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Everything You Need To Know About The Bill Nye And Ken Ham Debate

A recap of my night at the "is creationism a viable model of origins" debate.

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The crowd.

As you can see, there were police officers there. There were bomb-sniffing dogs walking around the museum all day. Everyone had to go through a metal detector to get in.

Also everyone was white.

Ken Ham: He goes into this whole thing about experimental vs. observational science. If we weren't there to see it, then we don't know exactly how it happened. The Bible was written by people who were there.


Bill Nye: Basically goes into a story about how his grandfather used to wear bow ties. For those wondering, Bill was told his grandfather rented a tux that came with a bow tie. He didn't know how to tie it, so he went to the hotel room next door. The guy asked him to lie on the bed. His grandfather asked why? The guy said because he's an undertaker. *Everyone laughs*

He then goes into this long thing where he introduces a bunch of *real* scientists who also believe in creationism.

A big point of Ken's entire argument was that OTHER people who happen to be very smart believe in creationism. Scientists can believe in creationism and still do science. He says he knows many who are just too scared to speak out because of atheists and the media.


He again emphasizes that creationists have a stigma against them.

There are creationists who are academics! He's basically saying that the terminology people use for creationists belittles them. They're smart too.

He starts talking about how everything is crumbling or something.

Modern society is rejecting God's logic in the Bible.

He ends his speech by reiterating, "Creation is the only model of HISTORICAL science."

Historical science = everything from the Bible. Our only reliable text from the past is from people who were there.


His shows this 9,000-year-old tree. Bill says it's not possible that this tree could have survived such a disastrous flood that Ken believes happened.

Bill is basically breaking down Ken's argument that everything was destroyed during some great flood. Ken believes that the flood was so grand and monstrous that everything was washed away except Noah's Ark. Bill says impossible.


The species argument. Ken believes in kinds. A kind of animal is like a cat, dog, or elephant. There were 7,000 kinds of animals on the ark.

Ken believes that each of these kinds bred out and created all the difference types of animals. Bill says that if that happened then it would still be happening today. There would be 11 new species every day.

It's kind of confusing, to be honest.

The ark. The ark was made of wood. He shows examples of other ships.

He disses Noah's ability to make a decent ship. "How can someone with no shipbuilding experience build such an indestructible ship?!"

Bill goes into a big argument about how the problem with Ken's model is that he can't actually predict anything from it. Bill says we've observed things that happened in the past that have repeated today. That hasn't happened in Ken's view.

Bill brings up the big bang. He shows this church sign he saw in Virginia.

He talks about how we've observed the stars moving further away from each other. This means they were once closer together. The big bang separated them.

There are also microwave noises left over from when the big bang happened. The noise isn't audible to the human ear, but it's always there.


Ken: Ken launches into how we make a lot of assumptions when we date rocks.

We assume that elements have decayed at the same rate throughout all of time. He also says that different dating methods yield different results. It's inconsistent.

The only true dating method is the word of God.

Bill: Bill goes more all over the place.

He counters Ken's argument that you can't observe the past by saying that's what astronomy is. He says that it's weird that all animals were vegetarians (Ken believes that before man sinned, everyone — including animals — was vegetarian). Bill says that doesn't make sense because look at a lion's teeth. They're not made for plants.

Bill also brings up the game "telephone." Bill would bring this up frequently. Ken believes in a text that was translated in many different languages over the course of time. Information had to be lost.


Ken: Ken goes after Bill because he keeps on saying "Ken Ham's model" when referencing his belief system.

Ken says that a lot of people believe in his model. He brings up all of the scientists he talked about earlier.

Ken starts talking about how we didn't observe any of the natural aging methods. He says we don't know if tree rings and ice layers grew at the same rate that they grow today.

He says that Bill never met Noah. He couldn't have known how skilled he was. He says Bill is saying people in the past weren't as good as people in the present.

Bill: His main argument this time is that there are billions of devoutly religious people worldwide.

They all believe different things.

He points to a rock. He says Ken believes his book translated into American English is better than this rock. FYI, Bill said he picked that rock up on the side of the road before it came. It's full of fossils.

Q&A: The questions are apparently submitted by the audience completely at random.

FYI, I missed some questions because some were confusing. Also Bill and Ken kind of just went off on random things during them. Sorry! You can watch the live stream and catch them.


What about planets?

Ken: God created them to show his power. God is a great God. He created the stars as almost an afterthought. He snuck it into the Bible. "Oh yeah, here are the stars." Wow, what a God.

Bill: Bill basically makes the claim that Ken uses God to say "I'm done." It's easy to make claims when you just base it on one text.

How did atoms from the big bang get there?

Bill: He says this is a great question. It makes him want to wake up every day and discover. It's great.

Ken: Ken says there's an answer to that and it's in the Bible. It's the only thing that makes sense.

How did consciousness come from matter?

Bill: He doesn't know. He says the joy of discovery is what drives him. The drive is in all of us. He encourages young people to go out and discover.

Ken: Ken says that he has a book that says it, and God gave it to us. Ken also says something about what the point of discovery is if you're just going to die. He likes to discover because he loves God's world so much.

What would change your mind?

Ken: Ken says no one will ever convince him that the Bible isn't true.

Bill: Bill lists a bunch of things that Ken claims the Bible says. He tells Ken that what he did there tonight was give explanations of the past.


What's your favorite color? One word only.

Bill: Green because... (Bill goes on, everyone laughs).

Ken: Observed science. Blue.

Hypothetically, if we have concrete proof the earth was older than 4,000 years old, would you believe it?

Ken: You can never prove the age of the earth.

Bill: Bill launches into another attack on Ken for saying that he is relying on a book written thousands of years ago and translated numerous times.

Is there any room for God in science?

Bill: Says that there are billions of people with different faiths. No.

Ken: Says God is necessary for science.

Should the Bible be taken literally?

Ken: If it's history like Genesis, then literally. If it's pslams, then it's poetry. He says something about one man–one woman marriage.

Bill: He says Ken decides what he wants to take literally and figuratively. He does what he likes.


Why aren't humans getting smarter than they were in the past?

Bill: Being smarter isn't a necessary consequence of evolution.

Ken: Talks about cavefish.

What is one thing more than anything else you base your belief on?

Ken: "There is a book I've been talking about." Says God will reveal himself.

Bill: The process of science. Says that we need to embrace science education to stay ahead.


Then we all left and drove home in a "level 2 snow emergency." I am alive. Last thing, I may have missed some things because I am not a scientist. I was sitting in the audience and could only write so fast!