Today is the day that Ken Ham, the creationist kook (boo), and Bill Nye the science guy (yea), go head to head in debate … oh sorry, did I betray an ever so slight bias there? Well, the facts are that creationism has no evidence, zero, nada, zilch and is just wrong. There is no middle ground here, none at all, because science (the stuff that is evidence based) is not facing an alternative philosophy, but rather is facing complete and utter lunacy.
Mr Ham truly believes that Genesis is a wholly accurate and completely literal historical record, but he is religious so yes I get that, and he should of course be free to believe whatever he wishes. However, he is also asserting a scientific claim – the earth is only 6,000 years old, and since we are at it, he also believes that dragons are real (yes really), and that unicorns are real (yes also really), and so I guess the belief that fact-based evolution is wrong, and that instead a god did it all by magic just 6,000 years ago is the right answer is perhaps not such a huge leap to make when you are carrying all that baggage. No doubt when that creation event happened, it came as a complete surprise to all the civilisations that were flourishing at that time, it must have really messed up their plans for the day and been a complete distraction.
So if you are getting the impression that Mr Ham is a nutter and is totally delusional, well guess what, many other creationists agree, and also label him as delusional. In fact, Answers in Creation, an Old Earth creationist website, has gone as far as called him willfully ignorant of the evidence for an old Earth and said he “deliberately misleads” his audiences on matters of both science and theology (do you think that perhaps Mr Ham’s belief in unicorns and dragons tipped them off?).
So anyway, tonight is debate night at the Creation Museum in Petersburg, Kentucky, with CNN’s Tom Foreman moderating – “Is creation a viable model of origins?”, If you happen to be busy and miss it, well the correct answer is … (spoiler alert) … no … god doing it all by magic is not a viable model of origins.
Beyond the fact that this debate is happening there is also a side debate that ponders over the very idea of Mr Nye is doing this. The suggestion is that it is a bad idea because it gives the illusion of credence to complete and utter lunacy. For example, suppose that the next time there is a launch to the ISS on the news, and this is then followed by an interview with the flat-earth society for the sake of “balance”, would you feel that was appropriate? (only on Fox news perhaps), or would you instead feel that support was being given to the quite frankly un-supportable. I confess that I do have a lot of sympathy for the thought that in general debating creationists really is a bad idea, and also in this instance having Mr Nye debate a complete and utter lunatic will not only enable the almost bankrupt Answers in Genesis to raise funds, but also creates the illusion that they have a credible position (hint: they don’t and if ever tempted to think that they do, then remember the unicorns and dragons). There is also the additional risk is that Mr Ham could win, not because he is right, but rather because Mr Ham has had a lot of debating experience and knows all the tricks that can be played.
But having said all that … Mr Nye is of course the science guy, and is also a fabulous communicator, so I’ll not only be rooting for him, I also suspect that in this case he will actually shine because making complex topics accessible to the public and winning them over is what he has spend decades doing very successfully.
So what would it take for me to change my mind and think that Mr Ham just might be on to something? Well, perhaps if he arrived on stage riding a pink unicorn with a pet dragon on his shoulder, I might then pause and offer him an apology – but don’t hold your breath on that one, because unlike the way things operate in Mr Ham’s universe where magic is quite real, our reality just does not operate like that.
- Want to watch the debate live? Well you can get access to the live stream here … or via YouTube …(see below)
- What does Bill Nye think about creationism? Oh come on, you require exactly zero psychic ability to work that one out, but if curious to see some details, he wrote about it here last August, and also the now Famous YouTube clip “Creationism Is Not Appropriate For Children“
- The debate starts at 7:00 PM (ET) and will conclude at 9:30 PM. The question and answer session will begin at 8:45 PM.
- If you miss the start, then you should be able to rewind the debate live stream after it starts.
- Can’t see it live? Worry not, because you can also watch the complete debate on the AIG YouTube channel shortly after the debate is done.
- AIG will no doubt be flogging a DVD after it is done (even if they don’t actually win) it gives Mr Ham a lot of credibility, and also gives them $$$ that they really really need)