The Creation Museum in Petersburg, KY
Public domain photo by Anthony5429
Well, indeed it is snowing outside, and indeed I watched the debate tonight. My reaction? I would give them both a B+. They both had pretty good arguments and both could back up their claims with various facts, but I thought neither of them were all that great at the rebuttals. They talked past each other far too much.
Bill Nye had a couple of weaknesses in his argument. My biggest disappointment is a prevalent bias in the atheist community that I’ve noticed from time to time, and it frankly is a bias that I have trouble understanding. It is the notion that just because we can confidently answer, “God did it,” that somehow that means there is no curiosity, no desire to seek out knowledge or even any acknowledgement that scientific exploration has been around a lot longer than even atheism itself. In fact, science pretty much began as an endeavor to understand how God put things together in order to understand Him better in how He works. Ken Ham did not even address this attitude until very late in the show, however.
Nye also seemed hung up on the notion that somehow being a young earth creationist made them somehow uncritical thinkers who would not be seekers of new knowledge and that would somehow kill American innovation and technology. Yet, Ham gave him several examples of real live scientists who do publish papers, forward research and even one who invented the MRI. Ham also stressed that belief in a Creator Who made the physical laws is a plus, for if everything came out of chaos and chance, you cannot really depend upon those same laws tomorrow and the next day thereafter.
In fact, Nye kept saying that a scientist must be able to extrapolate for the laws that exist today must have existed yesterday. Now, I don’t know why, but Ham did not point out the obvious problem with this. If one accepts the Big Bang Theory, then by definition there was a point in time, if it can even be called that, in which no known physical laws could have worked. The singularity, by definition, defies all natural laws, and there yet hasn’t emerged any real theory for how it could have all occurred. Frankly, even if such a theory were postulated, there would be no way to prove it.
Ham also failed to address the notion that one cannot believe in a document thousands of years old translated into American English above any scientific evidence. While I don’t advocate throwing out all science, faith really does mean believing God over the ideas of men. He kept calling it a bunch of “words”, yet a scientific textbook is a bunch of words. The difference is that the Bible is inspired by God, and at least a couple of times Ham pointed out that God was there, whereas he and Nye were not.
Nye had some good geological evidence for an old earth, and the ice slices were kind of interesting. Ham didn’t come close to addressing the issue of the rocks from an old lake that is no longer there.
However, Ham made an interesting point in distinguishing between historical science and current observable science. It reminds me of Lee Strobel’s stance on legal and historical evidence. While there may be little physical evidence of the life of Jesus, He was a historical figure with eye witnesses to His acts and words, and it is the type of evidence that would stand up in a court of law. Unlike Jesus’ life, no one but God was there at Creation, so at some point we have to fall back on belief as to what the evidence tells us.
Still, if I had to choose a winner, I would pick Ham, and not because he is a creationist. No, simply put, Nye obviously wants to get the idea out there that science is important, but his belief that creationism somehow hampers that handicaps him severely, I believe. He needs to get regrounded in the fact that science began as an effort to understand the physical works of God’s creative efforts.