and yelling at them or telling them they are crazy hopefully just makes you feel better. Because that is all you are accomplishing.

      August 28, 2012 at 4:58 pm |
  19. Reality

    For $99, you can find out if you are part Neanderthal:

    As per National Geographic's Genographic project:

    " DNA studies suggest that all humans today descend from a group of African ancestors who about 60,000 years ago began a remarkable journey. Follow the journey from them to you as written in your genes”.

    "Adam" is the common male ancestor of every living man. He lived in Africa some 60,000 years ago, which means that all humans lived in Africa at least at that time.

    Unlike his Biblical namesake, this Adam was not the only man alive in his era. Rather, he is unique because his descendents are the only ones to survive.

    It is important to note that Adam does not literally represent the first human. He is the coalescence point of all the genetic diversity."

    For your $99 and a DNA swab:

    "Included in the markers we will test for is a subset that scientists have recently determined to be from our hominin cousins, Neanderthals and the newly discovered Denisovans, who split from our lineage around 500,000 years ago. As modern humans were first migrating out of Africa more than 60,000 years ago, Neanderthals and Denisovans were still alive and well in Eurasia. It seems that our ancestors met, leaving a small genetic trace of these ancient relatives in our DNA. With Geno 2.0, you will learn if you have any Neanderthal or Denisovan DNA in your genome."

    August 28, 2012 at 4:38 pm |
    • Norm

      I did this.
      Please use the $99 to buy groceries and other things you need to live.

      August 28, 2012 at 4:41 pm |
    • birch please

      A new study just came out that disputes that Europeans interbred with Neanderthals. We may just have some DNA in common being that we are so closely related.

      August 28, 2012 at 4:48 pm |
  20. Your just kiddin, I hope.

    I can't explain why the son comes up..... Oh it's actually a person in a chariot with flames.... That explains everything... Thanks religion .... Religion - Giving dumb people power every day.

    August 28, 2012 at 4:38 pm |
    • Learn English

      It would be best if you just shut up. If you're going to be calling people idiots, at least learn the difference between 'son and 'sun'.

      August 28, 2012 at 4:41 pm |
    • Norm

      LOL....I love when people call others stupid but then make grade school mistakes in their post.

      August 28, 2012 at 4:42 pm |
    • Your just kiddin, I hope.

      Typos are typos, but creationism isnt real.... So you can be like... "oh I will target his typo... But hopefully my insecurity through religion won't show"

      August 28, 2012 at 4:45 pm |
    • birch please

      I love when idi ots get excited when they finally know something... ie a typo

      August 28, 2012 at 4:50 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.