Carlos Marquez

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Bill Nye and Ken Ham will debate on Feb 2,2014. Who will Prevail?

On 2 Feb 4, 2014 " The Science guy" Bill Nye will square off against Ken Ham the CEO of Answers in Genesis at the Creationist Museum in Kentucky USA.

Mr. Ham will have home-court advantage and Mr. Nye will be walking into the "wolf's den" . In past debates of this type against William Craig secular debaters like Dr. Krauss & Sam Harris while very lucid & educated lack the polished delivery of Mr. Craig. IMO both Harris & Krauss did a wonderful job against D'Souza & D Chopra.

Now, is the debate a lost cause for both parties?Theists will not side step out of their box when their version of the Bible is countered against. Seculars don't accept revelation, faith & divine books as reliable evidence.

Mr. Ham stated that "Bill Nye still doesn't understand the difference between historical science and observational science -- so he may be known as ‘Bill Nye the science guy -- but he doesn't understand science correctly"

Mr. Nye has stated that:"'Creation Science' is not useful, because it can make no successful predictions about nature or the universe, So, it is reasonable to say the expression is an oxymoron, or simply: it's not science. It has no process of observation, hypothesis, experiment, then predicted outcome. A useful theory about time and organisms would make no distinction between 'observational' and 'historical' science."

For me the the "hot potato" should be served backwards,that is what will it take for both Nye & Ham to do a 180 from their positions. And that is the crux because if shown reasonable evidence I bet that Nye will regroup his thinking, but Ham can't because his interpretation of the Bible is without error, no matter what the evidence may show.

Your thoughts...

Cheers!

  • Jan 12 2014: Debates are not a way to figure out truth. I repeat, debates are not a means to figure out truth. Debates are won on rhetoric much more than on reason.

    With that said, even though I can't think of any way in which anybody would convince me that Ham's absurd god exists. But for your question. Apologists train precisely and intensely on rhetoric. They live out of it. The live out of debating. I therefore expect that religious people will win debates more often than non-religious people. The non-religious and atheists have jobs to do, while people like Ham make a living exactly out of this sort of thing: debating and being good at snake-oil sales. Bill Nye does not strike me as a debater. I wonder what possessed him to go and debate Ham.
  • Jan 9 2014: I think that claiming that the reason that creation is all in the wrong order as it appears in Genesis when compared to what we can actually see in the real world is a bit of a cop-out. It's like saying God created a whole universe, but he couldn't get the order right when he got someone to write it down, because there were some difficult poetry and prose rules that made that impossible. Seriously?!
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    Jan 8 2014: Oh dear, hear we go again.

    As a Christian, I want to draw the distinction between Christianity and Creationism. Creationists believe that the first chapter of Genesis must be taken literally, and then try to support all of the foolish, nonsensical consequences of that belief. Christians need not be Creationists. In fact, Wikipedia shows that a majority support the theory of evolution

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Level_of_support_for_evolution#Support_for_evolution_by_religious_bodies

    Genesis One is a poetical version of the beginning, not a literal one.
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      Jan 8 2014: Lawren

      Was creation done in six literal days or not? Sincere Christians hold one view; equally sincere Christians hold the opposite.Was the talking serpent allegorical? Or are the accounts according to the Bible both true as history & allegorically.
      Maimonides held that it was not required to read Genesis literally. In this view, one was obligated to understand Torah in a way that was compatible with the findings of science. Indeed, Maimonides, one of the great rabbis of the Middle Ages, wrote that if science and Torah were misaligned, it was either because science was not understood or the Torah was misinterpreted. Maimonides argued that if science proved a point, then the finding should be accepted and scripture should be interpreted accordingly.

      Ham's camp contends that if Christians doubt the days of creation- as plainly written -Then they are likely to doubt other plainly written narratives like Jesus virgin birth & the resurrection, both are crucial to the faith.

      I believe in religious freedom and freedom of expression, will always defend that.

      And I agree with you Lawren " ...foolish, nonsensical consequences of that belief. "

      Thanks!
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        Jan 8 2014: Creation was not done in six literal days. There is an ancient form of Hebrew prose/poetry that consists of three leading parts, three companion parts, and a closing, seventh part. In the case of Genesis, three environments, three inhabitants of those environments, and then ceases.

        Look specifically at the first and the fourth day. God created day and night on the first day, and then the sun "to govern the day" on the fourth. What shone the light for three days until the sun came along?

        To go down the list - sky and water (2nd day) go with birds and fish (5th). Then dry land (3rd) and land animals (6th) complete the three companion sets.

        Genesis is obviously not literal
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          Jan 8 2014: Lawren,

          Definitely not literal.

          Thanks.
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          Jan 14 2014: Yes genesis is poetic bunk. Interesting to hear the creationists response to these issues and how they work around the issues.

          I'd go a step further and suggest there is no good reason or evidence for any form of creation or.creators, or in the biblical god Yahweh or the Jesus god bit.
      • Jan 16 2014: So is what you are saying is that some things we take literal and some we don't. Who decides this?
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          Jan 16 2014: Jim,
          Good question- let's take an example- The Bible cites a place called Egypt ruled by a pharaoh-historical-now - a talking snake(in ancient Hebrew), a talking donkey(in ancient Hebrew as well), a worldwide flood a la carte -not literal- you know like the works of Faulkner, Garcia Marquez, Borjes & others.

          Who decides?- Me, you, and every other rational person on the face of these good Earth. By consensus we agree that Zeus does not reside in Mt. Olympus-and if he is, well he and his cohorts have been quiet tenants since the "Glory Days".

          Its like Tolkien-fiction- except that present day religions get special pleading via a massive delusional effect ,product of being forced into the psyche of the masses. But that does not make them an inch real.

          Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away. ~Philip K. Dick

          Cheers!
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    Feb 5 2014: OK,
    So, Mr Nye -to my surprise- got the best out of Mr Ham. Nye just pile up facts common sense and -what else?-science-. Ham went basically into preaching mode rendering him inert. Nye was relentless & civil-great job!-
    Nye stated that for a lack of a better word "magic" would have to do to support Ham's world view.
    MSNBC reported that Nye took the debate and seems to be the consensus on the web as well-minus -YEC's circles.

    Well done Mr. Nye!!
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    Feb 3 2014: Honestly, I'd rather see a science guy debate another science guy, such as Robert Spitzer of the Magis Institute for Reason and Faith. Rather than using the bible to talk about God's existence, Spitzer uses modern astrophysics and mathematics for the same purpose.
    http://www.magiscenter.com/reason/index.html
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      Feb 4 2014: Andrea,
      To me science is not an atheist or a religious exercise, science doesn't aim to agree with the Qur'an or the Bible not to mention the myriad of religious dissent among established religions. Christianity must stand on faith and on its Holy Book(and one of 33,000 interpretations) above anything else-which will render its arguments as circular. Science does not confirm the Bible. Not to mention that science is by "design" falsifiable and Religion is not, if science were to "prove'" religion then the word supernatural would be-natural-
      As far as the Magis Inst.well imo is add good as Mr. Ham. All those "arguments" supported by Magis are riddled with fallacies and pseudoscience .
      Science is based on naturalism wherever that may lead,the supernatural is not in its scope.
      Think about it,take thunder, the early man thought of supernatural causes for it -God of the gaps- once mankind explained thunder -ad nauseam- mankind did not stepped back into a supernatural explanation.
      "Science proves Religion"-A la carte via Magis- and its success is based on its simplicity and the fact that the theist masses are already in agreement . Magis comes straight out of a comic book and if you were to look closer at science -as it is done- you will be able to see through the parody. Discovery Inst, Magis, Creationist Museum et al - Are propped up with ignorance and delusions.


      Cheers!
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        Feb 4 2014: I don't know that this way of expressing the relationship between religious and scientific arguments is likely to promote a reconsideration of a prior stand, as it is on its face insulting to suggest that something that has thus far been convincing to a person is "propped up with ignorance and delusions."

        I mention this only because I believe you may want people to look critically at the positions of which they have been persuaded and the arguments that they have taken as valid.
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          Feb 4 2014: Fritzie,
          When did we become afraid to speak? Why should we tiptoe over these issues? Notice that did not refer to a person in particular rather "institutions & organizations" is not ad hominem.
          I think you may miss my intent with my use of language-my encoding- I bear not to thread on hate, rather vigorous healthy exchange of ideas .That exchange could get emotional-it follows- but when we become afraid of expressing opinions and our thoughts, we stop progress. We stop understanding. We stop the idea that you can walk a mile in someone's shoes . Having a debate is not the same as standing on a street corner with signs and screaming obscenities.
          It is a clash of diverse backgrounds, folks that were raised under different circumstances, and have different values. But is a clash alright
          I do not seek to change someone's mind, proving myself right , or hurting someone's feelings. it's touchy,yet good ideas are born from it (try to be at one of my staff meetings,gotta have though skin!).
          We should not be afraid of language-rather-than it can be twisted and with it the ideas it carries(hence the Nye -Ham Debate).
          No twisting of ideas-No twisting the language-and all (me included) should pop our mind wide open to the fact that there could be other opinions besides your own out there -to include my view and yours-.

          In TED I've been preached to,insulted, even vague threats had been launched at me. And that is OK. I have religious Kentucky wildcat fans round me is all good... I chose to listen to understand others better(the world does not revolve around my feelings), thus increasing my learning chances & even may have a chance to exert some influence-who knows?
          The key issue is get past our emotions find out that when I say that: ..."ignorance & delusions" What are the basis for such a statement? Any merit? Am I willing to challenge my own world views?

          All else is Fluff

          Cheers!
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        Feb 4 2014: I know you have been insulted and so forth, but that is not the only way or even the best way to wrangle about ideas. It has nothing whatsoever to do with fear of speaking but rather with effective communication if you want minds to remain open rather than to shut themselves down.

        I ask you only to CONSIDER this point of view about effective discourse. Your choices, of course, remain entirely yours.

        On a different note, here is Richard Dawkins making his case that scientists should not debate creationists: http://old.richarddawkins.net/articles/119-why-i-won-39-t-debate-creationists

        Bill Nye is not a scientist in that sense, perhaps, as he has a bachelors in engineering rather than any degree or research experience in life science. From what I read online, people expect that Ham will speak with more polish and in a language much more likely to appeal to the audience at the Creation Museum.
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          Feb 4 2014: Fritzie,
          Well, Prof Dawkins has some skin in the game, yet is up to each person to debate or not.The danger is that our creationist friends have the tendency to legislate their brand of religion onto everyone else whether they like it or not. If unchecked they will legislate rampant. Some "trimming" around the ears is necessary from time to time.

          Nye is an educator at heart and a witty conversationalist and has that engineering degree-Ham has home court advantage and a slick presentation. I'm eager to see what tactics Nye will deploy.

          BTW I've CONSIDERED (your caps Fritzie,yeah), "and a rose by any other name would smell as sweet". That said i will always let my interlocutor know my intention(s). Appreciate your thoughts.

          Perhaps a weakness to Ham's argument is that "God Exists"-no God no creation et al-. Those two words alone are really loaded. Define God?, Define Existence(how is the theist using the word existence?-which God?, which Christian variant ? are Muslins wrong? why?Any dialogue about God(s) should be accompanied by an explanation that facilitates understanding without an understanding of the word "God" there is is not even a phase out to "exists" ----> Creation is unequivocally true. And that is when faith comes in! and the Sea separates in ways to attain knowledge.

          I've not met yet two theists friends in TED that agree with the word "God".

          Thanks for the link, very informative.

          Cheers!
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    Feb 2 2014: Carlos, will you offer a recap for those who do not have the opportunity to tune in?
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      Feb 3 2014: Fritzie,
      Thanks for tuning in- The whole idea is to chime in into the Ham - Nye debate. Some folks think that the debate is a moot point since neither will budge from their position, others think that Nye -while a likable character is not a biologist(neither is Ham). Also some see the debate as a validation of Ham's assertions a priori instead of using the scientific method.
      At large I can see those points and I can also see that Nye worries about Creationism spreading in America with the fuel of tax dollars and the right wing evangelical voter-creating "facts" with their votes, and the danger therein.
      In the mix is the financial s of the Creationism museum that apparently took a nosedive as of recent and is looking for new revenues-even if it comes from infidels.

      Cheers!
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    Feb 2 2014: Hmm,
    Sometimes I think is when exchanging points of view with our theists friends ai something on the lines like Theist are from Mars, Atheists are from Earth(this Earth)-but what do I know?
    I mean imagine the ancient Chinese believed that an eclipse of the sun was caused by the fire dragon trying to devour the sun. To prevent this they would bang pots and pans, light fire crackers, and do anything else to make a great noise with which to scare away the dragon.
    You can imagine this conversation between an ancient chinese rationalist and an ancient Chinese fire dragon believer.

    Believer: "Why are you not making a noise to chase away the fire dragon?"
    Rationalist: "I do not believe in fire dragons!"
    Believer: "So what causes the sun to go dark, if not the fire dragon trying to devour it?"
    Rationalist: "I do not know"
    Believer: "See! The fire dragon must exist as it is explans why the sun goes dark"

    Such minds...

    Cheers!
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    Jan 30 2014: ....

    Recently Mr. Nye stated that he is aware that neither him or Mr. Ham are going to convert each other, and that he iss going into this debate not as a scientist but as a "reasonable man" .
    One i think for certain (imo) in the case of YEC's and their quest to "disprove" evolution-good luck with that- only disproves evolution. it doesn't prove something else. It doesn't make any particular creation myth (among the many thousands of others from rivaling religions) magically correct or supported.
    Then there is the "faith" issue -well words do have different meaning- pinned to context-.If I say "I have faith this guys will do this assignment just fine" then I mean that past assignments has shown me that the dude is trustworthy and generally works well.
    If I say "I have faith that Shiva exists", then I mean that I have no evidence that this is true, but believe it anyway. This type of faith is blind. If I would have evidence, I wouldn't need faith. I could then just say "this and this suggests/shows Shiva exists". In that context the usage of the word "faith" obfuscates rather than elucidate.
    In the other hand, Mr. Ken Ham is embarrassing to watch. No one can dispense more pseudo-scientific misinformation in a shorter span of time than Mr. Ham. Ham represents the anti-intellectual, Biblical literalism type of thinking that makes most Christians cringe and non-Christians snicker. However, for a man who seems to have almost no knowledge of science and an uncanny ability to twist Scripture with facts-and made up facts, he has managed to make a pretty good living.
    Of course the main battle t me is Tax funded creationism at large.

    Cheers!
  • Jan 27 2014: i dont see why people evin argue about this thing anymore. life is simply consciousness experiencing it's-self subjectively (from within) there is no actual seperate people it is just a trick that consciousness plays on it's-self so that it may interact with other versions of it's-self. Thats what we are. but the people of old never had the capacity of thinking like we do now so they misinturpreted it as (GOD) but its realy just consciousness. the act of knowing ones-self. so that we may say " I AM"
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      Jan 28 2014: Matt,
      Why we debate Creationism? Well let us put it this way-control- . If unchallenged The YEC et al , will blast their brand of morality down your throat before you can say "Holly setup Batman!".
      Creationist will change science textbooks and will pass laws that only match their world-view,hence the danger.

      And that is why the point is argued.

      "All people like us are "we",and everyone else is "they".- Rudyard Kipling

      Cheers!
  • Jan 19 2014: where can this debate be watched, streamed, or downloaded???
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      Jan 25 2014: Timothy,
      There is a link :http://debatelive.org/

      Cheers!
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      Jan 25 2014: Timothy,

      I think Mr Ham is charging to watch the stream.
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    Jan 14 2014: Friends,
    Another way in which Nye is at a disadvantage when Ham starts to cite the Bible as base for circular reasoning, and also by neither demonstrating necessary and sufficient conditions to establish cause. From there Ham will rise a whole skyscraper in minutes , which will take hours for Nye to unravel to an audience that most likely is ill-informed in how Science works & operates.

    Sam Harris & Prof. Krauss had the same problem with Dr Craig.

    Maybe Mr Nye will deflect the debate and instead will opt to educate rather than "debate"

    Of course the emotional appeal is with Mr. Ham and the call to reason fall in Mr Nye's court. Of course our theist friends are not into creation because a cosmological arguments or some other philosophical or pseudo-scientific "woo-woo", they are convinced that they have a personal relation with the godhead(via any of the 41,000 available flavors-in the Christianities-). And that the relation "experience maybe subjective but as real as Pi=3.14-hands down- the path from Christianities to Atheism is traversed slowly and in loneliness.

    But Mr Nye may nudge some noggins. I hope.

    Cheers!
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    Jan 14 2014: Craig's arguments are fallacious and easily debunked if you go through in detail.

    I agree with comments below that debate is not the ideal forum to work towards the truth. But better than being burnt at the stake for heresy.

    I hardly thing it is worth debating people whose starting point it's their interpretation of the bible is the absolute truth.

    However if just one kid a step closer to being open to reason and evidence then it might be worth it.

    Creationist apologists, and presuppositionalists are experts at deflecting arguments based on reason and evidence

    can't say I get to excited about these debates.
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    Jan 8 2014: I suspect that Ham, in a William Lane Craig-like way, is preparing furiously for this debate, and I "pray" that Nye is doing likewise. That's the only way he'll survive.

    Nye’s rationale, as given in an interview, is not to "win," nor to change “this guy’s mind” (IKen Ham’s), but to prevent children from adopting a “scientifically illiterate” view of biology. He adds he hopes to “influence people in the area”—presumably Kentucky- I think that the audience will be by far Ham adult supporters-

    I just don't remember Ham being in Nye's children show

    Cheers!
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    Jan 8 2014: Friends,
    The Creation Museum's 900-seat Legacy Hall in Petersburg, Ky. sold out within minutes. @ $25.00 x ticket X 900 seats = $22500.00 - a drop in a bucket. There should be a way for web-streaming.

    I'm curious to see Mr. Nye's approach to Mr Ham's arguments. We shall see...

    Cheers!