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Bill "The Science Guy" Nye Says Creationism Is Not Appropriate For Children 1774

timeOday writes "BigThink has released a video missive by Bill Nye ('The Science Guy') in which he challenges the low level of acceptance of evolution, particularly in the United States. He does not mince words: 'I say to the grownups, if you want to deny evolution and live in your world, in your world that's completely inconsistent with everything we observe in the universe, that's fine, but don't make your kids do it because we need them. We need scientifically literate voters and taxpayers for the future. We need people that can — we need engineers that can build stuff, solve problems.'"
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Bill "The Science Guy" Nye Says Creationism Is Not Appropriate For Children

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  • Not so sunny (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 28, 2012 @01:00PM (#41151125)

    I recently surveyed a few of my adult friends. Somewhat surprisingly most did not realize that the stars in the sky are "suns", most attributing their sparkle to reflection from our sun.

  • by Hatta ( 162192 ) on Tuesday August 28, 2012 @01:01PM (#41151169) Journal

    Genetic engineering. We induce mutations via the same mechanisms they occur in in nature (e.g. mismatch repair, retroviruses, etc) and increase their frequency through selective pressure. That's evolution.

  • by scorp1us ( 235526 ) on Tuesday August 28, 2012 @01:03PM (#41151207) Journal

    Also, structural engineering, materials engineering, when you factor in biomimetics.

  • Re:He's right (Score:5, Interesting)

    by fiannaFailMan ( 702447 ) on Tuesday August 28, 2012 @01:09PM (#41151365) Journal

    Of course, most American parents don't understand evolution at all, so it will be impossible to fix this mess. If our population was better educated, we'd be ok, but both parties have done their best to destroy it while telling everyone they are fixing the problems.

    Umm, Democrats are less inclined to alter science curricula in order to teach nonsense to kids. This "teach the controversy" business is the latest in a long line of right-wing attempts to undermine science education.

  • Re:He's right (Score:4, Interesting)

    by betterunixthanunix ( 980855 ) on Tuesday August 28, 2012 @01:12PM (#41151427)
    Meanwhile, the third parties are trying to fix this. Yet intelligent people keep voting for the major parties...
  • Re:Unfortunately... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 28, 2012 @01:21PM (#41151651)

    Exactly! As a person who believes in God because I have had spiritual experiences that lead me to that conclusion, I hate it when atheists insist that God doesn't exist and imply that I should ignore the evidence of my own experiences in favor of matching my world view to theirs, which they will be the first to admit they have no evidence to support. Although they'll be quick to point out that I have no evidence of my beliefs either. (Maybe not evidence I can share with THEM, but it's plenty to convince ME) These atheistic scientist types are so irrational.

    Oh, wait. You're pro-atheism and anti-religion? Sorry. Your argument was so compelling in the opposite direction that I made a mistake. My bad.

  • by Ambassador Kosh ( 18352 ) on Tuesday August 28, 2012 @01:22PM (#41151663)

    I am working on a degree in Chemical and Biological engineering and we definitely use evolution. There are even computer models now based on adaptation speeds for things like resistance to drugs etc.

    Evolution is critically important to modern biotech work.

  • Re:1+1=3 (Score:4, Interesting)

    by MightyMartian ( 840721 ) on Tuesday August 28, 2012 @01:29PM (#41151861) Journal

    Creationism has a pretty specific definition when we're talking about evolution. What you're describing, and what the Catholic Church tends to advocate is basically a form of theistic evolution. It is useful to have definitions for words so we can all speak the same language, and Creationism tends to be in a separate category from theistic evolution because Creationism, to one extent or another, inevitably denies key facets of evolutionary theory, whereas theistic evolution pretty much accepts all of evolutionary theory, but still keeps "God's hand" in affairs.

  • by jedidiah ( 1196 ) on Tuesday August 28, 2012 @01:35PM (#41151993) Homepage

    Creationism is not the problem. It is merely the outward manifestation of it. The problem is mindless evangelicals that expect blind devotion and for you to check your brain at the door. This creationism nonsense is just the most visible part of their worldview. These people are extremists even by the standards of other religious people.

    They're like the Amish except with no balls. They make a lot of separatist noises and then just whine and pretend they are somehow victimized by society.

    It's also useful to note that this lot were the only people to defend those recent "legitimate rape" remarks.

    Creationism is just a symptom of a much more fundemental problem.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 28, 2012 @01:36PM (#41152019)

    The inherent difficulty in deciding that Genesis is metaphorical, especially with the American biblical literalists, is that without the fall of Man in the Garden of Eden, there is no Original Sin. If there's no Original Sin, why did Jesus have to die for our sins?

  • by Nadaka ( 224565 ) on Tuesday August 28, 2012 @01:39PM (#41152075)

    I grew up in an Independent Fundamentalist Baptist church. We were all about killing people. We prayed for Armageddon, and members of my fathers church sought out positions within the USAF Strategic Air Command, so they would have the opportunity to be involved in the extermination of mankind to fulfill gods will. Fortunately I have come to reject the faith of my father and no longer bow before such evil.

  • Re:Yes! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by erroneus ( 253617 ) on Tuesday August 28, 2012 @01:41PM (#41152117) Homepage

    When I was a child, I watched a lot of PBS... NOVA and other science shows. I found an interest in dinosaurs, evolution, archaeology and lots of things like this. By the time I was 10, I thought God was a stupid idea.

    Just put more quality educational programs back on the air and teach the parents it's okay to be lazy.

    (Caveat: I was pre-video-game era... it doesn't quite apply the same any longer.)

  • by godless dave ( 844089 ) on Tuesday August 28, 2012 @01:48PM (#41152295)
    Wouldn't it make more sense to believe that Genesis was written by people who had no more idea about how the earth, sun, moon, and stars formed than anyone else who was alive at the time? Why perpetuate the idea that some guy got knowledge directly from God and then wrote it down?
  • by HanzoSpam ( 713251 ) on Tuesday August 28, 2012 @01:48PM (#41152313)

    'I say to the grownups, if you want to deny evolution and live in your world, in your world that's completely inconsistent with everything we observe in the universe, that's fine, but don't make your kids do it because we need them. We need scientifically literate voters and taxpayers for the future. We need people that can — we need engineers that can build stuff, solve problems.'

    I love the arrogant presumption that my children are a public resource at the collective's disposal. The last I checked, they were individuals entitled to pursue happiness in any way that suited them, not resources at Mr. Nye's disposal tasked with building whatever kind of world he wants to live in. Maybe they have other ideas about what kind of world they want to live in?

    Assholes like this guy worry me a lot more than any creationist.

  • Re:Yes! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by jpapon ( 1877296 ) on Tuesday August 28, 2012 @02:05PM (#41152659) Journal
    I was similar. I wanted to be an archaeologist when I was little, I read everything about dinosaurs, evolution, Egypt, and Rome.

    Then I moved to Texas, where the first day of school I met a kid who believed in God, thought evolution was a hoax, and that the Earth was 6000 years old.

    I didn't know what to tell him... the only thing I could come up with was something like "...but... what about all the bones...?"

  • by IICV ( 652597 ) on Tuesday August 28, 2012 @02:25PM (#41153079)

    Just FYI, although theologically guided evolution is more accurate than creationism, it's still a couple steps short of the actual theory of evolution we have today.

    The modern theory of evolution simply has no place for God to stick his fingers in. There's no mechanism in it by which divine intervention could happen, and in all the data we have gathered (and there's a lot of data) there are absolutely no divine fingerprints.

    In order to argue that the modern theory of evolution is "in no way incompatible with the belief that God ... Has guided the process", you must use the same dodges and evasions that young earth creationists do - "oh, God just made it look natural, secretly he's doing all the heavy lifting", "God's just sneaky, putting in all that fossil DNA to make it look like this happened naturally".

    Basically, theological evolution is not compatible with the modern theory of evolution, except in the playground "You can't prove he didn't!" way, and arguing that it is is wrong and misleading.

  • Re:Yes! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by realityimpaired ( 1668397 ) on Tuesday August 28, 2012 @02:36PM (#41153333)

    The sad thing is, you probably do remember your church school bible lessons, but that's still inconsistent with what's actually in the Bible and the historical context of the story.

    In that time period, it was *normal* for conquering people to demonstrate their dominance over the conquered by raping them. They did this to the women *and* the men, and often castrated the men before putting them into slavery. That's just how things were back then. Similarly, it was the custom not to accept visitors into the city after dark, for defensive reasons... strangers coming into the city walls after the gates have been closed were seen as invaders, and dealt with accordingly.

    In the context of the story in the Bible, God sent the angels to investigate the city. They happened upon the home of somebody who showed them hospitality, and when the citizens of the city discovered that strangers had entered the city under cover of dark and were at the home of this person, they were all dealt with according to the custom of the day.

    Context is everything in this case, like every case. Unfortunately, the people who see it as a literal truth are rarely interested in the historical customs of the day. They see that God punished the Sodomites, and that's all they take from it. What they don't understand is that the sexual act itself, while involuntary, wasn't the reason for the punishment, it was the lack of hospitality and charity.

    Take the book as an allegory intended to impart moral lessons and it's easier to swallow. I still have issues with the nature of God as he's described in the book (really, he's petty, vindictive, and cliquish), but the miracles and myth that permeate the pages are easier to take when you consider them to be a fiction rather than a fact, and it doesn't really detract from some of the message contained within, which, basically (and especially in the NT), is that we shouldn't be assholes to each other.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 28, 2012 @02:43PM (#41153505)

    Yes, actually we do believe in a rational ordered universe. I am not a deist and God actively intervening does not violate a rational universe. You show that you do not understand what rational means, I suspect you have it confused with naturalistic. Rational means that things have a reason; Naturalism says that God cannot be a reason, rationalism has no such limits.

  • by CronScript ( 936442 ) on Tuesday August 28, 2012 @04:36PM (#41155983) Homepage Journal

    One major issue that many fail to understand is that science cannot define truth. Science and Philosophy are two separate realms. Science is the process of creating and disproving theories based on currently known facts. The important limitation here is "current" and that theories can only be disproven, never proven.

    What is the probability that a scientific theory will never be changed or proven incorrect in the future? This is an unanswerable question, as we don't know that which we don't know. We can't even produce a probability of correctness, yet still there is belief that currently held scientific theories are true.

    The logically correct conclusion is that belief that current scientific theories are true is as much a matter of faith as belief in a god/gods. Faith that scientific theories will never be changed, faith that humanity will never discover some new fact that changes or invalidates current theories, faith that humans are capiable of discovering everything there is to know about the universe we live in.

  • Re:Yes! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by s.petry ( 762400 ) on Tuesday August 28, 2012 @07:51PM (#41159159)

    When I was younger, I thought pretty much just like you. Religion was something other people did, it made no sense and seemed like a waste of time. TV was way better than anything in a Church. Who needed social time and BBQ's after Church service? TV was teaching me so much more than some old book ever could. I did not have lazy parents, my dad passed away when I was rather young and mom just had little time.

    During my time in the Military, I stumbled on to Philosophy, and found some very amazing questions. TV tried to feed me answers to these questions, but the answers they provided made no sense once I knew how to understand the questions, and the proposed answers. The TV tried to tell me the puzzles were all solved, yet there are no solution possible. Philosophers will teach you that much, assuming you will take the time to listen and learn.

    I have spent literally nearly two decades trying to answer the questions, and unravel the fallacy people keep throwing in the way of the question. They are many, and complex, and from every side that claims to know an answer. After years of work I came to the same conclusion the vast majority of Philosophers have, which is that there is probably a creator. I realize that this is my opinion, but will point out that it's an opinion which is educated and backed by logical thought. I frequently sift through mountains of data in an effort to challenge my own philosophy. New Science claims to have solved things, and I at least have to test the water. I have yet to change my opinion and see a solution.

    Debating with atheists, I was surprised to find that even though they claimed that "science denies the need for a creator" there was no fact in those statements. It's fallacy in varying form over and over. I also found that most atheists have never looked in to the question. They simply agree with a fallacy that someone has presented them, and repeat those fallacies to claim they are correct. Truth be told, they are no better than a book shaking zealot they claim to despise. The only difference is the which book they shake to tell everyone they are correct, the fallacies are identical.

    With all that precursor work, here is what is important. If you take the time to try and answer the question for yourself, you may be surprised at how low the probability there is for the Universe not needing a creator. If you decide the Universe needs a creator, Theology becomes important. I can't say I agree a lot of things that occur in the name of Theology, but I'm educated and logical enough to recognize propaganda.

    Assuming you tackle the question and decide that perhaps some Theology has some significance, and assuming some very basic thoughts common to nearly all Theology have some validity: Evil does not have to convert a person to evil to harm them permanently, they simply need to fool people in to not believing. It's at least an interesting perspective if you begin recognizing the fallacies used to evangelize atheism.

    But the truth is that atheists will not challenge their faith in atheism, any more than someone believing in an older book would change their faith. All of us have our belief systems, and all of us are biased to our own beliefs. I'm probably as biased as anyone else, and perhaps more so since I have studied the question for a very long time. The difference to me is that I admit my belief is an opinion. The Catholic and Atheist won't usually do that same thing.

    I teach my kid Philosophy as well, so the he can actually search for himself and find answers. That is something the TV never did, and quite frankly can not do. He's old enough to have formed a very solid opinion, and challenges his own opinion just like I do mine.

  • Re:Yes! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by dudpixel ( 1429789 ) on Wednesday August 29, 2012 @12:40AM (#41161857)

    I cant speak for your experience, but I don't think (most) creation-believing people are idiots. They are just victims of very successful conartists.
    That might sound like that same thing, but I put more emphasis on the skills of the conartists than on the lack of intellectual honesty of the "converts".

    I myself believed in YEC (or at least biblical creation) until only recently (I'm 30). Sites like answersingenesis are instrumental in keeping the deception alive, and unlearned people soak this stuff up like a sponge. I never thought about it critically until this year, and most christians never give critical thought to it at all. This intellectual dishonesty is not only encouraged, but the typical christian lifestyle makes it difficult to ever question anything. Those who question the beliefs are seen as a threat and can risk excommunication if they go too far down that road. Others who are still in the community see it and take measures to 'prevent it happening to them or others'. And so the myth is perpetuated. It is really difficult for people who grew up in this environment to change their thinking on it. Especially when it means going back on your own word and making a liar out of yourself and your past. It is also a very difficult thing to challenge your own beliefs, right down to the very core of your worldview. It can be very destabilising and even demoralising.

    So all I'm saying is, put yourself in their shoes, and realise that these people have been made to believe a lie, and it will take a lot of patience and time to turn their thinking around. And many of them will resist and fight the whole way. I suppose the same thing happened when Galileo proved the world was spherical (I know others did prior to him, but it was he who suffered publicly for it). People resist change, especially if it challenges their worldview and things they've worked for.

    I am still unsure where my beliefs stand...but I approach the Bible very differently now. It is a book written by humans, with many things in it that are now known to be factually incorrect (although it can be argued that these writings served their purpose at the time, or were in keeping with popular theories of the time). As far as it is written by human authors, it is a fairly accurate account of much of Israel's history. By that I mean that it was common in those times to embellish wars or claim victory where there wasn't a victory. From that perspective I do not see it as an elaborate forgery (excuse the potential reference to Ehrman's work here) but as many different books from different authors with different writing styles, genre, and different reasons for writing.

    There is debate whether Jesus was a real person, but I think the weight of the evidence lies with those who claim he was real. There is also compelling evidence that Jesus was raised from the dead, or at least it is difficult to find a compelling argument that can account for the apostles' later actions and the lives of all who followed after (there are many extra-biblical sources that tell us of this). We could believe that one or two people might have been hypnotised or crazy, but not tens or hundreds. Many who would have known the truth first-hand (whether Jesus rose from the dead) suffered immense persecution in order to promote the message. If they knew it was all a lie, why would they persevere with it? I'm not talking about people dying for their faith, I'm talking about people dying for what they KNEW first-hand.
    So yeah, I still have unanswered questions, but at least the creation stuff is all pretty clearly nothing to do with science or our actual origins. For more info on where I'm at now - have a look at biologos.org.

    Do I believe the bible was inspired? well, it depends on your definition of "inspired". If by "inspired" you mean that every word was written by God, then no, I don't. But if "inspired" can mean that God assisted in the process from start to finish, and allowed the ideas to be written down, or if there were incorrect ideas, allowed the

Always leave room to add an explanation if it doesn't work out.