Bill Nye Debate With Creationist Ken Ham Stirring Controversy

Image: Bill Nye Debate With Creationist Ken Ham Stirring Controversy

Tuesday, 04 Feb 2014 12:29 PM

By Clyde Hughes

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With the debate between Bill Nye "The Science Guy" and creationist Ken Ham just hours away, there was a larger debate going on about whether any minds would be changed and if the debate itself was a good idea at all, according to the Religion News Service.

Ham will have home court advantage with the debate happening at the Creation Museum in Kentucky. The museum showcases exhibits claiming that the planet is 6,000 years old, far younger that scientists believe, and that humans and dinosaurs interacted between one another, another things that most scientists disagree upon, according to CatholicOnline.com.

Nye and Ham will verbally spar over creationism versus evolutionary theory, and whether creationism should be taught in public schools.

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"'Is creation a viable model of origins in today's modern scientific era?' The only legitimate answer to this question is, 'No,'" Peter Boghossian and James Lindsay posted on the Richard Dawkins Foundation website. "Because this response is obvious yet a debate is still scheduled to take place, a great deal of controversy has arisen. Many oppose the debate because, echoing biologist Richard Dawkins, it gives the 'oxygen of respectability' to the creationist position."

Deborah Haarsma, president of the BioLogos Foundation, agreed that the debate is the bad idea, but for different reasons. Haarsma, whose foundation's motto is "science and faith in harmony," said the debate has the potential of feeding into a stereotype.

"It is this huge stereotype that all Christians reject science and an event like this reinforces that stereotype," Haarsma told the Religion News Service. "A debate like this sets up a false choice (between science and religion). We don't want them to have to choose."

Tyler Francke, who writes the blog The God of Evolution, said while Nye is a popular television personality, there's some question about his debating skills and could come off poorly against Ham, who is experienced in debating the subject of creationism.

"Young-Earth proponents like Ham have all kinds of tricks they play to make their view seem reasonable," Francke told the Religion News Service. "They claim they don't ignore evidence they just look at it with a different lens. If (Ney) shows up expecting a fair fight purely on the basis of what the available evidence most reasonably indicates, I think he's going to be sorely mistaken."

The Religions News Service said Texas, Louisiana and Tennessee permit the teaching of "alternatives" to evolution in public schools.

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