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Bill Nye Vs Ken Ham – The story of how creationism was defeated.

06 February 2014, 14:42

Bill Nye – My first reaction was that of sorrow. By the end of the Debate, a grim faced Nye could be seen watching as Ken Ham proselyted his convictions from his pulpit. The smirk of an emblazoned idiot grinning ear to ear as he joked how there was already a book that explained it all – all of the universes great mysteries and wonder - laid down centuries ago in sacred texts. His mass of unthinking Proles, now falling over themselves to applaud their elected champion in an orgy of self-worship to the great leader of the Inner Party.

It would have been hard for Bill to see what we saw from the outside. Two arguments, two stories, both presented as fact – but one that seemed not only unreasonable – but outright absurd. The topic was “Is creation a viable model of origins in today's modern, scientific era?” And so it would have been reasonable to expect Ken Ham to present evidence to support that creation is a viable model – at least as compatible as evolutionary models.

This idea seems to have been lost on Ken, who instead spendt several minutes of a very tight 30 minute window introducing us via video clips to some of his friends. Both my wife and I found this fairly pointless, and indeed disingenuous of his own argument. Generally when presenting evidence for an argument, we don’t start by telling people how many other people we know, who like our argument. We don’t introduce them, have them give us their CV’s and tell us about their day job. All of this seems like an astounding time waster for Ken, leaving him to speak far too quickly on topics that are foreign for many of the population who might be hearing this argument for the first time.

Secondly, we all know Kens position on Jesus, God and the bible. Why on earth did he spend so much time telling us about how Jesus is the saviour and why Atheists can’t have morals? This was not a God debate. This is a debate about if creationism is valid. Clearly one can be Christian and believe in Evolution, so this extra time wasting just leaves Ken with even less time to present a credible argument for creation. I will say it again – this was not a God debate. It never was, and going wildly off topic cannot help make your argument more credible. At the end of the debate, I can easily see why some Christians may feel unrepresented, as I have witnessed some say on social media sites such as Facebook. If there was a credible argument for creation, Ken Ham certainly didn’t present it - leaving far too little time of his already meagre 30 minutes to presenting actual evidence for support of his claim.

Nye however, clearly had a strategy. Having seen several debates on Evolution before, it was clear he had done his research. He provided a small amount of evidence for why Evolution was more reasonable, while spending a good amount of time pointing out the logical flaws in a creation model. Right, fine. Good job, got it. All the facts laid out nice and simply for us to understand. This should have been Ken’s strategy. Nye gives us was we needed, and while not the most stellar debater on the planet, does a reasonable job. Sure some of the more critical of you could probably point out what he could have done better, or what else he could have done but let’s face it, this debate was mainly decided on the abysmal performance of Ken Ham.

The rebuttal from Ken was fairly poor, at one point, if I recall, asking Bill to think of something that could only be invented from an evolutionary model. Clearly since he rejects evolution, even thinking of something would be a waste of time since he would say its output or use is misinterpreted (eg: a dating device for example). His attack was actually again disingenuous since the topic of debate was not a defence of evolution, but asking – is the creation model viable. If Ken did, or could have shown that the evolution model was totally wrong, it still wouldn’t have gotten him any closer to proving the creation model. Ken Hams continual arguing off topic only created a noose for his own neck. Yet he seemed oblivious to his pulling of the rope.

Bills rebuttal however asked Ken to address several errors that seem to be evident in a Creationist model. Sadly, nobody who is unaware of the creationist apologetics to these arguments will ever hear them from this debate. I happen to know some of the explanations to Bill Nye’s concerns – but Ken only seemed to feel the need to mention a couple of these. Even more astounding is that they are actually listed on his own website. Did Ken somehow forget the common arguments normally presented? The arguments that he has written about on his own website? I find this totally strange and inexplicable. Had he answered these questions he would have at least put the ball back to Nye to field again and explain why these explanations are not satisfactory. Instead he proselytised, and let time to only address a couple of them – and inadequately simply saying “go check out our website for the answer”. No, I don’t want to check the website. I came to have you tell me why. If I wanted to just google what you have written in the past (OK, I admit I have done this too), I wouldn’t be bothering hearing what you have to say.

So while initially a grim faced Nye left the stage, it must have soon dawned on him that his perspective was skewed. Outside of the dusty museum we were celebrating. Bill – if you read this – here’s a big grin from me :) I imagine however, that he has been suitably filled in on the fact the science has lived another day. Once poll from a Christian website, while debatable in accuracy, claimed a 92% win for Nye.

Conclusion: Ken Hams complete fumbling of the topic means that science has destroyed any credible work the creationists may have done up until this point. Bill did a good job, and for that supporters of Science can be proud. Now it’s possible to argue that the question was framed to actually put Ken Ham continually on the defensive. That it wasn’t fair – and he should have demanded a more balanced question. I actually concede this is possible. But consider: During the run up to the debate, Scientists such as Richard Dawkins and others warned that debating creationists was not a good idea. That it could blow up in Bills face. Hundreds of articles claimed it should be called off. On and on it went. It reminds me of an old saying - you may have heard it.

Only fools rush in, where angels fear to tread.

- Pete

This article was not published with the approval of my agent, and is an expression of my own views. Errors may be present.

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