Also Available in:

Can evolutionists use celebrities to brainwash the public?


Published: 10 January 2019 (GMT+10)
Bill Nye

The evolutionist establishment has a problem. Even though they have created a ‘consensus’ by systematically excluding and discriminating against academics who disagree with them, the public at large still remains significantly skeptical about evolutionary theory. What to do? One recent proposed solution comes to us from a group of researchers in evolutionary psychology at Nipissing University in Ontario, Canada: use celebrity endorsements to brainwash the public into acceptance of evolution.1 They write,

“Despite the consensus among scientists that humans have evolved over time, human evolution still remains a contentious topic among much of the general public. Researchers have suggested many possible reasons that can contribute to individuals’ lack of acceptance of evolution, and yet no research has explored whether an individual’s acceptance of evolution can be susceptible to the opinions of influential others. We addressed this gap in the literature by examining whether male and female celebrities purveying an opinion about evolution can influence individuals’ acceptance of evolution.”2

Under the guise of testing the subjects’ memory and social attitudes, study participants were shown a fictious article, purported to be written by a celebrity, which endorsed a popular level book (either pro-evolution, anti-evolution, or unrelated to evolution). They were then asked a series of questions testing both their memory of the article as well as their attitude with relation to evolution. The researchers (not unexpectedly) found that male celebrity figures did exert an influence on respondents: “The present set of studies is the first to demonstrate that exposure to a celebrity’s opinion about evolution can influence individuals’ acceptance of evolution.”2

The religious ones were less easy to fool

One observation of interest from this study was that the researchers found an inverse correlation between the degree of religiousness and the degree of acceptance of evolution among participants—the more religious they were3, the less they accepted evolution:

“A main effect of religiosity was found, such that more religious participants expressed lower acceptance of evolution compared to less-religious participants…”2

This actually flies in the face of theistic evolutionists (like Dr. Wiker) who wish to counsel Christians that there is no contradiction between religion (or the Bible in particular) and evolution. If a natural reading of the Bible did not lead to a rejection of evolution, why would there be any correlation between religiosity and the denial of evolution?

The illusory truth effect

It bears mentioning that this method of using the media and celebrities to attempt to push evolution on the masses is by no means a novel concept. It could indeed be argued that we would not have the current degree of public acceptance of evolution that we already do have were it not for this. Movies like Jurassic Park and The Land Before Time, TV shows like The Big Bang Theory, and countless others push evolutionary ideas on the audience all throughout. From a subliminal perspective, though, it is perhaps the shows that have nothing directly to do with evolutionary concepts that do the most damage; offhand or side remarks that assume the truth of evolution and deep time, littered all throughout our pop culture, have the effect of subconsciously reinforcing the message in peoples’ minds.

All this repetition serves to create a sense that evolution ‘must be’ true. One study, for example, found that repeated statements were more likely to be judged as ‘true’, even when the respondents actually knew them to be false.4

Informed decisions”

Returning to our original paper under discussion—the researchers made the following observation and concluded with a suggestion:

“Public statements made by celebrities that endorse an anti-evolution opinion could therefore contribute to public nonacceptance of evolution and consequently limit the public’s ability to make informed decisions about a wide range of phenomena—many of which have personal ramifications … Given the importance of attempting to educate individuals about evolution in order to increase acceptance of evolution and scientific literacy at large, future research might consider how use of celebrity opinion (video clips of celebrity interviews espousing opinions about evolution) might be used as discussion points or learning tools in the educational process.”2 [emphasis added]

Their suggestion of using videos of celebrities endorsing evolution as part of the ‘educational process’ is nothing less than the promotion of brainwashing to bring the masses into line. If evolution were as convincing as they claim it is, they would not be having so much difficulty convincing people about it. We don’t have a similar problem getting people to accept Boyle’s Law, for example.

For evolutionists, it seems, the ends justify the means—even subconscious manipulation is acceptable if it achieves the goal of creating new converts to Darwinism. Why? Because in the words of former stand-up comedian and television celebrity Bill Nye,

“We talk about the Internet. That comes from science. Weather forecasting. That comes from science. The main idea in all of biology is evolution. To not teach it to our young people is wrong.”5

References and notes

  1. To bolster belief in evolution, study recommends celebrity endorsements, evolutionnews.org, 27 November 2018. Return to text.
  2. Arnocky, S., Bozek, E., Dufort, C., Rybka, S., and Hebert, R., Celebrity Opinion Influences Public Acceptance of Human Evolution, Evolutionary Psychology, 2018. doi.org/10.1177/1474704918800656. Return to text.
  3. Religiosity was determined via a survey called the Duke University Religion Index (DUREL). Return to text.
  4. Fazio, L., Brashier, N., Payne, B., and Marsh, E., Knowledge Does Not Protect Against Illusory Truth, J. Exp. Psych.: General, 144(5):993-1002, 2015. dx.doi.org/10.1037/xge0000098. Return to text.
  5. Topics: Evolution, brainyquote.com, Accessed 4 December 2018. Return to text.

Helpful Resources

Christianity for Skeptics
by Drs Steve Kumar, Jonathan D Sarfati
US $10.00
eReader (.epub)

Readers’ comments

Nathan G.
Oh, please! Two ounces of Botox and five pounds of silicone breast enhancements don't cut it for being a role-model. Nor does a bow tie with geeky, plaid nerd clothes plus (half) a public school system education. Neither they nor pop star status can make you into a world-class scientist, whose opinion matters for anything more than deciding what to eat for dinner tonight.

Yet evolutionists push programs by Bill Nye, the Pseudo-science Guy, as if such people are Einstein's twin and really know what they are talking about. If a Christian with a mere B.S. in Mechanical Engineering (Nye's only degree!) were to pontificate on the creation-evo debate on public TV, evos would scream that he or she was not qualified enough to talk about the subject, especially outside of their own area of expertise. This would be exacerbated, if the person hadn't published in peer-reviewed rags, that don't even check the accuracy or honesty of their articles, as long as the writer is a true-believer in evo. The double standard is delicious, if also troubling and sad.

The good news is that evolution only exists in textbooks, Hollywood films and TV shows.

I love to watch my sons intellectually rip apart Bill Nye and his ilk's "logic" and "science" when they see their TV programs. Teach your kids both sides of the debate (Scripture-based science and evo pseudo-science), then sit back and watch the fun. Iron sharpens iron, so you might just as well equip your kids for the battle they will have in the secular world. You can have a great time spending time with them while you do it.
Gavin G.
Yeah, this definitely happens. I remember in grade 3 or 4 kids actually said "If the Big Bang didn't happen then why would they make a show on it?".
Al P.
It is interesting that celebrity creationist perspectives are said to limit people from making informed decisions, but celebrity evolutionists are somehow able to propound the information for informed decision making. Let us look at just how much evolution is taught and alluded to in schools, in nearly every nature documentary, in books, magazines, and movies. The informing part has been done well by the evolution biased. It would seem to me that an informed decisions would be best informed by making both sides of the dilemma available and then allowing individuals to decide for themselves. Let us define what exactly is meant by informed decision instead of coerced decision.
Joop B. B.
We creationists do the same. In every Creation magazine there is an interview with an expert or celebrity that endorses the creation message. That is good and we must have more experts, laymen and celebrities speak out in favor of Scripture and creation. Most of them remain silent.
Paul Price
There is a difference: in Creation magazine we are open about the fact that we are promoting a worldview and faith: Christianity. We are also open about the difference between operational and historical science. That cannot be said for what is being proposed in this paper. But I agree: we do need more people, including celebrities if possible, to speak out in favor of biblical creation in the public sphere.
John P.
I believe Ken Ham has debated Bill Nye the fairytale guy and assume Ken would have won the debate. This idea of using "celebrities" to promote their mythology is telling in that it demonstrates theirs is really a false religion with man being the "god". What a stuffup man does too! It should be obvious everything is devolving and has been since the Fall. The end result of course if God lets it run its course is less kids will care to study science and we will reap the results of that. Why would they if there is no order in the world and everything created itself? Another point is Louis Pasteur proved abiogenesis never happened and this is what evos rely on. No matter how much mythical deep time is thrown into the mix no rock or stone is ever going to become a microbe, it's just mythology, worse than Aesop's fables. These types can not bear to have their faith shaken but it would be better for them to repent now than to acknowledge God as Lord at the judgement day, when every knee will bow to Him. They don't realize they can run but they can't hide. Just ask Adam and Eve! Incidentally if Bill Nye used to be a standup comedian maybe he should have sat down a bit more often to think through his material (excuse the joke!)
Paul Price
See the following link for our analysis of the Ham/Nye debate:

Ham Nye debate
Dan M.
As Christians, may it not be said of us that we try to use celebrities to brainwash people into believing in Christ. And yet, the temptation is real, isn't it? A movie star, an athlete, a musician... if we could get them to tell people that the Gospel is True...

Romans 10:17 - So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.
Paul Price
I think there is a distinction to be made between subtly slipping in celebrity endorsements of evolution into a supposedly 'religiously neutral' educational program for the purpose of subconsciously influencing students' views, and the simple fact that people do use celebrities to promote products and ideas.

There is nothing wrong with appealing to a celebrity to endorse Christianity or creation in a public way: in fact, I'd say it would be a great thing to do! But if this is done in a clandestine or underhanded way to try to influence young people without their (or their parents) consent or knowledge, that becomes a different matter, and veers into the territory of 'brainwashing'.
William M.
I believe most informed scientists privately do not believe mud-to-man evolution. Of course, they don't dare publicly admit it.
Paul Price
I don't think we can say "most", but I am very confident there are scientists out there that are less than forthcoming about their true views of evolution for fear of reprisals. It is well-documented that such reprisals are a real threat in academia.
Cameron N.
The recent upcoming movie from Laika Studios "The Missing Link" and the 2018 Aardman Studios movie "Early Man" show that the evolutionary dogma is moving it's hardest to reach child audiences! I wonder who is funding and backing these movies as investors? I haven't investigated but it wouldn't surprise me if it was some group of died in the wool secularists or such institution.

It's a shame that both movies are stop motion too as these are technical creative marvels in the animation field. The amount of planning, sculpting, filming and design that needs to be done for such a project is meticulous and intensive. I find it ironic that the most design intensive form of animation is being used to propagate the lie that the even more designed real world is not.

For the record as a child I always hated the Land Before Time, I find the Big Bang Theory a poor attempt to be considered a smart comedy in the vein of Fraiser and banal, but I do like Jurassic Park though lol.

I just think it's a good science fiction horror story/movie. From a storytelling standpoint its got good pacing, stakes, and drama. But it is fiction though. No matter how good the SFX are.
James B.
The idea that anyone over the age of 12 could still believe in either Santa Claus or God should not be allowed to drive cars they clearly are mentally unwell and pose a danger to the general public and to themselves
Paul Price
What specifically is it about belief in God that you feel would render someone incapable of driving? The local laws in my area are fortunately lenient in that regard, which explains how I am able to get to and from work each day.
Thomas M.
Has the author of this article ever seen the TV show "The Big Bang Theory"? It makes theoretical scientists look like big dopes. I don't think it is effective propaganda for evolution.
Paul Price
I disagree. While the show is humorous and it makes fun of the comical aspects of these scientists being nerds and dopes, it also unmistakably paints them as being intelligent and on the cutting edge of science; at no point that I am aware of does the show question long ages or evolution (nor would we expect that to happen). They are taken for granted as scientific fact, and this would contribute to the 'illusory truth effect' in audiences.
Joel E.
So let me try: celebrity opinions shouldn't limit our ability to make informed choices, but should be used as "learning tools" to help people make informed choices. What an amazing quote.

I've been noticing that the secularists (and the political left) are more interested in the effects certain decisions or speech will produce ("if you say transgenderism is a disease you'll contribute to their suicide rates) than in the content or value of the decision or speech itself. This is because of their view of man: they are behaviorists and believe humans are machines to be manipulated. It's also related to their view of truth as being relative and subjective.
Ryan D.
One thing that is important for us to understand as christians is the importance of parents. I remember the things my parents did in teaching me truth. My mom probably had the biggest influence mostly because my dad was working so she just spent more time with us(dad is a great father it's just natural a mom at home spends more time with the kids). She was countering evolution and the big bang before it was even taught to me in school. She recounts a story where when the big bang was first taught to me in elementary school I raised my hand and asked where all the stuff that exploded came from. I loved the Star War movies too and while she had no problem with me watching them she'd usually comment about how the force is based on new age ideas, but it was good to see the message of good standing up to evil.

I watched Bill Nye the Science Guy, Captain Planet, and was educated in the public school system. Despite that my parents took care to shape and mold me. They laid the foundation for my faith and kept these things from influencing me. I say this as encouragement to all that parents do greatly influence their children. We can counter the world when it comes to our own children. They can use all the celebrities they want but ultimately they are not the parents of our children unless we let them be.
Edmond C.
Bill Nye is a celebrity. Nearly every 25-40 year old remember his kid's science program here in the US and I assume it was probably aired in other English countries as well. It broke my heart when I first heard his statements about how parents should not teach their children about God, because I honestly believed he was a level headed guy and I loved his show growing up, even though it occasionally pushed evolution. I personally have never believed in evolution, but I did have a point in my life where I struggled for answers between what the world said and what the Bible said. God guided me through this time of doubt and led me to resources such as CMI, where I sure enough began to realize that there is scientific evidence that God created as the Bible says he did. I realize there is always somethings that will have to be accepted by faith, like the earth before the sun, but ultimately, there is less faith required to believe in God than the evolutionary story.
When I found out that Bill Nye was so disparaging to religion it wasn't long before I realized that everything about this childhood icon was quite literally a facade. He's not a scientist and he is being utilize and given endorsements because of his influence with an entire generation to encourage evolutionary and other non-scientific social beliefs as if he is some kind of authority on theses subjects. This is mind control at its finest and most people think its somehow genuine.

Matthew 24:24 "For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders; so that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect."

It is reassuring to know that Jesus has said that 'if it were possible', meaning, the at least some of us will never be deceived by this nonsense.
Terry I.
Celebrities are used all the time by the satanic left to drive home their message of Godless, anti-Christian secular materialism. They are used regularly in the political sphere particularly by the left.

Curiously, at the recent Golden Globe awards Christian Bale (maybe he should change his 1st name to Anti-Christian) thanked satan for helping him develop his character role as Dick Cheney. It was cast aside as a joke by the media and Christian. Seems like it actually is more of a reflection of just how emboldened the satanic influence has become, and more real than the media will admit to.

One can watch video's on YouTube about the influence of satan in Hollywood. Christian Bale is not as unusual as one might expect. Hollywood is, and has been, a hot bed of anti-Christian occultism for many decades.

To use celebrities to promote evolution fits in quite well with their already quite active, anti-Christian agenda. It should be an expected, not an unusual, behavior.
Bruce A.
Please help us understand who is involved in the perpetual forcing of evolution onto the human race?
CMI articles graciously show them up every time as illogical, unreasonable, unable to explain or answer issues but they keep holding on.
Paul Price
"For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm." Ephesians 6:12-13 ESV
Michael S.
The celebrities (e.g. David Attenborough who presents such amazing programmes as Blue Planet), tend to ‘shoot themselves in the foot’ by stressing that such and such a creature is wonderfully “adapted” or “designed” for some purpose, apparently oblivious to the fact that they are actually revealing the glory and wisdom of God’s handiwork.
In a recent TV programme here in the UK, Dr Alice Roberts (an atheist and TV celebrity) showed how wonderfully “designed” the human foot is, showing the complexity of its structure and suitability.

“He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh; the Lord shall have them in derision.” Psalm 2:4 (KJV)
Revd Robert W.
'...Given the importance of attempting to educate individuals about evolution in order to increase acceptance of evolution and scientific literacy....". I note the way that Evolutionists slant their writing so as to slip in the thought that Evolution and Natural Science are alike. But they are not: Science is about Design, things that work; not about accidents and chaos and time leading to man; that is just supposition or even superstition. The huge sedimentary layers were laid down at the same time and prove, not Evolution, but that there has been a worldwide watery wipe-out.
Duane C.
It's very telling that they even feel a need to persuade people of the supposed truth of evolution. Why do they even care? In an evolutionary framework - truth does not matter - only what promotes survivability matters.

It's also telling that as you point out, there's no similar problem getting people to accept for example Boyle's law. That's because Boyle's law is demonstrable (operational) science. Evolution is not demonstrable or testable or falsifiable, and thus like the big bang theory, is not even science.

The fact that secular scientists feel a need for people to believe something that is clearly not science is very telling. What types of people want other people to believe them about something important that's not science? People who are promoting a religious faith, that's who. Which leads to another observation: Evolution is really a secular faith, and the scientists promoting it are really nothing more than evolutionary evangelists. At least Christian evangelists are honest about what they're doing.

Evolutionary evangelists are deceiving both themselves and others when they claim they're not purveyors of a faith. But since they've allowed themselves to be deceived into believing evolution is possible when it clearly isn't, it's not too surprising that they allow themselves to be deceived into thinking they're not evangelists either. It's also not surprising they take the deception a step farther and conclude that brain washing people into the deception is a good idea. Deception begets deception.
Paul Price
Absolutely. It is however important to note that the evolutionists themselves are almost never consistent with their own worldview. So while it is true philosophically speaking that 'truth does not matter' from an evolutionary perspective, this is certainly not how most evolutionists themselves actually think. They believe they are actually standard-bearers of the real 'truth' that only Science can give us.

We would clarify that evolution is historical science, albeit bad historical science; this puts it in the same category as creation science because both deal with the non-testable and non-observable past. But you are right: the evolutionary establishment has adopted a 'means justifies the ends' mentality with regards to getting everyone on board with their consensus view. They have rationalized this in their own minds, but really they are not willing to consider the evidence in light of a different worldview: the Christian worldview.

Comments are automatically closed 14 days after publication.