Reflections on the Ham vs. Nye Debate

nye vs ham     Tonight (February 4th, 2014) from the Creation Museum in Petersburg, Kentucky, Bill Nye “The Science Guy” debated Answers in Genesis founder Ken Ham in a debate over evolution. This event was touted as the second coming of the Scopes Monkey Trial. To be honest, the event was as I feared it would be…a disappointment. This event, in this writer’s opinion, was much like the XFL. It was highly promoted, sensationalized, but lacked in substantial content. This is not to say that there were not some good points presented by both participants. It’s just to say that it seemed at times that the content was shrouded in political fervor from both parties.

Both individuals were given time to make their initial statements. Then each were allowed time for a rebuttal and then a counter-rebuttal. Then both had the opportunity to answer questions previously written down on cards from the audience. By the way, the moderator did an excellent job. Ham went first, followed by Nye.

Ham began the event presenting some good information on speciation and showed that the fossil record does not necessarily flow as many evolutionary trees present. Ham presented the development of species according to “kinds.” This was something that Nye did not address. Ham compared what he called “observational science” (science that can be observed) with “historical science” (science of the past). Nye answered this charge in that astronomers, due to the travel of light, are able to observe the past due to the time travel of light. However, Nye did not address the rebuttals of Ham of wood that was found in fossilized rock with both having different carbon dates. (By the way, I thought this was a good point for Ham.) Ham then showed the connection of Genesis with the gospel and made a great evangelical presentation. Nye presented great information concerning the fossil record. Nye also presented equations that caused problems in Ham’s young-earth model. Unfortunately, Ham did not respond to the charge. Nye also presented information concerning the age of the universe and the Big Bang model. Ham briefly addressed Nye’s issues, but fervently went back to the “observational vs. historical science” argument.

Neither individual directly answered questions and both made gross assumptions. For Ham, he assumed that the only interpretation of Genesis was found in the Young Earth Creationist model. Ham mentioned that “yom” was interpreted as a 24-hour period. Yes, it is by some. But, there are many others including those from Reasons to Believe who would dispute that claim. Ham’s only comeback for Nye’s presentation of the Big Bang model reminded me of Kent Hovind’s “Where you there?” approach…but much better assimilated.

Nye was guilty of the same. While Nye was much more gracious than I had anticipated, Nye still made assumptions that Christians, especially Young Earth Creationists, were anti-scientific by possessing cell phones and taking antibiotics. Nye also made gross assumptions pertaining to the expertise of ancient ship-builders. If it was possible for the Egyptians to create an amazing structure like the pyramids, could it not also be possible for an ancient man like Noah to build a massive ship. Nye addressed a massive ship in the early 1900s that twisted and contorted as it sailed. Ham did a great job answering this charge by addressing that Chinese individuals constructed massive ships with interlocking logs. Nye rebutted by referring to his family’s shipbuilding history. Also, Nye assumed that a global flood is the only perspective on the matter. Some scholars believe that a regional flood could have occurred. Does one throw out an event when several ancient documents record it because of a difference in interpretation? In that case, detectives should throw out cold-case investigations. Heaven forbid! Also, Nye made some gross assumptions about intelligent design. He claimed that a the evolutionary process could answer what he determined to be an illusion of design. However, Nye was addressing a process which required design. I am not an evolutionist, but if evolution were true, the process itself would require design.

There is much more that could be said on the matter. Let me add that I do appreciate Nye’s nod to those who find that faith and science can co-exist. I will leave the matter for now as I am sure the internet will be bombarded by blogs, vlogs, and posts concerning this debate. In this writer’s opinion, there were good points made by those on either side. But in the end, the debate was much what I expected it to be…a lot of hype with a lack of hard-hitting content.

(Note: for various Christian interpretations on creation, see my article “6 Views on Creation and Origin” here at pastorbrianchilton.wordpress.com)

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