Promotion photo for the debate between Bill Nye and Ken Ham. Photo courtesy of http://www.answersingenesis.org/

Promotion photo for the debate between Bill Nye and Ken Ham. Photo courtesy of http://www.answersingenesis.org/ Answers in Genesis

On Tuesday evening I’m one of the lucky few who will be in the live audience for the much-anticipated “Ham-on-Nye” debate (which Kimberly Winston summarized beautifully here for RNS).

The tickets to Tuesday’s event, held at Ham’s Creation Museum in Kentucky, sold out in minutes. I’ll be there on a press pass because I’m live-tweeting and blogging about the event for RNS.

Audience members are being invited to submit questions both to Ken Ham (the creationist) and Bill Nye the Science Guy (the proponent of evolution).

What questions do you have for one or both of the debaters?

 

30 Comments

  1. Thanks for the opportunity to chime in!

    Please ask Mr. Ham – If creation happened as science suggests ….What are you afraid of? Do you fear this would nullify the importance of Christ in our lives? If so, why? Whether we were created in a day or over a million years we’re still jacked up and need the restoration that Christ brings. In a world full of violence and destruction I am frustrated that a Christian who obviously has a passion for God would spend so much energy and resources on this debate.

    • I don’t know what Mr. Ham is afraid of, if anything.
      However, if you deeply believe you are a child of God and your first parents were “placed” here, it seems insulting to some to be called a descendent of a monkey.
      That does not bother me so much as I have this deep spiritual confirmation of my linage.

  2. Emily Elizabeth

    I want to know why Bill Nye agreed to this circus in the first place. What does real science have to gain by dignifying Ken Ham’s idiocy?

    • Perhaps because the Gallup polls say that roughly half of the American people still refuse to convert to the religion of evolution, especially on the important issues of origin of life and most of all, the nature and origin of humans. He is well aware that the various Non-Darwinist movements (young-earth creationism, old-earth creationism, intelligent design) are INCREASING, not decreasing.

      Americans are tired of being spoon-fed a bunch of stale canned Darwin Dogfood. The evolutionist sales-pitches aren’t selling so good. So Nye really didn’t have any choice but to accept Ham’s offer of a public debate.

      • Not true at all. It is just that creationists are being more willing to speak up about their beliefs in public without fear of ridicule. The internet has done a lot to make ridiculous ideas more public and gather like-minded people in a format where social sanction is unlikely. The fact that Creationism is becoming more visible is a sign of growing dishonesty of Christian fundamentalists, ignorance and a failure of science education in this country.

        Interesting thing about those movements (ID, YEC…) is that none of them have any connection to science or the scientific community. They are religious/political movements.

        There is no such thing as Creation Science. No creationist really buys into the idea that their religious beliefs can be proven by objectively obtained evidence. Nobody accepts creationism in any scientific field on a professional basis.

        Creationism is all about making dishonest claims on several levels. Making dishonest claims about scientific support. Making dishonest claims about the basis of religious belief. Denying faith. As a Creationist, you are a liar by nature. You lie about the basis of your religious belief. You lie in respect to what constitutes support for it.

        Every Creationist refutes their arguments within a short time of making them. Once they admit their belief in Creationism is based on faith in their religion, they have refuted it.

  3. Please ask the evolutionist if there is fossil evidence of animals evolving from fish to birds, mammals, reptiles, etc.
    Jonathan Sarfati, Ph.D. says “Evolutionists cannot point to any transitional fossils—creatures that are half reptile and half bird, for instance.” from http://creation.com/refuting-evolution-2-chapter-8-argument-the-fossil-record-supports-evolution. I do not know Dr. Sarfati but if what he said above is true, that would explain a lot to me. I am convinced of much evolutionary change within species but …

        • Latter-day Saints are taught the world was created in six creative periods. So the six day argument to us is a waste of time. Hebrew has fewer words than English so that may have contributed to the confusion. Also Moses told the story of the creation to an illiterate people: I would think God had to dumb it down for Moses and Moses had to really dumb it down for the children of Israel.
          I want to hear, read and study the multi media version prepared by Michael the Archangel for an audience of Ph.D. scientists.

        • In other words, you’re asking what sort of **natural** evidence would convince a Christian that God did not do an entire series of planet-wide, universe-wide **supernatural** creative miracles within the space of six days.

          That’s very much like asking what sort of **natural** evidence would convince a Christian that God did not **supernaturally** raise Jesus Christ from the dead after He was crucified.

          • Actually, it would be much more similar to asking Nye what sort of evidence would convince him that evolutionary theory is a myth. The difference is that Nye would have an answer.

            And if you are so intent on believing a supernatural creation myth, why not choose a different one? I am sure you are aware that there are hundreds.

            But you do make an excellent point. Science is not belief. The problem is that we as a country will pay a price for not teaching our students the difference.

            How do you choose which science to accept? Do you smoke in the car with kids and recommend they not wear seat belts, or not take antibiotics when prescribed? Is there any other science you do not accept based on your good book?

      • I was asked a very similar question 15 years ago and have reflected on it many times. I have been active LDS for 40 years. I have missed 5-10 Sundays in that 40 years and served in Priesthood leadership positions for 20 of those years. I have had hundreds of small, medium and a few large spiritual experiences that testify to me that God lives. I know God lives and loves me.
        In my wildest dreams I cannot imagine what kind of proof there could possibly be to overcome those experiences and feelings.

    • Too bad your quote was probably either bogus or taken so far out of context to be completely misrepresented.

      Please ask Creationists to attribute quotes to original sources. They lie too often and engage in so much “quote mining” that any citation to a scientist made cannot be taken at face value.

      • Larry,
        Are you referring to my quote? I could hardly tell and only because of the tab in features. If it is my quote, did you check the link? It still works.
        from above: Jonathan Sarfati, Ph.D. says “Evolutionists cannot point to any transitional fossils—creatures that are half reptile and half bird, for instance.” from http://creation.com/refuting-evolution-2-chapter-8-argument-the-fossil-record-supports-evolution

        • As I thought, cut and pasted from a creationist website. Yes, the quote is real. But it turns out it was not worth taking seriously. This is why links are important.

          http://www.noanswersingenesis.org.au/does_dr_jonathan_sarfati_have_any_integrity.htm

          Dr. Sarfati’s credentials to speak on such matters are non-existent. Being a PhD means nothing when talking about Evolution he is a chemist not a biologist (or geologist). Just another example of Creationists appealing to fictional authority.

          One can talk endlessly about biology and scientific research in the field. But unless they have the education in the subject and has published studies in it accepted by peer reviewed journals acknowledged in the profession, it is just amateur bloviating on a subject they have no real knowledge of. But for Creationists, its all they have.

  4. Some fossilized questions for a transitional and healhty debate, for instance: is there evolution if there is no time? How will evolutionary biology meet new physical paradigms about time, space and so on? Will new conceptual changes deny evolution? Or on the contrary, will it become a more extraordinary process, full of astonishing implications? If so, will past human beings and the rest of living beings become something different as science progresses? After all, is life something fix-finite-defined? That is, can one understand it by means of using a flesh brain and its limited words, axioms and dogmas? Does the whole of life fit inside a bone box? Indeed, will science add indefinitely without understanding completely, is there an infinite pool of knowledge and ignorance waiting for us? Otherwise, will religions use the word God forever and ever, as if it were a death thing, a repetitive thing that is part of human discussions? And, in order to speak about any God, are they using his limited brain or do they use unknown instruments? Along these lines, there is a different book, a preview in http://goo.gl/rfVqw6 Just another suggestion in order to freethink for a while

  5. Michael Riggs

    I would ask Mr. Ham why he feels compelled to address his objections to the theory of evolution within a pseudo-scientific venue? When Mr. Ham limits his research questions to only ones he can contrive the answers for, he is not adhering to the scientific method of inquiry, but is simply engaging in a polemical exercise. That is fine, even expected, in the area of speculative theological discussions, but it is disingenuous for Mr. Ham to link, in any way, what he is doing within the realm of science.

  6. I would like to ask Mr. Nye why evolutionists are not required (as all the physical sciences are) to reproduce their results in laboratory conditions. Another, have scientists ever considered they are arguing semantics concerning the creation of the earth? For example, to us a day is 24 hours. However a day is defined as the time it takes for the earth to make one complete rotation on its axis. What if the men who wrote the bible did not have your scientific learning and therefore used only the terms that they had. A day meant one revolution, which, when the earth was created was quite possibly a great deal slower. If the earth has not rotated at the same speed throughout the entirety of its life then scientists have no better idea of how old the earth is than creationists, and quite possibly a great deal less. But it certainly proves that unless science can determine the earth’s rotational speed for it’s entire duration of life then we can NEVER disprove religion. Last question, isn’t the purpose of science to explain, with concrete evidence and laboratory reproduction, the workings of our world, and not, in fact, to press half-formed and convoluted ideas down the public’s throat as if it were proven by the scientific method, as evolutionists most certainly have done?

    • Because you are ignorant of the actual science involved. The genome project has been one of the clearest examples of laboratory-based proof of evolution. Proof of evolution has also been pretty clearly mapped out with lifeforms with very short lifespans. Historical sciences are not subject to laboratory experiments in the same way other physical sciences are. They are based on analysis of what already happened.

      But explaining such things to a creationist is a waste of time. Creationism is not borne of ignorance of science. Its based on disdain for it. No amount of evidence will shake a creationist’s view because it is not a belief based on evidence. Merely window-dressing to faith. A way to deny faith in public to embrace it privately. A creationist is all about telling the outside world one thing and their own something much different.

  7. How can life forms evolve from a simple single cell form of life into higher and higher levels of complexity? What are the different explanations for causation or trigger for change/adaptation? What assumptions characterize each approach to both evolution and creationism?

  8. The debate is not really between creation and evolution because there is no one creation narrative; there are many, the Bible narrative being just one of them.

    I would not argue with a Creationist; this is what I would do.

    Ask the audience how many of them think that the creation narrative in the Bible is most probably true. Then ask how many of them have heard from their parents that it is in fact true.

    Then ask the audience to hear the following creation narrative of the Maori tribe in New Zealand.

    In the beginning, there were Father Sky called Rangi and Mother Earth called Papa. Yes, Papa is the mama! The two were always in a tight embrace and there was total darkness. They had many children who also lived in the darkness. The children knew that there can be light only when the sky is separated from the earth. They tried and tried to separate them and one day, they succeeded. Father Sky ended way up above the Earth and there was light! Mother Earth and the children rejoiced in the light. But Father Sky cried and cried. He still cries – his tears fall to the Earth as rain!

    So the Maori assert that Sky and Earth always existed, never created by some one else. Sky and Earth were once together and there was total darkness. The eternal Father and Mother created the children out of themselves, not out of dust. The children pushed the Sky away from the Earth and made light to shine.

    Now ask the audience how many think that this narrative is most probably true. Then ask how many of them have heard from their parents that it is in fact true.

    This Maori creation narrative does not sound true to those whose parents did not tell them that it is in fact true. Same way, a Maori thinks that the Bible narrative is just another story and not the real truth.

    What one thinks as a matter of faith is often dependent on where one is born and brought up. Where one is born and brought up is just a matter of chance!

    So the creation argument is, after all, based on just chance!

    One can repeat thousands of creation narratives from around the world. Each time one comes to the same conclusion! Each narrative is accepted by one group but rejected by thousands of groups! Same with the Bible narrative – accepted by one group but rejected by thousands of groups! That is a rejection rate of thousands to one! Also, those who are rejecting are not scientists. They are all folks of deep faith, faith in their own story but none other!

  9. “Science has proof without any certainty. Creationists have certainty without any proof.”
    –Ashley Montagu

    “In all of these efforts, the creationists make abundant use of a simple tactic: They lie. They lie continually, they lie prodigiously, and they lie because they must.”
    –William J. Bennetta,

  10. The bible specifically states that Gods time is not our time nor measured in the same way. This being said, why can’t the earth be billions of years old? This also being said, where did mrs cain come from? I think that mr hamm is blinded by his literalism. I want to know his answers to my questions because i AM a christian but even i know that logic must play its role.

  11. Back up a moment to ask questions like: Who compiled today’s Bible and why? (Constantine and his bishops?) How accurate is our current (English) Bible after numerous re-writing and translation of thousands of years? How is it that nothing about Jesus was written until 60-80 years after his death AND how accurate could any information be after that period of time thousands of years ago? How could the same facts of Jesus’ whole life be a copy of many pagan gods that preceded the Jesus story by hundreds of years (Mithras, Dionysus, Horus, etc.)??

    • The words may have been God’s but they were still written down by man. You are absolutely correct about Constatine and the gathered heads of church. They put together only what would further their own agendas. I wonder what’s hidden down in thee basement of the Vatican and why it’s not open to everyone to read and make up their own minds about their contents and what they mean to each of us. I love the Bible but even I know that stories handed down are embellished by the one who’s handing it down. I wonder how far from the original that these handed down stories are… I can’t hardly wait to ask God what the real stories are!

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