It was with great interest that I observed the buzz around the recent Creation vs Evolution debate between Ken Ham and Bill Nye. This is the first time I can recall such a debate taking place where the secular media have taken more than a passing interest. The draw card of course was Bill Nye - the well liked and respected US television personality, public speaker who to many ordinary folks is the approachable face of science. What a coup for Ken Ham and his organization to have gotten Bill to agree to such a debate. Other apologists for Evolution have been vocal in their disapproval of Bill Nye’s participation claiming that it only gives Creationists and their beliefs credibility in the eyes of the public where none is due.
By all accounts, the debate was hugely popular with millions of viewers across the globe and numerous news articles, blog posts and other commentary issuing forth in the aftermath. For better or for worse, it certainly got tongues wagging and stirred up passionate support on both sides of the fence.
Both men presented well and were quite evenly matched I thought, neither being a clear ‘winner’ as I’ve seen in other similar debates.
One complaint would be that both speakers ‘spoke past’ each other quite a bit. Bill Nye kept referring to Creationism as belonging to Ken Ham, completely failing to recognise or acknowledge the many high profile scientists, both past and present, who are young earth Creationists. Bill Nye also made several claims about Creationism (and Christianity more broadly) that were quite flimsy.
Dr. R. Albert Mohler Jr, president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, wrote a very insightful review of the debate. One quote worthy of note:
Both men were asked if any evidence could ever force them to change their basic understanding. Ham said no, pointing to the authority of Scripture. Nye said that evidence for creation would change his mind. But Nye made clear that he was unconditionally committed to a naturalistic worldview, which would make such evidence impossible. Neither man is actually willing to allow for any dispositive evidence to change his mind. Both operate in basically closed intellectual systems. The main problem is that Ken Ham knows this to be the case, but Bill Nye apparently does not.
The debate can be seen here: