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Bill Nye to Debate Evolution at Creation Museum

Discussion in 'BBS Hangout: Debate & Discussion' started by rocketsjudoka, Feb 1, 2014.

  1. rocketsjudoka

    rocketsjudoka Contributing Member

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    His opponent is a Young Earth Creationist Ken Ham.

    http://www.nbcnews.com/science/will...ace-its-debatable-2D12028450?ocid=msnhp&pos=4

    Will evolution debate blow up in the Science Guy's face? It's debatable

    Why on earth would Bill Nye the Science Guy agree to debate evolution and creationism in a place called the Creation Museum? And how on Earth could creationist Ken Ham lose?

    The conventional wisdom among evolutionary biologists is that they have much more to lose than to gain from Tuesday's face-off in Kentucky — just as the consensus among creationists is that they're getting a high-profile forum for their views, nine years after suffering a major defeat in federal court.

    "I don't think Nye should be getting into this," Jerry Coyne, a biologist at the University of Chicago who uses the title "Why Evolution Is True" for his blog and his latest book, told NBC News. "He may be walking into a buzzsaw."

    Meanwhile, the organization that Ham heads, Answers in Genesis, says the debate will "equip believers with solid creation apologetics — while at the same time exposing the assumptions the evolutionary ideas rest upon." Answers in Genesis is already offering the DVD on pre-order.

    Debaters get ready
    Nye acknowledges that he's getting some heat from colleagues for giving creationists a high-profile forum, but insists that an open debate is necessary. "We're just trying to change the world here, and draw attention to these forces in our society that are trying to get creationism in science textbooks," he told NBC News. "My argument is, this is bad for the country, bad for our economy. We can't raise a generation of science students who are not scientifically literate."

    He said he's been preparing for the debate by consulting with experts via email and studying how Ham and other creationists have stated their case in past forums.

    "Many people have been critical of me for taking this debate because I'm not an expert on evolution," Nye said. "But this is not advanced evolutionary theory. This is not high-school science. It might be elementary-school science. That Mr. Ham and his followers don't embrace it is troubling."

    Ham is preparing as well — in consultation with creation-minded colleagues who have Ph.D.s, such as molecular biologist Georgia Purdum and geologist Andrew Snelling. Like Nye, Ham is researching his opponent's past statements on evolution. And like Nye, Ham says he's doing this debate to reach the next generation.

    On his blog, Ham said he has seen lots of young people leave the church "because they saw evolution as showing the Bible could not be trusted." In a follow-up interview with NBC News, Ham said, "If you're taught that there's no God, that you're just an animal that arose through natural processes, that has great bearing on how you view yourself, and your fellow man, and your morality."

    Some of the handicappers on Nye's side of the fence, like Coyne, worry that Ham is the more experienced debater. Ham, however, said he's taken part in only one formal debate on evolution, back in the 1990s. He also pointed to Nye's years of TV experience on "Bill Nye the Science Guy."

    "He's like me. He's a communicator," Ham said. "We're not really used to doing formal debates."

    Debating the debate
    On each side of the debate, there's yet another debate going on: For example, some of the defenders of evolution education think Tuesday's face-off won't be such a bad thing.

    "In general, we advise people against doing debates. The biggest thing is that a debate on stage is not how science is decided. It's entertainment, it's theater," said Josh Rosenau, program and policy director for the National Center for Science Education, which defends the teaching of evolution. "But because it's about entertainment, if anyone's going to do it, I think Bill Nye is not a bad choice."

    Nye isn't a professional scientist, but a mechanical engineer who became a comedian and then blossomed as a science popularizer. "The thing that Bill has going for him is that he is great at explaining science," Rosenau told NBC News.

    He said the way the debate is framed may give Nye an added advantage. The official topic of the discussion is whether creationism provides a viable model of origins in today's modern scientific world. "I hope that means that Ken Ham is actually going to try to offer some sort of scientific claims for his position," Rosenau said. "I think he's going to have a hard time doing that, coming up with a scientific argument."

    Bible as scientific evidence
    Ham's view is that the Genesis account of the universe's development and the rise of life on Earth is literally true, including the part about everything being done in six 24-hour days. As a young-Earth creationist, Ham contends that the universe is only about 6,000 years old. So what about the 70 million-year-old fossil bones of dinosaurs? The way Ham sees it, those are the millennia-old bones of animals referred to in legends as dragons.

    "What we believe about the age of the Earth (that it is relatively young) is a consequence of our stand on biblical authority, and nothing in observational science contradicts that," Ham wrote this week. "You see, we use the Bible as evidence!"

    Even among folks who insist there's evidence that the universe was designed by some sort of intelligent being, such views don't always sit well. Stephen Meyer, director of the Discovery Institute's Center for Science and Culture and the author of "Darwin's Doubt" sees pluses as well as minuses to Tuesday's debate.

    "It's a plus because it generates interest in the topic," Meyer told NBC News. "It's a minus because it inhibits an understanding of the complexity of the issue."

    Meyer worries that the debate over evolution will be portrayed as Darwinian materialism vs. biblical literalism — leaving out such ideas as theistic evolution, old-earth creationism and his own perspective, intelligent design. "It would be really terrific if the proponents of the mainstream Darwinian view of origins engaged some of the other critics of their theory, who see evidence of design in nature but are not biblical fundamentalists," he said.
     
  2. Haymitch

    Haymitch Custom Title
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    Good for Nye. I'll watch if it's online for free, but you can't beat a YEC in a debate. They're immune to arguments for evolution.
     
  3. CometsWin

    CometsWin Breaker Breaker One Nine

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    Pointless publicity stunt.
     
  4. SexyButIgnorant

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    Interesting that Nye would debate this. I thought I read somewhere that he just has a Bachelor's degree in Engineering. Might be wrong. But if true, hardly seems like the guy qualified to debate the issue.

    And since it'll be at the Creationist Museum, the crowd will be completely in favor of Ham, I'm guessing.
     
  5. rocketsjudoka

    rocketsjudoka Contributing Member

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    Nye is primarily an entertainer so of course this is about publicity that said I give him credit for willing to have the debate at the Creationist Museum. I doubt this will change some many minds but considering that recent polling is showing an increase in the amount of people who don't accept Evolution I don't see anything wrong with having a public debate that gets more attention to the issue.
     
  6. rocketsjudoka

    rocketsjudoka Contributing Member

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    This depends on what the basis and rules of the debate are. If this was primarily focused on problems with the prevailing theory of Evolution then that could be tough for Nye. If it is though about Creationism, particularly Young Earth, as a valid alternative then this could turn into another Scopes trial.
     
  7. aeolus13

    aeolus13 Contributing Member

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    It will be tough for Bill Nye no matter what, and I'm really not happy that he agreed to this debate. First, the simple fact that he's getting up on stage with a clown like Ken Ham gives the impression that there's some unsettled question to argue about, which is manifestly false. It would be like a historian 'debating' with a Holocaust denier. Some opinions are so silly they don't deserve to be dignified with a response.

    Second, the format is really a problem. There's a reason court cases and scientific theses (things where the truth is actually important) aren't argued in hour-long TV specials where the participants can mostly talk past each other, and that is because this format is a really, really lousy way of determining what's actually true. It rewards bull**** artistry and showmanship, and does not penalize a participant for lying. Bill Nye is representing science, so he can't lie without hurting his own credibility. Ken Ham is representing make-believe, and is not limited by fact or accuracy. You can expect to see some version of the Gish Gallop, in which Ham will carpet-bomb the audience with as many half-truths, outright lies, and points already debunked as he can get off in his allotted time. He can make a statement in five seconds that will take Nye at least a couple minutes to de-bunk.

    For instance:

    "If evolution is true, how come there are no transitional forms?"
    "If people evolved from monkeys, why are there still monkeys?"
    "Evolution's just a theory!"
    "The eye is too complicated to have been made by chance!"

    Each of these statements is junk, but Ham can make far more of them than Nye can get to in his time. It's just a debating trick. If Nye wanted to do this debate via an email exchange, where lies could be identified and exposed at length, then I'd be OK with it, but the way it is, he's just going to make science look bad and leave well-meaning people with the impression that there's actual uncertainty on this topic.
     
    1 person likes this.
  8. KingCheetah

    KingCheetah Contributing Member

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    These 'debates' never end well for the scientist.
     
  9. heypartner

    heypartner Contributing Member

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    Maybe he should start with this question for all the kids in the audience.

    Can you, your parents or your pastor do this

    [​IMG]

    or this

    [​IMG]

    Then listen to me as I teach you that Science is waaayyyyy cooler than Religion. And then, Nye doesn't even debate Ham, he just teaches the scientific method of cool experiments, until Ham gets all frustrated and uncool.

    Ham: "Your not even answering my questions."
    Nye: 'What did you expect? I do a TV show to spread the gospel of how cool science is to kids."
     
    1 person likes this.
  10. brantonli24

    brantonli24 Member

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    IMO the annoying thing about debating creationism is that it's not even about what's scientific fact, but it's almost how good your marketing is. If your concept can't be wrapped up in a neat little marketing bow ('intelligent design', 'watchmaker') then others can trot it out easily, whereas explaining evolution in scientific terms is long and boring.
     
  11. XIrocket

    XIrocket Member

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    Nye is a sellout he was on the other nite trying to say global warming is truth even though there is no evidence for it...The evidence they do have has been doctored to fit an agenda.
     
    1 person likes this.
  12. FranchiseBlade

    FranchiseBlade Contributing Member
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    Apparently you are a science denier. Good to know.
     
  13. Rashmon

    Rashmon Contributing Member

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    Those who choose willful ignorance have no need for facts nor truth.
     
  14. amaru

    amaru Member

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    You can't win arguing with creationists..they believe in a magic jewish carpenter who was his own father, impregnated his mother and walked on water.

    If this makes sense to them, then logic won't.
     
    1 person likes this.
  15. Hustle Town

    Hustle Town Contributing Member

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    Thanks for stealing my GIFs. :mad::eek:
     
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  16. Hustle Town

    Hustle Town Contributing Member

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    Bring it on heypartner:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
    1 person likes this.
  17. Anticope

    Anticope Member

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    At first I was confused as to why those in the evolution community were afraid of Bill Nye debating this guy, but after reading up on Ken Ham, I full understand why. Honestly, how can you expect to win a debate against a guy who has presented concrete, factual evidence that dinosaurs were aboard Noah's Ark 4,300 years ago? Unfortunately, because of sin, dinosaurs are no longer with us (thanks a lot, gay dinosaurs).

    [​IMG]

    Why would anyone choose to believe scientists with degrees from left-wing, propagandist universities over someone who wrote a book thousands of years ago about people walking on water and building a boat that held thousands of animals that they were able to trap and bring aboard to survive the great flood? The truth shall set you free:

    http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/nab/what-happened-to-the-dinosaurs
     
    1 person likes this.
  18. Invisible Fan

    Invisible Fan Contributing Member

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    I'm cool with religion to some extent, except with literalists and creationists.

    They're ****ing r****ded.
     
  19. Dairy Ashford

    Dairy Ashford Member

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    Occupationally Nye is a TV presenter, commentator or public speaker with a science background. The appearance fee is all Nye can think about until a visiting professorship opens up somewhere.
     
  20. Dairy Ashford

    Dairy Ashford Member

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    That's the Gospel, not creationism. And those people drew on the themes of self-improvement and questioning authority to build the education and university system and develop the scientific method. There are kooks who try to use shamans to treat AIDs and still execute their neighbors for witchcraft, and none of them are Christian.
     

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