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. Terry White

    Never heard of Bill Nye. Can't imagine he's any kind of an authority worth listening to.

    August 28, 2012 at 4:57 pm |
    • Ethel the Aardvark Goes Quanti-ty Surveying

      So what you're saying is, only people that YOU have knowledge of should be listened to and considered. Perhaps you could enlighten us on your background, credentials, and education so that the rest of us may assess why YOU should be so considered.

      August 28, 2012 at 5:00 pm |
    • truth be told

      I think he used to be the Captain Kangaroo of kids t.v. science. Looks like he's shooting for a comeback, maybe something with Pee Wee Herman, but Pee Wee is supposed to be straight.

      August 28, 2012 at 5:03 pm |
  2. Bruce

    I believe that Gods creation is on going. Evolution is taking place 24/7 and something new is being created.

    August 28, 2012 at 4:57 pm |
  3. D

    LOL, "Tony Montana"'s comment is priceless! If only he'd make the next logical step and ask: "What made God?". Oh, wait, I know; god gets a special exception from the rules for just being god.

    August 28, 2012 at 4:56 pm |
    • crazy

      Top Ten Signs You're a Christian in Name Only
      10 – You vigorously deny the existence of thousands of gods claimed by other religions, but feel outraged when someone denies the existence of yours.
      9 – You feel insulted and "dehumanized" when scientists say that people evolved from other life forms, but you have no problem with the Biblical claim that we were created from dirt.
      8 – You laugh at polytheists, but you have no problem believing in a Triune God.
      7 – Your face turns purple when you hear of the "atrocities" attributed to Al lah, but you don't even flinch when hearing about how God/Jehovah slaughtered all the babies of Egypt in "Exodus" and ordered the elimination of entire ethnic groups in "Joshua" including women, children, and trees!
      6 – You laugh at Hindu beliefs that deify humans, and Greek claims about gods sleeping with women, but you have no problem believing that the Holy Spirit impregnated Mary, who then gave birth to a man-god who got killed, came back to life and then ascended into the sky.
      5 – You are willing to spend your life looking for little loopholes in the scientifically established age of Earth (few billion years), but you find nothing wrong with believing dates recorded by Bronze Age tribesmen sitting in their tents and guessing that Earth is a few generations old.
      4 – You believe that the entire population of this planet with the exception of those who share your beliefs – though excluding those in all rival sects – will spend Eternity in an infinite Hell of Suffering. And yet consider your religion the most "tolerant" and "loving."
      3 – While modern science, history, geology, biology, and physics have failed to convince you otherwise, some id iot rolling around on the floor speaking in "tongues" may be all the evidence you need to "prove" Christian
      2 – You define 0.01% as a "high success rate" when it comes to answered prayers. You consider that to be evidence that prayer works. And you think that the remaining 99.99% FAILURE was simply the will of God.
      1 – You actually know a lot less than many atheists and agnostics do about the Bible, catholicism and church history – but still call yourself a Christian

      August 28, 2012 at 5:06 pm |
  4. Ethel the Aardvark Goes Quanti-ty Surveying

    Why oh why oh why is ignorance treated as a virtue, and knowledge and education as a vice, in so many parts of the United States? It truly boggle the mind. Is your country getting collectively less and less intelligent and educated every year? What do you think the US is going to be in 50 years, if it continues at this rate to slide into stupidity?

    August 28, 2012 at 4:56 pm |
  5. Dyslexic doG

    Fundamentalist Christians have made America the laughing stock of the modern world. What an embarrassment!

    August 28, 2012 at 4:55 pm |
  6. Godwin Meade Swyfte

    Okay – query to the creatonalists – are you saying that God is not competent enough to set up (aka "create") a biological system that allows for full-blown evolution? It's not bad enough you hamper God with the limitation of gender but you gotta insist the "He" has limited powers also? To give you a quote attributed to God, "I Am Who AM", and I don't mean Popeye.

    August 28, 2012 at 4:55 pm |
  7. M.E.

    You can't believe humans evolved from Adam and Evenif you have any clue how genetics work. If eve came from Adams rib, they would share DNA (logically Adam's rib would have been Adams clone, not Eve, but disregarding logic as one must in such cases) therefore the relationship would be incestuous and would create humans with significant handicaps and disabilities, if anything at all. Supposing Eve gave birth to healthy male and female siblings, they would have to have an incestuous relationship to procreate and also would have produced handicapped offspring. You can see the results of incestuous unions particularly well with the Hapsburg dynasty with the end product of Charles II of Spain. He was so disabled that he didn't learn to walk till he was 8 and he never could chew food properly due to a deformed jaw. The family line in Spain died with him due to his impotency probably caused by his inbreeding.

    So if the Hapsburgs incestuous relationships resulted in that after about 8 generations, imagine what humans would be like. It's simply impossible to believe that humans evolved from incestuous pairings if you posses even the most basic knowledge of genetics. It's not a theory or a guess, it's solid fact backed by historical cases. There was no Adam and Eve, get over it.

    August 28, 2012 at 4:54 pm |
    • Godwin Meade Swyfte

      Same thing I said to the creationalists – if the Big G set up the system, it is set up perfectly, in God's eyes, not human eyes. Typically people can't even explain what they do on a daily basis, so why do so many think they've got the inside story and understanding of the Supreme Being's activities before the concept of time even existed? The arrogance of some species. I'm all for packing up and going back to Pleiades (just kidding).

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

      There is an Adam and Eve if you look at them as a single celled organism splitting in two. =)

      August 28, 2012 at 5:05 pm |
  8. Sean

    Said exactly as I have been espousing. Excellent creative thinking by the author, which is what the once great America now lacks in spades. I trust to believe nothing around us is an accident, fluke or coincidence. The universe is too marvellously formed in it's chaotic intricacies to be a fluke. can someone measure the probability?


    "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."

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

      Argument from Ignorance. *frowny face*

      August 28, 2012 at 4:58 pm |
    • Ethel the Aardvark Goes Quanti-ty Surveying

      Score: D 1, Sean zero

      August 28, 2012 at 5:01 pm |
    • Godwin Meade Swyfte

      Sean – if you believe in a Creator, there is nothing random – "As it was in the beginning, is now and always shall be..." ain't just whisteling Dixie, or Earth, or even this solar system (watch out all you doomsday people, eventually our galaxy is going to collide with Andromeda)

      August 28, 2012 at 5:08 pm |
    • Godwin Meade Swyfte

      Aha – if you are referringv t me, what makes you think it is only "creative"?

      "And a child will show you the way..." 😉

      August 28, 2012 at 5:22 pm |
  9. Dyslexic doG

    Evolution – 95% proven
    Creationism – 0% proven

    All you knuckleheads who say evolution is not proven need to read the endless proof that is readily available anywhere outside a christian bookstore.

    America has become the laughing stock of the modern world. What an embarrassment!

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

      Stae one case of anything evolving into another species. The only evolution is the human form changes itself according to its enviorment. Even Darwin could not explain how all the species had eyes at one time. The seculare evidence of Jesus Christ is over whelming. There is far more evidence of Jesus Christ than Alexander the Great or Caesar. Review the evidence before you come to a conclusion. Study the "big bang theory" and explain how it happened.

      August 28, 2012 at 5:13 pm |
    • Jeff Williams

      """ The seculare evidence of Jesus Christ is over whelming."""

      Anyone can research this and will know the truth – that YOU are lying. That is very unchristian of you.

      There is one obscure possible secular reference that MIGHT be interpreted as being relevant. But even that one is subject to intense debate. You'd think there would be obvious references if he did exist. But there are NONE.

      August 28, 2012 at 5:22 pm |
    • Godwin Meade Swyfte

      And, at one time we proved a Bumble Bee could not fly, nor, for that matter, could man. To achive our greatness, though our God given gifts, we must continually to prove ourselves wrong. Because when we are always right, that is when we do the most in-human things.

      August 28, 2012 at 5:26 pm |
  10. Atheism is not healthy for children and other living things

    Prayer changes things .

    August 28, 2012 at 4:53 pm |
    • Ethel the Aardvark Goes Quanti-ty Surveying

      You, sir troll, are the poster child for everything that is wrong with your country.
      'Nuff said, and no more feeding the troll.

      August 28, 2012 at 4:57 pm |
    • Steve O

      You post this a lot, but not once have you given an example.

      August 28, 2012 at 4:59 pm |
    • truth be told

      How long have you been on these blogs steveo. Evidence is presented on a regular basis including today. Is this your first day here?

      August 28, 2012 at 5:04 pm |

      Please don't feed it.

      August 28, 2012 at 5:11 pm |
  11. Dyslexic doG

    if you are wondering why athiests and agnostics comment as vitriolically as they do on this site, check out au . org which is a site devoted to the first amendment and the separation of church and state.

    many christians (but by no means all) in this country are behaving like the taliban and trying to change the laws and education to force the christian religion down everyone's throats. this has got to stop.

    August 28, 2012 at 4:53 pm |
  12. Dawn Skowron

    ...and on the eighth day God created Bill Nye.

    August 28, 2012 at 4:52 pm |
  13. Mik

    Only in America. It's as simple(ton) as that.

    God will not fix your economy. God will not fix the environment. God will not cure your cancer. And as long as you keep your collective heads in the sand, education-wise, neither will you.

    August 28, 2012 at 4:51 pm |
  14. Dyslexic doG

    Eric Marrapodi: what a completely one-sided representation of what was commented. You had one tepid example of the atheist comments. with propogandists like you, it's no wonder christians have managed to brainwash the population.

    August 28, 2012 at 4:51 pm |
  15. Orwell prefers Guyana punch

    The United States, the country that technically created & mastered nuclear weapons; but creates many new strange religions for the world to follow. Now the two are merging, religious zealots who want to control those weapons, but are clueless as to the science and skills needed to safely manage them. Just like a gun, just more kapow! God says go for it.

    August 28, 2012 at 4:51 pm |
  16. Jim P.

    "and a firsthand witness of the risen Christ"

    I see a little problem here if this guy is not slightly over 2,000 years old; He can't possibly be a 'first hand" witness to that alleged event.

    August 28, 2012 at 4:51 pm |
  17. FTB

    "I contend 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."
    ...Stephen F Roberts

    August 28, 2012 at 4:50 pm |
    • PattyPal

      Good quote, thanks.

      August 28, 2012 at 4:54 pm |
    • J-Pap


      August 28, 2012 at 5:09 pm |
  18. Your just kiddin, I hope.

    So in other words ...yes belief in creationism makes you dumb. You have capped yourself from moving forward, and caved in to a world where the answer is always going to be god. Just givegod the credit for it all and call it good..... Coffee grinders – god, iPhones – god.... The film Jaws.... Yup you got it...God

    August 28, 2012 at 4:50 pm |
  19. Ian

    I'd also like to put forth a blanket statement of thanks for all the great comments here, because it would take to long to reply to each one. They're mostly all well spoken and actually worth reading for a change.

    August 28, 2012 at 4:49 pm |
  20. LouAZ

    Eric Marrapodi, CNN Editor – you are stirring the pot for your own and CNN's benefit. CNN cannot be on both sides of this issue. Pick one and stick to it. Or quit "reporting" on religion . . . you're really not very good at it.

    August 28, 2012 at 4:49 pm |
    • I'm not a GOPer, nor do I play one on TV


      score one more 'keyclick' for CNN with your post. You visited, you read, you commented. More keyclicks for CNN. That is the purpose of the Belief Blog. It achieved its purpose today with your participation.

      (And by the way, every time they have a successful topic, they follow up after a couple of days with a topic called "Your take" just to harvest a few more keyclicks like yours.)

      August 28, 2012 at 4:58 pm |
    • Orwell prefers Guyana punch

      Lou do they have blogs in Arizona?
      Do you know what a blog is?
      How about editorials, do you have newspaper editorials, editors of a newspaper who make opinions in the editorial section?
      Are you actually from Arizona and have wingnut anger going on under the hood?

      Since there is a big gap between critical thinkers who want facts, compared to non critical thinking that embrace to the death the faith they somehow came to, born to, which is different from the other 1000's of faiths; expect an editorial section like this to stir it up.
      If you know your history, facts only, you may have noticed religion stirs people up. Stop reading this, you may have to explain your failures.

      August 28, 2012 at 5:06 pm |
    • LouAZ

      Orwell (George? Is that you ?) –
      Be gentile with me. I am one of only six people in the United State of Aridzona that can read and write. You might want a VISA or something someday. And yes I do know what a blog is – it is a really big t urd that stops up the toilet. And yes we do have Newspapers, but since no one knows how to read and write, we just let our Preachers, our Sherif, and our Governor tell us everything we need to know. So there !

      August 28, 2012 at 5:26 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.