Evolution vs Creationism – Bill Nye vs Ken Ham

By Michael Edmonds 06/02/2014

On the 4th of February a debate took place at the Creation “museum” in Petersburg, Kentucky pitting popular science writer and TV presenter Bill Nye against Ken Ham, the creationist currently attempting to raise funds for a creationist theme park, complete with ark, in Kentucky.

This debate was controversial long before it took place, with many pro-science bloggers suggesting that Bill Nye might not be experienced enough to take on a practiced creationist. Furthermore, the fact that the evening was fundraiser for Ham’s theme park project also drew criticism.

However, now that the debate is over, many of his critics are now acknowledging that Bill Nye did quite well. Not perfect, as critics are pointing out minor errors and missed opportunities – but then it is all very well to be able see these things from the sidelines and in retrospect.

At the debate, Matt Stopera from BuzzFeed provided self-identifying creationists with a pen, pad and opportunity to write down a question for those supporting evolution, and photographed. The results were quite revealing.

Two of these pictures are shown below. It is worth looking at the rest via the link provided above, to see what creationists see as being valid arguments against evolution.



0 Responses to “Evolution vs Creationism – Bill Nye vs Ken Ham”

  • Well that’ll sap your faith in humanity…. still, I do wonder if some of those are Poes. The “Why are there still monkeys?” one can’t possibly be real.

    Some of these are so ignorant it would be hard to know where to start, but others would be fun to answer.

  • Darcy –

    You’d wish they are Poes, but I don’t think so. It seems to me that some of these people are just very confused and just trying to do right by the people who taught them or their peers.

    Interestingly some of the claims are so wrong-headed that even Answers in Genesis (a prominent creationist website) is calling out people not to say these things.

    To me that page tells me two things:-

    – core creationists are well aware that people are saying these (Poe-like) things,

    – there is a game of bluff going on and they know it; they’re worried about putting on the right ‘face’.

  • Interesting, Grant, that they don’t appear to have a set of arguments that should be used?? I wonder if this leaves some people confused.

  • I dearly wish they are Poes, but fear you are right.

    Reading the AiG page I got a sense of a strange sort of code of honour – like genre fans trying to keep their fan-fiction straight.

  • Hi Darcy, Grant

    I think it is too easy to forget that not everyone has a good grasp of science/biology and for some people religion actively attempts to block them from understanding science.
    These pictures just remind me that that there is still a lot of work for science educators and communicators to do.

  • Creationism isn’t religion, but just a misguided attempt to turn religion against science. I don’t see religion and science as being in any sort of conflict, as they are about different things.

    • In my opinion creationism is pseudoscience – it is an attempt to “prove” religion by discrediting and misrepresenting known facts as well as the process of science.
      Whether religion and science are in conflict depends on ones’ interpretation of what “religion” and “science” are.
      If a religion makes no claims about the physical and natural world then it lies outside of science. When it starts making testable claims then conflict can arise.

  • Exactly! In other words, don’t use creationism to discredit religion. Just argue against creationism. Religion has nothing to do with it. Creationism is both pseudoscience and pseudoreligion!

  • Stephen Thorpe

    “Just argue against creationism”

    Fair point.

    “Religion has nothing to do with it”

    I don’t quite agree with you there, creationism is derived from the need of some religious groups to try and use “science” to support their religious beliefs.

    But when arguing against creationism, you are right, potshots at religion(s) per se don’t help

  • Stephen, Michael –

    While I get the point, I think it’s also worth remembering that creationists use religious material as part of their defense so they are putting religion up as a target in a way that can’t always be avoided.

    (Note my point it’s the creationists bringing religion in as a target, not those [just] who oppose creationism.)

  • “creationists use religious material as part of their defense so they are putting religion up as a target in a way that can’t always be avoided.” – for example, Ken Ham founded the Creation Science Foundation, which uses Genesis for its explanations of the Earth’s biological & geological history. In fact, the same is true for the ACE curriculum material that I blogged about recently.

  • The comments on Science made by the smiling girl are about incorrect as it is possible to imagine . the definition of Science which can be found in any good dictionary , mine is a Chambers is as follows .
    Science: A branch of learning based on observation and tested truths arranged in an orderly system.

    Science examines theories in an effort to proove or disproove them using a rigourous system of examination and the results must be able to be repeated using the same system in order for the theory to become a fact

  • Stephen-

    I don’t think the problem is that scientists are attacking religion. Creationists have deliberately set out to link science (evolution) and religion together. Creationism is a product of religion, and it is especially a product of certain Christian sects.

    I tire of moderate Christians assuring me that they’re not as crazy as the like of Ken Ham etc. I’m tired of moderate Christians sitting on the sidelines, being practically invisible, while I “debate” sic evolution. I’m tired of moderate Christians complaining I’m doing it wrong, or aren’t mindful of their position on evolution.

    Young-Earth-Creationism is a religious position, spawn from modern Christianity. There are an appalling number of people who believe in a literal Genesis. This isn’t a product of evolutionary biologists attacking ‘religion’. It is a product of Christianity accommodating YEC, of letting them identify evolution with atheism (and often communism, abortion etc). It is about letting YEC grow, unchallenged.

    I think there needs to be far more effort undertaken by ‘moderates’ to challenge these absurd religious positions and less concern about what evolutionary biologists might say about religion.