Why Bill Nye’s debate with young-earth creationist Ken Ham is probably a mistake

Bill Nye made a career teaching kids about science. But can he teach people who don't want to learn? (Photo by Ed Schipul.)

Bill Nye made a career teaching kids about science. But can he teach people who don't want to learn? (Photo by Ed Schipul.)

Editor’s note: The following post was written as a preview to the Bill Nye-Ken Ham “debate,” held Feb. 4, 2014. For our reaction following the spectacle, see here.

The old online adage “Don’t feed the trolls” is well-known within the evolution-creationism debate, though it’s worded a little differently: “Don’t debate with young-earth creationists.”

Richard Dawkins is well-known for his stubborn refusal to debate creationists, whether they be the extremist science deniers like Ray Comfort or the more moderate academics like William Lane Craig. Dawkins’ succinct reasoning for his repeated declinations is the same as the esteemed professor Robert May’s immortal riposte to a similar request for a public sparring: “That would look great on your CV, not so good on mine.”

It’s an undeniably good point. Regardless of what is actually said during the debate, going toe-to-toe with a world-famous and influential scientific figure like Dawkins would lend legitimacy to whatever position he agreed to oppose. On the other hand, a “real” scientist agreeing to formally trade words with the likes of Banana Ray carries about as much upside as debating, well, this guy.

It’d be like Manny Pacquiao accepting a prize fight against a one-armed ballerina. It’s a big, humiliating step down, and even if you win, you lose.

What’s more, any modern-day public debate over the fundamental tenets of creationism is a sham, a mockery of real discourse. That’s because there is no scientific debate to be had over whether the earth is billions of years old, or whether life shows strong evidence of common descent, or whether a global flood occurred within the memory of modern man. These questions (particularly the first and third) were settled by the experts who are paid to study such matters long before any of the would-be “debaters” were even born.

So, seriously, what’s the point? As long as we’re seeking to move the human race backward, shall we also take up the questions of “Is the earth flat?” and “Does thunder mean the sky is angry?” This is why the very act of debating a young-earther is a false pretext; it gives audiences the illusion that there is some valid controversy worthy of spirited argumentation, when, in reality, the participants are discussing a long-settled issue in which one side has simply refused to admit defeat (for reasons that have nothing to do with the evidence).

And, as the rednecks say, “If it ain’ broked, don’ fix it.” Under the “Don’t feed the trolls” mandate, young-earth creationism is safely shut outside the scientific discourse, where it belongs, with any and all other ideas that are directly refuted by the preponderance of available evidence. Sure, we all have to suffer through stuff like Answers in Genesis President Ken Ham’s annual complaint that “the mean scientists won’t debate me ’cause they’re scared,” but, for the most part, the world just keeps spinning.

Alas, the logic of all this is apparently lost on Bill Nye — the science educator best-known for his popular 90s-era children’s series on PBS — who has agreed to debate the great K-Ham at his own Creation Museum Feb. 4.

No disrespect at all intended to Nye, but I can’t conceive of why he would do such a thing. And though I won’t deny that I enjoyed joking about “Bill Nye the Science Guy vs. Ken Ham the Anti-Science Man,” I can’t help but feel he’s making a big mistake. And not just for the general reasons above.

For one thing, K-Ham isn’t exactly known for his integrity — or his memory, for that matter. Caution would certainly be advised when crossing swords with such an individual.

But there’s more. Being fairly well read in K-Ham’s work, mainly his books and his blog, I say with confidence that the man’s ministry is not fundamentally one of rational appeal; it is fundamentally one of emotional appeal, with a healthy dose of scare tactics for good measure. If Nye comes on to Ham’s home court thinking logic and reason will win the day, he is sorely mistaken. And he will lose.

Even the evidence — as powerful as evidence can be — won’t save him, because evidence changes only the minds that are open to it. And those of Ham and his followers are not. They’re not looking for the truth, they just want their truth, and since they firmly believe they’re doing God’s work, they’re really not that interested in anything that contradicts it.

Finally, the question that Nye agreed to take up for this debate won’t do him any favors, either. According to AiG, the topic will be “Is creationism a viable model of origins?”

When I was the editor of a Christian magazine at the University of Maine, we once published a point/counterpoint piece on the topic of evolution. And, being a covert Darwinian operative myself, I deliberately worded the question in a way that I thought would be the most “fair” to the author arguing in favor of the E-word: “Is evolution compatible with biblical Christianity?” Notice that the affirming author did not have to prove that evolution was true, or that creationism was false, or even that his view was the best. He needed only to demonstrate that an evolutionary perspective is a workable view within the framework of the Christian faith.

I see a similar strategy at play here. Let’s be honest, all the word “viable” really means is a proposition that is logically and internally consistent. It just has to work. And, I may think young-earth creationism is unscientific nonsense, but I’ll also be the first to admit it does have a elegant simplicity to it. I completely understand why it would be pretty attractive to ordinary folks who don’t really care what a “nested hierarchy” or “homologous structure” is.

Notice, as well, how the topic is subtly focused on “origins,” which remains one of the most difficult and hypothetical regions of scientific inquiry, due to vague and limited evidence. It is really only in this realm where creationism (which also has very little evidence, but far more relentless certainty) has even the most remote chance against empirical science.

How it will all turn out remains to be seen. In the end, Nye is a grown man, and he’s fully entitled to make his own decisions and debate whomever he chooses. I’m sure he has some good intention in mind.

I just hope he knows what he’s doing.

Tyler Francke

Category: Culture, Current Events, Latest Developments, Science

  • Bernie Dehler

    I’m happy that Bill Nye isn’t a chicken-shit like the other ones who make up excuses for why they are afraid to debate.

    • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

      It is nice that, for one year at least, K-Ham won’t be able to recycle his tired old “the mean scientists are too scared to debate us” blog post. But I’m still afraid Nye is playing right into their hands. I hope I’m wrong. We’ll see.

    • Anonymous

      I am not “too afraid” to play a tree, to sing the color blue, or to write a stone. I am not “making an excuse” when I explain my reasons for doing so. A tree is not a collection of rules for entertaining gaming. The color blue is not a selections of lyrics put to melody. A stone is not a sequence of letters and symbols.
      Similarly, a creationist is not a critical thinker seeking to evaluate the merit and accuracy of his own position, and this means you cannot debate one. Fear has nothing to do with it. Not all verbs can be performed on all subjects.
      And Bill Nye isn’t going to “debate” Ken Ham, either. He’s going to explain how Ken Ham is wrong at (not to) Ken Ham, while Ken Ham repeats the same script of logical fallacies and lies that have already been exposed, verbatim, that he always does.

      • Bernie Dehler

        RE: “I am not “too afraid” to play a tree, to sing the color blue, or to write a stone.”

        But you are afraid to post under your real name?

      • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

        Excellent point here! Thanks so much for the comment. I even wanted to share your thought in a separate blog post, so readers wouldn’t miss it. Hope you don’t mind :)

  • Peter Galik

    Meh, I’ve also known K-Ham to also back down from debates for some odd reasons, just sayin’…

    • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

      “Odd reasons,” like, for example, no reason?

      • Peter Galik

        Yeah, LOL, sounds like enough of a “reason” to me! XD

  • http://worldinfocus.net/ Colin Morrison

    On Ham’s home turf, too – risky.

    Good blog Tyler, though one point:

    I say with confidence that the man’s ministry is not fundamentally one of rational appeal; it is fundamentally one of emotional appeal

    This goes for all religion. There is no rational path that takes us to any religion. Deism is about as far as you can get before you start believing dubious ancient texts written by men with political and tribal agendas with flimsy corroboration.

    • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

      Hey Colin! Thanks! Good to hear from you. I understand what you’re saying here, and forgive me if I’ve made this point to you before (I can’t recall), but I must say I disagree that “there is no rational path that takes us to any religion.”

      You mention deism, the idea that there is a God who created the universe, and presumably, us as well (or, at least, set the processes in motion that would produce us or something like us). If one can make it to deism by a rational path, then is it completely unreasonable to conjecture that God might have had some reason for making the universe and us? And if he had a reason for making us, that he might take an interest in us, from time to time? And if he ever took an interest in us, that he might interact with us, on some level?

      I don’t think those are irrational questions if one’s starting place is deism. And, once one arrives at the notion of whether God might have ever interacted with humanity, then I think you are at the very doorstep of religion. The only question then is what view of what religion seems to make the most sense.

      • http://worldinfocus.net/ Colin Morrison

        Like I said, requires belief in dubious texts. I’ve said before that positing deism is rational, believing it is not, because just like religion, there isn’t a whit of evidence. I enjoy inventing new models of deism, with my current favourite being apoptotic deism – a being destroyed itself to create the Universe, on purpose or by accident. What’s cute is it’s every bit as valid, and very much simpler, than any religion.

        If one can make it to deism by a rational path, then is it completely unreasonable to conjecture that God might have had some reason for making the universe and us? And if he had a reason for making us, that he might take an interest in us, from time to time? And if he ever took an interest in us, that he might interact with us, on some level?

        Doesn’t it give you pause that based upon the conjecture of deism, it requires three further levels of conjecture, upon which you have no evidence, to get to a worldview you’ve devoted a considerable part of your life too?

        • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

          Well, my “further levels of conjecture,” are assumptions, yes, but they’re not unreasonable assumptions. If you are willing to entertain the idea of a creative deity, then the question that follows is, did that deity have a reason for making the universe? And there is no evidence for either answer to that question, but the proposition that the deity did have a reason for making the universe seems to be more logical than the proposition that the deity went to the trouble for no reason at all. And so on and so forth.

          Besides, “evidence” is difficult to define when one enters the realm of philosophy and spirituality. You told me one time that, “I have sought and have not found.” I feel exactly the opposite about my own journey, that I have indeed encountered enough evidence to convince me there is Something Beyond the material universe that we can see and touch and study scientifically. Beyond that, I am not so arrogant to think I have everything figured out, but the Christian faith in its most basic understanding makes a lot of sense to me.

          • http://worldinfocus.net/ Colin Morrison

            but the proposition that the deity did have a reason for making the universe seems to be more logical than the proposition that the deity went to the trouble for no reason at all.

            Three assumptions there – 1) That a creator had a choice, 2) and had a reason, 3) and the reason was us.

            Again, I challenge you to explain how two intelligent people, you and I, have examined more or less the same ‘evidence’ and come to the entirely opposite conclusions?

            I cannot claim bias on my part – I recognise the god you worship as the construct of my own imagination I once thought a god should be (as opposed to the monster of the Christian texts). I’d love to have an afterlife, but it’s not going to happen, certainly not the Christian version (which I am certain/gnostic is a fabrication, as any historian could explain how that concept has evolved over time.)

            No, religion is, as Michael Shermer says, an emotionally driven choice you then work logically backwards from.

            To get back OT, the difference between you and K-Ham is that when he sees his interpretation threatened by science and reason, he simply stonewalls the science, lies, forgets and manipulates to get his way. You make accommodations – ah, the biblical texts must be figurative in this or that obviously wrong passage. There comes a point where you have to wonder how such a flawed tissue of fabrications, appropriated folk tales from older religions and mistakes can form any basis for a way of life?

            Understand I do this because I like you – it grieves me to see people give up their time and money to a fantasy (well, I like my Tolkien but at least I know it’s fantasy!)

          • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

            Colin, I appreciate, but feel wholly undeserving, of the regard you seem to have for me. In and of myself, I am not a good person. I find in verses like Philippians 2:3 or 1 John 4:20 the exhortations to be a better man, not out of guilt, but out of a desire to be like the God I love. I know we disagree on the authority or inspiration of such text, and I would guess that we disagree even on the basis of the definitions of “good” or “bad” when I say, “I’m not a good person.” But, surely, we wouldn’t disagree that a foundation of placing the interest of others before oneself is a noble goal to seek as the basis for one’s life?

          • http://worldinfocus.net/ Colin Morrison

            No disagreement there. Indeed, such behaviour is evolutionarily advantageous in social species – this is why psychopathy is a disorder in humans, yet normal in lone predatory species.

            I do good because it makes feel good and because I care about our species and our planet. One of the most useful lessons I learned was to love myself as well, a process retarded by my exposure to religion.

          • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

            I am truly sorry that you had such a negative experience with religion, and that similar experiences are so common and widespread. Unfortunately, many Christians seem to think that humility is to be forced upon others from the outside, rather than grow from within. I will say, however, that I see in scripture a number of teachings that self-love is not only “OK,” but necessary. Just for one example, the verse I mentioned in my previous post, Philippians 2:3 (“Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.”) continues in the next verse, saying, “Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.” I would say even Jesus’ “second greatest command,” to “Love your neighbor as yourself” contains an exhortation toward self-love implicitly, since it’s clearly meaningless to “love others as oneself” if one doesn’t love oneself at all.

          • Wenzel Stehlik

            I can not uderstand you. Its absurd to dispute attheists like the previous “man” with their abuses of science. Its better to use the St. Bernard of Clairvaux /or St. Louis the king/ practice. Christians are so coward to do it. Believe me!

            ps. When I head Shermers name I feel very very annoyed!

          • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

            Your righteous offense at me having the audacity to treat an atheist like a human being is duly noted.

          • http://worldinfocus.net/ Colin Morrison

            Oh, I missed this response – nice put down, Tyler. Amused at the “man” comment, and would like to know what my abuses of science are, considering I’m a student of at least two. And why does Shermer annoy him? The cognitive dissonance is strong in this one…;-)

          • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

            Yeah, I don’t know, but thanks :) Sometimes I feel like I should be awarded an honorary degree in linguistics or communication studies for my work in trying to decipher some of these folks who comment on the site.

          • Micah G

            This was a very healthy exchange, even though you two disagree. I would agree with Tyler on this one, but again, I applaud you for your civility. Well done.

          • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

            Thanks, Micah!

  • Roger Morris

    Well said. I, like many others, learned a long time ago not to bother to debate with a YECist. Such is the determination of their cognitive bias and cognitive dissonance, combined with their rejection of the evidence of their senses and the common sense of their rational intellect, that overwhelming evidence to the contrary of their position can simply be dismissed as “the noetic effects of sin”. They are best ignored and shut out of intelligent adult discourse all together.

    • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

      I am confident that, as the world continues to move on, they’ll eventually fade into obscurity like the flat-earthers and geocentrists.

      • ThinkerThinker

        First thank you for your blog and your thoughtful insight. I appreciate what your saying and think it’s honest and important. After thinking things through, I arrived at a place of disagreement on a specific point with those that advocate the cessation of dialogue with creationism advocates (I’m not assuming the latter is your position, I just thought it best to post in line after your response to Roger).

        My reasoning is this: I don’t think it’s more helpful to ultimately dismiss and cease intellectual engagement with those of any persuasion. Granted, I think we should be prudent, discerning and wise about who we spend time exchanging idea’s with. But, Bill Nye debating Ken Ham is different than someone pulling away discerningly from the belligerent antagonist (of any belief system or world view) while in line at the supermarket or at the family gathering, etc. Perhaps it’s better for those nestled comfortably yet ignorantly in any position that honest discourse from humble participants remains. Yes, we may come up against arrogant and closed minded conversation stoppers. But, there could be conversations stoppers on every side of the discussion (there are certainly those that are ignorant on every side of every viewpoint). I don’t think, at all and in any way, that they (Creationism advocates) should be ignored. I think the conversation should continue. Also, as an aside, It may or may not fade into obscurity. As of this time, there is no prevailing evidence to support it’s entering it’s own intellectual “extinction event.”

        Cognitive bias and thus resultantly, what is called cognitive disequilibrium, is experience by any one who is challenged and convinced of their position. But, there is a difference between disagreeing with someones interpretation of the evidence and alleging, without compelling evidence, that their ignoring evidence. I agree with you when you said previously, “I wouldn’t advise presuming that just because someone is a creationist, they must be completely closed to the evidence.”

        Patient and humble interpersonal connectivity enables and encourages growth and change and provides a platform for correction and reassimilation to the newly embraced and compelling truth. If we call others arrogant and say they should be ignored, how is that less intellectually arrogant, really. Every single argument I’ve read so far on this page regarding “stopping the conversation” can be turned and used against any “entrenched” dogmatic position. We should model the behavior we would like to see in others.

        I’m for the debate and looking forward to it. I am a bible believing Christian and stand firm in Christ Jesus, my Lord and savior. I am glad the conversation is continuing and that Bill Nye is willing to step up to the task.

        • ThinkerThinker

          Just replying to my prior post to correct the following:

          “Cognitive bias and thus resultantly, what is called cognitive disequilibrium, is experience by any one who is challenged and convinced of their position.

          I retract the prior and replace it with the following:

          “It’s highly probable that someone with a cognitive bias will experience cognitive disequilibrium when confronted by opposing viewpoints.”

          I would like to add that this cognitive disequilibrium occurs mostly in those who don’t fully understand why they believe what they believe and think what they think. Moreover, this may not occur in those that in fact understand fully and can articulate honestly, intellectually and reasonably their position and why they arrived there. Defending a position isn’t necessarily rooted in cognitive dissonance or ignorance. (end)

          • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

            Hey ThinkerThinker, thanks for your thoughts. You make a good point, and I appreciate it. I do not believe those of us who read Genesis allegorically and accept evolution should outright ignore brothers and sisters who disagree with us. If I did believe that, I can’t imagine that I would run a website like this. I have no problem with church discussions and private conversations.

            However, my discomfort with this kind of public spectacle continues. There is no more a scientific “debate” to be had over this matter than there is to be had over whether diseases are caused by germs and viruses or demons and black magic. A forum like this propagates the idea that “the jury’s still out,” and the two choices are equally valid, when in fact, one side has simply refused to admit defeat even though all the evidence is stacked against them.

            I believe an event like this also promotes the idea that one must choose faith or science. Since I have no trouble handling both, I dislike seeing the two presented as such conflicting opponents.

  • Taylor Weaver

    Just a small correction: Dawkins refuses to debate Craig not because he is a creationist (and if he IS a creationist, it is in a very very different sense than Ham and co.) but because of his explanation for the Canaanite slaughter. Dawkins claims he is morally repugnant, and thus won’t step on stage with him.

    Other than that, great points!

    • Bernie Dehler

      That seems like a stupid reason for Dawkins to say why he won’t debate… because he disagrees with the person he’s going to debate. Duh. That’s the reason for debating, to air-out main points of disagreement.

      • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

        Well, it may not be the “only” reason.

    • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

      Thanks, Taylor! I always appreciate correction, however small! :)

    • Superfluous Man

      The reason Dawkins won’t debate Craig is that he wouldn’t stand a chance. William Lane Craig is a genuinely intelligent scholar. Dawkins is a sensationalistic clown, and he is aware of this.

      Craig is an inerrantist though. He’s on faculty at Talbot Seminary (or at least was last I checked, which was admittedly a long time ago). So I don’t think his creationism is all that different from Ham’s. I’m sure he believes in an Old Earth. But I am pretty certain that he could not possibly accept absolute uniformitarianism, since he has argued vociferously for the reality of miracles. So, on the most basic and important point defining creationism as opposed to its rivals, he’s right there with Ham.

      • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

        So, on the most basic and important point defining creationism as opposed to its rivals, he’s right there with Ham.

        Well, depending on how widely you define “creationist,” even I could be “right there with Ham.” The fact is that the specifics are important, and when you look at them, you see there is a very wide gap between the views of someone like William Lane Craig and the views of someone like Ken Ham.”

      • BrettHD

        I find that claim rather amusing considering Lawrence Krauss didn’t have any difficulty in his debate with Craig. Aside from appearing disengaged and disinterested while WLC was speaking, Sam Harris did just fine. Then there are the droves of people who feel Hitch utterly humiliated the poor man. So how do you reach the conclusion that an actual evolutionary biologist is somehow afraid to debate the very same individual based on intellect?
        I’m not trying to be offensive but to me it seems as though you have just proven Dawkins point by demonstrating that for a certain group of people facts bare no relevance and thus the debate is over before its even begun. So why lend scientific credibility to an argument that has none?

      • Sistercat

        You call Craig a genuinely intelligent scholar. Sorry. This is an insult to scholarship. He presents his idea the same way as creationists – circular logic, goal post moving, equivocation. He is the worst debater and the only thing that he deserves is a punch on his nose.

      • Guilherme Silva

        Craig learned a few words like “fine tunning”, “retrocausality” and nice names for his rebutal, “Kalām cosmological argument” and so on. Now he things he is a thinker or a philosopher …
        just check his academic background ….

    • Dogma Hunter

      Not only that, he also went on record saying that he refuses to debate people who’s only claim to fame is being a “professional debater”.

      And he’s very correct about that.

      • Taylor Weaver

        Well, not only “claim to fame.” Craig’s research on the Kalaam argument was actually pretty revolutionary. And, he has dozens of published articles in reputable journals, not to mention work attributed to him in some of the Blackwell Companion series. If he is most known for “debating” then it is a shame, but certainly not his only “claim to fame”.

        • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

          He’s also written quite a few books, if I’m not mistaken.

  • Ivan A. Rogers

    I have watched several debates between qualified scientists representing both divine creation and evolution on university campuses. In EVERY instance the creation model representative ‘cleaned the clock’ of the evolutionist. These debates became such an embarrassment to the evolutionary scientists that they finally refused to debate the creation scientists in a public forum. Here following is one of the dirty little secrets that hit the fan in one of the debates that caused great embarrassment to the evolutionist:

    Charles Darwin rejected both the positivistic outlook and the biblical literalism that were championed in his day. Although he is usually thought of as subversive to all creation theories, an examination of his personal writings and his major work, Origin of Species, shows this view to be incorrect. He related some themes of biblical theology to natural selection in a sophisticated manner. His formal education gave him excellent preparation for
    the religious aspects of this endeavor, since the ONLY academic degree he ever earned was in (gasp!) theology, after a three-year course of study at Cambridge University.

    • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

      I’m guessing that anyone who was certain of their creationist position prior to the debates you mention would agree wholeheartedly with your assessment, while anyone who was certain of the truth of evolution would wholeheartedly disagree. That’s how confirmation bias works. The same thing happens with political debates and just about any other forum where there’s not an objective judge or a scorecard.

      Not sure exactly what you’re talking about with Charles Darwin. He was raised and — as you correctly mention — even formally trained as a Christian and was certainly a theist before he began his voyage on the Beagle, however, in time he abandoned his faith, as many of his surviving letters and statements indicate. His loss of faith was due in part to his scientific studies, seeing firsthand the “cruelty of nature” as he described it, but the death of his beloved daughter Annie, at age 10 to scarlet fever, was also a terrible blow. He is known to have written in 1879 that “an Agnostic [rather than 'atheist'] would be the more correct description of my state of mind.”

  • Portaloid

    The Creationism module of logic is circular; in order to know one thing, you have to believe another, which relies on another blind belief. There is thus no legitimate value to debating somebody who is this close-minded, least of all on his home turf.

    • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

      I posted a short new article on that topic today. I mostly agree, though I wouldn’t advise presuming that just because someone is a creationist, they must be completely closed to the evidence. I have met plenty of anti-evolutionists who were given skewed and incomplete information, and who were genuinely interested in the truth after realizing they’d been misled.

      Debating those who are completely closed off to any evidence that contradicts their preconceived notions is almost certainly an exercise in futility. However, there may be some value even in that, if those in the audience are more open.

      • Portaloid

        Thanks! I appreciate your reply, and I’ll make sure to check out your article.

  • joe

    I just hope that Nye brings his own camera crew to record the event, so as to prevent any “creative editing” by Ham’s followers.

    • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

      Yeah, no doubt. I hope so, too. Surely he’s been around long enough to know not to trust these chuckleheads completely with the moderation and recording of the “debate.”

    • Guy Smith

      This was already brought up in a discussion earlier on /r Atheism, actually. Bill Nye is no dummy, and will have his own crew there as well. Ken Ham is well known for editing the videos from his debates, and actually he did it recently. There is no way Nye isn’t/wont be aware of this, and doesn’t bring his own camera crew. It would be pointless not too, as Ham would edit it and call it a victory for Christians.

      • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

        Oh, OK, I didn’t see that discussion. Good to hear!

      • Dogma Hunter

        Will Ken actually allow that?
        Because he’s apparantly already put the still-to-be-recorded-debate DVD up for pre-order.

        Off course, this whole debate is in reality nothing but a big money-raising machine for the dude to build his ridiculous new ark attraction in the amusement park he calls a “museum”.

        • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

          Will Ken actually allow that?

          Maybe not normally, but Nye could have made it a condition of his participation in the spectacle.

          Off course, this whole debate is in reality nothing but a big money-raising machine for the dude to build his ridiculous new ark attraction in the amusement park he calls a “museum”.

          Yeah, I agree. I wish the proceeds were going to charities, but they won’t, of course, so I hope at least that Nye gets something for his trouble, since Ham is just capitalizing off his fame.

  • AtheistCoffe

    Very good article. You are absolutely right… the creationists will be royally trounced, but will pat themselves on the back and congratulate each other on their victory. I’ve heard it said that debating a creationist is like playing chess with a pigeon – no matter what you do, they’ll eventually jump up onto the chessboard, knock all the pieces over, shit all over it, and strut around like they won.

    The one thing… the only reason Nye could possibly be doing this is because it’s his job. His whole life’s work is science education… the same as his former teacher Carl Sagan. And a great swath of America is firmly in the grips of literal biblical fundamentalism that seeks to undermine science as “evil”, and use The Handmaid’s Tale as a manual for ordered society. In the face of a serious fundamentalist, creationist threat to his country, Nye is taking action. Yes, at the risk of elevating The Great And Powerful Ham’s legitimacy well above anything he ever deserved… but someone must try.

    • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

      I’ve heard it said that debating a creationist is like playing chess with a pigeon – no matter what you do, they’ll eventually jump up onto the chessboard, knock all the pieces over, shit all over it, and strut around like they won.

      A bit crude, but I do appreciate the analogy. It also works on another level, since it drives home the point that in a debate, the creationist side is using a completely different set of rules, and a completely different standard for “winning.”

      And I think you’re right about Nye’s motivation. Appreciate your thoughts.

  • John Z

    The problem I have is that, as a Christian who also trusts the scientific account, I don’t feel like either of these men represent me.

    • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

      Yeah, I hear you. Join the club, brother.

    • Dogma Hunter

      Which is a nice illustration of the exact problem of these debates.
      Why on earth would either side represent a person or group of people, when the subject of the debate is actually about a phenomena in reality? A science thing?

      Would you say that “no side represents you” about a debate of continental drift vs plate tectonics? Off course you wouldn’t.

      But debates such as this are not about evolution. Or indeed any scientific topic. They are about religious preaching, about attacking/defending the scientific method itself, and about MAKING MONEY and publicity (for the creationists).

      The whole setup is as intellectually dishonest as it gets. It’s not about a quest for what is actually true. It’s about an “us versus them” mentality. About bigotry and religious nonsense.

      • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

        Good thoughts, thanks for sharing!

      • BingCrosby

        Quite a bit of dogma in your words there, Dogma Hunter. ;)

    • Dillon

      They are both radical point of views,Bill is going to an extreme radical but only because Ken is forcing this whole idea of there is no other alternative to the world being created 6000 years ago. but from an historical point of view there are civilizations that date back 2500 years before the creation story would have started. Bill is trying to say we know how old the earth is, we have physical evidence that big bang might of happened, but there is no physical/ tangible evidence that god exists (that not to say he doesn’t, or that he didn’t have a role in the big bang). I personally was disgruntled by Bills performance, but in my opinion the illogical, stubborn and biased mind frame of a creationist towards science is very annoying. I mean scientist have to be open minded to different (rational) creation stories/explanations but there’s limits and an unwavering creationist point of view will not be the best way to explain why were here. I don’t know how much you know about ancient history but State Religion was basically founded by early central governments to enforce law, morals and keep class structure. With the development of science we’ve out grown the use for it (My opinion this doesn’t mean there is no God, but im agnostic and think a belief system or lack of doesn’t matter to me)

      Thanks for reding Dillon

  • Buggie

    I think any person with a good amount of intelligence and confidence can out play ken ham. I mean look what bill maher did to ken ham in bills documentary called religulous. I basically could not stop smirking at ken hams reactions to bills answers, ken even bitched about it on his blog how bill maher lied to him about the name of the documentary which was called a spiritual journey.you gotta be one dumb ass to believe bill maher would be the main lead of a documentary called a spiritual journey, heck if I thought he was I would be saying “you smoking pot man? Get outta here”. I was surprised bill was able to keep a straight face that long, but back to the point. Bill nye has to think of ken ham as the village idiot saying ” me KEN ADAMs honorary degree, you dumb masters degree in everything guy BILL NYE” . Sorry about any grammar, punctuation, and spelling errors. Using a iPad : ( -GH. PS he has two honorary degrees lol

    • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

      Yes, they’re called “honorary” degrees for a reason, right? Meaning “unearned.”

  • Superfluous Man

    The point about how even if Nye wins he’ll still lose is kind of a distraction from the real point which is that he’s almost guaranteed to lose.

    So would Dawkins if he debated William Lane Craig.

    Since this Nye/Ham debate is actually going to happen, feel free to revisit this comment after I’ve been proven right.

    • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

      Care to elaborate on why you think Nye is “almost guaranteed to lose”?

  • TogetherWeStand

    Ken Ham will easily win the debate simply because evolution does not make any sense and provides no bases or motivation for learning–unless of course you fell compelled to believe that nothing, at some point in the distant past, for no reason became matter, energy, light, space, and time as precisely the same moment. The matter part then self combusted itself with such force that it spread itself though out the now known universe and again self organized itself (defying the 2nd Law of Thermo dynamics) to become the extremely beautiful and complex universe we observe today.

    The secular evolutionist high priests will respond with holier-than-thou ridicule and will censor the debate results from as many people as possible. They will them devout all their attention to how they can prevent the free exchange of ideas in the future with the intent of minimizing as much future exposure as possible.

    Actually, the aftermath will be virtually identical the Chief Priests response to the simple message of Jesus Christ when He walk the shores the Sea of Galilee.

    • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

      unless of course you fell compelled to believe that nothing, at some point in the distant past, for no reason became matter, energy, light, space, and time at precisely the same moment.

      Actually, none of that has anything to do with evolution.

      The matter part then self combusted itself with such force that it spread itself though out the now known universe and again self organized itself (defying the 2nd Law of Thermo dynamics) to become the extremely beautiful and complex universe we observe today.

      Neither does that.

      The secular evolutionist high priests will respond with holier-than-thou ridicule and will censor the debate results from as many people as possible. They will then devout all their attention to how they can prevent the free exchange of ideas in the future with the intent of minimizing as much future exposure as possible.

      Yes, we know this from reading K-Ham’s blog. Those of us who accept evolution are “terrified.”

      Actually, the aftermath will be virtually identical the Chief Priests response to the simple message of Jesus Christ when He walked the shores of the Sea of Galilee.

      You think Bill Nye is going to try and have K-Ham flogged and crucified by the Romans?

      • TogetherWeStand

        Hi Tyler: Did you know that your secular priestly robes are showing?

        • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

          Ho boy. Good luck with your war against the forces of darkness, my friend.

          • TogetherWeStand

            Thank you for proving my point.

          • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

            Likewise.

  • Bonner A Davis

    “…the participants are discussing a long-settled issue in which one side has simply refused to admit defeat…” I wasn’t aware the debate was over.

    • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

      The scientific debate is most certainly over, and has been for some time. The entire field of biology is founded upon the fact that life does and has changed over time.

      • Bonner A Davis

        So evolution is no longer a theory?

        • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

          Evolution is both a fact and a theory. It’s a fact that life changes over time. Everyone knows that; it’s the reason you have to get a new flu shot every year and pesticide and drug resistance are very scary, very real issues. The “theory” part of evolution is the attempt to explain why life changes over time, and the path it has taken through the ages.

          It is the same with virtually everything in science. Take gravity, for instance, which is also both a fact and a theory. It’s a fact that you stick to the earth; the “theory” of gravity is the attempt to explain why you stick to the earth.

          • Bonner A Davis

            Is adaption (mutation) of a virus to a vaccine an example of a life change?

          • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

            Yes, it is.

          • Bonner A Davis

            So, I’m evolving when I fight off a virus or cold?

          • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

            No, not even close. Individuals don’t evolve, populations and species do.

          • P

            Tyler, no scientist speaks like this about facts. Science is about observing evidence and evaluating whether or not it supports or contradicts a current theory or model. History has repeatedly shown the inadequacy, incompleteness, or total abject failure of theories and models proposed in all fields of science. So yes, evolution is clearly still a theory.
            Furthermore, your subtle shift to equate adaptation with the theory of evolution is simply uncouth. To observe adaptation occur in living organisms is quite a different thing from asserting that all those living things share a common ancestor, and that this original life naturally arose out of nonlife, which is only one of the many unproven assumptions and extrapolations in the theory, for which science has no robust explanation.

          • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

            Tyler, no scientist speaks like this about facts.

            No? What about this scientist?

            Science is about observing evidence and evaluating whether or not it supports or contradicts a current theory or model.

            Right. “Evidence,” also known as “facts.”

            History has repeatedly shown the inadequacy, incompleteness, or total abject failure of theories and models proposed in all fields of science.

            No dispute there. That’s why ideas like a young earth and the immutability of species were tossed out centuries ago.

            So yes, evolution is clearly still a theory.

            Hmm. Not sure how this point follows from your last one, but but I never said evolution wasn’t a theory (in fact, I said just the opposite). Being a theory is not a bad thing. They are proposed explanations for facts. Scientists use them to make predictions and then they test those predictions with experimentation and observation. If their theory bears out, it is confirmed. If it doesn’t, its ruled out, as you mention. Evolution has succeeded as a theory because it’s been repeatedly confirmed by the findings in many different fields of inquiry for more than a century. Evolution is a theory, an extremely useful, successful and predictive one.

            Furthermore, your subtle shift to equate adaptation with the theory of evolution is simply uncouth.

            “Uncouth”? Seriously?

            To observe adaptation occur in living organisms is quite a different thing from asserting that all those living things share a common ancestor,

            I agree. I used adaptation as evidence that life changes, not that life shares common ancestry. For evidence of the latter, one could consult facts like nested hierarchies, homologous structures, vestigial structures, ERVs and DNA sequencing, fixed action patterns and much more. You’ll find explanations and specific examples of each at that link.

            and that this original life naturally arose out of nonlife,

            Has nothing to do with evolution. The theory of evolution explains how and why life does change and has changed over time. It does not attempt to explain how life got started in the first place. In fact, evolution does not operate at all except on things that are living.

            which is only one of the many unproven assumptions and extrapolations in the theory,

            Nope. See above.

            for which science has no robust explanation.

            Science hasn’t answered it yet, therefore, God! Excellent use of the theologically destructive God-of-the-gaps fallacy.

  • ashleyhr

    The FULL debate title is ‘Is creation a viable model of origins in today’s modern scientific world?’ Not in AD 100 but TODAY – when science has totally disproven both a 6,000 year old Earth and a 6,000 year old universe (as well as a global flood within the last 5,000 years).

    Nye won’t convert Ham or his followers, and Ham will spin the event afterwards as much as he needs to, but Bill Nye CAN win this debate. How? Mainly by insisting that Ham STICKS TO THE TOPIC – and thus, if he does so (or if he avoids the actual topic and Nye nails him for that) he fails to show that he has a SCIENTIFIC model ie among other things one that starts with the EVIDENCE not with dogma and denial..

    • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

      Thanks for the clarification. Yes, originally, I had only seen in promotional materials the “shorter” version of the debate topic, but you are correct about the qualifier, and I agree that it does make things a bit more fair for the pro-science side. I still would have preferred to see a debate topic that is more to the point and less subjective, something like, “Is the earth less than 10,000 years old?” or “Does life share common ancestry?”

  • Arkalogik

    There is a test that anyone can perform that will show evidence as to why so many people are against the idea of debating a Creationist. Look up Creation vs Evolution debate on google or youtube and watch the dozens that are available and you will see that the evolution side of the argument falls short each time and ends up losing badly. This is embarrassing to the ego’s of those who embrace evolution theory like a religion. Go ahead and look up these debates and watch them….be an honest skeptic and you be the judge as to what makes more rational logical sense in the end. You may be surprised. Look up Waggoner vs Hovind debate and you will be amazed as the evolutionist loses it and almost come to tears as he admits he has his foot firmly planted in his mouth and that he cannot refute the Creation side. He explains how he has bullied and brainwashed and intimidated his students for years trying to indoctrinate and convert them to evolution because of his secular background and that he now wants to learn and teach the Creation science side of the argument in his classes as well. Amazing stuff!!

    • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

      Three words, Arkalogik: Kent Hovind lies. You do know he’s sitting in federal prison right now for lying to the IRS about the millions upon millions he raked in from his “ministry,” right?

      • Arkalogik

        It is to be expected that they would throw the book at Hovind for anything they could to prevent him from debating and exposing the faith based belief of evolution. Hovind was far from a millionaire and put no copyright on the videos he distributed and told people to make copies and give them away. The fact that people bring up his past tax issues shows how they do not want to deal with the real issue at hand. That is like saying Pete Rose sucked at baseball because he got in trouble gambling. His legal issues have nothing to do with his amazing debates that can all be watched for free for anyone open minded enough to investigate all sides of the issue. This one man literally created an unwritten rule among evolutionists to refuse any and all debates….Bill Nye must not have gotten the memo! He is in for a rude awakening and the whole world is watching!

        • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

          The public records in Kent Hovind’s well-documented federal court case showed that by the time he was called to face the music he was making well in excess of $2 million annually. He was shown to owe more than $3.3 million in taxes alone! If you think that’s “far from a millionaire” then it would appear you and I have very different ideas of what the word “millionaire” means.

          The tax issue is not at all analogous to the Pete Rose case. Hovind lied about his income to the federal government; my assertion is that he also lied in his debates, and in fact, there is demonstrable evidence of him having done so.

          From Wikipedia:

          During a debate with Farrell Till, Hovind made the following statement about Donald Johanson: “[He] found the leg bones of Lucy a mile and a half away from the head bones. The leg bones were 200 feet deeper in a deeper layer of strata. I would like to know how fast the train was going that hit that chimpanzee.” This was clearly contrary to the published statements of Donald Johanson. After Hovind had been informed in 1993 that his statement was false, he agreed to stop using the claim but continued to make the statement. When he was again corrected in 1995, he agreed that he was in error, promised not to repeat the claim, and said he would remove it from his audio tapes.

    • ashleyhr

      Arkalogik

      Take a look at this debate and decide which side ‘lost’:

  • Mark Glaab

    Once in a while I check up on origins science to see where it is at. At this point, there are still serious problems with stellar evolution because no one has found a way to compress gas that wants to expand. Planet formation is still fumbling and gas giants pose the worst problems. Then there is the first life, where every experiment and explanation has fallen short by miles. The current “science” on origins is still in bad shape while the fine tuned universe and complexity of life research is squarely in the camp of design advocates.
    The big answer to fine-tuning is a multiverse, where the only evidence for it is the TV show “Sliders”. The answer for the first cell is “Panspermia”, that live came from somewhere else. I guess someone thought that the first cell would develop more easily somewhere else, like “Krypton” then arrive on earth after it blows up and spreads.This is science?

    So it is not just the Biologists that must remind themselves that just because things “look designed” does not mean they were. Now those who know how fine-tuned our universe is for life and how convenient earth is for life, others must join the denials. If anyone is a denier of what they see with their own eyes in the sciences, it is the evolutionist! They then beat up the guy who says “perhaps if things look designed, it is because they are”. Patting themselves on the back for a good beating delivered, they spout the newest and most fantastic explanations to explain the obvious evidence for design away.

    Bill should not debate Ken on Origins, not because it will not look good on a CV, but because he has got BUCKUS to work with for the formation of the fist cell. By the way, the discovery of dual language in the DNA code makes things worse for those who imagine that complex biological language “dreams itself up”. With advances in biochemistry showing complexity and design in exquisite detail, Bill could not have picked a worse time to argue for random forces against Ken.

    Have no fear, evolutionists! Just keep telling yourself that just because things look designed, they are not, and you will keep “believing” in evolution despite the evidence. There is no limit to the ingenuity of someone set on naturalistic explanations. Just don’t expect the rest of us to deny the “real” state of the science to follow the fairy-tales!!!!

    • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

      Hey Mark, this all boils down to what’s called a “God of the gaps” argument. Basically, “Scientists can’t explain (blank), therefore, God exists!” It’s a fallacious argument logically, and it’s also poor and unbiblical theology. In the words of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, “How wrong it is to use God as a stop-gap for the incompleteness of our knowledge. If in fact the frontiers of knowledge are being pushed further and further back (and that is bound to be the case), then God is being pushed back with them, and is therefore continually in retreat. We are to find God in what we know, not in what we don’t know.”

      • Mark Glaab

        Dream on Tyler. the impossibility of the first cell is not a “gap”. Those who portray the staggering problems with getting reproducing cells from rocks as such are only fooling themselves. Frontiers of knowledge are great friends of mine, because they show more clearly that life does not come from non-life.
        Problems with star and planet formation have also widened. At the same time, all the science shows us how incredibly delicate the universal laws and physical constants are, placing us in a universe, galaxy arm, solar system and planet earth that is perfect for life. There are so many factors involved that “an accident” is no longer believable, thus we have the appeals to multiverses, just to mitigate the impossible luck.
        When the evidence is for design and the observed facts go against randomness, we are not appealing to a “God of the Gaps”, but instead to a “logical conclusion”.
        You can stick to multiverses and panspermia as fantastic explanations if you like. You can even wear a lab coat while you spout the fantasy that life can come from no-life, if it makes you feel better.
        I prefer the observable and testable kind of science that tell me the chances of our universe and complex life is just too good to be the product of mere chance and undirected forces. There are no gaps here. Life simply does not spring from non-life!

        • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

          Hey Mark, it most certainly is a “gap.” We have not yet identified the natural mechanism, so you claim that proves a supernatural mechanism. Before we discovered the water cycle and the developmental process of a human baby from the zygotic union of a sperm and an egg, you would have used both the rain and the birth of a baby as irrefutable evidence of God.

          That is the fundamental problem with the “God of the gaps.” As illustrated by the Bonhoeffer quote above, the more we learn, the less we attribute to God, when in fact, the opposite should be true.

          Appeals to probability are also illogical because, given even a few variables, you could make practically any mundane event seem virtually impossible. Take yourself, for example, Mark. Do you have any idea what the odds are that your parents would be who they are, that you would be born when you did, and that you would have exactly the genetic makeup that you do. The odds are hundreds of billions to one, easily, maybe even trillions to one. And such is the case for every other human on this earth. And yet, we’re all still here and more of us are arriving every day, despite the unimaginably long odds against each birth.

          Finally, you do understand that I’m a Christian, right? I believe that God made the universe and everything in it, I just don’t believe he hid some irrefutable calling card on the bottom of a cell somewhere. Irrefutable proof of his existence would rob all of us of the opportunity for faith. As Hebrews 11:3 says, it is “by faith that we understand that the universe was created by the word of God,” not “by the improbability of any alternate explanations.”

          • Mark Glaab

            Pleeease! To in any way trivialize the difficulties in star formation or the formation of the fist cell demonstrates that you either do not know the current state of the science or you are all bluster. This may work on someone who does not know the problems in origins science but I do. The fact that there are “lethal” problems to stars and cells forming all on their own certainly points to the sheer impossibility of natural formation. That is not a pebble in the shoe or a mere gap. This leaves only creation. On the other hand, a fine-tuned universe is a positive evidence for a creator. This is NOT a gap either so you can drop the false bravado.

            As far as scripture goes, you are quoting to me scripture from Hebrews you likely do not even believe. In the same Chapter 11 of Hebrews, Abel, Enoch and Noah are all commended. As an evolutionist, you likely do not even believe that any of these men ever existed in your allegorical Genesis. Why then do you quote from passages which you do not even believe?
            You likely dismiss Jesus when He said the Blood of righteous Abel to Zechariah would fall on His generation. Imagine that, Jesus believes in Abel too, as well as God making them male and female in Genesis 1:27.
            Jesus said on the road to Emmaus said, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken!”. Do you know how many prophets describe God as creator by His wisdom and His understanding?
            You surely disbelieve Moses and the tablets of stone, written with God’s own finger, where it is said in Exodus 31:17 … for in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, and on the seventh day He rested and was refreshed.’ “.
            You can spare us the philosophical gobbledygook that God created by not creating and designed by not designing, sat for 6 billion years doing nothing then took a day off to be refreshed from watching. This stuff is not just an insult to me and other readers, it is an insult to logic.A child can read Ex 31:17 and know what it means.

            You do not believe the scripture you quote and all the appeals to “allegory” fall flat in the testimony of Jesus, that Adam and Eve lived, as well as Abel and Noah. Hebrews 11 was not allegory and the blood of allegorical people does not stain the living.

            You err greatly, not knowing the scriptures nor the sciences.

          • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

            Pleeease! To in any way trivialize the difficulties in star formation or the formation of the fist cell demonstrates that you either do not know the current state of the science or you are all bluster.

            I’m not trivializing anything, I’m simply pointing out that these are scientific matters, not theological ones. The need for God does not rise and fall on what we do or do not understand about the material processes that formed and continue to form the universe.

            The fact that there are “lethal” problems to stars and cells forming all on their own certainly points to the sheer impossibility of natural formation. That is not a pebble in the shoe or a mere gap. This leaves only creation.

            Yes, and before we discovered the natural sources of rain and lightning, these exact arguments would have worked just as well applied to those phenomena.

            On the other hand, a fine-tuned universe is a positive evidence for a creator. This is NOT a gap either so you can drop the false bravado.

            Yes, without natural explanations, we are left with only magic.

            As far as scripture goes, you are quoting to me scripture from Hebrews you likely do not even believe. In the same Chapter 11 of Hebrews, Abel, Enoch and Noah are all commended. As an evolutionist, you likely do not even believe that any of these men ever existed in your allegorical Genesis. Why then do you quote from passages which you do not even believe?

            Wow, it certainly is much more convenient to debate with an individual who provides not only his opinion, but mine as well! Apparently you have no further need for me in this conversation. You clearly prefer the sound of your own voice, and I have other matters to attend to, so very well, blather on.

  • craig cottongim

    I wrote somewhat along the same line, and Ken Ham responded unfavorably: http://craigcottongim.blogspot.com/2014/01/when-stars-align-bill-nye-science-guy.html

    • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

      I saw that! Thanks for the link and for finding my blog :)

  • Kyle G

    Just a bit of irony on one of the opening statements of the article: Manny Pacquiao is a devout Christian man. Doesn’t prove anything or anyone right. Just a bit of humor.

  • Nathanael Roberts

    I enjoyed your article, but I disagree fundamentally with your premise. I feel you’re concentrating too hard on the short term “loss” of the debate. The chances of us losing any skeptics and “nones” to Ham’s crazy con man word salad are slim to (no pun intended) none. Sure, there may be a few people on the fence that go over to Ham’s side, but I think those will be few and far between as well. I think at worst the vast majority of people that are on the fence will likely stay on the fence, and at best many will be inspired to look things up for themselves.

    Apologist arguments convince no one but the already convinced. This is evident in every IQ2 debate between skeptics and theists. The polls taken before and after IQ2 debates ALWAYS favor skeptics in number of minds changed. This is hardly a scientific study, the audience is likely much more rational in all cases for these debates, but it is telling.

    Ham, like most apologists, designs his arguments not to convince skeptics, but to confirm the faith of people who already agree with him (and thus take their money). They have little backing in rationality, and are easily refuted with only a little actual research (or even with a simple Google or Youtube search).

    Sure, in the short term this debate will likely be a “loss” for us (or at least 99% of the audience will claim it as a loss). In the long term though, this can be nothing but good for the cause. As long as Bill keeps a cool head, chooses a few of the most “convincing” of Ham’s arguments to refute, and makes a good show for himself, he will at least inspire some of the listeners to check the facts themselves.

    Ham said it himself, he calls Genesis the foundation of Christianity, and if you teach biblical inerrancy, you are correct. If you teach a child that every word of the bible is divinely inspired, and their entire faith is built on that foundation, their faith becomes easy to destroy. All you have to do is pull a few bricks out of the foundation and the whole thing comes crashing down.

    And Ham’s greed will be his faction’s downfall. He will market this debate as a creationist winning handily in a debate with an “Evolutionist,” and sell DVDs for $10-$20 a pop. Sure, he’ll make a ton of cash, but that will ensure that even more will see this debate.

    This battle will be a loss, but in the long run this can be nothing but a win in the war for the hearts and minds of the country.

    And sorry, this turned out to be much longer of a comment than I originally intended.

    • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

      Hey, thanks for your thoughts. To be clear, my main concern about this thing is not who will “win.” I agree with you that I don’t foresee much “shifting” between the sides. Those who already accept evolution will think Nye “won” because Ham’s scientific arguments (if he even tries to present any) will be preposterous and completely lacking in any discernible evidence, while those who already back Ham will think he “won” because Nye is a “God-hating atheist who doesn’t believe in the Bible.”

      My main concern is whether or not the spectacle will do any “good,” and I have a hard time believing that it will. Also, as a Christian, an event like this bothers me because I fear it will fundamentally boil down to “Christianity vs. science,” and you can only choose one. I say:

      • Fr33th1nk3r

        Why not both? Because they are mostly incompatible.
        Religion has been backpedalling ever since mankind starting examining the world around hisself using empirical means.
        The people who accept scientific explanations for the universe around them, but are still unable to completely divorce themselves from the unscientific belief systems of the past, are simply clutching onto ancient dogmas and traditions that they have a personal stake in, or that they may feel socially stigmatized to shed once and for all.

  • BeReasonable

    Tyler, I find your posts interesting, and you clearly seek to understand scripture and science from a reasonable point of view. However, I am dismayed that someone who is so intelligent does not see the problems with evolution as a theory. In one of your previous posts you go through common mistakes that Christians make in refuting evolution and you mention the argument that there are no transitional fossils. By pointing out a few examples, you miss the point. For evolution to be viable there need to be millions and millions of transitional fossils. There need to be creatures with 1 arm and 3 arms and 4 arms, etc as nature determined that two arms were “best”. Finding a single creature fossil that seems to have the features of two different creatures does not make it “transitional”. Instead that is simply finding another creature. There is an old evolutionary story that if you give a million monkeys a million typewriters for a million years they will eventually write out the complete works of Shakespeare. That may be the case (we could actually do the math to determine how many tries it would take). But the point is that in addition to that one complete document, there would be billions of incomplete ones. The ground would be so littered with the monkey gibberish that it would be hard to find the “real” document. If macro evolution were real, we should see MORE transitional fossils than we do complete fossils. Darwin himself said that his theory would only hold true if the fossils were discovered. They have not been discovered since, as I said, it would not be “hey, I found one,” it would be here are millions more of weird sets of transitional creatures.

    The reason people call evolution a religion is because it continues to be put forth as a viable theory even though the fossil record is not there. Scientists would long ago have abandoned evolution as unsupported, but they don’t have another non-creation theory to replace it with.

    • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

      Hey BeReasonable, I appreciate your thoughts, but you make a few incorrect statements in your comment here, which I will correct below.

      For evolution to be viable there need to be millions and millions of transitional fossils.

      I believe a proper understanding of the theory of evolution leads to the inescapable conclusion that all fossils are a kind of transitional fossil. Life is constantly in transition, in flux. Species are not immutable, we see them continuing to change even to this very day.

      There need to be creatures with 1 arm and 3 arms and 4 arms, etc as nature determined that two arms were “best”.

      Um, you do know that most vertebrates have four limbs, right, not two? And there is an incredible variety in how those limbs are used?

      Finding a single creature fossil that seems to have the features of two different creatures does not make it “transitional”.

      How so? This seems to be a pretty good definition of a transitional fossil to me.

      There is an old evolutionary story that if you give a million monkeys a million typewriters for a million years they will eventually write out the complete works of Shakespeare.

      That sounds more like something an antievolutionist would say to make a point. Do you have a source for a scientist saying this?

      That may be the case (we could actually do the math to determine how many tries it would take). But the point is that in addition to that one complete document, there would be billions of incomplete ones.

      This analogy is inappropriate to biological evolution, and here’s why: It ignores natural selection. Evolution, basically, predicts that variety will develop within populations through genetic recombination, mutation and other factors, and that nature will select those individuals who are best adapted to survive in their given environment. Evolution involves some random mechanisms, but the overall process is not random at all; it is, in fact, quite focused.

      In contrast, your analogy is entirely random. Perhaps if you gave the monkeys a banana every time they entered a correct word of a Shakespeare play in the correct order, then the analogy would be slightly more workable.

      The ground would be so littered with the monkey gibberish that it would be hard to find the “real” document.

      Yes, but if you used the amendment I propose above, then as you approached the “top” of the pile, you would progressively find documents that are closer and closer to the design that nature (or, in this case, the researchers with the bananas) favors.

      At any rate, you seem to think the ground should be full of mutant rejects. If that is a true assessment of your views, you have a gross misunderstanding of what the theory predicts. Mutated creatures of all species are surely born, but those who have serious problems almost always die quickly and fail to pass on their deleterious genes. That means that only one representative of this mutated “subspecies” (if you want to call it that) would have ever existed.

      Fossilization is extremely rare; those creatures which we do find are surely representative of huge pools of life that once existed. The odds are almost unthinkable to suppose that a single mutated creature, which never spread its genes, would manage to die in such a way that its remains would be preserved for us to find.

      Darwin himself said that his theory would only hold true if the fossils were discovered.

      That is incorrect. What he actually said was that it was, “perhaps … the most obvious and serious objection which can be urged against the theory.” He then went on, in that chapter, to explain why the fossil record is so incomplete, and exactly what fossils we should expect to find if we can find any at all.

  • Xabithedon

    “That’s because there is no scientific debate to be had over whetherthe earth is billions of years old, or whether life shows strong evidence of common descent, or whether a global flood occurred within the memory of modern man. These questions (particularly the first and third) were settled by the experts who are paid to study such matters long before any of the would-be “debaters” were even born.” This is why evolution is a DOCTRINE, A DOGMA. This quote suggest that instead of debating over the evidence we should heed the words of the “experts” for the could never be wrong! This is why evolution never convinced me, never mind the supposed evidence supporting evolution actually contradicting the theory but the ridicule that ensues when its questioned as if it is the law to abide by this Dogma.

    • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

      Are you a scientist, Xabithedon? Do you have evidence that falsifies the theory of evolution? Then, by all means, you should gather it up, write a paper on the matter, get it published and collect your Nobel Prize. That’s how science is done, and overturning a paradigm as long-established as evolution would make you a household name overnight. You’d be a sensation. Godspeed, sir.

      As for my quote, none of that has anything to do with doctrine or dogma (words that are religious in nature and have no place in a scientific discussion). Nor is it a statement intended to discourage intellectual curiosity. It is simply a statement of fact, that there is no ongoing scientific discussion regarding whether the earth is billions of years old, or whether life shows strong evidence of common descent, or whether a global flood occurred within the memory of modern man. The vast majority of those who disagree are not scientists, and almost all of those who are scientists are not experts in any relevant field of inquiry.

      If I’m going to be diagnosed with cancer and prescribed a treatment, I’d rather the work be done by an oncologist, not a chef or a housewife or a mechanical engineer, know what I’m saying?

      • Xabithedon

        I have to be a scientist.to use common sense? No offense but this is whats wrong with people like you today Tyler, I have to have some sort of degree or title next to my name to question the status quo. There is plenty of evidence that contradicts the evolutionary theory including the evidence that supposedly supports it. You don’t have to be a scientist to see the flaws in evolution, all you have to do is read and educate yourself. People like you who cling to the words of “experts” instead of researching and examining the evidence yourself. As for the terms doctrine and dogma these are almost exclusive to religion and politics but that is EXACTLY how the evolutionary theory is taught, like a religion.
        “It is simply a statement of fact”

        It is a fact that their were a group of experts that came to similar conclusions what is not a fact is that their conclusions are definite.
        “If I’m going to be diagnosed with cancer and prescribed a treatment, I’d rather the work be done by an oncologist, not a chef or a housewife or a mechanical engineer, know what I’m saying?”

        Or you could do the research yourself? The only difference between Doctors, Scientist and yourself is that they have made an effort to obtain the necessary knowledge and you haven’t. These professions are not a birth right.

        • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

          You do not have to be a scientist to use common sense, but speaking of common sense, the common sense would seem to suggest that people who have studied and researched and conducted experiments within a given topic for 30 years or so probably know more about it than a random online commenter.

          I am quite comfortable with the degree of my knowledge of and investigation into the theory of evolution and the evidence that supports it, but thanks for asking. And thanks also for the health advice, but if I am ever diagnosed with cancer, I’ll probably put more weight in the opinion of my doctors than the information I might be able to glean from WebMD.

          • Xabithedon

            Slavery went on for around 200 years off of the misconception that the bible supported it, the science community used to believe that DNA was not important, etc. mind you these are people who spent their entire life in the field. The amount of time you invest in a field means NOTHING if all you acquire is misconceptions and half truths.

          • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

            Slavery has been around for way more than 200 years, my friend, and it continues to this day in many places. But what the heck does slavery have to do with this particular discussion?

            Yes, scientists have been mistaken about many things over the years, but that’s the point: Science is a powerfully self-correcting, brutal process. Theories are made and tested, and if they don’t hold up to the evidence or the experimentation, they’re tossed out in the cold. The fact that evolution has withstood more than 150 years of the most rigorous testing imaginable is a pretty good testament to the strength and accuracy of the theory.

          • Xabithedon

            I was referring to american slavery, I should have been more specific. My point was alluding to the fact that the time spent studying a field or piece of literature means nothing if you have not obtained the correct information from it hence me saying american slavery was riding on the misconception of the words of the bible. I’m sure the tool is good, excellent matterfact but the users are flawed. Evolution has been proven false along time ago, the only reason why I can see it still being promoted as fact is if money is involved just like when science used to claim cigarettes were healthy.

            http://www.healio.com/hematology-oncology/news/print/hematology-oncology/%7B241d62a7-fe6e-4c5b-9fed-a33cc6e4bd7c%7D/cigarettes-were-once-physician-tested-approved

            The evolutionary theory has failed the majority of the most important test when concerning its validity, when a theory is contradicting basic laws like entropy its a problem. Yet it is taught in schools as the gospel and anyone who questions it is ridiculed, just like a Dogma.

          • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

            There is no scientific test that has ever falsified the theory of evolution. If I am incorrect, please cite the relevant peer-reviewed research that indicates otherwise. I must have missed it.

            There is also no “law of entropy.” I presume you’re referring to the second law of thermodynamics, which concerns closed systems that have no outside sources of energy. The earth is not a closed system. We have, for example, a rather large star nearby that we call the “sun,” which constantly gives off massive amounts of heat and energy.

            Also, “entropy” is a term used to describe aspects of thermodynamic systems. It does not describe biological entities. There is no meaningful way to calculate the “entropy” of a horse, or a frog, or a human being. Therefore, applying the second law of thermodynamics to the biosphere is a woefully inappropriate use of the postulate.

          • Xabithedon

            Our Milky way is a closed system, while the Sun gives massive amounts of energy it in no way stops life from degrading over time. By your logic plants should never wilt thanks to the energy of the sun.

          • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

            I’m sorry, I must confess that you’ve lost me. How do you think “plants should never wilt” follows from what I said?

          • Xabithedon

            Your claim was that the earth is not a closed system because of the Sun thus the second law of thermodynamics do not apply. I respond with our entire galaxy is a closed system because very little matter comes in our out thus everything in that closed system is subject to the second law of thermodynamics. My (admittedly) over simplified example of the Sun not negating the effects of the second law of thermodynamics was that example.

          • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

            Actually, my main claim about the second law of thermodynamics not applying was the fact that the postulate does not describe biological systems. There is no meaningful way to calculate the entropy of a frog or a horse or a human being. You didn’t seem to respond to that point.

            I do think this logic is flawed, but I’ll follow you down the road a bit. Let’s say our galaxy is a “closed system,” as you claim, and let’s say life on earth does violate the 2LoTD somehow. All that would need to occur to NOT violate the law, is for the overall entropy of the system to increase. So, if entropy actually were decreasing on our planet, but increasing by 100-fold in some other part of the galaxy, then there is no violation of the law. Are you saying you’ve explored the entire Milky Way and determined there is no such increase in entropy occurring?

          • Xabithedon

            “I’ll probably put more weight in the opinion of my doctors than the information I might be able to glean from WebMD.”

            Well if your only reference is only one source…..

  • Schafe

    I always find it interesting when Evolutionists refuse to debate Creationists. I think the fact that Bill Nye is willing to debate shows he has confidence in his beliefs. When an evolutionist refuses to debate a creationist he is basically concluding:

    “I’d rather have people THINK I am a coward, than for people to KNOW that I am wrong.”

    That is why people like Richard Dawkins refuse to debate.

    • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

      Would you debate a Holocaust denier? Would you debate someone who believes gnomes steal our underwear? Would you debate someone who believes the earth is flat? Would you debate someone who believes “Stars Wars” really happened? Would you debate someone who believes that we’re living in the Matrix? Would you debate someone who believes they commune with Elvis’ ghost? Would you debate someone who believes the earth is a living, breathing entity, with thoughts and feelings? Would you debate someone who believes that they can talk to animals? Would you debate someone who believes that droughts and hurricanes are caused by vengeful spirits?

      I would hope the answers to all those questions are “yes.” Otherwise, you’re basically concluding, “I’d rather have people THINK I am a coward, than for people to KNOW that I am wrong.”

  • John Doe

    BOTH SIDES ARE RIGHT ABOUT THE TIME…Bible is true…EINSTEIN’S RELATIVITY EQUATION SAYS 13.7 BILLION YEARS AND 6 DAYS ARE BOTH TRUE DEPENDING ON SPACE-TIME COORDINATES; T1=T2/(1- (v^2)/c^2) ½;13,700,000,000 x365 = 5000500000000 days;5000500000000 = 6/sqrt 1-.999999999999999999999999999­­99999% velocity of photons (farthest photons);5000500000000 = 6/sqrt .000000000000000000000001;5000­­500000000 = 6/1.19988001199880011998800119­­988e-12; PLACING YHWH 1/2 a millimeter from the farthest photons YHWH is in all reference frames.

    distance of YHWH from farthest photon inthe estimated size of the universe=46500000000 LY radius; 299792458 m / s x60 x 60 x 24 x 365 x 46500000000=439,622,855,430,19­­2,000,000,000,000 meters;439,622,855,430,192,000­­,000,000,000 meters x .99999999999999999999999999999­­999= 439,622,855,430,191,999,999,99­­9,999.99956 meters distance;439,622,855,430,192,0­­00,000,000,000 – 439,622,855,430,191,999,999,99­­9,999.99956 = .0005 meters difference, YHWH half a millimeter from farthest photons

    space time stretched 1000,000,000,000 times since first matter (something slower than light survived, hence time kicks in), this means time has slowed 1000,000,000,000 times, 5.1 days genesis x 1000,000,000,000/365=13.9 billion years, YHWH looking into the universe would experience 6 days while the universe experiences 13.9 billion years; 6 OF OUR DAYS ARE STRETCHED OUT AND CONTAIN 14 BILLION EARLY YEARS OF THE UNIVERSE

    • Fr33th1nk3r

      Time has not slowed and YEC still does not fit the facts. At all.
      Thank you for trying.

      • John Doe

        you have a great misunderstanding of relativity..and Im not YEC…it is 14billion here…but near the farthest photons going every so slightly slower…yes…it would be 1 day…getting closer to here 2 days…little more 3 days…etc…it works out to be 32 decimal places…I gave you the formula…if you can do algebra…plug in the numbers yourself..and …if you have a problem with the formula..you need to take that to einstein..not me

  • Sam

    I’m simply blown away by the arrogance of the evolutionists, and probably because they accuse the other side of arrogance that they themselves show in full force. Both sides are FAITH based when it comes to the origin of things, yet they argue about science…

    • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

      You’re right, Sam: I have faith, faith that the vast evidence of common descent is there because common descent occurred, and not because God put it there to deliberate mislead us.

      • Sam

        I DID specify the scope of my comment. ) Big bang or God. You believe one or the other. Science has NOTHING do with it! You either believe you evolved from a rock, or you believe you were created as is. Everything that follows from that point to today is besides the point. The problem with all those debates is failure to define scope and set firm boundaries.

        • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

          You most certainly did not specify the scope of your argument, since you defined one side as “evolutionists,” and the Big Bang has absolutely nothing to do with evolution. Also, the theory of evolution does not teach that “you evolved from a rock.” Sorry.

          • Sam

            You just demonstrated exactly what I was talking about! I guess the word “origin” means noting to you. That’s all I made a statement on. I did comment on something else, yes, but surely you can tell the difference or follow. You sure are quick to accuse, but you yourself didn’t specify what you meant by evolution. Which one? I guess setting the boundaries can evolve into a debate of its own. ))) Since you appear to be a word picker, I’ll clarify: macroevolution follows back to a rock, rock follows back to bing bang. Here’s that train of thought. One part of it can’t exist without the other. For you I’ll repeat my statement. The ORIGIN is faith based with only TWO options: God or nothing exploding aka big bang. You can believe one or the other. Science simply does not apply here. Arguments that follow, are full of science and fiction, but I’m not talking about that.

          • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

            Science has not unequivocally discovered a natural mechanism for how the universe began or for the origin of life. There is some evidence that supports the big bang theory, but it happened a very, very, very long time ago, and there is not enough evidence to say exactly what happened with any high degree of certainty. I try not to dig my heels in on any matter for which there is not strong evidence. However, none of that justifies your attempt to use the God of the gaps arguments. Holes in our scientific understanding of the universe do not “prove” God exists, and as a Christian, I think it is irresponsible to say otherwise. If the “gaps” prove God, then guess what? God only gets smaller every time a gap is filled in.

            Evolution is the theory that attempts to explain how and why life has changed over time — it does not speak to how life started. There is a vast wealth of evidence that life has, in fact, changed over time, so I accept it.

          • Sam

            Well said, BUT not really on topic. Sure, it appears to be, but it’s not. Clever switcheroo. ))) I can’t tell wheteher intentional or not. When it comes to real science, there is NO scientific evidence for God or the big bang. Lots of words, yes… some call it theories, the others call it the Word of God. Why do you fail to see my point? Whatever the origin is, it HAS to be accepted by faith alone for now. When you speak of evolution, I see that you intentionally fail to clarify, because it brings valid questions that you don’t want to answer, because that would invalidate your statements.

          • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

            “Intentionally fail to clarify” — are you kidding? I explicitly defined what evolution is, and what it isn’t.

          • Sam

            Did I miss your definition of microevolution or macroevolution somewhere? Or are they the same thing? All you said was:
            “Evolution is the theory that attempts to explain how and why life has
            changed over time — it does not speak to how life started.”
            You might want to check out Evolution 101

            “There is a vast wealth of evidence that life has, in fact, changed over time, so I accept it.”
            Well, after you define at least the above two, I’d like to see the evidence for the macro one.

          • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

            There is not really any such thing as “microevolution and macroevolution.” They are fundamentally identical processes at work on different time scales. To propose that there is some magic “barrier” that prevents small-scale changes from accumulating and eventually producing large-scale changes, makes exactly as much sense as saying that a person can walk from his front door to the sidewalk, but it is impossible for a person to walk to their friend’s house on the other side of town.

            If you’re really interested in some of the evidence that life has changed over time and shares common ancestry, you could start here and here.

          • Sam

            “There is not really any such thing as “microevolution and macroevolution.”
            I didn’t ask for your logic. ) Evolution101 will define both of them for you, I guess that means there ARE such things. One has scientific evidence for it, the other is a logical construct, like your last post, and nothing more. Stick to official scientific sources, will ya? ) You ridiculed creationist approach, yet you use the same tactics, dragging me into topics I did make statements on. My original statement was on origin. If you don’t accept the origin by faith, please let me know what it’s based on. Leave everything out of it, especially if you reply to questions like Obama. )))

          • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

            I didn’t ask for your logic.

            Forgive me. I forgot how much anti-evolutionists detest logic. You are correct: You did not ask for logic. However, you did, in fact, ask for evidence that life has changed over time and shares common descent, and I provided links to Web pages that have gobs of both. I trust you took the time to peruse each line of evidence carefully, so I’m dying to know: What did you think of them? Clearly, they did not persuade you to accept evolution, so please, explain to me in detail how the creationism theory is better supported than evolution by such evidence as arbitrary genetic correlations, ERVs, pseudogenes, non-coding DNA, atavisms, developmental biology and embryonic development, homologous structures, nested hierarchies, vestigial structures, the progressive change of life seen in the fossil record, continental distribution, island biogeography, ring species and so on?

            As to the origin question, I said that I do not take a position on something that is not evidenced. I believe that God is the creator of the universe, just as I believe he is the creator of all life and everything else in the universe, but that does not mean that he didn’t use some natural mechanism to accomplish his purposes. I also believe that God is the creator of each human life, but that doesn’t mean I have to deny the natural mechanisms that we know are also involved in the prenatal development of each person.

          • Sam

            Can you clarify for me how you believe, yet not take a position?

            P.S. “However, you did, in fact, ask for evidence that life has changed over time and shares common descent” That is NOT what I asked for! I asked for something SPECIFIC. Do you read my posts at all?! Can we drop this already?! I don’t need your links, I use the official resources, and do suggest you do too. I’ve corrected at least couple of your statements that contradict Evolution101, the official evolutionist source. ) Enough words on this.

            Can you clarify how you believe, yet not take a position?

          • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

            That is NOT what I asked for! I asked for something SPECIFIC. Do you read my posts at all?! Can we drop this already?!

            Um, you said, and I quote: You “would like to see the evidence for the macro one” (i.e., evolution). Which I provided. In those links you will find numerous, SPECIFIC examples of the evidence for evolution and common descent. The information on there is perfectly reputable and can be verified in peer-reviewed journal articles or any other “official” source you may prefer.

            Can you clarify for me how you believe, yet not take a position?

            Sure. I believe God created the universe, and I do not believe that says anything about whether he did or did not use something like the Big Bang. My beliefs inform me on the who and the why, but not the how.

          • Sam

            I see, you won’t let anything drop! Are you a Christian?! Oh, wait… you are!!! ))) You still don’t see the problem, do you? OK, I’ll explain, but can it be the end of it finally? I’m really curious just about one thing – the origin. OK, you did not specify what evolution you were talking about. Then you did not define the specific one. I wanted evidence AFTER you define. You didn’t. Why did I have that condition? Well, we all throw links around, but what we each read is a mystery. That is why I always ask what the other person thinks we’re talking about. Enough? )

            So, your position is that God is the Creator, but it could have been a big bang under His supervision? Is that position based on science or belief?

          • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

            OK, you did not specify what evolution you were talking about. Then you did not define the specific one. I wanted evidence AFTER you define. You didn’t.

            I “did not define the specific one,” because there is nothing to specify. You attempt to create a false distinction between macroevolution and microevolution, which I reject. They are both the same “evolution” — the only difference between them is the time scale on which they operate. I explained this above.

            So, your position is that God is the Creator, but it could have been a big bang under His supervision?

            Yes.

            Is that position based on science or belief?

            Both. My faith in God is a belief, and my belief that he created the universe comes from the Bible and my belief that its theological teachings are trustworthy. The science is that there is some evidence that supports the big bang, such that it is the leading cosmological model, but I don’t think it’s been conclusively confirmed.

          • Sam

            ” I don’t think it’s been conclusively confirmed.”
            Exactly! So you have to believe in such “evidence” as well. Very scientific.. ) Just like macroevolution exists only in the heads that believe in it. If macroevolution was possible, surely there would be scientific evidence!

            ” I explained this above.”
            NO, you told me some parable without bothering to get your FACTS and DEFINITIONS straight with OFFICIAL evolution resource.

    • Fr33th1nk3r

      The Theory of Evolution has NOTHING to do with faith– and everything to do with observable, testable evidence. The rest of your points are not really worth addressing with this in mind.

  • http://www.thinkpoint.wordpress.com/ SC
  • lg

    To those who claim Ham will edit the debate video. It is being live-streamed, not going to be edited.

    • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

      Thank you. I believe most of these concerns were expressed before it was announced that the debate would be broadcast live, for free.

  • Sir mangzalot

    Are you sure there is NO evidence for a biblical flood? I just ran across this article on abc news: http://abcnews.go.com/m/story?id=17884533

    • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

      I certainly think it’s possible that there was a catastrophic flood, and that the biblical story and those of other religions are partially historical accounts of that event. But there is no evidence of the flood the young-earth creationists say happened: one that covered the highest mountains, killed almost everything on earth and lasted for almost a year.

    • Fr33th1nk3r

      There are a number of problems with ballard’s theory:
      1) If all that water was here during the time of the floods– where did it all go? Did it magically evaporate to some hidden place in the sky?
      2) For all his claims of finding an “ancient shoreline” and evidence of an flooded civilization– he provides not one shred of historical or scientific proof, and not one piece of evidence to support ANY of his claims. No peer-reviewed articles, no charts showing his radioactive-isotope dating on his ancient seashells– not one iota of evidence. Just a whole lot of claims of what COULD have happened.
      Well….I think the world could have been created by the Flying Spaghetti Monster. I now officially have as much evidence as Mr. Bollard…..
      Come to think of it– wasn’t this the same guy who claimed he found Noah’s Ark and wagon wheels at the bottom of the Red Sea a few years back? L-O-L

    • Fr33th1nk3r

      Also, if you do a few quick searches– you will find a lot of information out there about the “Black Sea Deluge Hypothesis”. Creationists originally tried to posit and force the notion that the floods that occurred reached levels of 80m of water or better, but modern research now shows that if a flood occurred at all– it was much closer to being 30m high and only a localized event due to meltwaters from the glaciers around the Aegean Sea..
      There was no global flood.
      Also, the findings of various ships and vessels (thought to have originated from the the ancient city of Sinop) conflicts wih teh YEC account, as Sinop dates back to the Byzantine period.
      Also, the radiocarbon dating of teh snail shells, Bollard found– fit more into the 7500-8500 year timeframe– which also does NOT support the YEC hypothesis of the earth, universe, and all societies here being under 6000 years old.

  • labman57

    Sanctimonious, scientifically-illiterate, theocracy-minded politicians and pundits have redefined what constitutes science to fit their own point of view. Therefore, they equate real science with natural phenomena under the control of God.

    What they don’t understand is that science is not merely a body of knowledge accumulated over the centuries, it is also the process through which this knowledge is attained. And so simply declaring that something is true because it says so in the Bible (or any other literary source) cannot be construed as science if that “fact” or “idea” was not the result of a valid, structured, self-critical scientific process.

    “God works in mysterious ways” is a religious rationalization for what these folks really mean: “I have no freaking clue how natural phenomena happen, nor how the process of scientific observation, experimentation, analysis, deduction, and discovery further our understanding of the universe”.

    The allegories and parables presented in the Bible are akin to a docudrama — a fictional account of early human history inspired by and loosely based on actual events. These scriptures were designed, in part, to provide answers for people who asked questions about matters which they could not yet comprehend and to provide guidelines for expected social behavior as determined by the religious order of the time.

    Furthermore, early religious leaders sought to provide their followers with a strong feeling of community, moral righteousness, political empowerment, and spiritual purpose. The Old and New Testaments and the Koran were all reverse-engineered to help these evolving religions attain these goals.

    Spirituality is another matter entirely. Organized religion and spirituality are related, but not equivalent.

    There is nothing inherently mutually exclusive between the belief in a supreme spiritual entity — and with it, an inward search for meaning and purpose — and the convictions of the scientific method. The apparent conflict arises when one equates the existence of “a Higher Consciousness” with the validity of the allegories in that popular work of fiction known as the Bible.

    In other words, spirituality and respect for science are not mutually-exclusive predilections.

    If you happen to be a believer in some form of “God”, wonderful. If you are an atheist or agnostic, that is equally wonderful. Both points of view should be respected, and neither should be so insecure that they feel the need to convert, condemn, or denigrate the other.

    Most importantly though, people who belong to any of the myriad of religions that exist in this country should observe their tenets and practice their rituals in the comfort of their homes, their sanctuaries, and their private schools and not try to impose their particular religious values and mores onto the rest of society via political lobbying or by proselytizing religious dogma in public schools.

    The realm of science — with its evidence-based testable theories, evolving species, relativistic measurements, and quantum phenomena — undermines the “absolutism” that is embraced by those whose view of the universe must conform to a literal interpretation of the Bible.

  • Guilherme silva

    I believe to have understood the problem with K Ham arguments: it is true no one was there in the past to see the beggining of life, movements of plate tectonics on so on. But science is not made of observations only. We build models that must fit observable data and make predictions about the past and the future. Scientific models (a.k.a. “theories”) are like a huge puzzle of billions of small pieces that shoul be put together in a coherent and consistent way. No one (or no serious people, at least) will hold that modern view is complete or totally right. It is a on going process.
    Suppose, lets say, that god does exists and was the real creator off all things. (We may find this as true one day, although very improbable) . What evidence we have now of that? Where does it fit the present paradigm?

    • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

      Great thoughts, Guilherme. Thanks for sharing. I think the analogy of the puzzle is quite appropriate. Scientists are trying to put the puzzle together without using the picture on the box, while folks like K-Ham are presuming that the picture on the box is correct without bothering with the pieces. It’s kinda like this.

  • Al Verum

    To me one the most amazing thing is that “Recorded History” around the globe is recognized at about 4-6000 years BC. It is fascinating that with the millions upon millions of years we have with humans evolving in complexity we only have recorded events for the last 6- 8000 years.

    Shouldn’t we have evidence of recorded history long before this or did human evolution not attain the necessary skill set until 6000 years ago. This would be millions of years after much of our cognative and social skills were set and reinforced throughout human culture and subcultures.

    It does not make sense – at all. We should have a much longer documented and recorded history if evolution is fact.

    If anything could be found that was 10-20- 100 thousand years ago then evolutionists would have a case, but they don’t. They have to admit that the oldest recorded history we have is under 10,000 years old. That up against millions of years complex human evolution doesn’t look good – at all.

  • Al Verum

    To me one the most amazing thing is that “Recorded History” around the globe is recognized at about 4-6000 years BC. It is fascinating that with the millions upon millions of years we have with humans evolving in complexity we only have recorded events for the last 6- 8000 years.

    Shouldn’t we have evidence of recorded history long before this or did human evolution not attain the necessary skill set until 6000 years ago. This would be millions of years after much of our cognative and social skills were set and reinforced throughout human culture and subcultures.

    It does not make sense – at all. We should have a much longer documented and recorded history if evolution is fact.

    If anything could be found that was 10-20- 100 thousand years ago then evolutionists would have a case, but they don’t. They have to admit that the oldest recorded history we have is under 10,000 years old. That up against millions of years complex human evolution doesn’t look good – at all.

    • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

      Well, obviously, “recorded history” does not predate the invention of writing, which was some time in the 4th millennium B.C. Just because people weren’t writing then, doesn’t mean they weren’t “there,” doing lots of other things. We do, in fact, have evidence of human art, music, simple tools, even burying the dead, that dates back hundreds of thousands of years. And the fossils and rock strata go back millions and billions of years. We don’t need a signed confession by a trilobite to tell us how old it is.

      • Alvin Verum

        A signed confession would be meaningless to you I’m sure – more fanaticism.

        • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

          Sorry — how am I being fanatical by pointing out the fact that we have reliable ways of dating human civilization, the earth and the universe beyond human writing? Saying that the earth can only be as old as human recorded history is like saying an 18-year-old boy is only a week old, since the pimple on his face is a week old. It seems like one who ignores the evidence or straight-up denies it exists is more fanatical…

    • Fr33th1nk3r

      Incorrect, AL VERUM.
      WRITTEN history– that is written language, only goes back some 4000-8000 years, but before that, there were literally centuries where people communicated and recorded history through cave paintings, music, and various rituals.
      And that is just human, recorded history.
      What about the Huon pines of Australia? Or the American bristlecone pines? There are specimens on this earth that have been alive longer than the universe is supposed to have existed according to YECs.
      If all life on earth has existed only within the last 6000 years– why do we only find mostly fossilized dinosaurs and very few fossilized modern-day humans?
      All one needs to disprove Young Earth Creationism is a a high-school level knowlege of basic biology/gemology, and a tiny bit of critical thinking.

      • Al Verum

        I understand and am aware of cave paintings, but there appears to be no way to actually “date” a cave painting. For example here is a quote from wikipedia
        “They dated some charcoal from the floor of the cave, and then they extrapolated it” to the paintings, Pike said.

        • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

          I’m not sure where you found that quote, but it’s not true that there is “no way to actually date a cave painting.” If you can radiocarbon-date charcoal on the floor, then you can radiocarbon-date the paintings — which are usually composed of charcoal as well, at least in part. They also can and do date the activity in the cave by radiocarbon-dating torch marks found on the walls.

  • Francisco Soní

    Could someone explain to me (being Mexican, having lived my whole life in Mexico) how creationism is an issue at all in the 21st century in a country which have sent men to the Moon and developed nuclear energy? Are you Americans stupid? How it comes that anyone with education could possibly belive Genesis textually?

    • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

      Hey Francisco, I wish I could explain it, and yes, it is embarrassing that Americans deny evolution at higher rates than any other developed nation. All I can say is that groups like Answers in Genesis put a lot of misinformation out there, and make millions by fleecing religious people who think they’re being faithful to God.

    • Fr33th1nk3r

      I agree– it is frightening. There are times of day where a feeling of unreality washes over me when I consider the fact that some 65% of the people I see around me– all believe they are in some sort of special telepathic contact with an invisible man in the sky.

  • Al Verum

    Frankly if what evolutionary scientists say is true then it would make sense that the evolutionary / creation debate should have been settled a million years ago.

    • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

      It has been long settled, among anyone who looks at the evidence objectively.

      • Al Verum

        How long is “long settled” – 100 years? 100 years against the backdrop of millions/billions. You should really get a grip on history.

        • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

          And who would have been discussing evolution a million years ago? Homo habilis? Would you mind explaining how your argument makes any sense?

  • http://lotharlorraine.wordpress.com/ Lotharson

    I think that Bill Nye has clearly to be congratulated for his warm and kind tone during the whole debate.

    I offered my own progressive Christian thoughts on the debate here .

    Thank God for evolution!

    Cheers from Europe were Creationism is really fringe.

  • Disturbing Thoughts Podcast

    Check out our podcast on iTunes! We talk all about this debate, it was super fun! Eps 35 – “Disturbing Thoughts Podcast” http://goo.gl/Wdkb26

    • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

      Cool, thanks!

  • Al Verum

    Here is a great article explaining how DNA reveals an intelligent creator. DATA isn’t Random.

    http://www.ucg.org/science/dna-tiny-code-thats-toppling-evolution/

  • Al Verum

    Evolution – a designed argument to deny the existence of a Holy God and moral law.

    • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

      Evolution: an argument designed to scientifically explain comparative phylogenies, nested heirarchies, vestigial structures and organs, fixed-action patterns, continental distribution, island biogeography, ring species, the fossil record and so on.

  • Al Verum

    God isn’t pleased with “christians” denying a moral universe designed by a Holy God.

    • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

      I also doubt he’s pleased with “Christians” waving away the evidence of an ancient earth and evolution — and thereby denying the real work he’s done in creation.

      • Al Verum

        He is exceptionally pleased with the defense of the gospel.
        Can you not conceive of a Holy all powerful creator purposing an earth with the appearance of age.
        How old is a newborn baby? How old is anything that you can hold in your hand or carve out of the earth?

        • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

          Sorry, did you just equate “defending the idea that the earth is 6,000 years old” with “defending the gospel”? The gospel is not equal to the idea that the earth is young, nor does it depend on such an idea. If you can’t agree with that, then you’re so far afield of scripture that I’m not sure we can really have a meaningful discussion.

          Can you not conceive of a Holy all powerful creator purposing an earth with the appearance of age.

          In other words, “lying”? No, I cannot conceive of the God of the Bible lying in his work in creation, making it “appear” billions of years older than it is in order to test our faith (Numbers 23:19).

  • Al Verum

    For God (who “is” outside of time) to create “reality” for his highest creation (creatures constrained by time) he added the appearance of “age” to all his creation. This demonstrates how wise and careful he was about his purpose and his work.

    • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

      Al, if this thought comforts you, great, but to everyone else, it makes absolutely no sense. Essentially, you’re saying that God had to invent a make-believe historical past that never actually happened, in order for us to understand “reality.” A God who does such a thing as you claim appears neither wise nor careful, as far as I can tell. He looks more like a deceptive trickster.

  • theot58

    I disagree with this article.

    1)The SCIENTIFIC evidence supporting molecules to man evolution is extremely poor

    - There is NO directly observable evidence; ALL of it is circumstancial.

    -All of it is interpretation of the observable evidence.

    - None of it is convincing

    2) The silly idea that debating with young earth creationists is a waste of time is really stupid

    - The real reason that Dawkins does not debate people like Lane is because he is SCARED the weaknesses of molecules to man evolution will get through to the public.

    - If his case is as strong as he says that it is – why does he not make the creationist look like utter fools by the strength of his arguement?

    The evolution battle is often MISrepresented as science against religion – this is baloney!

    The real battle is between good science and Darwinism. When molecules to man evolution is scrutinised using the scientific method, it crumbles.

    The scientific method demands: observation, measurement, repeatability. Molecules to man evolution has none of these, all it has is circumstantial evidence which is open to interpretation. Ask yourself: What evidence is there that our great …. Great grandfather was a self replicating molecule?

  • carl again

    The universe is endless , the entire universe is God , not a humanoid old man , pure energy , pure thought and LOVE . God thinks it happens , ” Let there be light ” The big bang theory is God , not a theory but God thought it and it happened , billion years or more , creating all the uranium and boom . All that radioactive gas , stars and cooled down planets . A Geiger county get radioactive from fertile soil , higher other places . Angels of God came to earth and mated with us long ago , the offspring might have been making atomic bombs for all we know . God wiped out the arrogant people except for Noah and family , in a huge floating box , no sail no way to control where it travelled . But some of that Angel gene , is in all of us . Recorded time did not start until , about Abraham’s time period , so as for so and so living 300 , 400 and 500 years was Moses decision . A reference to male family tree . Average life span 45 years , so 10 generations of okay I’ll use a modern name , Anderson till no male born . So Abraham was told by God to do what ? 4053 years ago ? . Terrible lizards or enormous birds , dinosaurs great way to dump fertilizer , all over . Even living in extreme cold weather , recent discovery of fossils . The whole universe is God , Jesus easy to understand , a flesh and blood God’s avatar . We will see Jesus sit at the right side of God . The debate goes on .

    • carl anderson again

      Glitches happen , radioactive reading from a Geiger counter , how God created the universe is how God did it . We created with a free will , we are not characters in a computer game/story . A lion eats meat , the deer eats vegetation , if things just happen , the lion and deer would change diets or energy sources at random . It is as if these creatures are programed . SO WHOM DID THE PROGRAMING ?