CullmanTimes.com - Cullman, Alabama

Education

September 24, 2012

Bill Nye warns: Creation views threaten US science

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

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.

Nye has spent a career teaching science to children and teens with good-natured and sometimes silly humor, but has not been known to delve into topics as divisive as evolution.

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, citing scientists’ estimates that it is about 4.5 billion years old. “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.”

“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.”

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 (watch here) went viral and has 4.6 million views on YouTube. It has garnered 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 (watch here) 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.”

Nye, who is prone to inject dry humor into scientific discussions, said Earth is about 4.5 billion years old.

“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.

Ken Ham, a co-founder of Answers in Genesis, said dating methods used by scientists to measure the age of the earth are contradictory and many don’t point to millions or billions of years of time.

“We say the only dating method that is absolute is the Word of God,” Ham said. “Time is the crucial factor for Bill Nye. Without the time of millions of years, you can’t postulate evolution change.”

America is home to the world’s biggest creationist following, Ham said, and the $27 million Creation Museum has averaged about 330,000 visitors a year since it opened just south of Cincinnati in 2007.

1
Text Only
Education
  • WSCC CLT program celebrates MLP week 1.jpg Wallace State CLT program celebrates Medical Laboratory Professionals Week

    You never see them, but medical laboratory technicians play a vital role in the healthcare process. They are the ones who run tests on the specimens you provide, which help doctors confirm diagnoses and plan a course of treatment.
     

    April 23, 2014 2 Photos

  • WES jump-rope for heart 1.jpg West Elementary Jump Rope for Heart Event

    The West Elementary Jump Rope for Heart event was held the entire month of February.

    April 23, 2014 2 Photos

  • East Elementary School to present ‘Oklahoma’ (VIDEO)

    April 22, 2014

  • Holly Pond Elementary's third nine-week honor roll

    HOLLY POND ELEMENTARY
    Third Nine Weeks
    All As
    • First Grade: Adrian Chan, Diego Arreguin, Sarah Brown, Corey Cummings, Gabrielle Hallmark, Jayda Miller, Ben Raley, Blake Rickard, Jose Aguilar, Kevin Davis, John Garcia, Sadie Graham, Dixie Ledlow, Kaecey Loyd, Anya Bolzle, Joseph Farris, Megan Fry, Carter Longshore, Alexis Millican, Westin O’Ryan, Courtney Parker, Kaden Smith, Libby Stallings, Silas Baty, Maddie Clayton, John Frasier, Jacob Hays, Tatum Mayfield, Aubrey Smith
     

    April 21, 2014

  • Welti Elementary's third nine weeks honor roll

    WELTI Elementary
    Third Nine Weeks
    All As
    ‰ First Grade: Tatum Brown, Olivia Butler, Jackson Cleveland, Kiley Crenshaw, L.J. Culwell, Isaiah Folds, Makenzie Fowler, Levi Kelso, Camara Marks, Ashlynn Massey, Jeremiah Oglesby, Shawn Sanford, Kane South, Olivia Stallings, Haley Tyree
     

    April 21, 2014

  • Winston County Technology Center Wins AAA/Ford Auto Skills State Championship

    Twenty high school automotive students from across the state turned out in hopes of tuning out the competition today in the State Finals of the Ford/AAA Student Auto Skills competition. The students fought for scholarships in the automotive industry and for the chance to advance to the National Finals, which take place at Ford World Headquarters in Dearborn, Michigan. The competition, which is geared toward students looking to jumpstart their careers in the automotive industry, is especially relevant for today’s struggling economy, in which car owners are putting more money into car repair and maintenance as a way of avoiding the big-ticket purchase of a new car.

    April 16, 2014

  • Variety of classes offered during Homeschool Spring Workshops

    Wallace State Community College’s Continuing Education Department has a full slate of classes to offer homeschool students this spring with the second session as a continuation of the first session.
     

    April 14, 2014

  • WSCC invesTECHgate 1.jpg Wallace State to host approximately 600 high school juniors during ‘InvesTECHgate’ week beginning April 14   

    Wallace State Community College will host its third annual “InvesTECHgate” week beginning April 14, and this year’s event should be the biggest draw yet.
    Various Wallace State technical programs are set to be flooded with approximately 600 high school juniors from Blount, Cullman and Morgan Counties. InvesTECHgate allows high school students who may be interested in pursuing a career in the technical field to get an in-depth look at those programs on the collegiate level.
     

    April 10, 2014 2 Photos

  • WSCC Ponder named gold scholar.jpg Wallace State Sophomore Ponder named 2014 Coca-Cola Community College Academic Team Gold Scholar

    Levi Ponder, a 2012 Vinemont graduate, is one of only 50 Gold Scholars among qualified candidates across 38 states, standing out among more than 1,700 applicants. The Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society administers the Coca-Cola Community College Academic team and it will recognize Ponder at the Phi Theta Kappa National Convention on Friday, April 26 in Orlando, Fla.
     

    April 9, 2014 1 Photo

  • Commentary: At many leading schools, football fails to make cut

    To my astonishment, 67 of the top 100 schools, ranked by participation in college-level tests, said they do not field a team, denoting a shift in American high school culture, at least in those schools that challenge their students most.

    April 7, 2014