Bill Nye, Ken Ham to debate creation

Does Bill Nye hold to this? Or Tyler Francke, with his theological questions he says no YEC can answer?
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Most people know Bill Nye as “The Science Guy,” from his children’s science show that ran from 1993 to 1998. Today, Ken Ham, of Answers in Genesis, said he would debate Bill Nye on creation v. evolution. That debate will take place February 4, 2014, at The Creation Museum in Petersburg, Kentucky.

Bill Nye, avowed evolutionist

Bill Nye has always upheld the three pillars of evolution: uniformitarianism, abiogenesis, and common descent. He routinely criticizes, often scathingly, anyone who challenges these notions. Last year he produced a video asserting that creationism was “not appropriate for children.” That video saw almost six million separate viewings or “hits.”

Ken Ham answered “Bill Nye, the Humanist Guy.” Then he challenged Bill Nye to a debate.

Members of the YouTube community left comments so savage that Answers in Genesis blocked further comment. But Ken Ham answered his critics in another video.

More recently, according to the Associated Press, Bill Nye accepted Ken Ham’s challenge.

In an interview today, Ken Ham faced head-on Bill Nye’s notion that creationism is bad for children:

That whole creation-evolution issue we see as a very, very important issue particularly in regard to influencing children – what they believe about who they are, where they came from. I mean, if they are taught that they’re just animals, that has a great bearing on how they view themselves and how they view morality.

If you go

The Creation Museum will host the debate on February 4, from 7:00 to 9:30 p.m. CST, at Legacy Hall, Creation Museum, 2800 Bullittsburg Church Rd., Petersburg, Ky. Tickets sell for $25.00 U.S., except Creation Museum members can call for a discount. The nearest airport is, of course, the Cincinnati Airport. (That airport is on the Kentucky side of the border. The lay of the land did not let anyone build an airport on the Ohio side.)

Critics of Bill Nye

Does Bill Nye hold to this?

Today, man decides truth whatever. From the AiG Creation Museum

Bill Nye has his own critics. They take issue with far more than his savagery, and that of his followers, in attacking the creation story. Gary DeMar, at Godfather Politics, suggested the debate asks the wrong question.

That question reads:

Is creation a viable model of origins in today’s modern scientific world?

DeMar suggests Ken Ham should ask instead:

Is Abiogenesis a Viable Model of Origins in any World?

DeMar has a point. Life must have an origin before it can “evolve.” Of course, abiogenesis is only one of the three pillars of evolution. The other two are:

  • Uniformitarianism: all processes we see today, have always run at the same rate as long as the earth has existed.
  • Common descent: all life descends from one ancestral cell that somehow assembled itself.

Most modern evolutionists today speak of common descent and ignore abiogenesis. That might be because few evolutionists still believe they can produce a Miller-Urey-style abiogenetic “soup” in their lifetimes.

For the other points Ken Ham will likely use against Bill Nye, one need only visit the Creation Museum itself. Every exhibit testifies to one central point Ken Ham and his followers have always made. We all see the same evidence, says Ham. But we interpret it differently. And the creationist interpretation is more consistent with what we see than the evolutionistic.

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Terry A. Hurlbut has been a student of politics, philosophy, and science for more than 35 years. He is a graduate of Yale College and has served as a physician-level laboratory administrator in a 250-bed community hospital. He also is a serious student of the Bible, is conversant in its two primary original languages, and has followed the creation-science movement closely since 1993.

23 Responses to Bill Nye, Ken Ham to debate creation

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  2. Fergus Mason says:

    “Most modern evolutionists today speak of common descent and ignore abiogenesis.”

    Well yes. That’s because abiogenesis isn’t part of the theory of evolution.

    • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

      Yet it leaves evolutionists in a bind. Without a hypothesis of origins, their theory is necessarily incomplete.

  3. Ggweb1919 says:

    I find it funny that DeMar suggested Ham attack evolution rather than defend creationism. It’s much easier for a person to win a debate if he is able to remain on the offensive. Creationists are all too aware of this; DeMar’s suggestion seems to mirror Ray Comfort’s tactic of explaining why evolution doesn’t work without uttering a single word in defense of Biblical Creationism. The problem with this tactic is that even if evolution were proven false, that would not, by any stretch of the imagination, mean that the Creation Myth is necessarily true. There would still be a literally infinite array of options as to how the universe came to be. If people like Ham want to encourage others to accept Christianity, they should focus on explaining why the Bible is necessarily true rather than attacking one potential alternative.

  4. FarDreamer says:

    And evolutionists have dealt with it as if it is a part of the theory. After all, if evolution is true, there’s no significant border between the first living thing and some conglomeration of chemicals that preceded it. Thus we have discussions of “chemical evolution” and sections on the origin of life at the start of chapters about evolution in textbooks. There are also broader definitions of evolution than biological evolution, let alone neo-darwinian evolution. Note that the chosen subject address “origins,” not the just the origin of life, indicating the debaters are looking at this broader evolutionary view when considering creation as an alternative model. I think there is also an implication of a recognition that the investigation of origins goes beyond the limits of science.

  5. FarDreamer says:

    Ggweb1919, You may have a point if you’re talking about the Biblical account of creation and Christianity vs the current neo-darwinian synthesis view of biological evolution and atheism (and/or every non-creationist Christian viewpoint). This is not a logical and balanced division. However, the two positions represented for this specific debate seem to be more along the more basic or fundamental lines of “some form of creation” and “general evolution,” a much more reasonable and balanced pair. I’m interested in what one example of “a literally infinite array of options as to how the universe came to be” might be that couldn’t be categorized as some form of creation or evolution. Some variety of the ekpyrotic universe, perhaps? but that merely puts the beginning of a natural cosmic evolution into an earlier brane, and continues with evolutionary origins of all the later details in this universe.

  6. Fergus Mason says:

    “Yet it leaves evolutionists in a bind.”

    No it doesn’t.

    “Without a hypothesis of origins, their theory is necessarily incomplete.”

    Not at all. Evolution is a theory that explains the DIVERSITY of life. It starts from the assumption that life exists, because if it doesn’t exist it can’t diversify. It’s quite absurd to call a theory incomplete merely because it doesn’t explain something it isn’t actually intended to explain. Kind of like calling the germ theory of disease incomplete because it doesn’t explain why the pope wears a funny hat.

  7. Fergus Mason says:

    “•Uniformitarianism: all processes we see today, have always run at the same rate as long as the earth has existed.
    •Common descent: all life descends from one ancestral cell that somehow assembled itself.”

    Oh dear. Both of these statements are… how can I put this… not exactly what scientists actually think?

    • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

      That’s how they defined it at first. They now play the weasel after losing so many debates to creation advocates.

  8. Fergus Mason says:

    “That’s how they defined it at first.”

    Erm what? No. Evolution is, and always has been, a theory that explains the diversity of life. As for debates with creationists, they’re irrelevant. Science isn’t done by debate. I also have to say that I’ve seen creationists lose some of them spectacularly. Every debate involving Kent Hovind, for example.

    • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

      Erm, no, yourself.

      Charles Darwin did not call his signature work “The Divergence of Species.” He called it The Origin of Species. And without an origin, you have nothing to change.

      Just what do you think “chemical evolution” refers to? It refers to the primordial “ylem,” or whatever you call it, in which the first cell self-assembled.

  9. Fergus Mason says:

    “He called it The Origin of Species.”

    Yes, he did. The origin of SPECIES, not the origin of LIFE.

    “Just what do you think “chemical evolution” refers to? It refers to the primordial “ylem,” or whatever you call it, in which the first cell self-assembled.”

    Nonsense. Just out of interest, why do you think scientists believe a “first cell” existed and that it “self-assembled”? That’s almost as silly as claiming that the “first man” and the “first woman” had to evolve independently.

    • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

      Because that is one of two – count ’em, two – theories on the origin of life anyone can propose, apart from creation by Divine causation.

      Life had to begin. I reject as “silly” any proposition that life has always existed.

      The dirty little secret of God-less origins science is that it denies first causes and ignores initial conditions. At least today it does. That wasn’t always the case. The whole point of Stanley Mijller and Harold Urey’s work was to try to figure out how that first cell could have self-assembled, and the initial conditions for that self-assembly.

  10. Fergus Mason says:

    “Life had to begin. I reject as “silly” any proposition that life has always existed.”

    Oh, I agree.

    “The dirty little secret of God-less origins science is that it denies first causes and ignores initial conditions.”

    Er no, it doesn’t.

    “The whole point of Stanley Mijller and Harold Urey’s work was to try to figure out how that first cell could have self-assembled”

    No it wasn’t. It was to find out what complex organic molecules could have formed in ONE possible prebiotic atmosphere.

    Nobody is arguing that a “first cell” somehow “self-assembled,” because that would be ridiculous. What scientists are really interested in are the pathways which led to a non-living replicator becoming subject to the process known as life, which is something else entirely. The inability to think beyond a cell magically appearing out of soup is why creationists often look good in debates but ALWAYS fail utterly at actual science.

    • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

      The non-living replicator had to self-assemble. And the nucleus would have had to self-assemble. With all the information it contains.

      And the idea of a DNA strand self-assembling and having useful information is equivalent to the Linux kernel writing itself, and each of the elements of the GNU project also writing themselves, and then coming together in cybernetic ylem.

  11. Fergus Mason says:

    “The non-living replicator had to self-assemble.”

    So what? Non-living replicators self-assemble all the time. No big deal.

    “And the nucleus would have had to self-assemble.”

    If it had a nucleus, and I see no reason to make this assumption.

    “With all the information it contains.”

    Information is easy. I have a piece of quartz here. It contains a great deal of information. I wish people would get over the idea that the concept of “information” is an obstacle to evolution. It really isn’t.

    • Terry A. Hurlbut says:

      For your information, the information in the simplest prokaryotic DNA strand would fill ten Libraries of Congress. That’s the largest library system in the world.

      Don’t tell me all that information wrote itself.

      No system can self-inform. Information must come into a system from the surroundings.

  12. Fergus Mason says:

    “For your information, the information in the simplest prokaryotic DNA strand would fill ten Libraries of Congress. That’s the largest library system in the world.”

    So what? That’s utterly irrelevant even if were true, which it isn’t; the shortest genome contains only 159,662 base pairs, about the same number of characters – and rather less “information” – than a novella about chupacabras I just finished.

    “Don’t tell me all that information wrote itself.”

    I won’t. I’m going to do something even more shocking – deny that it was “written” at all.

  13. Fergus Mason says:

    I’ll just add that the amount of “information” in a genome says almost nothing about the complexity of an organism. The largest known genome may well belong to an amoeba. It’s definite that a primitive* fish – the marbled lungfish – has about 50 times as much DNA as a human.

    * – In the evolutionary sense. It’s a perfectly modern slim aquatic thing.

  14. MatthewJ says:

    “the information in the simplest prokaryotic DNA strand would fill ten Libraries of Congress.”

    Where do you get that whopper from? The genome of the widespread, freeliving bacterium _Pelagibacter ubique_ has 1.3M base pairs. There are novels that have more words than P. ubique has base pairs. If you want to do a base-pair-to-character comparison rather than base-pair-to-word, Proust’s _Remembrance of Things Past_ has 9.6M characters. That’s not counting the parasitic or symbiotic bacteria like Nanoarchaeum equitans (490,000 base pairs) or others that have genomes as small as 160,000 base pairs.

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