Some 900 people attended the event at the Creation Museum in Petersburg, Kentucky on Tuesday to witness the debate. Social media heavily followed the event.
CNN reporter Tom Foreman was the moderator. Each man gave an opening statement and then had 30 minutes to make their case, complete with graphics and charts. But in the end, neither man seemed to be able to sway others to his point of view.
Still, some have speculated that each man got what he wanted. Ham got publicity for the Creation Museum. Nye got media exposure and reportedly an appearance fee.
Reactions around the Internet were many, but predictable. Still, for many it's not a black and white, evolution OR creation issue.
Albert Mohler said, " the debate proved both sides right on one central point: If you agreed with Bill Nye you would agree with his reading of the evidence. The same was equally true for those who entered the room agreeing with Ken Ham; they would agree with his interpretation of the evidence."
Casey Luskin writes at Evolution News, "People will walk away from this debate thinking, "Ken Ham has the Bible, Bill Nye has scientific evidence." Some Christians will be satisfied by that. Other Christians (like me) who don't feel that accepting the Bible requires you to believe in a young earth will feel that their views weren't represented. And because Ham failed (whether due to time constraints, an inflexible debate strategy, lack of knowledge, inadequate debate skills, or a fundamentally weak position) to offer evidence rebutting many of Nye's arguments for an old earth, young earth creationist Christians with doubts will probably feel even more doubtful. Most notably, however, skeptics won't budge an inch. Why? Because Ham's main argument was "Because the Bible says so," and skeptics don't take the Bible as an authority. They want to see evidence."
Scott Hoezee thinks the debate will make things harder for pastors, "Pastors who want to embrace and love people from all viewpoints on these matters - and who want to encourage mutual respect for all - probably now have a harder row to hoe. If pastors cannot imitate the stalwartness of Ham’s “The Bible says it’s so” stance, then not only will they likely find their own commitment to Scripture impugned (or at least doubted), they will quite possibly find the hostility of the YEC crowd to be heightened toward any members of the congregation who doubt that just waving the Bible around can resolve all these tensions. Most pastors will properly begin to perspire this week even if asked a question as basic as, 'So what did you think about that debate Tuesday?'" [Think Christian]
Perhaps the most surprising reponse came from televangelist Pat Robertson, who himself is not a stranger to controversial statements. Robertson was critical of Ham and said "Let's be real, let's not make a joke of ourselves."
Christian Post reports that, "Robertson said that Ham was using faulty data from Bishop Ussher, an Irish Christian, who lived in the 16th and 17th centuries. To make his claims, Ussher calculated the date of creation, based on his knowledge of the Bible, the ancient Persian, Greek and Roman civilizations, astronomy, ancient calendars and chronology."
Robertson said, "I don't believe in so-called evolution as non-theistic. I believe that God started it all and he's in charge of all of it. The fact that you have progressive evolution under his control. That doesn't hurt my faith at all...You go back in time, you've got radiocarbon dating. You got all these things, and you've got the carcasses of dinosaurs frozen in time out in the Dakotas...they're out there. So, there was a time when these giant reptiles were on the Earth, and it was before the time of the Bible. So, don't try and cover it up and make like everything was 6,000 years. That's not the Bible. And so if you fight revealed science you're going to lose your children, and I believe in telling them the way it was."
For more informatoin regarding viewing the debate, visit the Creation Museum.