Creation vs. Evolution: Inside the Nye/Ham Debate

On February 4th, 2014, on a stage in Petersburg, Kentucky, Bill Nye and Ken Ham were involved in one of the most important debates in the last few decades. Even though one of the debaters (Bill Nye the “Science Guy”) would strongly disagree on this point, it really was a debate between atheism/agnosticism/secular humanism and biblical Christianity. The agreed-upon topic was, “Is Creation a Viable Model of Origins?” However, the thrust of the debate from each side respectively was, “Do we ultimately trust in man’s word or God’s word?”

The new book on the debate from Bodie Hodge and Ken Ham, Inside the Nye Ham Debate, delves into the history behind the debate, offers an in-depth review and examination of the debate itself, and responds to Bill Nye’s questions and statements made during the debate. The book follows the format of the debate, with a post-debate perspective from Ken Ham, an appendix (including a complete transcript), and two additional appendixes on the age of the earth and the Trinity. The book is available through Amazon.com.

Bill Nye’s tactic (even admitted to by Mr. Nye) was to throw a bunch of data at Ken Ham, knowing that he would not have time to respond to every point. Nye stated that he was simply using a tactic by the late Dr. Duane Gish against Ken, but this is not accurate and is an unfair characterization of Dr. Gish’s debate stratagem. In reality, Nye’s debate strategy was nothing more than elephant hurling, refusal to acknowledge counterpoints to his arguments, and a decided commitment not to stay on topic. Furthermore, he continually tried to frame things in an ad hominem way, referring to biblical creation as “Ken Ham’s model” and creation-affirming Christians as “Ken Ham’s followers.” This is a typical strategy used by atheists (or anti-theists if you prefer) when debating creationists.

Stuart Burgess, Ph.D., professor of engineering design at the University of Bristol (UK), wrote one of two forwards to the book. I like his comment, “I sincerely hope that more secular scientists will do what true scientists should do, be open-minded about the evidence.” Dr. Raymond V. Damadian, inventor of the MRI and writer of the second forward to the book, commented, “Regarding evolution, the scientific evidence needed to sustain it does not exist.” Dr. Damadian added, “Specifically, the intermediate life forms necessary to sustain the concept of evolution have never been shown to exist.” Darwin specifically claimed that all organic beings have descended from a single primordial form. Darwin argued that the critical scientific evidence necessary to sustain his hypothesis is proof of these so-called intermediate life forms, and that such life forms demonstrate “natural transition” of one KIND of life form to another KIND of life form, thereby enabling successive anatomic and physiological transitions required for life to progress to a higher and higher order of complexity.

In terms of human ancestry, as Dr. Damadian puts it, the skulls of our postulated ape “ancestors” differ remarkably from human skulls. The skulls of all apes house approximately 400 cc of brain, in contrast to the human skull which houses 1200 cc of brain. If humans are descended from the apes, where are the fossil remains of the intermediate life forms necessary to substantiate such an origin? Where are the 800 cc fossil skulls, or the one-inch fossil skull frontal bones, needed to contain the brain of such intermediate life form, or any other intermediate brain volume for that matter?

It is interesting to consider the debate surrounding the world-famous Scopes trial that occurred in Tennessee in 1925. This debate, although won by the creationists, set the stage for a takeover of the education system by evolutionists, and the removal of Christianity from schools and culture in subsequent years. The roots of the debate between Nye and Ham can be found in Bill Nye’s YouTube video posted on August 23, 2012, wherein he stated, “…teaching creationism [is] not appropriate for children.” Nye further stated, “If we raise a generation of students who don’t believe in the process of science, who think everything that we’ve come to know about nature and the universe can be dismissed by a few sentences translated into English from some ancient text, [we’re] not going to continue to innovate.”

Here’s an important question, which is raised by Bodie Hodge in the Introduction to Inside the Nye Ham Debate: “Am I biased? The truthful answer is yes. But so is everyone else. If someone believes they are not biased, then part of their bias is that they have deceived themselves into thinking they are not biased.” [Italics mine.] Phillips, Brown and Stonestreet (2008), in their book Making Sense of Your World: A Biblical Worldview, state that truth is absolute; if not, then nothing is true. They state, “If a worldview is true, we can expect to find at least some external corroborating evidence to support it. This does not mean that something is true because there is evidence for it, but rather evidence will be available because something is true.” It is critical to note that evidence is always subject to interpretation, and interpretation also can be subject to bias. This was the very subject matter of the World Views class I took last semester at Colorado Christian University. Philips, et al, define worldview as, “…the framework of our most basic beliefs that shapes our view of and for the world and is the basis of our decisions and actions.” Sire (2015) further expounds on worldview, stating, “a worldview is a set of presuppositions (assumptions which may be true, partially true or entirely false) which we hold (consciously or unconsciously, consistently or inconsistently) about the basic makeup of our world.” [Italics mine.]

It is Bill Nye’s contention that evolutionary belief is required to be able to “do” science, and that failure to believe in cosmic and biological evolution will hamper scientific literacy and progress. The accomplishments of creation scientists over the last 400 years make that argument laughable, and yet Nye continues to cling to that untenable position. During the debate, Ken Ham answered the harder questions with Scripture, reason, and data, while Nye often responded to the hard questions with “It’s a great mystery” or “I don’t know.” Obviously, each man interprets data according to his worldview: Bill Nye with a naturalistic/materialistic worldview, and Ken Ham with a biblical worldview.

Ultimately, what shines forth from this book in every section is that it is not primarily a debate exposition, but it is an apologetics tool that shows the emptiness of humanism and gives glory to God. I have placed the book on my Amazon wish list, and suggest that those interested in the endless argument between Darwinism and creationism grab a copy for their own library.  No score was kept to declare a winner in the debate. Prior to the event, Ham commented, “I don’t see it as a debate to win or lose. I don’t believe people should go away saying ‘Bill Nye won’ or ‘Ken Ham won.’ I want to passionately deal with what I believe, and I want Bill Nye to passionately speak on what he believes.” In a letter published in Skeptical Inquirer after the debate, Nye wrote that by “a strong majority of accounts, I bested him.” It’s been said, however, that research done to challenge God has the disease of prejudice.

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

2 thoughts on “Creation vs. Evolution: Inside the Nye/Ham Debate

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s