Bill Nye warns: Creation beliefs threaten U.S. science

From wire service reports
September 25th, 2012

“The Earth is not 6,000 or 10,000 years old,” Nye said. “And if that conflicts with your beliefs, I strongly feel you should question your beliefs.”

The man known to a generation of Americans as “The Science Guy” is condemning efforts by some Christian groups to cast doubts on evolution—as well as lawmakers who want to bring the Bible into science instruction.

Bill Nye, a mechanical engineer and star of the popular 1990s TV show “Bill Nye The Science Guy,” has waded into the evolution debate with an online video that urges parents not to pass their religious-based doubts about evolution on to their children.

Watch the video:


Christians who view the stories of the Old Testament as historical fact have come to be known as creationists, and many argue that the world was created by God just a few thousand years ago.

“The Earth is not 6,000 or 10,000 years old,” Nye said in an interview with The Associated Press. “It’s not. And if that conflicts with your beliefs, I strongly feel you should question your beliefs.”

Millions of Americans do hold those beliefs, according to a June Gallup poll that found 46 percent of Americans believe God created humans in their present form about 10,000 years ago.

Nye, 56, also decried efforts in recent years by lawmakers and school boards in some states to present Bible stories as an alternative to evolution in public schools. Tennessee passed a law earlier this year that protects teachers who let students criticize evolution and other scientific theories. That echoes a Louisiana law passed in 2008 that allows teachers to introduce supplemental teaching materials in science classes.

“If we raise a generation of students who don’t believe in the process of science, who think everything that we’ve come to know about nature and the universe can be dismissed by a few sentences translated into English from some ancient text, you’re not going to continue to innovate,” Nye said in a wide-ranging telephone interview.

The brief online video was not Nye’s first foray into the combustible debate, but “it’s the first time it’s gotten to be such a big deal.”

In the video he tells adults they can dismiss evolution, “but don’t make your kids do it. Because we need them.” Posted by Big Think, an online knowledge forum, the clip went viral and had 4.6 million views on YouTube as of press time. It has garnered more than 182,000 comments from critics and supporters.

It drew the ire of the creationism group Answers in Genesis, which built a biblically based Creation Museum in Kentucky that teaches the stories of the Old Testament and has attracted headlines for its assertion that dinosaurs roamed alongside Adam and Eve.

The group produced a response video featuring two scientists who say the Bible has the true account of Earth’s origins, and that “children should be exposed to both ideas concerning our past.”

Watch the video:


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7 Responses to “Bill Nye warns: Creation beliefs threaten U.S. science”

September 25, 2012

Mr. Nye’s assertion that everyone must buy into a secular theory which he favors in order to become proficient in ANY field of science, including engineering, is untenable. I know quite a few christian professors in scientific fields who would dispute that with him, and I work in a very secular public university.

October 1, 2012

“If we raise a generation of students who don’t believe in the process of science … you’re not going to continue to innovate …”

Classic misrepresentation of an atheist. Christian scientists who “failed to innovate” include: Copernicus, Bacon, Kepler, Galilei, Descarte, Pascal, Newton, Boyle, Mendel, Kelvin, Planck, and Einstein, to name a few. Nye lost all credibility with that gross attempt to mislead his audience.

October 2, 2012

Engineering is not a field of science. Shows how much the science deniers know.

Let’s just consider the fields of science that conflict with literal Bible interpretation.

Well …

It’s all of them.

October 2, 2012

OK, while engineering may not be a pure science field, it is certainly based in the hard sciences: physics for one. Chemistry for chemical engineers. Physics again for electrical engineers. So, while Engineering (hmm, wonder what genetic engineering is based in … thoughtful look) may not be hardline in biology, it does have some decent basing in other things. As a taoist, I don’t think it’s particularly relevant what your belief system is as long as you are exposed to both concepts. I believe in evolution, but it is still a “theory” where homo sapiens sapiens is concerned because we have yet to find the elusive missing link. As to the 10k history of humanity … uhm, no. And somewhere there is a wonderful biblical statement that “a thousand years is but a day to me” … frequently used in the calculations for the second coming, among other things. Literalists often find themselves at point non plus because most things in religious writings don’t mean the same thing today they did when they were written … not because of flaws in the translation, but because we have changed a lot and our understanding of such things is no longer what it once was. For hundreds of years we’ve had scientists who were also believers. Hasn’t stopped out inventive investigative insanity yet, has it?

October 2, 2012

Universal gravitation also is a “theory.” So is plate tectonics.

In science, a theory is the highest level to which an idea can rise. It’s been proven “beyond a reasonable doubt” to take a phrase from the law. That does not mean beyond ALL doubt. In science, that never happens.

The so-called missing link turns out to be lots of links that have been found. However, the geological fossil record is difficult because what you find is almost by accident. More looking will, nevertheless, result in more finding.

October 2, 2012

From the article, “children should be exposed to both ideas concerning our past.”

Let them be “exposed” in their homes or religious institutions. This non-science does not belong in our school science classrooms.

Science is curiosity, hard at work. Religion is often no more than mythology, superstition and an extremely sketchy sense of history.

Oddly, they both require a degree of faith; both share a fierce hope that what they believe, yet cannot see, is true.

Scientists and science supporters continue to search tirelessly for answers, even when their quest leads them to even more questions. Yet they push on, and their discoveries – those answered questions, those beliefs that can now be seen in fact rather than mere faith – often benefit mankind.

Non-scientists don’t have to work at their beliefs. They merely point to a passage in a text and say, “God said it is so.” They make this statement of faith without any effort beyond a reference to scripture, a place in their book. How does this deliberate blindness benefit anyone but themselves?

I agree with what Bill Nye has said. If you are blind to the research, the data, the facts that prove that evolution is, beyond a doubt, the way life on Earth has grown and will continue to develop, no one can open your eyes.

But would you deliberately pass on that blindness to your children? Is that what your “religion” demands? Won’t your religion go even so far as to admit that it is, perhaps, God who encourages the curiosity of the scientist?