- Ken Ham stated that his model of origins is viable and that there is evidence for the Garden of Eden, the biblical flood and the Tower of Babel. There isn't. Bill Nye's argument against the feasibility of floating a large wooden vessel was ineffective and his argument against the possibility that 16 million species could not have fit on the ark was, in my opinion, not well constructed. The biogeographical arguments alone sink the world-wide flood model.
- Further, had Nye spent even five minutes talking about how flat Ham's theological construct is and that there are many, many Christians who do not interpret the bible in the way that Ham does, his presentation would have been much more successful. Nye focused on the fact that the bible has been translated and re-translated many times. That won't fly. The historical integrity of the bible is actually quite good. It is Ham's interpretation of the Bible, according to the vast majority of biblical scholars, that is suspect.
- Ken Ham's initial presentation included the testimonials of real-life, practicing scientists who are self-professed creationists and yet publish in secular journals. This gave a credibility to his presentation that creationism sorely needs. What Nye should have done is mention that none of the people that Ham invoked deal directly the palaeontological, genetic or geological evidence involving the age of the earth. Nye should then have said the reason for that is that 99.9% of scientists practicing in those fields don't accept Ham's model for origins. It would be even more damaging if he had then brought up counter-examples of scientists who are Christians, such as Davis Young, Carol Hill or Dennis Venema who do not accept Ham's world view.
- When Ham began his diatribe about how we can never know the past because there were no observers (an expanded version of his "Were you there?" argument), Nye gave only two rambling examples of how predictive science is by using the discovery of the Devonian transitional tetrapod Tiktaalik and the 3K background radiation evidence for the big bang found in the universe. Those examples should have been expanded and there should have been others. For example, he could have mentioned the prediction of Charles Darwin's that we would find the oldest human ancestors in Africa because that is where our closest living relatives are found, or the prediction that, aside from finding living marsupials in Australia, we would find marsupial fossils in South America and Antarctica based on our knowledge of continental drift, or the hypotheses that resulted in the discovery of the meteorite impact crater in the Yucatan Peninsula that likely meant the demise of the dinosaurs. All of these came true.
- In a related point, Ham makes a mention of the fact that we cannot know the past. Nye should have pointed out that the Bible was written in the past and that there is no one around today that existed at the time that it was written down. The answer to "were you there?" is "No, I wasn't, but neither were you." The bible has been painstakingly reconstructed from ancient texts and manuscripts and, as noted above, the process has been largely successful. The same is true of the historical sciences, which are trying to piece together a reconstruction of the past world.
Bill Nye also spent too much time wondering how anyone in their right mind could accept the world as Ken Ham portrays it. That doesn't matter. They do. Thousands and thousands of them do. He needed to get past that and was, seemingly, unable to.
People will be talking about this debate for years to come and, based on what I have read, supporters of both sides have claimed victory. It seems to me that very few punches connected on either side, let alone any knockout punches. It looked, instead, like a fifteen-round split-decision.