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NEW YORK -- Creationists: Please don't teach your kids to deny evolution, begs science educator and television personality Bill Nye, who hosted "Bill Nye the Science Guy" in the 1990s.
Nye's earning attention for a two-minute YouTube video he recorded for online knowledge forum Big Think, in which he defends the theory of evolution and says that those who don't believe in it are a drag on the nation.
"Denial of evolution is unique to the United States," Nye says in the video. After praising the U.S. as the world's most advanced technological society, he credits that ranking to "intellectual capital we have, the general understanding of science. When you have a portion of the population that doesn't believe in that, it holds everybody back, really."
Nye goes on to say that he asks those who don't believe in evolution to explain to him why they feel that way, and that "your world just becomes fantastically complicated when you don't believe in evolution."
He notes that explaining dinosaurs, radioactivity and other concepts is all linked to understanding and accepting evolutionary theory, and says that "if you try to ignore that, your world view just becomes crazy, just untenable, itself inconsistent."
His plea to parents comes with the hope that the children they're raising will become "scientifically literate."
"And 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," Nye says. "But don't make your kids do it because we need them. We need scientifically literate voters and taxpayers for the future. We need people that can - we need engineers that can build stuff, solve problems."
Nye also says that in a couple of centuries, the creationist viewpoint "just won't exist. There's no evidence for it."
Nye has already helped raise at least one generation of scientists. The NASA team that helped the Curiosity rover land on Mars are big fans. In a recent question-and-answer session for Reddit's "Ask Me Anything" series, when the rover team was asked which educational or science-oriented TV shows influenced them as children, "Bill Nye the Science Guy" was called their "hands-down" favorite.
Naturally, his video sparked some heated debate in the YouTube comments.
"GOD IS THE CREATOR AND SCIENCE IS THE EVIDENCE OF GOD....IF YOU BELIEVE THAT MONKEY BUSINESS,YOU? ARE BEING DECIEVED," wrote one viewer.
Another had some fun with the concept, writing, "Why stop at creationism? There are plenty of highly unlikely science fields that we could be confusing our children with. I really want my children to learn about orgones, pherenology and crystal focusing energy. I really wish schools? would consider pet sciences that confirm MY worldview."