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SCIENCE!

Got Some Time On Your Hands? Watch Scientist Bill Nye Debate Creationist Ken Ham


The Bill Nye/Ken Ham creation debate which took place last night produced a lot of chatter for what’s probably obvious reasons. Here it is if you missed it (skip ahead to 12:40). Geekoystem also has a roundup of some interesting tweets in response to the debate.

(via Geekosystem)

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  • Lady Commentariat

    Is it really a debate if one party refuses to consider factual evidence?

  • Travis

    Or, if you need a recap…

    Bill Nye: Fund Science Education!
    Ken Ham: It’s in the bible so it MUST be true!

  • http://pontoonification.blogspot.com/ AverageDrafter

    I’ve known a few theologians in my day, and I’ve found them to be some of the most thoughtful, intelligent, insightful people I’ve ever encountered. I’ve noticed that actually trying to understand the concepts of religion and faith in an earnest and honest fashion tends to have a profound effect on how you view the world.

    It leads to a greater hunger for unobstructed truth and away from a blind adherence to dogma.

    However, Ham and his ilk are salesmen insidiously disguised as messengers of God. Their product is ignorance, and their asking price is subjugation to their inflated egos.

    The book of what we know as “The Bible” is more a product of long dead political interests and ethnic power struggles, and has little to do with the word of God – a fact the salesmen will do everything they can to maintain ignorance of.

  • http://technicalluddite.com/ Hannele Kormano

    #hamnye west

  • http://technicalluddite.com/ Hannele Kormano

    #hamnye west

  • http://skemono.blogspot.com/ Skemono

    he’s even taking not-so-subtle stabs at my marriage to my wife by incorporating “god made marriage” and “women should be with men” points into the debate

    Yeah, he’s pretty disgusting that way. Also a raging hypocrite. One of the “arguments” the Creation Museum spews is that evolution is bad because it supports racism and war and sexism, whereas “Principles derived from God’s Word also condemn discrimination based on language, culture, gender, or skin tone.”

    However, earlier the Creation Museum insists that marriage is “one man and one woman” and that “God made male and female fit for different roles from the beginning”.

    Got that? God says discrimination is bad but women and men totally have to do things differently than men because God said so.

  • St. Jason

    We all are gonna be the winners in this debate once the Nye / Ham slash fiction of this starts rolling out

  • cheesy

    This comment is downright poetic.

  • Matthew McLaughlin
  • Kate Drew This

    I may get some hate from this, but I hope not. Typically TMS gets very nice, open minded commenters, so I’ll hope for the best.

    I’m a devout Christian, and I cannot stand Ken Ham. People who treat the book upon which we base our faith as a book of science are missing the whole point (of it being a FAITH) and do more to drive people away from it.

    If the Bible were included everything we need to know, how incredibly dull would life be? If there were nothing to discover? I have always considered one of the most wonderful things about this world that (I believe) God created is the complexity of the science behind it, and how we’re constantly discovering new things. I think our curiosity, and the mysteries science enables us to solve are two of the greatest gifts God gave us.

    I remember with amusement a History of Science class I took in college (I attended a Christian college), where an exhausted looking professor stood up on the first day of class and yelled

    “THE BIBLICAL STORY OF CREATION IS FROM A BOOK UPON WHICH MOST OF THE CHRISTIAN FAITH IS BASED! EVOLUTION IS A SCIENTIFIC THEORY THAT IS SUPPORTED BY A GREAT DEAL OF EVIDENCE! THEY ARE COMPLETELY DIFFERENT SUBJECTS AND THEY ARE NOT IN CONFLICT WITH ONE ANOTHER.”

    Then he smoothed his hair, took a deep breath, introduced himself as the professor, and motioned to the TA to start handing out the syllabi.

    There were about a hundred people in the lecture hall, and we weren’t sure if we were supposed to react with polite silence, or laugh, so we all sort of came down with the badly stifled giggles. You could just tell that the poor guy was so tired of arguing about this, and one morning, he just said “Fuck it all!”

  • Kate Drew This

    Thank you for saying this.

  • http://www.lawlessgentile.com/ Ali Miller

    Apart from the political interests and power struggles that influenced the Bible’s creation, what’s also important to remember is that it’s not *a* book, singular. It is many books, plural, all written in different genres (poetry, prophecy, law, epistles/letters, parables, eyewitness accounts, and yes: history).

    Genesis 1 falls under the poetry heading. Here’s a good rundown of how to read it in the context it was written, for the interested: http://www.ancient-hebrew.org/23_genesis_1.html

    Anyone who thinks the creation story was written to present people with a scientific account of the universe’s origins is willfully missing the point. Genesis 1 is concerned with telling a truth (about humanity’s relationship with God) through story, in a way that could be understood by anyone – educated or uneducated – and easily passed down to future generations.

    The 100% literalist approach to the Bible is actually a fairly recent development. The overwhelming majority of the Christian scholars in the past understood the context that different books of the Bible were written in, and analyzed each accordingly.

    tl;dr Ken Ham is an idiot.

  • http://www.lawlessgentile.com/ Ali Miller

    Apart from the political interests and power struggles that influenced the Bible’s creation, what’s also important to remember is that it’s not *a* book, singular. It is many books, plural, all written in different genres (poetry, prophecy, law, epistles/letters, parables, eyewitness accounts, and yes: history).

    Genesis 1 falls under the poetry heading. Here’s a good rundown of how to read it in the context it was written, for the interested: http://www.ancient-hebrew.org/23_genesis_1.html

    Anyone who thinks the creation story was written to present people with a scientific account of the universe’s origins is willfully missing the point. Genesis 1 is concerned with telling a truth (about humanity’s relationship with God) through story, in a way that could be understood by anyone – educated or uneducated – and easily passed down to future generations.

    The 100% literalist approach to the Bible is actually a fairly recent development. The overwhelming majority of the Christian scholars in the past understood the context that different books of the Bible were written in, and analyzed each accordingly.

    tl;dr Ken Ham is an idiot.

  • Lady Commentariat

    Well said. I lived in a grad school dorm a couple of years ago, and the divinity students were without a doubt some of the loveliest, thoughtful, earnest people–just as you say. Ham gives religious folks a bad name.

  • http://www.lawlessgentile.com/ Ali Miller

    Bill Nye hit the nail on the head when he said: “I just want to remind us all there are billions of people in the world who are deeply religious, who get enriched by the wonderful sense of community by their religion, but these same people do not embrace the extraordinary view that the Earth is somehow only 6,000 years old.”

    This should not even be a debate.

    Stick to debating God’s existence, if you must; that, at least, is philosophically interesting. :P

  • Sabrina

    Ham might as well have plucked his ears going LALALA I CAN’T HEAR YOU!!

  • http://pontoonification.blogspot.com/ AverageDrafter

    Thank you. I was a little prefunctory in that last part, but it was born more out of frustration of people who quote the Bible without even a basic understanding of the history of the text itself. Often, even a full reading of its content, much less attempt a comprehension or interpretation. They will cherry pick a phrase or passage and utilize it to try prove something, typically ignoring other parts that don’t line up with their worldview.

    As an Agnostic, I’m a fan of the Book of Revelations myself – that’s some hard core stuff right there. If someone wants to take the Bible as literal, they should start with four headed cherubim (with Ox, Human, Eagle, and Lion heads – and those are the good guys!). At least then it would be entertaining.

  • frankenmouse

    I think one of my favorite things was that a MECHANICAL ENGINEER somehow thinks he’s an expert on evolution/biology.

    His opinion about anything related to evolution/biology carries just as much weight as mine regarding tension and torsion. We both might have some interest and knowledge about a topic (though in his case, apparently not), but that doesn’t make either of us an expert even though we have letters after our names.

  • Anonymous

    Same here. To me, there is no conflict. Science explains the how, religion explains the who and the why. There’s no reason why you can’t believe in the bible and still believe in evolution and a 4 billion year old Earth; and there’s no reason why you can’t have full confidence in science and still have faith in a God.

  • Anonymous

    As has been said by others – this “debate” is like watching two blind people argue over what the color blue is. It also highlights the problems with modern discourse with its polarized insistence that there are only two possible points of view for any issue and one of these moronic closed minded self important points of view is actually correct because it’s nit pickingly less wrong than the other.

  • TKS

    Ham on Nye: Sandwich of lust.

  • TKS

    Across the webternets, I’ve seen a lot of people say something along the lines of “Nye shouldn’t even have debated Ham, it just lends credibility to their argument!”

    I think that’s pretty silly. Mainly because young earth creationism is finding it’s way into public science classrooms in this country. If speaking out against it lends it credibility, what does not saying anything do?

    A lot of people have also mentioned that it’s possible to be both a Christian and a scientist that believes in evolution. One of the speakers at the event wasn’t denying that, nor was it a talking point of the debate.

    I think, at the end of the day, the debate was more about education. They weren’t trying to convince one another about something, they were trying to educate those watching of their perspectives. I think they both did this using the tools they value.

  • Pythia

    Yes. The lack of any historical awareness of the text, or of hermeneutics, or of what the act of translation does to meaning is the most frustrating (and frightening) part of this for me. As though languages themselves didn’t have history or shifting meanings….Coupled with a deep paranoia about scholarship and science, it’s straight up poison.

  • Anonymous

    There is this weird polarizing thing that happens on the internet where being religious seems akin to subscribing to hollow earth theory and lighting textbook bonfires. I have never understood why an Earth that is billions of years old makes the gods seem small nor do I understand why believing in gods makes an enemy of reason.

  • Simon Chui

    Mr Ham makes a number of fairly basic mistakes in logic.
    - The constancy of the laws of the universe is evidence against the existence of God, as it highlights the profound lack of miracles being observed. Mr Ham somehow thinks this constancy supports the existence of God.
    - Mr Ham states that evolution needs to show a new trait arising out of DNA where it would previously be impossible, as opposed to genes being activated or deactivated. That’s like asking for an English word to be invented where the English alphabet would previously not allow it. The English language gains new words all the time, but it doesn’t need to gain any new letters of the alphabet to do so. The fixed alphabet of DNA allows for infinite variability. The fact that genes mutate over time, and never spontaneously appear fully functional, is consistent with the theory of evolution, and again highlights the lack of miracles.
    - The foundation of his argument, that we can’t know what happened in the distant pass because we weren’t there to observe it, refutes the Bible as it refutes all attempts at history. None of us were around during the Flood or when the dinosaurs were alive. The corollary that would allow his premise to stand, that God personally composed the Bible (God being the only entity who supposedly has been around that long), is never addressed, and indeed can never be proved or disproved.

    But perhaps the most useful insight, for me at least, is the end of his half-hour presentation, where he quite openly says that he wants to believe that there is a divine plan for the universe. He prefers a universe where there is something to tell us what to do, something to provide moral certainty.

  • Kate Drew This

    I never did either, until I started commenting on things on the internet. Then I started hearing things like “Religious people never think for themselves” and “Scientists are so sad and lonely. We should pray they find Jesus.”

    WTF?

  • Kate Drew This

    Oh, I didn’t think of it as brave, but thank you!

    You know, I just LOVE this web site! The Mary Sue gets the most respectful, thoughtful people on it, even when people disagree with each other. I’ve read some of the comments where people clearly don’t believe in God, and they haven’t said the “church people r stoopid” stuff either!

    Yay, TMS readers!

  • Kate Drew This

    I shot coffee out of my nose because of you, yet I want to thank you for this.

  • Kate Drew This

    “Mainly because young earth creationism is finding its way into public science classrooms in this country.”

    THAT freaks me out.

    If it were being discussed in Social Studies classrooms (like a “current event” type of thing) I wouldn’t have a big issue with it (although I would think to myself “Yeesh, slippery slope, schools…really want to go with that issue?) but the face that there are PUBLIC school DISTRICTS that are electing to make it part of their curriculum really shows that they’re bending to local politics and not focusing on children’s education.

  • Blame the Victim

    Why did the Christurd cross the road?

    So he could claim he was being persecuted on the other side.

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