Between Bill Nye and Ken Ham- on now, here.
The opening remarks by Ken Ham are so far largely about addressing the idea that creationists cannot be scientists. He also says science has been hijacked by secularists.
Molecules to man evolution is not longer observational science, he says. It’s historical science, not observational, and the historical science field is based more on man’s opinions than on observational science.
Now he’s quoting the Bible,
The creation evolution debate is really a conflict between two philosophical ideas.
That was not a complete summary, btw. Just a quick glance.
Now Nye says in his five minutes of opening remarks:
Bow ties are awesome.
Then he tells a story about his grandfather getting his first bow tie tied by an undertaker,
He says it’s a memorable story, and tonight we will be hearing two stories. Is Ken Ham’s viable? Does it hold up?
If we weren’t here tonight, we’d be home watching CSI, where there is no distinction between historical science and observational science, that this distinction is unique to Ken Ham and those who share his worldview.
Mr. Ham and his followers have a remarkable view of a worldwide flood that destroyed everything on the earth. Every land plant in the world was under water for a year. Is that reasonable? he asks.
The Grand Canyon- sorry, I missed it, but it sounded interesting.
There are billions of deeply religious people in the world do not embrace Ken Ham’s view of the earth and his young earth creationism.
What keeps the US ahead and makes us world leaders is our technology and our innovations, and if we accept creation science we will no longer invent, make new discoveries or stay ahead.
Now each speaker has 30 minutes to present his case. They flipped a coin and Ken Hamm is first.
Ken Hamm reminds us that Raymond Damdian is a young earth scientist and he invented the MRI scanner, so his belief in a young earth did not prevent him from innovative science and technology
Danny Faulkner- astronomist, is also a young earth believer. He has published many articles in the literature of his field. He says there is nothing in astronomy that contradicts young earth.
Stuart Burgess, designed technology for a 1.4 billion dollar scientist.
He says many of his colleagues are privately sympathetic with him about his young earth views but tell him they are afraid to speak out because of the hostile climate.
To do good science you have to believe in the laws of logic, the laws of nature (and a third I missed), and he doesn’t beleive they make sense in a materialistic universe that happened by accident.
He quotes a public school textbook which does distinguish between historical geology and physical geology, demonstrating a difference between what we can observe, and what we can conclude about the past.
He says if Nye and he both went to the Canyon, they would agree on most of what they observed, they would disagree with conclusions about how long ago it happened.
He met both atheist and creation scientists who worked on the Hubble. He says they agreed on what to do and how to build the Hubble. TThey disagreed on interpretation of the data.
All scientists have the same experimental or observational science. Can Bill Nye name a single technological advance that could only have been created with an atheistic evolutionary understanding.
We have the same evidences, he says, it’s a battle over the same evidence, adn the interpretation thereof.
The different interpretations are based on different starting assumptions, and admittedly, his is the Bible, but he believes that observational science confirms his starting place. He lists several things we would expect to see if his starting point is true. And one of them is that kinds reproduce kinds, that one kind does not morph from a totally different kind.
There is great variation within kinds, but finches, he says, will always be finches, and dogs will always be dogs.
He notes there is more variation among dog schools than there are in finches, but finches have been chosen as one of the icons of evolution and dogs haven’t.
Evolution is used for observable changes and then used for unobservable changes as molecules to man.
Changes within species are observable, but the evolutionary tree of life switches from observational science to a believe that hasn’t been observed.
It’s a naturalistic religion, and it’s used to indoctrinate students.
He talks about some experiments finding some e coli bacteria are able to thrive on … ? citrate? substrate? And evolutionists use this as proof that creationism is false. But then he shares a film of Andrew Fabich who is also a microbiologist who points out that there is no new information in this e coli bacteria. It’s change, but it’s change based only on information already in teh e coli system, not on developing new information.
He says if we’d trusted the Bible, we’d have known there is really only one race, the human race.
He also shows a clip of Bill Nye saying it makes no sense for Creation science believers to except the technological advances of science and it’s baffling. But Ham points out that it’s not a conflict at all, it makes perfect sense .
He spends some time preventing the basic elements of the gospel as well as explaining how important Genesis is to all of Christian theology. And he explains that yes, his historical science is ideological, but so are the foundational beliefs of evolutionists and atheists. And the two have very different conclusions and they are not pretty.
Nye’s turn: He graciously thanks Ham and says he learned something, and then says that the real question is, does Ham’s view hold up?
He uses as an example a limestone formation with millions of critters fossilized in it and says there is just no time in the young earth view for this to have happened.
He talks about snow columns drilled at the poles, some of which have 680,000 seasonal layers, and therefore is impossible with a young earth worldview.
Bristlecone pines- one in Sweden is over 9000 years old, so how could it be there if there was a worldwide flood. He says if you put a sapling underwater for a year and it won’t survive, so these trees (others are five or six thousand years old) could not have been there before a flood four thousand years ago.
He says the Grand Canyon couldn’t have been caused by the Flood because floods have roiling and churning and there is no sign of this at the Grand Canyon. And why only one Grand canyon? There should be Grand Canyons around the world.
He says there is no evidence of a more advanced animal in the lower geologic columns.
He says Australia is proof of evolution, because if these animals came from the ark, they should be all over the world.
He says the millions of species we have could not have developed from the 7,000 kinds Ken Ham says existed in the four thousand years since the flood, unless we had a new species every day.
Go Seahawks. Very gratifying.=)
Sorry, I got distracted by some cuddling from my second youngest grandbaby.
He says that it makes no sense that Noah and his family, unskilled shipbuilders, could have built a ship like the ark that they could have navigated through the seas, and they couldn’t build or manage a ship as large as the ark, when eight unskilled people, uh, men, and their wives, were able to do.
The National zoo has only 168 species and it has to cover 66 hectares to keep the animals alive, so how could Noah and family have maintained 14000 species and fed and cared for them on a boat for a year.
Science is about the ability to predict, we can predict that we can put a space craft in orbit and take a picture of Washing DC. We can predict how much food we need to feed an elephant.
In the fossil record we can predict that there will be a sequence of animals, and sometimes there are gaps and scientists can predict that the gaps will be filled.
Lungfish, jump from pond to pond, and there are amphibians. So scientists wondered if there were not some species that had characteristics of both. They found fossils of such creatures in a fossilized swamp in Canada.
Creation science is not viable, he says, because it’s not able to make predictions.
Now he is talking about sex. Why would two individuals develop the need to share sex. It’s to fight germs. Minnows who reproduce sexually have fewer germs and parasites than those of the same species that can reproduce asexually (or is it monosexually?)
Now he is talking about a sign outside a church building questioning the big bang theory and how that proves something (I am trying to be fair, but this is just incredibly weak) bad about all Creationists and their belief.
From there he goes to Hubble’s development of the Big Bang Theory- which is interesting and I have no beef with it, it’s just that his use of the bulletin board sign was awkward and bizarre.
A lot more about the predictability of science, the table of the elements, the fossil record in
Right now there is nowhere to get a degree in nuclear medicine (in the US or maybe in just a couple states? I missed it) and this is bad. (I think he’s just using this point as one of his pet soapboxes, encouraging more degree seekers in this field, just as Ham used his time to address gay marriage and the gospel).
Billions of stars disprove young earth
we have ice older than the young earth says is possible
our starlight is older than the young earthers say is possible
Nobody could build an ark that would have done what creationists say it did.
Please do not raise a generation fo students who don’t know how to innovate, who don’t know the natural laws.
Now five minute rebuttal time.
Ham’s rebuttal: says he doesn’t have time to rebut every point, but he will address the age of the earth. Yes, he admits he bulds his understanding of the origins of the earth on Genesis, taking it literally, adding up geneologies and that is how he gets to six thousand years.
Radioactive decay, yes, we observe it. But when talking about the past there is a problem- in australia they dug down to a coal mine and found basalt layer with wood embedded, and one lab quoted the basalt layer as being 45 millions of years old, another identified the basalt embedded in it as being 45 thousand years.
Dating methods give different dates, adn using different dating methods on teh same rock will reach different conclusions.
Atheistic dating methods are based on some unproven assumptions about decay rates remaining constant, about them starting at a specific level, etc.
There are Christians who believe in millions of years, yes, Ham says, like Nye said, lots of Christians believe in old earth, but that doesn’t make it so, and it still contradicts the Bible, then he explains why (I think Ham here and quite often is speaking more to old earth Christians than he is to atheistic evolutionists).
He says there are hundreds of dating methods and 90% of them give much younger dates than the minority chosen by atheists.
You find 45 million year old rocks on top of 45 thousand trees, then maybe the rock just slid over on top of the trees.
No, you’re wrong the dating methods are very reliable. All the asteroids seem to be so close to the same date. They expected more of a spread, but they are close to the same age.
So Ham takes the Bible, translated into English countless times over hundreds of years as more reliable than what Nye can observe.
Are fish sinners, have they done something wrong to get diseases? That’s extraordinary and I am not comfortable with that, says Nye.
You cannot separate the natural laws of the past from those we have now.
Ham’s believe is magic, not what we want in conventional mainstream science.
Ham’s assertion that all animals were vegetarians before they got on the ark. That’s extraordianry. Lions have teeth that aren’t designed for broccoli.
Nye presents lion’s teeth, Ham uses a book translated into English like the game of telephone over 30 centuries. The information Ham uses to create his worldview is not consistent with what a reasonable man would expect.
If this si true, then it means Ham’s words are
Five races Ham mentioned- presented by people of European descent, so are we supposed to take Ham’s word of English American translations over the last 30 centuries.
You misunderstood- the 45 thousand year old wood was not under basalt, it was encased in the basalt.
Of course he believes in natural laws that are true now and will be true tomorrow, and that’s consistent with a biblical view
Nye keeps talking about Ham’s model, but it’s not just mine, we have lots of PhD scientists on our staff, and there are others around the world, and they all agree with this model, it’s not just something Ham developed.
I believe you are confusing terms when it comes to species and kinds, Mr. Nye- it only took 1000 kinds to be on the ark to produce the variety we have today.
Most of our illustrations illustrate my point.
You talk about the age of the tree rings and ice cores, but you weren’t there You are assuming too many things that aren’t necessarily true.
Bears and lions have similar teeth, as does the panda, but bears are mainly vegetarian. Same for fruit bats. Sharp teeth just means an animal has sharp teeth.
Creationists do believe in post flood catastrophes.
Why would you assume Noal was unskilled? Did you meet him? I didn’t. You are presuming people in the past weren’t as smart as us? Who says Noah couldn’t build a big boat. That’s an assumption, not observational science.
Speed of light- from a big bang perspective, there’s a problem with the light issue (talked to fast and I couldn’t get it)
You didn’t answer the most fundamental questions, and you’re still wrong. Your answers are only making things worse.
Noah as an extraordinary shipwright is just not sensible. My ancestors were shipwrights and they took their entire lifetimes to build ships and it’s just not reasonable that noah could (this is his weakest argument, I think).
Assumptions about light theory remember that this is based on past experience, not coming out of whole cloth.
Why should I take your word that natural law changed four thousand years ago? Prove it? Species, earth’s surface, stars in the sky, and relationship of all living things on earth to humans, it’s just not reasonable that everything changed like that.
There are billions of people in the world who are deeply religious, and I respect that, and yet they don’t accept your point of view. Explain this. What is to become of them in your view? This started because Ken Ham’s creation model is based on the Old Testament, so when you bring in the NT, that’s out of the box. (this is his second weakest argument)
So what is to become of those people who don’t see things your way?
We need science. We need engineers. We need scientists so we can continue to lead (we, the USA) and innovate.
New part: Questions from the audience- this will go faster, and I will likely miss even more.
Question- to creationist- how do you explain celestial bodies?
Ham- The Bible says God created them for His glory, it shows us how great and powerful and infinite He is. It shows us His power. and putting human beings on this planet and becoming one of us to save us, wow. What a God.
Nye: there is a question that troubles us all- where did we come from? This question is so compelling that we invented astronomy and biology-
To Ham, reading that God created the stars is enough, it’s satisfying, but I find the starts wanting me to learn more.
Ad what I want from you Ham, is to show how the creation model enables you to predict something.
To Nye: How did the atoms that created the Big Bang get there?
Well, that’s the big mystery, it compells us to keep searching. When I was young we thought the universe was slowing down. But it’s not slowing down it is accelerating and nobody knows why.
Isn’t it reasonable that whatever is out there making the universe expand is also here and we just don’t detect it yet. We want to solve the mystery of the universe.
Ham’s turn- there is a book out there that tells us where matter comes from. In the beginning God creatied the heavens and the earth, and it explains why matter matters (Shasta’s quote). But there are things that matter more to us. Languages comes from intelligence, information comes from information, and the only reasonable answer for where those come from is an intelligent creator.
Question- Most scientists beleve in old earth, why not you?
Ham, sure, the majority believe this, but majority does not determine truth. The majority have been wrong before (and he gives several examples). Just because the majority believe something doesn’t mean it’s true. And when new innovators come along, the majority dismiss him for a long time. He mentions several, including the discovery that doctors and their unsantiary practices were the cause of childbed fever, and how thta doctor was ostracized.
I made a whole list of predictions. If the Bible is right, there is only one race, and that was true (and he lists several others0
WE can be great scientists in the present.
Nye: If a scientist discovers something that changes common thought, scientists love it and embrace it. (He actually says that when we learned that doctors were killing babies and mothers by unsanitary practices, this new discovery was embraced immediately, but his is historically and irrefutably false).
Where did scientistts come from ?
Where did consciousness come from? I don’t know, it’s a great mystery. What is the nature of consciousness? If we do not embrace the processes of science we will fall behind economically.
Ham: Bill, there is a book out there that does document where consciousness comes from. God created us, and breathed into man and made us living being.
You talk about the joy of discovery, but you also say when you die it’s over, and if that’s true, what’s the point of joy in discovery? What’s the point? I LOVE the joy of discovery because I like finding out about God’s creation and man’s dominion?
What, if anything, would change your mind?
Ham: I am a Christian. As a Christian, I cannot prove it to you, but God has definitely shown me very clearly through His word and that Jesus Christ is His son. You can check that. You can check the prophecies in the Bible. You can check the Genesis statements. As far as the Word of God, nobody will convince me the Word of God is not true.
But I want to make a distinction here. We here build models all the time and they are subject to change. The fact of Noah’s flood doesn’t change, but our understnading of what would happen to
So Nye, what would make you change your midn?
Nye: One piece of evidence. A fossil that swam from one layer to another, the universe not expanding, that stars appear to be far way but arent’, that rock layers can form in thousands of years, that atomic processes could change.
Outside of radiometric methods, what proves the age of the earth?
Nye, that’s pretty compelling. Star Radiation. how could the earth be 3 billion years old? Then radioactivity was discovered, it’s why we’re as warm as we are, why the earth has maintained its warmth all this time.
It’s like saying if things were any other way things would be different.
Neutrons do become protons. the universe is accelerating. These are provable. The flood four thousand years ago is not.
There are many, many steps in what appears to be the creation or coming into being of you and me- time is up.
Regarding the age of the earth- this was not based on the age of earth rocks, but meteorites were dated for this figure. Every one of the hundreds of dating methods is based on assuming a knowledge of what was there to start with and the rate of change, and 90% of them give an age far, far less than billions of years.
Rate of continent drift and how it’s changed: I got distracted again so I missed their answers.
Favorite color? One word answer?
Nye- Green and then he goes off into a tangent about it that the moderator interrupts.
Ham_ so can I have 3 words for his hundred? Observational science: Blue.
What is the Second Law of Thermodynamics-
Nye: He had a cool quote, but I lost it.
Nye, you lose energy to heat, car engines are only 30 percent efficient.
But the earth is not a closed system, so we have energy pouring in from the sun, and that energy drives living things on earth.
BTW, if you are here in Kentucky, almost half the air you breathe is from the ocean made by phytoplankton.
Ham: you can have all the energy and light you want, but they don’t create life. Matter alone can never produce life.
hypothetically if evidence existed that forced you to admit the earth was older than ten thousand years old would you still believe in God and Jesus of Nazareth and that he is the son of God.
You can’t do that, because you cannot prove the age of the earth at all, there are assumptions you can make, but you can’t prove it using the scientific method. There are methods that contradict millions of years.
There is nothing in observational science that proves the age of the world.
Nye: you just want us to take your word for it, your interpretation of a book translated into American English is better than my observation. What can you predict? Yous ay you don’t get life from plain matter. Are you so sure of that? should we stop looking on Mars for life? (me: finding life on Mars would not at all disprove Ham’s belief that God created life, because finding life on mars would not answer any questions about its biogenesis).
Is there room for religion in science?
Nye: bilions of people accept technology and are religious.
The exception is you, Mr. Ham.
Ham: Where does the logic and consistency come from if there is no design in the universe.
Making things is very different from creationism
Mr. Ham do you belive the whole Bible should be taken literally?
should we stone somebody who touches a pig and should men marry multiple women?
yes, but we need to define terms. I take poetry as poetry, prophecy as prophecy, and history as history.
There’s a lot of misunderstanding- there were laws just for Israel, but they don’t apply to all Christians. Israel had civil laws just as America does. And, btw, God condemned taking multiple wives, it’s not a command, there were problems when it happened.
Nye: It sounds to me like you take what you like and interpret it literally and others you interpret as poetic as descriptions of human events. All that aside, it’s not possible that all these things that contradict your interpretation of those first few passages I find unsettling.
evolution is a process that adds complexity. Nature is not top down, it’s bottom up, things merge and move up, whatever doesn’t make it dies off and falls away and this fills me with joy and is… ?(sorry, missed it. My grandbabies are ADORABLE)
Ham: What new function has ever arisen that was not already there from the genetic material already available?
This question os for Ham- name one organization using creationism to produce?
He points out all the Christian scientists out there who do science based on being able to trust the laws of nature and the laws of logic, and the founders of western science who were Christians. And those atheists who do good science also have to borrow from the Christian world view to do so. There are lots out there that you may not know they are creationists.
Nye: Your model has no predictive quality. What happens to all those people who never heard of it or heard of you? Were they condemned? It’s very troubling.
What is the foundation for your belief?
Ham: The Bible (he explained at length)
Nye: I base my beliefs on the processes and observations of science- it fills me with joy to make discoveries every day of things we didn’t know before, it’s a wonder and an astonishing thing to me. We are one of the ways by which the universe knows itself. it’s astonishing that we exist because of the universe.
You can watch it yourself for a few days at debatelive.org so you can check it out for yourself.
Updated to add: Sonita Lewis in the comments says:
Two things stood out to me that you missed (I just skimmed the post but I did go back over & read that part well before posting) in the question section
1. Ham says “there are aspects about the past you can’t prove because you weren’t there…you’re not going to be able to scientifically prove that and that’s what you need to admit, but you can be great scientist in the present.”
YES! I can’t prove my young Earth view anymore than you can prove your old Earth view, because neither of us can recreate it!
You say “well if God created everything, who created God?” Well I say “How did the atoms that created the Big Bang get there?” Nye says “it’s a mystery!” How is it that my belief in God is silly but your belief in the big bang is science and more intelligent? You have faith in the existence of those atoms, I have faith in the existence of God.
2. Later Nye answers “how did consciousness come from matter?”
Nye: “Don’t know…If you can find what we in science call a Second Genesis, this is to say, did life start another way on earth. There are researchers …NASA… your tax dollars… who are looking for answers to that very question, is it possible life could start another way…this would be a fantastic discovery that would change the world.”
So Nye is willing to excitedly accept a NEW theory of how life on Earth started, just not the account in the Bible…That is ridiculous to me, you are so passionately speaking out against the Bible account of creation and what a ridiculous concept it is, but you’d be willing to accept a new theory of how life on Earth started? Wha??!?!
Me here (DHM). Somebody asked me who won, and I have to say that nobody ‘won,’ and I don’t even think this was a ‘debate’ in the classic sense of the word, so there could be winner or loser unless one of them really, really had flubbed up badly. Neither did.
I thought Ham especially missed an opportunity to point out more and better examples of predictability, and he also could have done a better job of explaining that since observational science is the same science for both sides, no matter what you believe about historical science and biogenetics, you have the same predictability that any other scientist does. Really, the idea that believing in creation somehow means you can’t do science is one of the dumbest arguments I have ever heard about anything.
But I got the feeling that Ken Ham’s goal was not about changing Nye’s mind or the minds of other atheists- he wanted to reach theistic evolutionists, Christians who believe in an old earth. And Nye’s agenda seemed to be about campaigning for more bow ties and for Kentucky to have better (by his standards) science education in schools.
Nye failed to know much about his opponent, though. He seems to imagine that encouraging kids to go into science fields is somehow a goal Ken Ham doesn’t share, and that’s just bizarre. There are a lot of areas where I disagree with Ken, and I don’t want to go into them here. I also think the Creation Museum is more of a giant tourist attraction than a legitimate nonprofit ministry, but I don’t want to argue about that, either. I am just pointing out that I am not a diehard Ken Ham fan, and I think it’s obvious he loves science and wants kids to study it and encourages them to become scientists, so that was kind of weak on his part.
He obviously understands nothing of biblical translation. To compare it to a game of telephone is an utterly ignorant claim that could only be made by somebody who knows absolutely nothing, not even the basics, about biblical translation. It should trouble his fans that he felt qualified to make that assertion repeatedly when it is so palpably ignorant and uninformed.
Here’s another critique– I particularly agreed wtih 3, 4, and 5.