Did anyone catch the debate last night between Bill Nye and Ken Ham? The two were debating creationism and evolution. Honestly, I went into it knowing I would likely be irritated by the creationist side of the debate, but hoping to hear something intelligent that would enlighten me to why it was still such a widely held belief.
Anyone who watched will know we got nothing of the sort. The question the two were supposed to be debating was “Is creationism a viable model of origins in today’s modern, scientific world?” Mr. Ham spent the first 10 minutes or so of his opening statement arguing not this question, but the question “Are creationist viable scientists?” He played several clips of scientists and engineers who believed in the creation model, and then talked about the cool things they’ve built. Yes, Mr. Ham, people who believe strange, fantastical things, can still be useful members of society. I’m a decent cook and fiber artist, and I’m afraid of the dark. Sometimes I think there are monsters under my bed, yet I remain literate and capable of performing rudimentary tasks, as well as some advanced ones.
Ham then moved on to present a few pieces of evidence supporting creationism. He showed a chart from a recent UCLA study showing that all the hundreds of breeds of dogs may have stemmed from just several breeds. Mr. Ham’s purpose in showing this chart was to prove that the millions of species currently inhabiting the Earth could indeed have come from just the several thousand saved on Noah’s ark, and come to be during the past 4,000 years. What he didn’t mention is that the evolution taking place in the chart he displayed was over the course of some 400,000 years. The final five minutes of Ham’s opening segment were taken up by bible quotes. Throughout his presentation, Ham repeatedly insisted that there was no way to prove that the Earth was older than several thousand years, because no one was there to observe it. He was adamant that fossils could not be older than 6,000 years old, because death and destruction did not occur until after the original sin. He also took several minutes of his opening presentation to bash homosexuality and gay marriage specifically, while also stating that non-Christians were amoral, and that without god as our compass we would have no right or wrong, and may as well start killing off old people because they were a burden to society. Yes, he really said that.
Mr. Nye’s 30 minutes opening segment was honestly rather straight forward and boring. He presented all of the scientific evidence we’re familiar with, while pointing out a handful of flaws in the creationist argument. Following this, each gentleman was given 10 minutes to rebut the others’ argument. Mr. Ham’s rebuttal was infuriating, as he had clearly prepared it ahead of time – before hearing Mr. Nye’s presentation. He had a whole new slide show ready to go. This was the point in the debate where I began to completely lose interests. From this point on, Mr. Ham simply fell back on bible quotes and a handful of instances in which science didn’t seem to make sense. There were too many absurd arguments made by Mr. Ham for me to point out here. I haven’t yet found a link where one can re-watch the debate, but if anyone does, I’d love to add it to the post so folks can check it out.
In my opinion, debating a creationist, or anyone who takes the bible completely literally, is as absurd as debating a Republican. Anyone who clings desperately to “laws” which are nothing more than word handed down from on high (creation, trickle down economics, etc.), is clearly uninterested in finding the truth. Perfectly illustrating this point, when asked what could change their views, Mr. Nye responded that new facts calling evolution into question would change his views. Mr. Ham, on the other hand, knew that nothing could possibly change his views – after all, he gets his information straight from God.