Evolution, Religion, Science, Scripture

Final Thoughts on the Nye / Ham Debate

Thanks to everyone for their comments on the previous post. From what I see here and on Facebook and in some discussions here and there, it seems as though insights and opinions differ, but not too starkly. I mentioned then that I would share my own thoughts, so I will do that in this post.

First, though, a few links. I was able to put together a commentary on the matter for the Tomorrow’s World website. The need to aim at 650 words or less limits what you can say, and the audience will be rather broad (including mostly people who did not see the event), but it is an opportunity to direct folks to additional alternatives, including our own understanding of the biblical record. That commentary is here: “Creation vs. Evolution: Bill Nye and Ken Ham Are Both Wrong!” Here’s the leading paragraph:

When science-advocate Bill Nye faced off in debate Tuesday night against Ken Ham, CEO of Answers in Genesis, the issue of creationism vs. evolution gained a rare degree of media scrutiny. Nye had called the teaching of creationism “a dangerous choice,” and promoters saw the opportunity for a profitable public event. Certainly much attention came to the subject. But, amid all the controversy, was there something that both participants missed?

(Click here for the rest)

Also, I thought that Elizabeth Dias of Time magazine had a very funny “blow by blow” report on the whole thing. It can be read here: “What You Missed While Not Watching the Bill Nye and Ken Ham Creation Debate.” My favorite bits of her work were her tongue-in-cheek comments about Ken Ham’s “drop the mic” moments. Very funny. (Well, my sort of funny.)

And the irritated reaction of Intelligent Design scientists was very understandable, and they went to the Internet to make their (pretty good) points. They published several pieces in Evolution News and Viewslisted here in this search. Among them, I enjoyed “In the Ham-Nye Debate Not So Much as a Glove Was Laid on Intelligent Design”–which points out the very real distinction between Intelligent Design work and the work of Creationists–and “The Ham-Nye Creation Debate: A Huge Missed Opportunity” — which discusses, well, exactly what the title says. (They also encourage you to listen to a more serious and enlightening debate between Intelligent Design theorist Stephen Meyer and UC Berkeley paleontologist Charles Marshall.)

However, back to the point of my post. In one of his ENV posts pointing out that the science of Intelligent Design and Creationism are not the same, David Klinghoffer made an insightful summary comment: “Isn’t it interesting that Bill Nye chose to debate Ham, then, where their respective views are incommensurable and no meaningful conversation is possible.”

This is a great way to summarize much of the Nye/Ham debate. In some ways it might as well have been a discussion about which spices bring out the flavor of barbecued unicorn.

Yet, there were things to be seen, and each fellow made some good points, not all of which were related to the “official” question being debated, which was “Is creation a viable model of origins in today’s modern, scientific era?”

The question, alone, embodies a number of problems. “Creation,” for instance, could mean many things. The implication is that Ken Ham’s favorite understanding of the events of the book of Genesis is “the” understanding, and Mr. Ham spent precious time here and there defending his position not against Mr. Nye’s arguments, but against the idea that there are other possibilities, highlighting the problematic use of that word without qualifiers. Also, what constitutes “viable”? It’s a good word, but “viable” clearly differed in the minds of the debaters While that wouldn’t be enough to make it a bad debate–indeed, the positions could have (and sort of did) revolved around just that point: “What does it mean to be a viable model?” But the participants could have profited the audience with a clearer presentation of their positions on how they individually determine a model’s viability.

However, the fuzziness and lack of focus in the debate was rooted in the fact that each man had motives other than the simple question at hand. For instance, Ken Ham wanted to ensure he had the chance to share his faith to the hundreds of thousands who were/would be watching. (The video on YouTube currently sits at more than 827,000 views.) Also, he wanted to demonstrate that it is possible to believe in the Young Earth Creationism model he supports and still be a working, active scientist. That isn’t relevant to the debate, technically, but is a part of the contention motivating the debate, to be sure. On Bill Nye’s part, he seemed to want to give religious people permission to think differently than Ken Ham and to make the pitch to the viewing audience that America is going to fall behind scientifically in the world if viewpoints like Ken Ham’s are taught to our children. Again, this last point isn’t relevant to the viability of Ken Ham’s Creation model, but it is a big part of the impetus behind the debate.

Those things said, let me try to boil down my observations and reactions to the debate.

Overall, I agree with Evolution News & Views’ statement that the biggest victim of the debate was the Truth.

On one hand, it is great to see discussions of this sort on a bigger stage. Origins should matter to us. But on the other hand, this debate helped to cement in the minds of many, I believe, that these two individuals represented “the” two sides of the issue. It is not a two-sided issue, and these two, together, certainly did not represent the universe of possibilities. Our own contention, for instance, represented in today’s commentary, is nowhere to be found. Intelligent Design is nowhere to be found. Neither is the view of many with whom I would disagree (theistic evolutionists, et al.) but whose views I respect as serious attempts to understand the issues at hand. Consequently, this debate served to simply solidify the stereotype that the issue of origins is a matter of science vs. the Bible. And that’s a shame.

The best impression, overall, on the official question of the evening was made by Bill Nye, in my opinion.

It doesn’t mean I agree with him, to be sure. And both men made points that the other left hanging, so it isn’t as though the matter was truly settled, even in “debate” terms, if you will. If it had been a boxing match, there was no “knock out,” and the match would have come down to the judges.

And if I were the judge, I’d say that while neither man really “won”, the better impression was made by Bill Nye. I thought he did a good job of pointing out that the scientific evidence seems to contradict Ken Ham’s model and he suggested the idea that since there are many religious people in the world who don’t see things as he does, maybe he doesn’t have the Bible right, either.

On this second point, he was weak, and had he done as Ham did (which I will mention in a moment) by presenting testimony from, say, theistic evolutionists–even big namers, such as Francis Collins–he would have been more decisive. It would have robbed Ham of the force of his claim that the Bible must be considered as evidence that his position is true.

However, it seems as though this would have contradicted the heart of Nye’s approach, which is that such considerations should not enter into the interpretation of evidence, at all.

That doesn’t change the fact, though, that his examples meant to damage the idea of a young earth did a good job. The “winter-summer” cycle present in what seems to be 680,000 years of snow fall; the number of new species that would need to be generated daily over 4000 years from Ham’s choice of “kinds” (did his homework there, props to Nye); the pressing of the issue that even one fossil of a struggling animal, swimming for dear life during the flood, showing up in a “wrong” strata would disprove his case and that finding it would make you a “hero”; the lack of kangaroo fossils between the ark’s understood resting spot in the Middle East and Australia… All of these combined to give the edge to the idea that Ham’s model isn’t viable. Well, that’s too strong. They gave the edge to the idea that his model is “less viable than advertised.”

It isn’t that Ham didn’t score points. His comment about how 90% of the other dating methods disagree with a billion-years-old earth (I wish his print had been bigger in that slide), his example of trees being found that were found fossilized in rock, in which the trees were dated at 45,000 of years old, while the rock encasing it was supposedly dated at 45,000,000 old — all of these did have their effect, I believe. But, in the end, they weren’t enough, in my opinion, to counter the weight Nye’s examples seemed to carry. (At least some of his examples. His picture of various skulls and the claim that they needed time to evolve, for instance, seemed to fall flat.)

And Ham’s argument that the data must be interpreted was made well, though I think it could have been made better. Even just a few more choice examples–like the recent case of a single discovery, in particular, one single skull, throwing much vaunted human “family trees” into disarray–would have better illustrated the under-appreciated role assumption plays in building our understanding of the data. If Ham didn’t drop the ball on this, I do think he fumbled it a bit. That’s a shame, because those who are a part of his Answers in Genesis team have serious credentials and could have provided a number of easily summarized examples. All Ham could do was refer to those papers vaguely, mentioning that they are highly “technical”–meant to be a positive description (and it is), but surely coming across to some as a bit of a smoke-screen.

So, in the vague battle that this debate represented, on the issue that was supposedly at the heart of the matter, I think the edge was had by Bill Nye.

On one of the important “between the lines” issues–that teaching kids Creationism will mean we will no longer be able to practice good science–Ken Ham won the point.

Ken Ham trotted out a number of videos of various, credentialed scientists with PhDs in solid scientific fields who passionately vocalized their support for Ham’s Creation model, including the inventor of the MRI. Their appearance wasn’t, in my opinion, strong enough to win the main, “official” question in Mr. Ham’s favor, but they did help to win the day for one of the underlying motivations behind the whole debate: The idea, pressed by Mr. Nye, that we are risking destroying science education in America if parents teach Creationist ideas to their kids. The existence of these working, active scientists in their fields of expertise seemed to be living proof that Nye’s point was too strong–that his viewpoint was driving by either ideological beliefs or by ignorance of the caliber of people who claim belief in Creationism.

That was an important win for Ken Ham, and regardless of the official “result” of the debate–whatever in the world that would be–it was a win for the credibility of his organization and museum.

And given the extreme nature of the Young Earth position, the softer claim–that one cannot do good science unless one believes in evolution–was also refuted by those examples. Richard Dawkins’ statement that those who do not believe in Darwinian or neo-Darwinian evolution is either “ignorant, stupid, or wicked” is simply either ignorant, stupid, or wicked, itself. And Ham did a good job of showing the statement for the lie it represents.

(On this last point, it is a shame that the overwhelming focus of this debate was the age of the earth. Every other interesting element of origin-related discussions was marginalized, I believe. A real shame, and part of the stereotype reinforcement effect I mentioned above.)

In short, if the statement to be debated was Bill Nye’s claim that (my paraphrase) “Unless our young people abandon these Bible-based ideas of Creation and embrace evolution America will fall desperately behind scientifically,” that point would have been lost to Ken Ham.

One other point: Ken Ham also did a pretty decent job of defending elements of the story of Genesis against criticism. The kinds-into-species ratios is worth further thinking, and I think Nye scored a win with that one. But other points, such as his claim about the unfeasibility of a wooden ark, fell short. His comparison to the experience of the USS Wyoming, along with the accompanying chart of boat sizes, was an excellent attack, and I give him credit for it. But Ham defended well, pointing out that other cultures (I believe he mentioned China and Egypt) have done much better with much larger than his example. And his on Nye’s claim that a handful of “unskilled workers” couldn’t have built such an ark–a standard trope of anti-Genesis folks–Ham’s response was a surprisingly effective and humorous dismissal: “Why would you say Noah was unskilled? I didn’t meet Noah. Neither did you.” (By the way, that is Elizabeth Dias’ record of the comment, which she humorously characterized as Ham’s first “drop the mic” moment.) Of course, if you believe that Noah was called and personally spoken to by the Omniscient Creator and Designer of All Reality, there is not an issue with his level of previous boat building expertise, regardless of what it has been, let alone when you consider the stated lifespans of the day. Those points could have been made, but Ham’s dismissal was better: effective, short, and sweet.

There were some surprises that added to both the enjoyment and the frustration of watching the debate.

For example, Bill Nye mentioned the discovery of the Big Bang as a “plus” for the naturalistic science. That is comical, because the Big Bang story is actually a cautionary tale of what happens when scientists are too afraid of the theological implications of their work–a fear which delayed the acceptance of the Big Bang for quite some time. (In fact, “Big Bang” was a derogatory term coined for the theory–a fact that was conspicuously absent in Nye’s discussion of the term’s origin.) More on this can be read in the Tomorrow’s World article, “Where Did the Universe Come From?” When all the information is considered (initial entropy conditions, et al.), the Big Bang theory is powerful evidence for not only a created universe, but an intelligently crafted universe. Even the fad of the day–multiverse concepts–have not diluted the power of the Big Bang theory and its current mutations as evidence.

However, Ken Ham was not in a position to capitalize on this and did not even seem to bother. (Other than in his later “Bill, there’s a book that tells us where matter and energy came from” comment, which was fun.)

It was a nice treat to see Ham make the point that science depends on assumptions that cannot be scientifically proven, namely that the laws of logic are dependable and valid, that there are trustworthy laws of nature to be discovered, and the uniformity of nature in the universe. (To advertise myself, this week’s Tomorrow’s World program–“What Is Truth?”–makes a similar point, though it differs in that the point is made by a fellow my wife believes is more handsome than Ken Ham. :) )

However, Nye could have capitalized on those points by granting them for the sake of argument and then stressing that it is those very three principles–the laws of logic, the laws of nature, and the uniformity of nature–that allow us to extend what we experience today into the geological record to understand what occurred in the past, and they are the reason why the “old earth” conclusion is drawn. It’s not an undefeatable point, but one I think he could have made some points with by using his opponent’s points against his own position.

Bill Nye made some false and misleading statements, I notice, but I don’t think he did them knowingly or purposefully. For instance, he mentioned the Tikaalik fossil as a good example of evolutionary theory making a prediction and being shown to be right. However, since its discovery Tikaalik has been demonstrated not to be the link that it was thought to be, neither in nature or in timing. Also, his argument that nature is not “top-down” like in Ham’s model but is “bottom-up” is under increasing attack within the pro-evolution community. Those points were well-covered in one of ENV’s articles, but it is possible as a “popular” scientist and not one up on the latest discussions or publications, maybe he wasn’t aware of these things.

On the “top-down” model of life’s development–a model much more in line with the idea of a Creator and Designer than modern evolutionary ideas–even atheist Thomas Nagel seems to have moved to search for alternatives to evolution, considering purpose-oriented natural laws as a God substitute. Nye is behind. But, frankly, most public, pro-evolution folks seem to be behind on this.

More could be said, to be sure, but I have other things to do this afternoon!

If you missed the debate, in a sense you didn’t miss much. Nothing has changed. Most everyone who felt this way or that still feel this way or that. But it was a good airing of two particular points of view. There are better comments about the debate than mine, and those interested should shop around the links I have provided, as well as others. For me, I’m feeling done with this! Or, actually, not too done. I hear from my brother-in-law that there is a bit of tussling going on over on Facebook about my commentary today. I think I will poke my head in and take a look. But after that, I’m done! :)

Again, feel free and add your own thoughts below.

About Wallace G. Smith

Pastor for the Living Church of God (www.lcg.org) and a presenter on the Tomorrow's World television program (www.tomorrowsworld.org).

Discussion

13 thoughts on “Final Thoughts on the Nye / Ham Debate

  1. Reblogged this on The Hind of the Dawn and commented:
    How you’re able to analyze something so thoroughly so quickly, Mr. Smith, is always an inspiration to me. Naturally, I must repost your blog so I and others can find your comments at need. Keep up the good work. – “Johanan Rakkav”

    Posted by John Wheeler (Johanan Rakkav) | February 6, 2014, 2:56 pm
  2. One other final thought, not to be extended overmuch by me here. Simply saying the world of man is 6,000 years old (or even 6-10,000 years old as the “young-earth creationists” claim), and then saying there was a world before that of unknown age biblically speaking, doesn’t remotely solve IMHO most of the really critical problems in seeking to reconcile the Bible and natural history. Just a few of the problems:

    1) The Bible says zero about any so-called “pre-Adamic man”, a concept so beloved by theistic creationists, yet this is what we must accept if we accept the dating of what is, undeniably, even “high civilization” by the mainstream – let alone even of Neolithic Man (New Stone Age Man). We have every objective evidence that these men had an ego point of view and a concept of the afterlife. Even Neanderthal Man of the Old Stone Age shows these things. Both made musical instruments, both made sophisticated weapons (Cro-Magnon better than Neanderthal even though Neanderthal apparently had even better hands), Neolithic art is world-renowned… and so on.

    2) The two biggest catastrophes in world history, Genesis 1:2 and the Flood of Noah, are nowhere to be found in the fossil record if we take the standard model of geology as it is. (The problem is perhaps even more acute if only one world catastrophe, the Flood, is postulated.) Both events should’ve made even the inferred effects of the “Dinosaur Killer” asteroid, or even greater extinctions further back in geologic time, or the several Ice Ages including those late in the Age of Mammals, look like mere blips on the radar by comparison. In standard geology it’s the other way around; neither biblical event can be inferred without destroying what the Bible literally and simply says. Either the Bible is “hopelessly, hilariously” (thank you for that bon mot, Nick Fury of The Avengers!) wrong about natural history or else mainstream scientists are. Compromise is simply impossible. And we wonder why so few people are receptive to the true Gospel? This is a huge reason why and Ken Ham understands the magnitude of that problem from his own point of view very well.

    Herbert W. Armstrong may not have come up with anything like a full solution to that problem in his early studies but he certainly understood the problem for what it is. We cannot believe in both the Bible and in uniformitarian geology with its standard model of faunal and floral succession, which is the biggest physical support evolutionists have for their metaphysical research program. Again, Ken Ham knows this. His issue with the wrongly so-called “gap theory” is that it was rediscovered in modern times by evangelicals who wanted to compromise between the Bible and Darwinism. He can’t grasp the idea that someone (such as Cunstance) could hold such a position about Genesis 1:2 for any other reason.

    A world before man and a world after man, we can postulate and back in the day, we postulated that man’s world began with the Age of Mammals. That still requires the massive foreshortening of geologic time in both worlds and especially in man’s world. Many things postulated to have taken multiple tens of millions of years in the Age of Mammals must have happened suddenly or very quickly if that age is “the world of man”, post Genesis 1:3. Even if we started with the last Ice Age as ending Lucifer’s world, somehow, we still have irreconcilable problems to deal with, or else are forced to explain away far more than we explain.

    The chief thing we have to deal with as Christians then is how fast action through time can happen in the real world. This is why I always take the arguments of even the young-earth creationists very seriously. They do have wrong theology at several vital points; they do make mistakes in their natural science accordingly; but they do understand the real issues about reconciling the Bible and natural history in a way we haven’t since the 1960’s and early 1970’s. We have wondered – Mr. Meredith has spoken often – about the loss of faith we’ve had in our Work since the 1970’s. I was there when it happened and I saw the introduction of theistic evolutionism, by no less than Drs. Hoeh and Herrmann, as one of the primary causes. It was they and at least one geologist among us – I forget his name now – who got us thinking about such self-contradictions as “pre-Adamic man” . Mr. Armstrong saw that sort of thing for what it was but what he said and did about it wasn’t enough to undo the damage that had been done. And nothing we have done since compares even to that effort.

    Looking to prophecy is not enough to restore our faith in God. The Eternal also addresses history as proof that He alone is God and we need to start doing so seriously as well. Our free booklet The Real God: Proofs and Promises makes a start for the time of recorded history but this is not where the really big problems lie. Yet here is the biblical challenge and it should force us to face the issues for what they are:

    (Isaiah 41:21 RSV) Set forth your case, says the LORD; bring your proofs, says the King of Jacob.
    (Isaiah 41:22 RSV) Let them bring them, and tell us what is to happen. Tell us the former things, what they are, that we may consider them, that we may know their outcome; or declare to us the things to come.
    (Isaiah 41:23 RSV) Tell us what is to come hereafter, that we may know that you are gods; do good, or do harm, that we may be dismayed and terrified.
    (Isaiah 41:24 RSV) Behold, you are nothing, and your work is nought; an abomination is he who chooses you.

    In context this is chiefly human history, yes, but we can’t just wave our hands and say “the secret things belong to the LORD our God” or “man cannot find out what God has done from beginning to end”. The answer of some of our own people when I was at AC Pasadena and afterwards (in my own hearing) essentially was, “We can’t use these excuses; the natural world reveals a tremendous amount about what God has done from beginning to end and does so openly, not in secret.” Either we answer this objection or else we say “point taken” and ask ourselves where the evidence really leads.

    Thanks for listening. :D

    Posted by John Wheeler (Johanan Rakkav) | February 6, 2014, 3:38 pm
  3. John Wheeler: You commented “I was there when…” Drs. Hoeh and Hermann introduced theistic evolution. Oh? I took Mr. Hermann class on historic geology, and had several classes under Dr. Hoeh. They never taught me theistic evolution. Where did you get that and what do you mean by that statement?

    Posted by Robert Petry | February 6, 2014, 10:28 pm
  4. If I’m not mistaken from what your photograph implies, you’re considerably older than I am. You undoubtedly took their classes when they were not turning toward thinly disguised theistic evolution. I have the old reprint articles and notes from that time in my stacks, somewhere. But of course you should confirm when you were there for me.

    But I was at AC Pasadena from 1977-1981 and it was by 1981 or a very few years afterward that I heard from Dr. Herrmann’s own lips about how their view of geology was changing and how it affected their view of man’s history. It was he who told me about their consideration of “pre-Adamic man”. Now without triple-checking my triple-checking my memory of the timing of events is no good and I may have dated the turn of the tide too early above. But there was a change, it did affect our ability to have faith in what the Bible says, Mr. Armstrong did respond to the thinking publicly in Ambassador Auditorium (I was there when he did, too bad he didn’t spend more than one strong dismissive paragraph on it), and the change didn’t come out of nowhere.

    During my schooling and afterward I also had conversations, some very long, with Dr. Hoeh. The longest was when he was on his way to meet some mainstream geologists who were about to visit the Grand Canyon. He was bringing as a gift a book which I bought myself, and you can’t get any more mainstream than it is: Corridors of Time by Ron Redfern. Just when I got it I’m not sure but without question it was during or after my sophomore year and before graduation. Remember, the general time frame is 1977-1981.

    During my schooling and in the summer afterward, I worked for Mr. Sid Hegvold and put in order what used to be our Geology Dept.: the notes, the rock and mineral samples – whatever there was room to keep and whatever needed to be put out for lack of space. My interest in mineralogy and geology stood me in very good stead in this effort. (As I recall it was Robert Gentry who was the geologist I tried to remember above. Much of what I worked with had been collected by him.) About this time I found William F. Dankenbring’s self-published book The First Genesis and it certainly reflected not only his thinking, but that of others including Drs. Hoeh, Herrmann and Gentry (if he had a doctorate by then) in the general time frame. That book was published in 1975! Whether Mr. D.’s thinking was the cutting edge of influences which were going on, or not, needs to be double-checked. Anyway, the book made sense to me at the time as a student but now I see it claimed to face reality and in fact did nothing of the kind. The kind of compromise between the Bible and mainstream geology it proposes simply will not work. Follow the logic of the latter to its conclusion and it excludes biblical creation and catastrophism (though not theism). Follow the logic of the former to its conclusion and we find it insists our scientists’ construct of natural history is deeply and fatally flawed on several levels – levels Mr. Dankenbring dismissed from consideration with a wave of the hand.

    Mr. Dankenbring somewhere wrote in his book that what many would call theistic evolution is “properly called development”. I am having trouble finding the reference and I may be thinking of something else. That is the problem with ENFP-preference cognition: “I read it in a book somewhere” is often as good as our memory gets, alas! But that statement in quotes fits the philosophy of the book: the idea that while God indeed created rather than work through alleged natural laws of evolution, there is still a progression of flora and fauna which certainly looks to secular people like “evolution” over long ages rather than special creation all at the same time.

    Mr. D. writes some interesting and telling paragraphs at the end of his book. What he fails to mention in them is that there are good empirical and theoretical reasons for doubting the “long-ages” construct he wants to reconcile with the Bible. I applaud the young-creationists and others who do the scientific work required to cast those doubts, and to point out where evolutionists themselves express them if they can get past their own peers’ review. Where the young-creationists fail in their theology is precisely where they fail in their science. But not all of their theology is unsound. Doesn’t it follow then, if “the word of God is the foundation of knowledge”, that where their theology is sound – as in the miraculous and overwhelming nature of Noah’s Flood – their science should also be taken seriously even as it’s double-checked for logical and methodological consistency? “Thinking in the service of Feeling” (Carl Jung) can distort one’s reasoning even if one starts from the right premise, although right premises certainly help evade most such problems. But we ought to give young-creationists a tad more credit than we often do. They are no more and no less wrong than anyone else as a general rule.

    Posted by John Wheeler (Johanan Rakkav) | February 7, 2014, 12:09 pm
  5. Yes, I probably am a bit older than you. AC Pasadena 1959-1966/7.

    Began listening to the WT in 1956.

    The drop in faith goes back further into the 1960’s. That is, where one could see it starting. And, I believe I can pinpoint specific instances where it began. But, that’s for another day maybe.

    As to your comment that their ideas on pre-Adamic man, etc. were changing? One thing about Ambassador, and specifically Dr. Hoeh, was that he was always looking for better ways to explain the Bible, and history. Often he would come into class and change what he told us the day before, because he had read new information he did not have before. Yet, church doctrine did not change. A college is a place to look into alternatives to see if any come closer to the truth, or clarifies what is truth. Based on your explanation I do not believe this was anything that diminished faith. To me, and my experience other things did. Things which began before your time there, and which began to grow during your time and beyond.

    As to Mr. Hermann’s changing thots I cannot speak to those since I don’t know from your explanation what he was actually saying. Even so, I see no present evidence that much he taught has actually been changed in the writings of those who came after his time.

    As to Bill D’s book, and publications. He published his books without permission of Mr. Armstrong, the College, etc. And, they were not publications presenting the “sanctioned” teaching of the church, college or Mr. Armstrong. And were part of the stepping stones of his going his particular way. I knew Bill quite well. In fact, I knew all the men you mentioned.

    As to faith changing, perhaps comments could be given on a post about the subject if Mr. Smith feels it is a subject to be pursued.

    Posted by Robert Petry | February 7, 2014, 1:12 pm
  6. You could try following this up on my blog and relieve poor Mr. Smith:

    http://hindofthedawn.wordpress.com/2014/02/06/final-thoughts-on-the-nye-ham-debate/

    Be warned though, I have much to do in the Personal Correspondence Dept. for my part and may not be able to give much of an answer, or allow protracted discussion. My apologies in advance. (Also, like Mr. Smith, I reserve the right to use, edit or deny posts as I see fit and proper. There are biblical precedents which one must follow.)

    Posted by John Wheeler (Johanan Rakkav) | February 7, 2014, 2:17 pm
  7. The thing that angers me most about debates like this one is not the ignorant evolutionist (i.e. Bill Nye – although even his voice churns my stomach), but it is the fact that the gentleman representing the Christian view is not “well spoken” or “quick on his feet”. You need to have someone (like a Bob Dutko for example) who can brilliantly and powerfully shut down an atheist and evolutionist rather quickly, thus, making someone like Mr. Nye look rather foolish (which he is). I hope Mr. Smith will allow me the privilege of posting this short (sample) clip of Mr. Dutko’s 2 part CD presentation titled “Top Ten Proofs for a Young Earth”. Since I already have his complete “Top 10 Proofs” CD series, I can tell you that this particular topic takes close to 2 hours to fully explore all 10 proofs that the Earth is young. Here is the sample:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1SPg4Hf8CXA

    Posted by Steven | February 7, 2014, 2:38 pm
  8. Thanks, Steven. In my own opinion, I don’t find Mr. Dutko’s presentations as convincing as you do, and I know of plenty of atheists who would not be shut down at all by many of his observations. Some of his points are presented better than others, while in other cases he seems pressed to come up with a clean “Ten” to the point that comes up with “filler” points that are terribly weak. And “proving” a young earth takes more than anomolous examples and circumstances, since the same could be done for “earths” of various ages: young, old, and “middle aged.” As for Ken Ham, I may not agree with all of his conclusions, but I did find him generally well-spoken and fairly quick on his feet. Still, I have no problem with the link, and perhaps some will find Mr. Dutko’s material helpful in some way. Thanks, again.

    Posted by Wallace G. Smith | February 7, 2014, 3:38 pm
  9. John Wheeler: Thanks for the invite to your site. Since your time will be limited for responses think I’ll just post some material on my own site about the earlier history.

    Posted by Robert Petry | February 7, 2014, 5:34 pm
  10. FINally….

    Happy Sabbath! ;-)

    Posted by gedii | February 7, 2014, 7:22 pm
  11. Well, as I blogged about on my own blog, I came to a slightly different conclusion in that I thought Ken Ham (ever so slightly) edged out Bill Nye in the debate. In summary, Bill Nye bills himself as an open-minded scientist, yet he contradicts that with the notion that one cannot be a scientist or, worse, that American will somehow fall behind in science simply because of a belief in a young earth creation. He even debated that there is no difference, as Ken Ham kept emphasizing, between historical science and observable science.

    Ken Ham is a known quantity. What he teaches is pretty well known, and that was one of the reasons I even balked at watching the debate. However, Bill Nye did not, IMO, sufficiently deflect Ham’s assetions, and his obvious stubborness in insisting that evolution is a knowable fact and disregarding it is essentially disregarding science itself, limited his effectiveness.

    Still, I did not grade either of them with an ‘A’.

    Posted by iammarchhare | February 8, 2014, 2:42 pm
  12. Howdy, marchhare, and I apologize for the delay in comment moderation! All day Sunday I was out of the office on very, very important business (Star Wars marathon) and yesterday I just didn’t get to a lot of computer work.

    I don’t see much to dispute in what you write, and I see that as just as valid a conclusion. Neither really topped the other, and both sides made points the other did not touch or refute sufficiently. I still think that Nye made the better impression, but that’s clearly a subjective call, and I could see someone else calling it differently. And I agree: No one got an “A” that evening. :)

    Thanks for stopping by!

    Posted by Wallace G. Smith | February 11, 2014, 1:04 pm
  13. Both Bill Nye and Ken Ham have the same “problem.” They are both very committed to their POV. So much so they cannot hear or see outside that POV. Rom. 1:22, 28 explains some, or all of this.

    What I saw in both men during the debate were two intelligent men with “closed minds” on the topics they should have at least considered. This “closed mindedness” is a problem, sad to say, that we all have to some degree or another. It can stop the learning of valuable additional information, or even new information within the ecclesia.

    I’ve come to believe even more strongly that “perfect love casts out fear.” Those men resist the other, why? Fear they may lose something, may be wrong, etc. and have to “give up” their standing in their own group.

    I’ve met many fearful people in and out of the ecclesia. Yet, if we stand in the faith, what is for us to fear, even from one another, much less the world.? Why even fear deliberate deceivers? Or be afraid they “may” deceive us? Truth can stand toe to toe with anyone.

    Bill Nye presented an old earth stance which Ken Ham could not see.
    Ken Ham presented a Creator and a Bible to be believed which Bill Nye could not see.

    To me, those are the Achilles heels of both men, and in all debates I’ve seen on this topic.

    And, I also agree, neither got or deserved an A. Maybe a C plus or minus.

    Posted by Robert Petry | February 11, 2014, 3:22 pm

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