The man known to a generation of Americans as "The Science Guy" is condemning efforts by some Christian groups to cast doubts on evolution and lawmakers who want to bring the Bible into science classrooms.
Bill Nye, a mechanical engineer and star of the popular 1990s TV show Bill Nye The Science Guy, has waded into the evolution debate with an online video that urges parents not to pass their religious-based doubts about evolution on to their children.
"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," Nye said in a wide-ranging telephone interview.
In the video he tells adults they can dismiss evolution, "but don't make your kids do it. Because we need them."
The video drew the ire of the creationism group Answers in Genesis, which built a biblically based Creation Museum in Kentucky that teaches the stories of the Old Testament and has attracted headlines for its assertion that dinosaurs roamed alongside Adam and Eve.
The group produced a response video featuring two scientists who say the Bible has the true account of Earth's origins, and that "children should be exposed to both ideas concerning our past."
Ken Ham, a co-founder of Answers in Genesis, said dating methods used by scientists to measure the age of the earth are contradictory and many don't point to millions or billions of years of time.
"We say the only dating method that is absolute is the Word of God," Ham said. "Time is the crucial factor for Bill Nye. Without the time of millions of years, you can't postulate evolution change."