CBS This Morning Spotlights Atheist Bill Nye, Who Believes 'Creationism Isn’t Appropriate for Children'

August 28th, 2012 3:44 PM

Immediately following an antagonistic discussion with the former presidential candidate Rick Santorum, in which he demanded the Pennsylvania Republican to differentiate himself from  Mitt Romney, CBS This Morning’s Charlie Rose previewed the next interview that would be conducted by his co-anchor Gayle King, with a Chris Matthews-like swipe at the GOP as anti-science.

“Republicans here in Tampa believe evolution is just a theory,” Rose teased, adding that “Bill Nye the Science Guy says its science.” Of course this suggests Rose may be a bit scientifically illiterate himself, as the National Academies of Science defines a scientific theory as “a well-substantiated explanation of the natural world that can incorporate facts, laws, inferences, and tested hypotheses.”

To describe evolution as a scientific theory is accurate.

Despite fake rumors to the contrary (perpetrated by the Onion for years), Nye proved that he is still alive and opinionated on CBS This Morning. His presence was requested because of the controversial YouTube video he starred in that was released by Big Think last week. It has since gone viral.

Titled “Creationism Isn’t Appropriate For Children,” Nye expressed the hackneyed liberal view that religion is standing in the way of scientific progress.

The video itself is just over two and a half minutes, but CBS producers zeroed in on one of the most offensive statements, showing it before the segment began.

I'd say to the grown-ups, if you want to deny evolution and live 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.

In other words, impressionable young children should be encouraged to become atheists no matter what their parents believe? That sounds like an arrogant secular liberal talking.

King took the time to acknowledge the significant portion of the population who may take issue with this, but she commended Nye for his passion and enthusiasm on more than one occasion throughout their mostly one-sided conversation.

Nye backtracked a little as a result, but then went on the attack again. “I really want to emphasize, I'm not attacking anybody's religion,” he said. “But I encourage everybody who's a voter this year to evaluate the candidates based on their stand on science.”

Even when King tried to steer the dialogue in a different direction, he still wasn’t done berating everyone with different beliefs.

In response to a question about the ongoing rover mission on Mars, Nye said the Internet has allowed anyone to ‘attend’ NASA’s conferences on the subject. The Internet wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for science though, he added. “(It's) not a result of thinking the earth is some extraordinarily short number of years old. Okay.”

That seems to suggest it’s impossible to be a Bible-believing Christian and be say a computer scientist, something the conservative Calvin College would disagree with.

“An NSF study showed that graduate programs awarded more PhD's in computer science to Calvin graduates than to any other comparably sized school,” Calvin College’s Computer Science website notes:

We’re passionate about undergraduate education in computing that is both academically excellent and distinctively Christian. Since we began offering computing courses in 1968, we have worked hard to achieve both of these goals without compromise.

Our BCS program is accredited by ABET, a distinction we share with select programs around the country (e.g., MIT and Michigan), and we’ve leveraged the BCS courses to build specialized programs in information systems, digital communication and digital art (see our academics page).

That hardly sounds like an academic backwater to me.

For its part, Calvin College teaches evolutionary biology, but denies that “acceptance of this scientific theory precludes God’s existence and creative activity.” Indeed, notes the Calvin College biology department:

Evolutionary biology does not undermine faith in an everlasting, all-powerful, yet personal Creator God upon whom the very existence of the creation depends. Those who elevate an scientific theory to this level of explanatory power, we believe, are overstepping the limits of scientific inquiry.

It’s one thing to critique the teaching of intelligent design on its merits or lack thereof from a scientific perspective. It’s quite another to bash people for their genuine faith and how they personally reconcile their belief in God with what scientific evidence suggests as to how the created order functions.

Nye is just the latest example of how liberals in the media have habitually defined the GOP as the party of the delusional, overly-religious, and uncompromising. Democrats ironically cling to their ‘tolerant’ label.

Convention season has a tendency to expose party affiliations more than any other time.

Below is the relevant transcript.

CBS This Morning

8:39 a.m. EDT

CHARLIE ROSE: Republicans here in Tampa believe evolution is just a theory. Bill Nye the Science Guy says its science.

[Commercial Break]

GAYLE KING: Bill Nye the Science Guy is causing a stir. He reached millions of kids with his popular TV show. Now he's featured in a new online video called “Creationism: It's not Appropriate for Children.” It's been viewed more than 1.2 million times in just five days. Nye says adults who deny evolution and teach a literal biblical view are hurting America's future.

BILL NYE: [Big Think Video] I'd say to the grown-ups, if you want to deny evolution and live 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.

KING: Bill Nye is with us now and joins us. Hello, Bill Nye! I feel like saying Bill Nye, the Science Guy, hello!

NYE: That's good, thank you. Hello.

KING: It's good to see you alive and well. A couple days ago, there was a troubling rumor about you on the internet. How did that get started and what did you think?

NYE: It happens every year about this time. The Onion, which let me emphasize to everybody, is a sarcastic publication. Often a lot of the information in there isn't really true. They had me killed in the weather balloon accident that would have been inflated with vinegar and baking soda, and that would be, what, carbon dioxide gas, which would be heavier than air. Not the best thing for a weather balloon. Nevertheless, I thank them for killing me, because it's fun. In this one way, one way.

KING: Well, you've certainly been having fun with it on the internet, but there are a lot of people saying rest in peace. I'm glad –

NYE: Yeah, I'm okay everybody.

KING: Bill Nye is alive and well. Let's talk about the long-running debate about creationism versus evolution. And you released this video. A lot of people have been looking at it. Why do you feel so passionate about it?

NYE: Well, I feel passionate about it for the betterment of the United States, the United States economy, and our future. What makes the United States great, the reason people wanted to live in the United States, move here still, is because of our ability to innovate. This goes back to Ben Franklin, Thomas Alva Edison, and George Washington Carver. Let alone landing on the moon, Neil Armstrong. All these people believed in science. This morning, everybody's talking about Hurricane Isaac, and we're watching satellite maps made with spacecraft orbiting the earth, and this all comes from science. If you have this idea that the earth is only 6,000 years old, you are denying, if you will, everything that you can touch and see. You're not paying attention to what's happening in the universe around you.
KING: But you do know --

NYE: As I say, this is bad for kids.

KING: But Bill Nye, you do know not everybody feels this way. The latest statistics show many people believe, 46% believe that God created man, 32% believe that humans evolve with God's guidance and only 15% believe in evolution alone. Can you see another side, why people feel the way they do?

NYE: Oh, well, as they say, you can believe what you want religiously. Religion is one thing, but science, provable science is something else. My concern is you don't want people growing up not believing in radioactivity, not believing in geology and deep time. You don't want people in the United States growing up without the expectation that we can land spacecraft on Mars. You want people to believe in science, this process, this great idea that humans had to discover more about the universe and our place in it, our place in space. And I really want to emphasize, I'm not attacking anybody's religion, but science -- if you go to a museum and you see fossil dinosaur bones, they came from somewhere, and we have by diligent investigation have determined that the earth is 4.54 billion years old, the sun is a star, like all the other stars you see in the sky, and we are made of the same stuff. This is wonderful! This is fantastic discoveries that fill me with reverence, make me excited. But I encourage everybody who's a voter this year to evaluate the candidates based on their stand on science. Rick Santorum made a reference to sonograms a few minutes ago. Well, you wouldn't have sonograms without science, and furthermore, if you ask any physician, they will tell you, he or she will tell you that science came, the modern medicine largely came from the space program.

KING: Your passion, Bill, is always very clear. Let's talk about the space program for a second, because I understand that you were at the briefing yesterday at NASA.

NYE: Oh, yeah.

KING: Lucky you, number one. So, what did you learn there? What do you find so interesting about rover's progress, the progress of Curiosity?

NYE: Well, there's a couple of things. First of all -- by the way, anybody could be at that conference, in a sense, because we have the technology to broadcast this on the internet all around the world, and that didn't used to exist. That's a result of science.

KING: That's right.

NYE: That's not a result of thinking the earth is some extraordinarily short number of years old. Okay.

KING: Can you sum it up in a couple of sentences about what you found so exciting?

NYE: Two things.

KING: Yes.

NYE: There was a formation on Mars that if it happened on Earth, you'd expect it to be tectonic plates. Well, Mars doesn't have that right now, so we don't know how this formation came about. The other thing that I'm very excited about is methane. This would be natural gas, the stuff you burn in your stove or swamp gas.

KING: Right.

NYE: There's some of it on Mars. Where did it come from? Where does it come     from? Why didn't it break down? Nobody knows. So, there are discoveries to be made in the next few weeks and months. It's very exciting. And by the way, nobody else in the world can land spacecraft on Mars. NASA's unique in this way. We do not want to lose that capability, everybody.

KING: Bill Nye –

NYE: So, let’s keep an eye on Isaac from space.

KING: We will, we will.

NYE: And let's change the world. Thank you very much.

KING: We will do that. Your passion is infectious. Thank you so much. And I'm so glad you are still with us. Thank you, Bill Nye, thank you.