Bill Nye, The Science Guy, Says Creationism is Bad for Kids and America’s Future

Bill Nye will tell you that he’s a man on a mission. He’s out there trying to “help foster a scientifically literate society, to help people everywhere understand and appreciate the science that makes our world work.” From 1993 to 1998, Nye hosted Bill Nye the Science Guya Disney/PBS children’s science show that won 18 Emmys along the way. A graduate of Cornell and a student of Carl Sagan, Nye has also presented shows on the Science Channel, the Discovery Channel and other media outlets.

If you’re familiar with Bill Nye, you’ll know that he’s not exactly an in-your-face kind of scientist. He’s no Richard Dawkins. Nye is mild-mannered, affable and wears a bow tie. But, like Dawkins, he’ll tell you that if you deny evolution, you’re not living in the world of basic facts. And if you teach creationism to kids, you’re not preparing them to compete in a world where scientific literacy means everything. That bodes ill for your kids in particular, and for America’s future more generally.

Now you might be inclined to say that America has always had creationists, and that didn’t stop the country from becoming an economic and military superpower. Perhaps that’s true. But you need to recall this. America reached its zenith when every other power had blown themselves to smithereens. We were the only game in town. And it almost didn’t matter what we thought, or how much we thought. We just needed to show up to work. Nowadays, we don’t have that luxury. We face stiff competition from ambitious nations that take science and education seriously. A country that scoffs at scientific reasoning, that dismisses it all as “elitist,”  has only one way to go, and that’s down. God help us.

You can find more clips from Nye’s talk here.

Related Content:

Carl Sagan Presents Six Lectures on Earth, Mars & Our Solar System … For Kids (1977)

Growing Up in the Universe: Richard Dawkins Presents Captivating Science Lectures for Kids (1991)

by | Permalink | Comments (18) |

Support Open Culture

We’re hoping to rely on our loyal readers rather than erratic ads. To support Open Culture’s educational mission, please consider making a donation. We accept PayPal, Venmo (@openculture), Patreon and Crypto! Please find all options here. We thank you!

Comments (18)
You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.
  • Steve M says:

    “America reached its zenith when every other power had blown themselves to smithereens. We were the only game in town. And it almost didn’t matter what we thought, or how much we thought. We just needed to show up to work.”

    Bullshit. Every other one of those powers were secular and believed only in the power of man and science. I suspect you’re too young to remember, or you actually believed the false, revisionist history taught in your “scientific” school.

  • Mr. Thomas of Ohio, in America, but of a good nature; says:

    ^Ohhhh ‘erebody watch out big man Steve M pulls out the age card. Way to not stay classy, Mr. M.

    Haha I like how you put scientific in quotes. Oh yes, science is so quotable it’s like putting whiskey in coffee, it just works.

  • @Steve M says . . . | August 27, 2012 / 5:08 am

    Sleepless Nights May Put The Aging Brain At Risk Of Dementia

  • joe arrigo says:

    Yes, in the modern world, science has become even more important. Unlike the past when the U.S had little competition, we are now being seriously challenged. Our need to inspire science in our youth is essential, not pooh poohing in the name of indulging belief systems.

  • Gina says:

    I agree that a great deal of creationism advocacy is politically motivated. Those combating it don’t do themselves any favors by being similarly partisan. The suspicion of academia and the education system in general on the right cannot be separated from the determination on the left to co-opt educational institutions for their own agenda.

  • Willie Stoker says:

    He has it exactly backwards, We were doing well as a nation until the progressives started contamination the minds of our children in the government schools.
    Teaching our children foolishness and calling it a scientific fact has brought us down to the level of the countries that have failed. We only lasted as long as we have, and been the greatest nation that has ever existed on the face of the earth, because of our morality. In this perverse society, that the progressives have thrust upon us, we will perish like all the others who suffered the same degradation of their society.
    Science with a political agenda is very destructive to the welfare of our country.

  • Karl says:

    Where is the evidence that a belief in creationism is anti-scientific?

    A quick look into history shows that many of the most brilliant scientific minds have been Christians who believed in a created world made rational and understandable because of God. This is true of Isaac Newton, who formulated theories on gravity, acceleration, and optics.

    Presently, you can find the renowned mathematician and philosopher John Lennox lecturing at Oxford University. He declares that the universe is, in fact, created and has successfully debated Richard Dawkins about this issue.

  • tom rogers says:

    It seems we are indeed in a race against time. Will we survive the right-wing onslaught against science and reason until those who are irrationally opposed to progress have died out, or will the desperate weapons of ignorance have enough time to “win” the battle?

  • Willie Stoker says:

    Many scientist along the way have had some pretty outlandish theories that were taken for actual scientific fact until someone came along and proved them wrong.
    The alchemist trying to make gold out of base metals, The theory of spontaneous generation which stood for two thousand years, and was held by the smartest men around until somebody came along and showed them how stupid they were.
    Doctors or barbers used to “bleed” their patients, trying to get the sickness out of them and if that didn’t work they would attach leaches to them and finish them off.
    Doctors used mercury in medication which killed many patients.
    Scientist thought that the atom was the smallest thing in existence until someone came along and busted it open and found the greatest energy that existed on the earth.
    Now the Smart people of the world want to make us believe that a human evolved from nothing. How absurd! This is even worse than any of the preceding fallacies tat were accepted by the unknowing masses.

  • Dr. Jay Lee says:

    Whoa! Willie, your examples of “Smart” people being wrong are pre-scientific rather than scientific examples. The big feature you’re missing is that science is self-correcting (unlike religion). The only reason you scoff at these examples is because a “Smart” person eventually applied science (as a tool) and discovered the error. Correction didn’t occur because a dummy (as opposed to “Smart”) figgered it out.

  • Willie Stoker says:

    Dr. Jay, Science is self correcting, that is what I was saying. When people think that they now have it figured out, and have arrived at the final solution, Just like the scientist of old, they thought they were pretty smart too, this is the problem, they call people Stupid because they don’t just blindly follow and agree with them.
    I haven’t said anything about religion, and I haven’t said anything about dumb people correcting anything, I just disagree with the Theory of evolution, that they want to call a scientific Fact. Like I said before, this is more absurd than some of the former misunderstandings of science.
    And, by the way, what is pre-scientific?
    We all get smarter as time goes along, and discover new scientific principals but what gives scientists today the idea that they have arrived and there is nothing more to add to their knowledge.
    I call that intellectual arrogance, and I don’t want to fall into the same category as those before who thought that the scientist of the day had all the answers just because they told them that they were smarter than them and that they had arrived at the final answer to the mysteries of life.

  • Mike Springer says:

    Willie, the theory of evolution is not a fact. It’s a theory which is in agreement with the facts. There’s a huge body of evidence gathered by scientists from around the world and across multiple generations which supports the theory, and not a single credible piece which contradicts it. If even one truly credible piece of contradictory evidence should arise, then the theory will be obsolete.

    If you’re not persuaded by evidence, how do you justify your beliefs? And if you don’t allow the facts to enter into the formation of your beliefs, are you a responsible citizen?


  • Willie Stoker says:

    Mike, I always use facts to establish my understanding of a subject but when there are no facts, I disregard the hypothesis.
    To question things makes me a very responsible citizen, to follow along blindly because someone, who seems to be an intellectual, tells you something that doesn’t make sense is very irresponsible.
    I was an intelligence agent and an investigator, I relied on facts to find the answers to questions. Without Facts you have nothing.
    I have looked into this theory and have found it very unrealistic. There are no transitional remains on record anywhere, if things made such drastic changes over the years there should be an indication of the change, other than “we use to be an amoeba and now we are humans.
    where was the split between animal and plant? Are we related to a banana or some other plant life or did the beginning of life have two different genesis, one for plant and one for animal?
    From what I can determine from this teaching of evolution is that it is a thinly veiled attempt to disprove God, and is an important step to bring society into a position for the people like Marx and Engels to achieve the goal of transforming the society into what they believed to an utopia. They were both elated when Darwin came up with his theory.
    A letter to Karl Marx from Fredrick Engels after reading Origin of the species:
    Darwin, by the way, whom I’m reading just now, is absolutely splendid. There was one aspect of teleology that had yet to be demolished, and that has now been done. Never before has so grandiose an attempt been made to demonstrate historical evolution in Nature, and certainly never to such good effect.
    Engels even attempted to incorporate Darwin into Marxism.

    You said ” There’s a huge body of evidence gathered by scientists from around the world and across multiple generations which supports the theory, and not a single credible piece which contradicts it.”
    The fact that there is no transitional skeletal evidence is a glaring bit of evidence against the hypothesis, if this happened there should certainly be some evidence.
    Another question I have is, why is the human the only living being with a soul.

  • Mike Springer says:

    There are many examples of transitional forms within the fossil record, Willie. And there’s a mountain of genomic evidence pointing to common descent. Since I get the feeling that religious beliefs are at the core of your denial, perhaps I should just end off here by pointing out that there are millions of religious people who accept evolution. They tend to believe in theistic, or guided, evolution.

  • Willie Stoker says:

    Mike, maybe you could show me some transitional forms within the fossil record. Also there is some fraud involved in this, like the The Piltdown man fraud. Some people will go to great length in an attempt to prove something that they want to believe.

    A common tactic of liberal minded people is ad hominem attacks to those who disagree with them. The core of my denial is not based on religion, but on logic, and total lack of evidence of such an outlandish theory.

    I agree that there is no need to try to convince each other. Truth and logic will always be my guide to finding the answers, and if you buy into a theory that is accepted by those you look up to and feel the need to agree, to avoid looking naive in the eyes of the intellectual elites, then truth and logic will not be important to you so I will not try to convince you to to accept anything that would require you to think for yourself.

  • Bill Lommey says:

    Does the sun revolve around the earth? If you answer no, the earth revolves around the sun, then how do you know this? Have you done the research necessary to establish this as true? I doubt it. I suspect that you, like most people, accept the body of evidence and research that supports the Copernican system. It’s much the same with evolution. Evolution is a fact. The theory part comes in with HOW evolution happened. Darwinism is just one theory of how evolution happened. It maybe the most famous but it’s not the only one. There is a HUGH body of scientific based evidence that supports evolution. If your not going to do the research yourself, then you need to accept the science based facts.
    I believe in God. I don’t believe in the organized worship of God. I don’t begrudge anyone who wants to participate in organized worship. There are scientific based ideas that I accept as fact. You don’t have to. But then you’ll end up being like a geocentrist. Behind the curve.

  • Willie Stoker says:

    Bill, There is evidence that the earth revolves around the sun, most of us understand the universe and besides that we have seen photos and video from out in space.
    You are right to a certain extent evolution is a fact, everything changes as time goes on but the species stays the same. There are many different breeds of dogs but they are all dogs and they will never become a cat or a banana or even a humming bird.
    We are humans and that is all we will ever be, we may become shorter with bigger heads because of all the brains we have, or think we have, or become taller and maybe with less common sense about reality, like is happening more lately but we will not become anything other than a human, like we always were and always will be.
    If a person claims to be a Christian and calls God a liar when He said that he created man in his own image. Then there seems to a contradiction. If He is God he would not deceive us. Either you believe that we all came from nothing millions of years ago, or you believe that God is truthful. You can’t do both.

  • Layman says:

    “Now the Smart people of the world want to make us believe that a human evolved from nothing. How absurd! This is even worse than any of the preceding fallacies tat were accepted by the unknowing masses.”.

    Willie, as far as I know, no scientist has EVER made that statement. We are all made of atoms and molecules – and all scientists accept it. What science can prove is that to create simple single celled creatures, that can replicate itself – you do not need a God.

Leave a Reply

Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.