Despite celebrity scientist Bill Nye's recent attacks on creationism, the television star has not always distanced himself from religion, as evidenced by megachurch pastor Rick Warren performing his 2006 wedding to Blair Tindall.
Blogger Daniel Stillman claimed earlier this week that Warren's link to Nye came through his fiancée, who Stillman alleged had received pastoral counselling from the Saddleback pastor and who also shares his Southern Baptist faith.
In recent years, Nye has cultivated a following due to his public denouncements of creationism. In 2012, he released a YouTube video, "Creationism Is Not Appropriate for Children," where he accused Americans unwilling to accept evolution of preventing progress.
"When you have a portion of the population that doesn't believe in [evolution] it holds everyone back," Nye said in the video, which has since racked up over 6 million views. "...The idea of deep time of billions of years explains so much of the world around us. If you try to ignore that, your worldview becomes crazy, untenable, itself inconsistent."
Nye also told creationists that they should resist imparting their beliefs on their children.
"I say to the grownups, if you want to deny evolution and live in your world, that's completely inconsistent with the world we observe, that's fine. But don't make your kids do it. Because we need them. We need scientifically literate voters and taxpayers for the future. We need engineers that can build stuff and solve problems," he said.
Nye and Ken Ham, CEO and president of creationist organization Answers in Genesis, recently agreed to debate one another in February on the question: "Is creation a viable model of origins in today's modern scientific world?"
Ham, who supports a literal interpretation of the creation account in Genesis, has argued that Nye "doesn't understand the difference between historical science and observational science."
"This debate will help highlight the fact that so many young people are dismissing the Bible because of evolution, and even many young people who had grown up in the church decided to leave the church because they saw evolution as showing the Bible could not be trusted," Ham said about the upcoming debate.
Eight hundred tickets for the event went on sale earlier this week and sold out in two minutes. A live video stream will be available for $4.99 on the day of the debate.
Nye's marriage to Tindall was ultimately short-lived and quickly descended into a series of lawsuits. Several months after the wedding, Nye and Tindall's marriage license was declared invalid.
The scientist shortly thereafter accused his ex of stealing several possessions from him, including his laptop and impersonating him on emails. He later sought out a restraining order, reported TMZ.
In 2009, court documents showed that Tindall violated the restraining order. When Nye returned to court to enforce it, he claimed that the lawsuit cost him $57,000, a number that he returned to court in 2012 to force her to pay.