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Bill Nye vs. Ken Ham in a debate on evolution

On Feb. 4, 2014, Bill Nye and Ken Ham had a debate about evolution at the Creation Museum. The entire event was broadcast live on debatelive.org. For about an hour, the two men debated about which is the correct scientific theory of creation—evolution or the Bible. Following the debate, both men answered questions from the live audience. If you missed the debate, you can watch the entire event on Debate Live. The link will be valid for a few days only. After that, if you want to see the entire debate, you will have to purchase a CD, DVD, or video download.

Bill Nye the Science Guy

Hands down, Bill Nye won the debate. He presented his facts well and clearly demonstrated how evolution and the laws of natural science follow a predictable pattern that holds up under scientific scrutiny. In his closing remarks, Nye declared that Ham did not prove his case. Bill Nye also made a plea to those in the audience to keep current scientific exploration and theory alive in the classrooms. He feels that if we change over to the Ken Ham theory of creation, the United States will lose ground against other developed nations in science and technology. According to Nye, our nation depends on raising children who are literate in science and technology. Without that, the U.S. will fall behind in research and development—reducing employment opportunities for the next generations.

Bill Nye spoke from the viewpoint of a man of science. He relies on physics and current scientific theory to prove his point. Nye asked Ham to show him where fossil evidence supports the creation theory or any theory of intelligent design. All Bill Nye asked for was for a single instance of a fossil from an earlier time period to appear in fossils from a later time period. According to Nye, if one could find this, the scientific community would welcome it and that find would change the world.

Ken Ham the Creation Bloke

Ken Ham is Australian. During the debate he referred to himself as a bloke. That is why it is used in the subheading. When asked very specific questions about creation by Bill Nye and the audience, Ken Ham’s standard reply was there is a book. He didn’t even quote scripture, just referenced “the book.” In his presentation, Ken Ham deviated from many creation or intelligent design theories by bringing Jesus into his theory. Thus, Ken Ham takes the creation theory away from those who may not be Christian but still feel that the Old Testament and Genesis should be taken literally. What Ken Ham wants to see is a decidedly Christian creation theory in all public schools. This is an insult to everyone who is not Christian and who sends their children to public schools. His view is not mainstream creationism; it is creation according to Ken Ham.

One of the problems Bill Nye had with Ken Ham was that Ham was taking an American English version of Genesis literally. This is a good point. Genesis was originally written in Hebrew. Later, it was translated to Greek and Latin. Much later, the King James version of the Bible appeared. By the time this version came to fruition, Genesis had been translated from the ancient and classical languages to King James. It is not verbatim from the original text. Unlike the Jewish Torah, which is handwritten by scribes and checked for accuracy to the original text, King James has translation errors and misinterpretations of the original Hebrew. One this point, Bill Nye won the argument.

Ken Ham states that 4,000 years ago a huge flood occurred. Noah and the Ark. We all know the story of the great flood. However, Ham takes it one step further. He uses the story of the great flood to explain the division of the continents—apparently Noah lived in Pangaea and the great flood resulted in the continents separating into the land masses they are today. Ham says that in order for something to be scientifically valid, it has to be observable by someone. Apparently, Ken Ham has never seen an earthquake or other evidence of plate tectonics. When confronted by Bill Nye on this, Ham’s reply was that the plates did not move at the same rate or in the same way immediately after the flood. Ham claims that when the water drained from the flood, it separated the continents.

The debate

The two men went round and round about what is science, natural law vs. common logic, the evolution of man, the great flood and the big bang. Bill Nye used clear and concise examples of fossil records. He explained various principles and laws of physics. Finally, he proved his point by stating that there is no physical evidence to support the Creation by Ken Ham theory.

Ken Ham referred to “the book” too many times without quoting scripture. He made one reference to Genesis and a couple to Matthew. Matthew is part of the New Testament (way after creation happened) and it has nothing to do with a biblical view of creation. Ham used it to support a decidedly Christian creation view as being the only correct one. Ham failed miserably at proving his point. He could not demonstrate or provide anything to legitimately contradict Nye’s arguments.

Ham could not show fossil layers to support his position. He was unable to fit the laws of physics into his theory and this was his undoing. He could have challenged theoretical physics to make his point, but the laws of physics are called laws because they have been proven.

If allowed into the public schools, creation theory according to Ken Ham would be the undoing of public school system. You would have parents pulling their children from public school and either homeschooling or sending them to private schools. Finally, creation theory by Ken Ham would not coincide with Common Core Standards. Maybe that is a blessing in disguise.

Lynda Altman has homeschooled her 4 children over the last 16 years. She believes that homeschooling is a parent’s G-d given right. Lynda writes a blog called Homeschooling When Mom has Cancer. Get notices when this page is updated by clicking on the subscribe link, by email, or contact Lynda @fusgeyer on Twitter.