The Great Debate
Somehow, this appeared on The Boy’s radar so we spent 90 minutes of our lives watching it. I want to preface this post with three things: (1) these are just my opinions so take them with a grain of salt; (2) I’m a raging agnostic; (3) Bill Nye is the only reason I paid even a minimal amount of attention in my Science classes. So with that out of the way, here goes…
The question posed was “Is creation a viable model of origins in today’s modern scientific era?” Both men had a half hour to present their arguments but the truth is that the majority of the time was spent arguing about whether or not historical science exists. The basis of science is observation. Can you actually see and repeat the theories you are trying to prove? Historical science is a movement, not a basis of fact. It is dependent on faith in a book that has not been proven to be truth.
Even I will admit that there have been items contained in the Bible that have been proven to be factual. But if Ken Ham does not allow for science to be extrapolated into assumptions about either the past or future, then he does not get to do the same simply because some of the stories in his book have been proven.
A lot of Ham’s time was spent introducing us to scientists that also happen to be creationists. However, much of it was just a regurgitation of their educational backgrounds and not anything at all about what they have contributed to science. If you want me to take them seriously, tell me what they’ve done, not where they’ve studied. Talk to me about their scientific contributions, not their glory days.
If one is going to argue that Earth is a mere 4,000 years old, then there is also quite a lot of explaining that needs to be done as to where the evidence that supports this actually is. Certainly if you don’t believe in carbon dating or examining geological evidence, then how can you explain that dinosaurs and humans really could not have existed? Logically speaking, how would humankind have survived such an ordeal? And I’m asking that you provide facts, not faith. And if they did, was this also a punishment from God? Where is there evidence of the Flood? How was the Ark built by 8 unskilled people? These were all questions posed by Nye and left with no real response from Ham.
Discrediting arguments by your opponent (in this case, that Darwin’s finches are not scientific proof of evolution) and then using dogs as an example of various species that were created, with no proof save for the belief in divine intervention, I do not see how that stands up to reason. And really, the debate of the “reasonable man” is a valid one. If we have no reason, how are we doing any of this? Certainly God would not be guiding people that don’t believe in his existence.
Also, if you’re going to have a serious debate, then it is probably best to not make yourself look like a crazy person. Spending any amount of time claiming that public school students are being “brainwashed” by textbooks and evolutionary theory is akin to someone standing at a podium claiming evidence that aliens exist. Maybe they do. Maybe they don’t. We don’t know. But weakening your own argument by appearing to be so far out of touch with reality isn’t the way to win a debate.
In the end, I felt like this was less a debate about the existence of God and one in which both men refused to budge from the basis of their belief. Either your starting point is the Big Bang or it’s the Bible, really. In this argument, those are your only two options. One is based on extrapolated fact. The other is based on years of oral history turned written history turned edited history to control the masses turned translations galore. Personally, I have a harder time accepting evidence that has been so far removed from the truth and tampered with.
But ultimately, as a Christian friend (yes, I do have some of those, believe it or not) pointed out, belief in either requires faith. And that is something that neither Nye nor Ham really touched on.
It’s either faith in a novel or faith in the extrapolation of proven fact. Take your pick.