Sunday, January 05, 2014

Bill Nye to Debate Ken Ham

Bill Nye the Science Guy is slated to debate Ken Ham, head of the Creation Museum and Answers in Genesis.  This debate is set to happen at the main hall of the Creation Museum at 7:00 p.m. on February 4.  Tickets are $25 and will be available from Answers in Genesis beginning tomorrow (The event link is at the bottom of the page).  I may try to get up there for this.  On the other hand, I bet the local churches will bus people in by the hundreds just to make sure that Bill Nye is given a hard time so tickets may sell out fast.  Here is the story on ABC News:
The event is likely to attract plenty of attention in scientific and faith circles, as Nye is a high-profile advocate of science education and Ham is a respected leader among Christians who believe the Bible's origin story is a factual account of the Earth's beginnings.

Ham had been hoping to attract the star of TV's "Bill Nye The Science Guy" to the northern Kentucky museum after Nye said in an online video last year that teaching creationism was bad for children. The video was viewed nearly 6 million times on YouTube.

"Having the opportunity to hold a cordial but spirited debate with such a well-known personality who is admired by so many young people will help bring the creation-evolution issue to the attention of many more people, including youngsters," Ham said in a release Thursday.
Ham, it seems, has gotten his wish. The problem is, because of format issues and the fact that the audiences for these debates tend to not be up-to-speed on the science, they rarely go well for your average scientist. Bill Nye is not your average scientist, however and has a folksy, down home way of explaining things.  Hopefully, that spirit will prevail.  Look for Ham to be patronizing and evasive.   Here is the Youtube video that got it started.

7 comments:

  1. I have mixed feelings about this debate. I mean, what is it supposed to achieve? He who speaks most convincingly wins? He who wins is right?That's not how science works.

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    1. Well, it was not Bill Nye's idea.

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    2. Why did Bill Nye accept such an invitation?

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  2. I don't know why, but I have a feeling this won't go very well for Nye. He's folksy and knowledgeable about actual science, but does he know very much about creationism? If not, he won't be prepared to take Ham on his own turf.

    I would be much more confident if Ken Miller were showing up.

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  3. It will depend on how Nye is perceived by the audience, I think. If he is dismissive of creationism as being anti-science (which it is), and comes across as that way, the audience will turn on him. As to his knowledge of creationism, I would be willing to bet that he wouldn't have taken this on if he wasn't well-versed in the area.

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    1. Bill Nye's aim should be to show that Ham's 'model' is unscientific and indeed anti-scientific, not to convert YECs against YEC-ism (most are too closed-minded).

      This formal debate was not NYE'S idea. But having accepted what he has accepted Nye has the RIGHT debate topic and the RIGHT AiG opponent (remember AiG challenged Nye to debate someone from AiG with a PhD).

      The onus will be very much on Ham to persuade and indeed demonstrate with at least one example with that the 'creation model' (ie his YEC apologetics) ARE a viable model of origins in the MODERN SCIENTIFIC AGE (ie not 500 years' ago).

      Remember: Ham does NOT simply say "we have an alternative theory". He writes books and articles denouncing both evolution and billions of years of time as LIES.

      Thus, if Ham struggles to describe exactly what his model is and what it predicts, and indeed show to any extent that his model is a viable scientific one at all (and by extension that there is important information that 'evolutionists' try to suppress which shows this to be the case) then Nye should gently point out that Ham thinks creation is the 'only game in town' but that he is struggling to articulate it in a convincing fashion. He should then point out that mainstream science DOES provide a viable model of origins but Ham appears to be rejecting it for religious not scientific reasons. I suggest, in order to substantiate his comments and prevent Ham countering that Nye provides 'no examples to support his claims', that the latter should then clearly and briefly describe how science has established that the universe as a whole must be some billions of years old and cannot possibly be just 6,000 years old. If a 6,000 year old Earth and universe can be shown to be religious nonsense, Ham's whole case will fall apart. But Nye should allow Ham to TRY and make his case before denouncing it as religiously-motivated nonsense.

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  4. I don't think the soundbite YouTube video is very good, in the first place because it is more polemic than substance. It is almost baiting in many ways.

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