Yesterday I posted Bill Nye’s anti-creationist “Big Think” video, and I didn’t expect it to be so controversial, particularly because it was on CNN and because I had supposed (without any evidence) that The Science Guy had dealt with evolution on his own show. And I didn’t realize that its location at the “religion” section of CNN would make it even more of a lightning rod.
Well, there were over 10.000 comments and tons of media attention. I didn’t realize just how big a deal The Science Guy really was. So CNN has just published an analysis of the comments, with blog co-editor Eric Marrapodi breaking them down into five groups. He gives an example of most of them, but I’ll let you go to the site see some of the lunacy. The indented parts are quotes from CNN.
1. Those using this controversy to bash religion. Atheists love the Internet, as we’ve chronicled on the Belief Blog. While they may be a small portion of the population, they seem to make up about half our commenters. It was their chance to join with Nye and cheer him on.
I hope Marrapodi doesn’t include here those who say that creationism shouldn’t be fed to children because it’s nonsense based on an erroneous religious view. That’s not “religion-bashing”! Were all of those “cheering Nye on” in this category? I’ve added a sixth category at the bottom.
2. Those who say wait a minute, being a creationist isn’t necessarily being anti-evolution. Lots of folks from the theistic evolution camp came out to say that believing God was involved doesn’t automatically make you anti-evolution.
Theistic evolutionists are creationists, pure and simple; they differ from straight fundamentalist creationists only in how much of life God was involved in creating, ranging from those who think God set the whole plan in motion, knowing it would culminate in that most awesome of species, US, to those who think that God tinkered with mutations to create the right species (see the philosophical work of Elliott Sober), to those who think that humans are set apart from other species because God inserted a soul in our lineage (that’s the official view of the Vatican). That is being anti-evolution as scientists understand it, since we see evolution as a naturalistic process that has nothing to do with deities. Sadly, far more Americans are theistic evolutionists than naturalistic evolutionists: the proportions among all Americans are 38% to 16% respectively (40% are straight creationists, 6% are unsure). We have a long way to go.
3. Those who say that science is stupid and that young Earth creationism rules. Young Earth creationists, who believe the Earth is about 6,000 years old, appeared to be out in force in the comments.
Have a look at some of the comments supporting this view. Or rather, don’t. You already know what they say.
4. Those who say Nye should stick to his area of expertise.
This tweet was the most polite remark we could find on this subject. Other comments and tweets, not so much.
Greg: “Thanks Bill … but leave the teaching of my children to me. …”
Sorry, but Nye is an expert at teaching science, and parents aren’t. And of course they’re teaching their kids fairy tales as well.
5. Those who say CNN is cooking up controversy where none exists. Lots of people suggested we were generating a story instead of covering one.
Yeah, right. When The Science Guy speaks out against creationism when he hasn’t before, and in such strong terms, that is a story. Not to mention that there is a continuing controversy in America about evolution, and a famous spokesman for science decided to take a stand.
But there’s one category missing, which I’ll add here:
6. Those who say that Nye is right, and that creationism should not be taught in the schools, or to children at all!
It’s a measure of how strong Americans feel about evolution that even CNN’s postmortem report has 2,112 comments as I post this! Have a look at some of them: many, like this one, make me weep for my country:
I feel it is everyone’s right to believe what they want. Free will. [JAC: LOL!] I believe in God. Regardless as to whether you believe in him or believe in evolution, I think that it is very arrogant for anyone to believe that they have all of the answers. On the one hand, evolutionists believe that it we came about by evolution, period. There is so much to this world that we are still discovering, to think that evolution is it, period, to me is assuming quite a bit. If you believe in God and the bible, it states that after Jesus comes again, there will be new scrolls opened, which also would mean we don’t know all of what God has in store for us. We might be amazed at the answers still to come if that is what you believe. Regardless, to act arrogant and to call those who believe in God as those believing in a myth is, to me, insulting and uneducated. You do not know for sure.