Posted by: BibleScienceGuy | February 11, 2014

Post-Debate Buzz Heats Up for Ham vs. Nye #1


The historic Debate of the Decade is over.

Bill Nye the Science Guy debated Ken Ham, founder of Answers in Genesis and the Creation Museum, on February 4.

Who won? Who lost? Was it a decisive victory? Was the debate worthwhile?

The blogosphere is buzzing with opinions on who won this Creation-Evolution debate. Of course many adherents of each debater proclaimed their man the winner.

The debate topic was:
Is Creation a viable model of origins in today’s modern scientific era?

I gave my opinion that Ken Ham won here:
Who Won the Ken Ham vs. Bill Nye Debate?

From around the web, fascinating threads of commentary and opinion caught my attention, so I’ve collected various segments for this and subsequent blog posts. Selection criteria is simply whether the commentary interested me for one reason or another. My selections do not necessarily comprise a representative sampling of web opinion.

For this first installment, excerpts from four commentators appear below.

Commentary on the Debate from the Web (Part 1)

Nye-supporter and evolutionist Michael Schulson says that Ham bested Nye in
The Bill Nye-Ken Ham Debate Was a Nightmare for Science on the Daily Beast:

In a much-hyped showdown, “the Science Guy” tried to defend evolution against creationist Ken Ham, and proved how slick science-deniers can be. How did the guy who’s right go so wrong?

It was easy to pick out the smarter man on the stage. Oddly, it was the same man who was arguing that the earth is 6,000 years old. It was like watching the Broncos play the Seahawks. Nye never had a chance.

Sure, if you listened closely, what Ham was saying made absolutely no scientific sense. But debate is a format of impressions, not facts. Ham sounded like a reasonable human being, loosely speaking, and that’s what mattered. Nye, meanwhile, spent three-quarters of the debate sounding like a clueless geek, even if his points were scientifically valid.

Ham’s argument, essentially, was that there are two kinds of science—observational, concerned-only-with-what-we-can-touch-and-see science, on which, Ham said, we all happily agree; and historical science, on which we don’t. This is bullshit, of course. We can use evidence from the present to extrapolate about the past. But it’s straightforward, logical-sounding bullshit, which means that it makes for good debate material.

[Nye’s] most important argument was that people like Ham are ruining America’s global competitiveness by weakening science education. It’s a shame that Nye pushed that point so strongly, because it was the one thing he said all night for which he did not have any actual evidence. Creationism in public schools may be a social disaster, but it’s hard to prove that it’s a financial one, too. And Ham was ready. He had a recorded statement in which Raymond Damadian, who helped invent MRI, expressed his firm belief that the world was created in six days, six thousand years ago, as outlined in Genesis. Ham’s message was clear—and accurate: you can be a creationist and invent economically useful stuff.

Christian apologist Tim Gilleand in Why Ken Ham won the debate whether you agree with his position or not analytically graded the debate:

Nye offered up an impressive 14 main points. … Ham answered 7 of the 14 points for a 50% answer ratio. … Ham offered up 8 main points. … Nye answered 2 of the 8 points for a 25% answer ratio.

Ham took better advantage of his time and answered 50% of Nye’s claims while in the same time Nye only answered 25% of Ham’s. This makes Ham the better debater.

Nye’s main point was that creationism hinders scientist’s ability to make new technological innovations. Ham thoroughly answered this criticism in his opening presentation where he presented videos of several current and past scientists doing significant work in the field while believing in Biblical creation and a young-earth. Nye never acknowledged this.

Ham’s main point was that there is a difference between observational (modern) science and historical science (dealing with unrepeatable historical events). Nye barely touched on this. The closest he got was his CSI analogy. On CSI forensic scientists recreate past events to help law enforcement create convictions. You know the part he didn’t mention? There have been many examples of eye-witnesses coming forward and forcing a reinterpretation of the evidence, and convictions are overturned. That is what Ham is inferring. The Bible is that eye-witness account that reinterprets the physical evidence.

Based on the answer ratio above (Ham 50%, Nye 25%), and the failure of Nye to answer Ham’s main point while Ham thoroughly answered his with multiple examples – Ken Ham is the winner of this debate, whether you agree with his positions or not.

Biological anthropologist, evolutionist, and science blogger Dr. Greg Laden says Nye won in Who won the Bill Nye – Ken Ham Debate? Bill Nye!,

Evangelical Bible scholar Bruce Waltke, in speaking about the overwhelming evidence for evolution, said “To deny that reality will make us a cult, some odd group that is not really interacting with the real world.”

In response to this, Ken Ham, president of Kentucky’s Creation Museum, commented, “What he is saying ultimately undermines the authority of God’s word.”

Both statements seem to be true. (I don’t think you necessarily need to have faith in a god to accept the basic logic of Ham’s statement.) Also, that’s really all you need to know about young earth creationism. It is God’s word, and the FAQ on the matter is the Bible.

When it comes to creationism, I admit that I am not an objective observer, but I can try. I think Ken Ham did fine in that debate. … His rhetoric was consistent. We know everything, we understand the most important issues of origins, creation, and evolution, and all of this information comes mainly from the Bible.

Bill Nye also did well in this debate, objectively speaking. He presented science, science, science and more science. He presented the science clearly, convincingly, chose his examples well.

In my view, again biased in favor of science because, well, because it’s the correct view, Bill Nye won the debate by a large margin.

Ham scored a point by deconstructing functional interpretations of mammalian dental anatomy, in relation to the question of whether all the animals were vegetarians during Ark-times.

Bill Nye did the right thing by not responding to most of Ham’s specific points, but rather, continuing to return to his own main points. Nye, in a sense, provided a slower and more ponderous, and well done, science version of the Gish Gallop. He had a number of powerful points and stuck to them, and mostly avoided going off track.

Creationist debater Ken Ham explained his debate strategy in The Cat’s Out of the Bag! He included this comment on the debate that Thomas Helander posted on Ham’s Facebook page on Feb 7:

The “Debate of the Decade” or “Scopes 2” lived up to its name! It was indeed a battle of worldviews. I am so thankful Ken Ham kept it about “the Gospel of The Lord and Savior Jesus Christ”—God’s Word and Biblical Authority starting with the first verse in Genesis vs. man’s fallible word.

In other words, I am thankful that it was not a battle of the evidences. Those answers to the skeptical questions of the day are available in so many places today. What people needed to hear was far more important. People need to either believe God’s Word or not. God’s Word is the only weapon available to us in this battle. God’s Word is the only way to be saved.

So ultimately this was a battle of worldviews, and Ken Ham won on a massive scale because Bill Nye was unable to effectively use his arguments about the past once his arguments were properly defined as historical science. That is to say, Bill Nye’s arguments were defined as conjecture or guesswork about the past before he even spoke. Ken Ham defined historical science for a large group of people around the world. Thus, he informed people that naturalism is historical science. It is simply conjecture about the past. It is a belief system.

Naturalism is a religion that has been imposed on society at every level. It is indoctrinating generations of people, and Ken Ham exposed it worldwide for the atheistic… worldview or religion that it is. Naturalism, Darwinism, Macro-evolution, Geologic Evolution, Cosmic Evolution, Chemical Evolution, etc. were all defined as religion before Bill Nye even made his case.

What a pivotal debate in history. What a privilege to hear. People have a choice. The choice is NOT “creation or science”. Now, thanks to a well planned debate many people know the truth that there are two types of science. You could say, what is it going to be? “Creation or Conjecture,” “Creation or Historical Science,” “Creation or Guesswork,” or “God’s Word vs Man’s Word.” The choice is yours.

Read the prequel articles on this debate:
Creation-Evolution Debate: Ken Ham vs. Bill Nye – background info & the YouTube videos that sparked the debate.
Ham on Nye Debate Update
Who Won the Ken Ham vs. Bill Nye Debate?
– includes YouTube video of debate

Read the sequel with more web commentary:
Post-Debate Buzz Heats Up for Ham vs. Nye #2

Questions to Ponder
  1. If you saw the debate, who do you think won and why?
  2. How can you use the buzz about the debate as a natural starting point for spiritual conversations?
  3. Share your thoughts on these questions in the comments below. It could encourage or help another reader.

Soli Deo Gloria.

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©William T. Pelletier, Ph.D.
“contending earnestly for the faith”
“destroying speculations against the knowledge of God”
(Jude 1:3; 2 Cor 10:4)
Tuesday February 11, 2014 A.D.

For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day; therefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day and made it holy. (Exodus 20:11)


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