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Billy Nye weighs in on evolution versus creationism debate

Scientist Bill Nye “The Science Guy” continues to stoke the debate over the role of creationism in science, calling on U.S. lawmakers to consider legislation aimed at reaffirming the U.S.’s commitment to science and technology.

Speaking in an interview with reporters, the television scientist said that relying on creationism as the main principle for explaining how humans evolved would leave the U.S. in a limited position within the world that could, ultimately, have wide-ranging consequences.

“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,” Mr. Nye said in a wide-ranging phone interview.

Mr. Nye’s latest comments on the issue come just weeks after he posted an online video urging parents not to pass their religious-based doubts about evolution to their children. Mr. Nye is a mechanical engineer and had a popular television show in the 1990’s.

The video received criticism from those opposing Mr. Nye’s stance on the issue, many of whom said Mr. Nye was unfairly using his widespread audience to attack religion.

In the video posted earlier this month, Mr. Nye decried efforts in recent years by state lawmakers and school boards in various  states to present Bible stories as an alternative to evolution in public schools. Tennessee passed a law earlier this year protecting teachers who allow students to 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.

The Seattle scientists says he believes evolution is the fundamental in life science and when a portion of the population doesn’t believe in that, it holds every student back. Speaking in the interview he explains that he does not care what adults think about creationism, adding that parents should not push their views onto their children.

“I say to the grownups, if you want to deny evolution and live in your world, 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,” said Mr. Nye.

A June 2012 Gallup Poll found that 46 percent of Americans believe that God created humans in their present form about 10,000 years ago, with 15 percent believing in evolution without the presence of God, and a third maintaining that evolution was a process guided by God.

The clip was posted on YouTube by Big Think and went viral within days. It now has 4.6 million views along with nearly 200,000 comments.