What was your take on the Bill Nye and Ken Ham debate? Thanks


First of all, take everything I say here with a huge grain of salt because I have only seen a little bit of the debate. My response is primarily to what I have heard and what I know of Ken Ham and Bill Nye. Neither Ken Ham nor Bill Nye are particularly good spokespersons for Christianity or for scientific materialism. Ken Ham takes the young earth perspective and is extremely irresponsible in his treatment of science. He is a classic example of a person who begins with a presupposition (in this case, that the universe is only a few thousand years old) and then proceeds to read whatever information available into this view. He is absolutely impervious to data inconsistent with his presupposition. In the final analysis, he ends up completely rejecting science. Yet he presents himself as a spokesperson for science. The fact is that Ham is not well trained in science. His specialty is rhetoric, not science. He is a very bad spokesperson for science and a very bas spokesperson for Christianity as well because anyone who argues for a viewpoint from a perspective which is not affected by the evidence for or against that viewpoint is not able to mount a good argument or to engage in a real discussion of the issues. Ken Ham is perhaps a sincere believer in his position, but he is a very poor representative of the Christian view. He does more to destroy the faith of young believers than he does to support belief in the Bible because he makes the Christian position appear foolish and defends a view which anyone with an even slightly open mind can see for what it is. It is an argument based on many logical fallacies and not on evidence.

I have not seen or met Ken Ham, but I have had a lot of exposure to his writing and to people who espouse the view he supports. On the other hand, I have actually seen Bill Nye speak. He is an excellent speaker and can handle a room quite effectively. He is a very good showman, but he tends to rely on his showmanship and is not one who can do a really good job of explaining and defending a reasoned scientific defense of his perspective. By the way, his perspective is that of determinism/scientific materialism. He takes the position that there is no supernatural presence and that all things can be explained through science. He rules out supernatural causes a-priori. Like Ham, he assumes the result before beginning the investigation. Predictably, he arrives at the conclusion he assumed before he began the investigation–with the conclusion that science disproves God. The difference is that he will do a vastly superior job of handling the scientific evidence. He has the advantage of being partially right. What I mean is that, in fact, the universe and the earth appear to be old. His conclusion that there is no Creator is incorrect, but his analysis of the evidence about the age of the universe and the earth is solid. He is not required to ignore vast areas of evidence to support his conclusions, unlike Mr. Ham. I have not seen the full debate, but I can predict that almost certainly Ham makes Christians (or the version of Christianity of which he is a caricature) look very foolish and hopelessly biased. This is very frustrating. It would be vastly superior is a real scientist who believes in determinism (Nye is not qualified as a scientist) would debate a believer who does not ignore the evidence for an old earth and who is a real scientist. A good candidate would be someone like Francis Collins, not Ken Ham who fails on both counts.

Anyway, I plan on watching this debate when I have the chance, and I will post a reply which is based a bit more on the actual debate rather than speculation, hearsay and rumor and please forgive me that this answer is largely based on speculation, hearsay and rumor!

John Oakes

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