The Great Debate: Science trumps Creationism

Ham on Nye: Deny deny deny…

In a sometimes frustrating, sometimes boring, but consistently civil discussion about the definition and importance of science, two speakers with opposing worldviews presented their evidence to a sellout crowd and hundreds of thousands of online viewers.

Who Won Bill Nye’s Big Evolution Faceoff? – NBC

Bill Nye the Science Guy and Ken Ham the Genesis Guy fought over the use and the misuse of the word “science” on Tuesday, during a public face-off over evolution that had the air of a presidential debate.

Ham’s position was defensive. He holds an antiquated, losing position on how the world works claiming that “science has been hijacked by secularists”. The list of nonsense and hypocritical statements like that one from Ham was too long to keep track of. Ham was overtly religious in his presentation leaving no question that his ideas are based solely on the Christian Bible making it clear that Creationism is a religious-based view in its entirety. No Intelligent Design waffling. Although, in an embarrassing parade of clips, a few scientists (and there are only a few) claimed to subscribe to the Creationist worldview. They are not in the mainstream and do not do research that proves to be valuable towards understanding how nature actually works or predicts anything.

Ham relied on the same old tropes of Creationism – the “were you there?” bit and unreliability of radiometric dating – to deny the age of the earth and the origin and evolution of life. His stand is that the only reliable evidence is personal observation. Pretty silly and impractical. Was he there when they wrote the Bible? How can he get through his day using that flawed method of “knowing” about the world. It’s an absurd premise to ignore the many threads evidence from many different fields that establish the age of the earth and the history of life. But Ham remains intent on denying that.

The purpose of the event was not to “win” but to bring the conversation to the public and in that respect, it worked. It was estimated over a million people watched. The YouTube channel had over a half a million viewers before it blipped out for some people. Twitter feeds were full of the #creationdebate hashtag.

A poll on the Christian Today website shows there was ZERO doubt who came out on top in the Creation vs Evolution debate last night. This snapshot of the poll, consistent overnight, shows a 92% up vote for Nye. That’s actually quite a bit more than the 70-80% I expected which may indicate that Mr. Nye was the best choice, of any, to have gone toe-to-toe with a science denialist. Well done, Mr. Nye.
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More: Here is an excellent play-by-play from Time.

Evolution-creation debate unlikely to change minds.

Bill Nye’s Creationism Debate Not a Total Disaster, Scientists Say | LiveScience.

The nearly 3 hour program can be seen here.


  18 comments for “The Great Debate: Science trumps Creationism

  1. February 5, 2014 at 6:50 AM

    I thought that Nye did a good job, given the circumstances.

  2. Angela
    February 5, 2014 at 7:34 AM

    Bill Nye is just awesome. My twelve year old loves science because of this man and he truly enjoyed the debate last night (what we were able to hear of it since internet was wonking). Richard’s summation of the debate is as follows.

    “Bill wants to show us how to use science. Mr. Ham wants to show us how to believe.”

  3. Brandon
    February 5, 2014 at 8:21 AM

    I guess now we will see how much money Ken Ham raises because of this debate. Will he raise enough to build his ark? Time will tell but the deadline is almost here.

  4. ZombyWoof
    February 5, 2014 at 8:54 AM

    When Creationists ask if you were there, you can just as well ask them if they were there too. Ken is a Ham and only has an obsoloete book of fables and no evidence.

  5. Mark Richards
    February 5, 2014 at 9:25 AM

    So Ham’s “stand is that the only reliable evidence is personal observation.”
    Has he not read his bible, specifically John 20:24-29?

  6. Adam
    February 5, 2014 at 9:45 AM

    Nye may have won the debate but he still lost by participating in it.

  7. February 5, 2014 at 10:50 AM

    I thought Mr Ham was more about advertising his theme park and churning out well rehearsed paragraphs of his dogma. Now this is over we can all forget about Mr Ham and return back into the 21st century.

  8. February 5, 2014 at 11:04 AM

    Bravo Bill Nye. Congradulations.

  9. February 5, 2014 at 11:14 AM

    Disagree, Adam.

    (I did refer to Doubtful News so perhaps my readers – both of them – will check it out. :-))

  10. Tom
    February 5, 2014 at 11:27 AM

    If this follows the course of previous science/creationist debates which creationists have lost, Mr Nye can now expect a personal attack on his lifestyle, morals etc etc. They are, after all, fanatics.

  11. Travis
    February 5, 2014 at 1:30 PM

    I also thought he did well. I’ve never seen such a frown on that man, before, during EVERY answer by Ken.

    Some think that it was a poor choice to have a public figure like Bill Nye debate something like this because it suggests that there IS a debate. Well, there IS a debate of whether it should be taught, unfortunately. The scientific community at large does not debate whether the earth is 6000 years old, and he made that point as well.

    Nye said it himself that he’s not going to change Ham’s mind, but by doing a better job in the debate he will have convinced at least thousands or people to have another look at their life and consider that evidence is stronger than belief.

  12. February 5, 2014 at 2:00 PM

    Even Pat Robertson is embarrassed by Ham! If we go by the poll on the Christianity Today site, even if people believe GENERALLY in the account in Genesis, they don’t like Ham’s portrayal? Or they don’t watch this stuff? Was there a poll of the audience who were there live?

  13. Lagaya1
    February 5, 2014 at 3:34 PM

    I didn’t watch the debate. I was afraid I might accidentally hurt myself with a too vigorous face palm.

    I was surprised this morning to read that Ham was a science teacher! (ABC How could he even pass a high school science class with the opinion that only eyewitness testimony is valid?

  14. J
    February 5, 2014 at 4:14 PM

    Not surprisingly I’m in agreement with the disdain for Ham’s poor arguments, which amounted to no more than appeals to authority while giving no real explanation as to why he believes in his own ideas.

    The worst part seemed to be the wilful splitting of natural science and historical science, not just because it doesn’t make sense, but it seemed to me to be a form of pretense so that he could begin with a basic agreement with scientists and then use it as a pivot point to turn around and say, “But you can’t prove what it’s based on because that’s not what the bible says”, and then adds that people who disagree with him are somehow indoctrinated and are not able to understand what he thinks is true. He then further attacks assumptions made by scienctists as if that’s all they did, ignoring how and why they arrive at a concensus, while not realizing that he has to assume the word of god is true in order to maintain his beliefs… To consider himself a scientist is just completely disingenuous and narcissistic.

  15. February 5, 2014 at 11:34 PM

    When you’re asserting that “science has been hijacked by secularists” and not actually even understanding how secularism (a desire for a separation of powers between Church and State and a staple for the existence of ‘Western Democracies’ courtesy of a certain war on a certain small island) isn’t the same thing as atheism (the rejection in the belief in deities) the audience cannot hold high expectations for an informed argument from that least one side.

    Bill Nye does seem the ‘public discourse popular science advocate’ most nations have these days. My own nation’s advocate (Karl Kruszelnicki aka. ‘Doctor Karl’ is a bit of phenomenon here in Australia) plays a similar role and is fond of loud shirts.

    I got through a decent portion of this marathon and as audience found Nye a fairly reasonable fellow challenged by extraordinary ignorance from his opponent. What else needs to be said?

  16. February 6, 2014 at 4:49 AM

    900 people in the auditorium @ $25 a head = $22,500. Minus expenses (?). I think Mr. Ham is still a little short on funds. Of course some well-heeled believers may come forward to reward his audacity at taking on the eggheads.

  17. One Eyed Jack
    February 6, 2014 at 9:23 AM

    That argument fails with Ham. His counter is yes, God was there and we have his holy account written down in a book.

    You can’t argue logic with the likes of Ham. That’s why this “debate” was always going to be a sham. Nye discussed science and logic. Ham was just preaching his faith.

  18. One Eyed Jack
    February 6, 2014 at 9:29 AM

    It should be pointed out that they are embarrassed by his YEC position. On everything else, they’re still drinking the same Kool-Aid.

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