This week Answers in Genesis announced that Ken Ham will debate Bill Nye on February 4th. This debate covering the evolution worldview and the creation worldview is a surprise and has been noticed by mainstream news publications. Before getting into the reasons for this debate being a surprise, I want to quickly introduce the two men for those that might not be familiar.
Supporting the Evolution worldview is Bill Nye the Science Guy famous for educational television programing that is loved by teachers and students.
Supporting the Creation worldview is former science teacher Ken Ham who is a founder of Answers in Genesis, a Christian ministry that is known for championing the Biblical narrative that God created everything in a short period of time. This is the same organization that opened a high quality creation museum outside of Cincinnati, OH and is currently raising funds to build a full scale replica of Noah’s Ark on the property.
There are very few face to face debates between creationist and evolutionists. There are plenty of forums that debate the topic, and books that go back and forth, but two scientists having a reasoned discussion is not common at the celebrity level that these two men bring. For the AIG organization, Ham has written in the past that they have turned down opportunities to be on news programs to debate, because the footage would have been edited and controlled by the network. With the rise of the 24 hour news programs and the live crossfire style debate shows the opportunity has grown, but the level of discourse on these programs and the short time slots leaves much to be desired. On the other side of the floor are the evolutionist who shy away from debates like these. I am surprised that Nye has agreed to this debate and I hope he follows through. It is a concern that he personally has not made mention of this publically that I have found at the time of this write up. I love debates and have been frustrated they are not common on this topic.
It is my opinion that the reason they are not common is because the evolutionist disgust for the creation worldview is so strong that the idea of a debate is taboo. At the root is how the evolutionist scientist views himself and his place in society. A debate between a scientist that believes in evolution and a supposed creation scientist would be equivalent to an Astronomer debating an Astrologer. This comparison is a common argument. The Astronomer has his or her life wrapped up in decades of legitimate, honorable, and intellectual pursuits that have and will continue to benefit the world while the Astrologer is a charlatan that cons people out of money for feel good nonscientific information. The Astronomer debating the Astrologer brings the honored Astronomer down to the level of the charlatan Astrologer while at the same time giving some credibility to the Astrologer that he or she does not deserve. The distain for the idea of a Creator God is that strong, and I believe it is common among evolution’s most ardent supporters, so it is no surprise that there are very few debates of this nature.
In 2012, Bill Nye participated in a video where he leveled criticism against anyone who wants to teach anything but evolution to children. This video blew up on you tube with millions of views. This criticism is nothing new, but I think Bill Nye’s association as a teacher to children and his seeming honest bewilderment with anyone that chooses to deny evolution created a real moment that captured the conversation in 2 minutes of youtube perfection. With this backdrop and Nye’s seeming honest desire to understand why anyone would stand on a foundation other than evolution, it is my hope that these two men will engage in a respectful conversation that will make everyone think about why they believe what they believe.