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Bill Nye the Science Guy Slams Biblical Creationism: "They’re Not Kidding"

Bill Nye doubled down on criticisms of Creationism, which he says thwarts American innovation.
 
 
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In a video that has been viewed 4,617,916 times on YouTube since August, Bill Nye "the Science Guy," politely explained that the Creationist movement brainwashed children and corroded America's capacity for growth and innovation. 

 
"When you have a portion of the population that doesn't believe in [science], it holds everybody back" Nye says in the video.  "And I say to the grown-ups, if you want to deny evolution and live in your world that's completely inconsistent with everything we've observed in the universe that's ... fine. But don't make your kids do that because we need them. We need scientifically literate voters and tax payers for the future. We need engineers that can build stuff, solve problems."

 

The Creationism Museum, featuring such wonders as Animatronic Noahs and babies frolicking with dinosaurs, tried to turn Science on Nye by issuing a response with "2 of  our science guys," (one is a woman, so already there's some trouble with their understanding of the natural world). In the video the first guy points out that America is not the only place where evolution denialism exists (although, a 2006 study found that there's much lower rates of acceptance of evolution in the United States than Europe or Japan.) The woman says that "as a scientist and a mom," she wants her daughter to be familiar with evolution "so that she can see the inherent problems with it."

Unintimidated by such a scientifically sound debunking, Nye doubled down on his criticisms of Creationism in an interview with the AP published today. Siring distrust in science and teaching kids to have faith in ancient religious texts are not the best ways for America to lead the world in science, Nye said again.
 
According to the AP:

“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.”

“I can see where one gets so caught up in this (debate) that you say something that will galvanize people in a bad way, that will make them hate you forever,” he said. “But I emphasize that I’m not questioning someone’s religion — much of that is how you were brought up.”
 
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“What I find troubling, when you listen to these people … once in a while I get the impression that they’re not kidding,” Nye said.

That's not the only troubling thing. A  Gallup poll from June found that  Forty-six percent of Americans believe God created humans in one day,  10,000 years ago. Only 15 percent said humans evolved without help from God. " The prevalence of this creationist view of the origin of humans is essentially unchanged from 30 years ago," the pollsters said. 

 
Bill Nye's message seems particularly suited to a moment where people are likely to dig in their heels against aggressive attacks on their worldview.  While he  demonstrates the absurdity of Creationism, he refrains from bashing all religious belief. He ties evolution denialism to a resonant narrative of American decline, and he allows adults to believe any dumb thing they want but begs that children be given a chance at an education that can help them and the country get ahead. 

Tana Ganeva is AlterNet's managing editor. Follow her on Twitter or email her at tana@alternet.org.
 
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