Ken Ham and Bill Nye Debate Creation and Evolution
Last night, February 4th, 2014, witnessed a two and a half hour debate between a creationist and an evolutionist. This debate was broadcast live on debatelive.org and will remain on their website for a few days to allow for viewing by those who might have missed the live event. It was a very civil and well-organized debate.
Creationists believe that God created the universe just as the Bible says He did. Evolutionists, for the most part, deny that God had anything to do with our origins or, at best, that He started the ball rolling and then stepped out of the way so that evolution took over from there. The debate took place at the Creation Museum in Kentucky. This museum promotes the concept that the universe was created just as the biblical book of Genesis describes.
Ken Ham is the president and founder of Answers in Genesis, a group who takes the Genesis record literally (naturally, as you would read any other literature) and believes the world is much younger than current secular science would have us accept. In this debate, he questioned the assumptions used in secular science’s dating methods; he raised the question of the origins of morality and logic, which could not have come from non-intelligent sources; and he questioned the secularist’s idea of live coming from non-life.
Bill Nye appears to be one of the scientists who completely exclude God from any theory of our beginnings whatsoever. Now, Mr. Nye is/was a much beloved and respected representative of the scientific community. I personally have spent many hours with my children watching his show; he is very informative and entertaining. Mr. Nye has a welcoming personality, a sense of humor, and is truly dedicated to science and the pursuit of discovery. He mentioned this passion of his several times during the debate.
Mr. Ham began by saying that he believes science has been hijacked by secularists (those who see no need of God and/or who base their theories and research on ideas and processes that do not require God’s involvement). He said that, in most public schools, evolution is the only theory allowed to be taught in regards to our origins. This results in the common perception, by those who are educated in our public school systems, that evolution is the only plausible explanation for our origins. Mr. Ham, and those who believe as he does, holds to the idea that one can have complete confidence in the record of Genesis and that no truly verifiable scientific fact contradicts the Genesis account. As a matter of fact, he believes that Creation Science actually explains our origins, and what we can observe about our universe, better than the theory of evolution.
Mr. Nye repeatedly presented the idea that, if one believes the Genesis account, one could not do good science. He lamented what he perceives as an anti-intellectual bias within the community of those who take the Bible literally. Several times he spoke directly to tax payers and voters, urging them to support science education; at least the science education he endorses. In rebuttal, Mr. Ham introduced, by video, several creation scientists who have contributed much to the scientific community; thereby proving that one is not handicapped from doing good science simply because one trusts the Bible.
Mr. Ham also pointed out the difference in the way the word ‘science’ is used. He said that, too often, secularists use the word ‘science’ to mean every kind of research and experimentation they conduct. However, there is a distinct (and crucial to the creation/evolution debate) difference between observational science and historical science. Observational science can be observed, tested, verified, and falsified. It is the type of science that is hands-on. This type of science has given us the wonderful inventions and technology that has resulted in the discovery of so many life-saving medicines.
Historical science, on the other hand, is what we believe happened in the past based on what we see in the present. It is what is ‘thought’ to have occurred in the past. Both creation science and evolution science use historical science when discussing our origins. Creationists base their theories on the Bible, secular evolutionists exclude the idea of God when they construct their theories of our origins.
What is our authority?
As Mr. Ham pointed out at the beginning of this debate; the real issue is not an issue of what we can observe in our universe, but of our interpretation of these observations. Creationists believe strongly in the creative power of God; secular evolutionists construct their theories on a God-less foundation, they begin with the premise that “There is no God”, so how do we explain all we see in a way that does not attribute it to Him?
For Mr. Ham, the Bible is the authority. Every discovery made by scientists must align with the biblical record. Mr. Ham considers the Bible to be the framework by which all reality is to be judged; he considers the Bible to be the very Words of God given to men who wrote them down under God’s own guidance (II Peter 1:21). Mr. Ham believes that, to deny the historicity of the biblical book of Genesis, undermines the confidence one should have in the rest of Scripture.
Mr. Nye even mentioned that, if one cannot believe the first book of the Bible, why would anyone believe the rest of it? That has been Ken Ham’s stance all along. Mr. Ham says that, if we say that the historical account of beginnings found in Genesis is merely a poetic way of explaining our origins, but not truly the way it happened, we are saying, in effect, that the Biblical record cannot be trusted. Therefore, much stands to be lost when we allegorize or, in any other way, declare the record of Genesis to be less than literal history.
Even if I were not already a Biblical creationist, Mr. Nye’s support of his case was less than satisfying. Many times, he merely stated an idea, theory, or point without any explanation of ‘why’ this idea, theory, or point should be considered valid. Often, he would state an unproven theory or idea as if it were an unbreakable law, and then build his rebuttal on that theory, never explaining the basis of the original theory on which he based his argument.
Debates like these, when conducted with civility and intelligence, can go far to further the Kingdom of God. They show, in unarguable ways, that science does not contradict the Bible and that there are good reasons for believing that the Bible is true from front cover to back cover. These debates can help hone one’s ability to think logically and discern truth. Mr. Ham represented Jesus in a most gracious and powerful way…in my opinion.
Although the creation/evolution debate has gone on for a very long time, and will probably continue until Jesus returns, it is through debates like these that we learn. Of course, one’s salvation does not hinge on one’s view of our beginnings; our salvation comes through repentance, and faith in Jesus Christ. However, when the Bible clearly says that God created the universe and everything in it, are we not dishonoring Him when we choose to believe differently?
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Robert received a Bachelor of Arts degree in both Pastoral Ministries and Biblical Studies from Mid-America Christian University in 1995. He is convinced that the hope of the world lies in men and women having a saving relationship with God through faith in Jesus Christ. Robert believes that the Bible contains the truth that God wants us to base our lives upon. He is passionate about understanding the Bible and helping others do the same. Only when one views life through the lens of the Bible can one arrive at a worldview based on truth. Robert is happily married and lives in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.