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  • TV's "Science Guy" Bill Nye speaks during a debate on evolution with Creation Museum head Ken Ham, not shown, at the Creation Museum Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2014, in Petersburg, Ky. Ham believes the Earth was created 6,000 years ago by God and is told strictly through the Bible. Nye says he is worried the U.S. will not move forward if creationism is taught to children. (AP Photo/The Courier-Journal, Matt Stone) NO SALES; MAGS OUT; NO ARCHIVE; MANDATORY CREDIT

    TV's "Science Guy" Bill Nye speaks during a debate on evolution with Creation Museum head Ken Ham, not shown, at the Creation Museum Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2014, in Petersburg, Ky. Ham believes the Earth was created 6,000 years ago by God and is told strictly through the Bible. Nye says he is worried the U.S. will not move forward if creationism is taught to children. (AP Photo/The Courier-Journal, Matt Stone) NO SALES; MAGS OUT; NO ARCHIVE; MANDATORY CREDIT

  • TV's "Science Guy" Bill Nye speaks during a debate on evolution with Creation Museum head Ken Ham, not shown, at the Creation Museum Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2014, in Petersburg, Ky. Ham believes the Earth was created 6,000 years ago by God and is told strictly through the Bible. Nye says he is worried the U.S. will not move forward if creationism is taught to children. (AP Photo/The Courier-Journal, Matt Stone) NO SALES; MAGS OUT; NO ARCHIVE; MANDATORY CREDIT

    TV's "Science Guy" Bill Nye speaks during a debate on evolution with Creation Museum head Ken Ham, not shown, at the Creation Museum Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2014, in Petersburg, Ky. Ham believes the Earth was created 6,000 years ago by God and is told strictly through the Bible. Nye says he is worried the U.S. will not move forward if creationism is taught to children. (AP Photo/The Courier-Journal, Matt Stone) NO SALES; MAGS OUT; NO ARCHIVE; MANDATORY CREDIT

  • Pope Francis waves as he leaves at the end of  his weekly general audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2014. A U.N. human rights committee denounced the Vatican on Wednesday for “systematically” adopting policies that allowed priests to rape and molest tens of thousands of children over decades, and urged it to open its files on the pedophiles and the bishops who concealed their crimes. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

    Pope Francis waves as he leaves at the end of his weekly general audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2014. A U.N. human rights committee denounced the Vatican on Wednesday for “systematically” adopting policies that allowed priests to rape and molest tens of thousands of children over decades, and urged it to open its files on the pedophiles and the bishops who concealed their crimes. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

  • Pope Francis waves as he leaves at the end of  his weekly general audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2014. A U.N. human rights committee denounced the Vatican on Wednesday for “systematically” adopting policies that allowed priests to rape and molest tens of thousands of children over decades, and urged it to open its files on the pedophiles and the bishops who concealed their crimes. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

    Pope Francis waves as he leaves at the end of his weekly general audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2014. A U.N. human rights committee denounced the Vatican on Wednesday for “systematically” adopting policies that allowed priests to rape and molest tens of thousands of children over decades, and urged it to open its files on the pedophiles and the bishops who concealed their crimes. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

  • AS Roma forward Gervinho of Ivory Coast celebrates after scoring  during an Italian Cup, semifinal first leg match, between AS Roma and Napoli at Rome's Olympic stadium, Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2014. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

    AS Roma forward Gervinho of Ivory Coast celebrates after scoring during an Italian Cup, semifinal first leg match, between AS Roma and Napoli at Rome's Olympic stadium, Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2014. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

  • TV's "Science Guy" Bill Nye speaks during a debate on evolution with Creation Museum head Ken Ham, not shown, at the Creation Museum Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2014, in Petersburg, Ky. Ham believes the Earth was created 6,000 years ago by God and is told strictly through the Bible. Nye says he is worried the U.S. will not move forward if creationism is taught to children. (AP Photo/The Courier-Journal, Matt Stone) NO SALES; MAGS OUT; NO ARCHIVE; MANDATORY CREDIT
  • TV's "Science Guy" Bill Nye speaks during a debate on evolution with Creation Museum head Ken Ham, not shown, at the Creation Museum Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2014, in Petersburg, Ky. Ham believes the Earth was created 6,000 years ago by God and is told strictly through the Bible. Nye says he is worried the U.S. will not move forward if creationism is taught to children. (AP Photo/The Courier-Journal, Matt Stone) NO SALES; MAGS OUT; NO ARCHIVE; MANDATORY CREDIT
  • Pope Francis waves as he leaves at the end of  his weekly general audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2014. A U.N. human rights committee denounced the Vatican on Wednesday for “systematically” adopting policies that allowed priests to rape and molest tens of thousands of children over decades, and urged it to open its files on the pedophiles and the bishops who concealed their crimes. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)
  • Pope Francis waves as he leaves at the end of  his weekly general audience in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2014. A U.N. human rights committee denounced the Vatican on Wednesday for “systematically” adopting policies that allowed priests to rape and molest tens of thousands of children over decades, and urged it to open its files on the pedophiles and the bishops who concealed their crimes. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)
  • AS Roma forward Gervinho of Ivory Coast celebrates after scoring  during an Italian Cup, semifinal first leg match, between AS Roma and Napoli at Rome's Olympic stadium, Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2014. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

Gallup polls show Vermont is least religious state

MONTPELIER, Vt. — Gallup says that Vermont is the least religious state in the nation.

Poll results show that 22 percent of Vermonters identify as “very religious” and 56 percent of Vermonters identify as “non-religious.”

New Hampshire, Maine, Massachusetts and Oregon join Vermont to make up the top five least religious states in the country.

The poll average shows that by comparison about 41 percent of Americans identify as very religious, slightly higher than in 2012, 2011 and 2008.

Bill Nye defends evolution in debate

PETERSBURG, Ky. — Bill Nye the “Science Guy” and the head of the Creation Museum have debated whether evolution or the Bible better explains how everything began.

Nye said it takes magical thinking to believe the universe was created in six days only 6,000 years ago. He said scientific dating methods show that there are rocks and fossils, not to mention distant stars, far older than that.

Creationist Ken Ham responded that dating methods are fallible and that both sides have the same evidence but interpret it differently. Ham said the only witness to how things began is God, who explains it all in Genesis.

Bill Nye said the Bible is not a science book and shouldn’t be taught as such in schools.

The hours-long debate took place in a sold-out 800-seat auditorium in the Creation Museum in Kentucky.

Vatican: German, Swiss Catholics reject sex rules

VATICAN CITY — Surveys commissioned by the Vatican have shown that the vast majority of Catholics in Germany and Switzerland reject church teaching on contraception, sexual morality, gay unions and divorce.

The Vatican took the unusual step of commissioning the surveys ahead of a major meeting of bishops that Pope Francis has called for October to discuss the family.

This week, German and Swiss bishops reported the results. They were surprising in the near-uniformity of responses: that the church’s teachings on sexuality, morality and marriage are rejected as unrealistic and outdated by the vast majority of Catholics who nevertheless are active in parish life and consider their faith vitally important.

Indiana Senate passes ‘Merry Christmas’ bill

INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana’s state Senate has unanimously passed a bill to allow the celebration of Christmas and other holidays in its public schools.

The legislation would allow schools to decorate with Nativity scenes or menorahs if paired with a secular symbol or one from another religion. It would also permit schools to teach the history of winter holidays and to give holiday greetings, such as “Merry Christmas.”

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