Patt Morrison for August 29, 2012

Bill Nye ‘The Science Guy’ warns about not teaching evolution in schools

Bill Nye

bigthink/YouTube

In a video titled "Bill Nye: Creationism Is Not Appropriate For Children" science educator Bill Nye advises against teaching children Creationism. The video was published on the video sharing site YouTube on August 23, 2012 by the knowledge forum organization called Big Think.

Bill Nye is most widely known for being “The Science Guy,” a TV personality that made science fun and accessible in 100 episodes of “Bill Nye the Science Guy” that ran from 1993 to 1998. Last week, Nye kicked the Creationism vs. evolution hornet’s nest with statements made in a video posted to the Big Think website.

In the video, Nye advocates for evolution, cautions that the teaching of Creationism would make future generations less intelligent and takes some potshots at Creationists, saying "It's very much analogous in trying to do geology without believing in tectonic plates. You're just not going to get the right answer. Your whole world is going to be a mystery instead of an exciting place."

With these comments, advocates for both viewpoints lined up in their usual battle lines and a war of words ensued.

Patt Morrison's producers reached out to various pro-Creationism representatives, but none were able to join the discussion.

Steve Newton of the National Center for Science Education told Patt that though people argue for both sides, the sentiment is mostly concordant in the classroom.

"Science teachers around the country are pretty much in sync with scientists around this country in understanding that evolution is the foundation of the biological sciences, and as such, it should be part of the curriculum and it should be taught," he said.

Newton added that when science teachers have been confronted with opposition, they choose to back evolution. According to Newton, teachers in Dover, Pennsylvania, put a foot down during the 2005 school year when the district wanted them to teach intelligent design. He said even the Constitution backs evolution.

"Previous court rulings had shown that Creationism in a biblical form ... is clearly unconstitutional under the 1st amendment," he continued.

Newton said that there might be room for debate about teaching evolution in classrooms if the scientific theory hasn't been debated in about 150 years. But since it hasn't, those who don't accept Darwin's theory are in denial.

"Intelligent design or overtly biblical Creationism — all of them have the same root as a denial of evolution and how science works," he said.

WEIGH IN:

How would not teaching evolution change the teaching of science?

Guest:

Steve Newton, Programs and Policy Director for the National Center for Science Education, a non-profit membership organization that defends teaching evolution and climate science in the public schools


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