Monday, February 03, 2014

Bill Nye and Ken Ham go head-to-head

The Cincinnati Enquirer has a "head to head" column with Bill Nye and Ken Ham ahead of their debate tomorrow night.  Of note from Ham:
Is Christianity incompatible with evolution?

I’m not saying you’re not a Christian because the Bible doesn’t say you have to believe in six days (of creation) and a young earth. You have to believe in Jesus Christ to be a Christian. But you have to change the Bible to fit with the millions of years theory, and that undermines the Bible’s authority.
Ham is not being genuine in this comment. When Pete Enns tried to offer instruction in how to incorporate biblical theology with evolution at a homeschool conference, Ham publicly attacked him, saying that he was trying to undermine the authority of the bible. He might say that he thinks people can accept evolution and be Christians but when push comes to shove, he will fight that interpretation.  If he really accepts that people can accept evolution, why publicly attack that perspective? 

The interview also suggests that Nye is, at least, not going into this with his eyes closed:
What information do you want the audience to walk away with?

The audience in the theater isn’t likely to be influenced by anything I say. By one account the tickets sold out in two minutes. Presumably the tickets all went to people in his church, and his organization. My main point is that these people exist in the United States, which when I stop to think about it is incredible. It means that I as a science educator have failed. I’m not sure he really believes it, but he says the world is 6,000 years old. Roads have been built, presumably using Kentucky tax money, to a museum that calls attention to this point of view. We cannot have scientifically illiterate students. We have too many problems to solve.
This is true but I am not sure how a debate with the most popular purveyor of this perspective is going to help. You can't look at the audience and appeal to their sense of understanding when most of them accept Ham's version of origins science because they don't know what the science actually says.  Further,  they have had it beaten into their heads that evolution is not science.  As my conversation with my highly intelligent friend who did not know that evolution was testable indicates, the amount of misinformation is, at a debate level, almost too much to overcome.  

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